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Find the Custody-Sharing or Visitation Agreement that Works for Your Family

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Each child is unique, and as a result, visitation schedules and custody arrangements should be unique, as well. When you’re in the midst of a divorce, one of the most time-consuming aspects of the split may be determining how child custody will be divided between you and your ex. By learning your options, you can enlist your attorney’s help in requesting the custody-sharing agreement or visitation schedule that will be in your child’s best interest.

Sole versus joint custody

Courts may award either sole or joint custody after a split. If one parent is awarded sole physical custody, then the child will spend over 50% of their time with that parent, and the non-custodial parent will typically have a right to visitation time with the child. The sole custodial parent will often have sole legal custody as well, meaning that they have the right to make choices about the child’s health care and education. That said, some non-custodial parents also maintain the right to access the child’s educational and medical records.

If the parents have joint custody over the child, then the parents share physical custody as well as the legal right to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Parents may share equal custodial time with the child under a joint custodial arrangement. Some parents may divide this time into week-long chunks or exchange custody mid-week, while others may exchange custody on a monthly basis. In cases where one parent lives far from the child’s school, some parents choose instead to have children spend weekends with the farther-flung parent, or allow that parent to take the child for an extended period over the summer.

Make the arrangement clear

Whatever arrangement you reach on how you’ll share custody with your co-parent, make sure it’s in writing. If it appears that the parents are able to communicate successfully, some New York family court judges will permit the parents to arrange the visitation schedule between themselves rather than put the terms of their agreement in writing. Should your relationship with your co-parent deteriorate, having no written, court-ordered visitation schedule might make it more difficult to enforce the agreed-upon visitation schedule. Instead, have your attorney request that the court put the details of your agreed visitation schedule in an order that can later be enforced by the court.

If you are in need of skilled, compassionate, and effective legal help with your custody dispute in New York, contact the experienced Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation on your case, at 845-331-4100 (Kingston), or at 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).

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