Law Firm in Beacon, NY
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Child Custody Attorneys in Hudson Valley

Beacon Child Custody Lawyers - Your Aggressive Advocates in Dutchess County, New York

Custody disputes are stressful and emotionally charged. If you are involved in a custody dispute in Dutchess County, it is important to understand New York custody laws. The Hudson Valley child custody lawyers at Letterio & Haug, LLP have nearly two decades of combined experience and an extensive knowledge of divorce and child custody laws to effectively advocate for you in court.

If you are involved in a child custody dispute in Dutchess County, contact our firm in Beacon, NY, to learn how New York custody law applies to your situation.

New York Custody Laws

In New York, courts can make decisions about child custody until that child is 18 years old. New York Courts use the standard of the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. The courts may take a variety of factors into consideration when awarding custody.

Factors considered by New York Courts include:

  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • The mental and physical well-being of each parent
  • Work schedules
  • The ability of parents to cooperate
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The child’s wishes, depending on their age

Note that one parent does not have advantage over the other in custody decisions in New York. The child can remain living with either parent until the case goes to court, and an order has been issued. As always, the orders will be made based on the child's best interests.

Each family situation is unique, and our Hudson Valley child custody attorneys provide personalized representation for each client. We are aggressive advocates for our clients. We take the time to understand your situation and provide compassionate and empathetic legal representation that is tailored to your circumstances.

Filing for Child Custody in NY

A parent, grandparent or a person with a substantial relationship with the child may file a petition for custody with the family court in the county where the child resides. It is free to file a petition with the New York family court. Once the petition has been filed, a copy of the petition and a summons must be served to whoever currently has custody of the child.

Types of Custody in NY

There are two basic types of custody: Legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Physical custody is where the child will live. Sole custody is when custody is awarded to one parent. In joint custody, the parents share custody of the children.

Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody

Parent with custody of her childA parent who has legal custody can make decisions for the child’s care. This can include the child’s education, medical needs, and religion. Should the court issue a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents can make these decisions. If the courts issue “sole legal custody,” then only one parent is permitted to make these decisions.

This is a different arrangement from physical custody, which is also called “residential custody.” In this scenario, the child lives with the parent who has physical custody. Sole physical custody means that the child will live with that parent more than 50% of the time, and the other parent may have visitation rights. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child lives with both parents. One example is when the child lives with one parent for a week, and then live with the other parent the next week, and so forth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Get Custody of a Child?

Typically, either parent may receive custody of their child. One parent’s right to custody is not greater than the other parent’s right. However, the right to the care and custody of a minor child is not limited to parents. In certain circumstances, nonparents—such as grandparents, relatives, and others—can obtain custody of a child if doing so would be in the child’s best interests.

Can I Change the Terms of my Child Custody Arrangement?

Yes. A party can ask the court to modify the terms of an existing child custody order upon proof that there was a substantial change of circumstances since the court rendered its custody order. For example, if a parent needs to move to a different city, county, or state, their relocation can serve as a substantial change of circumstances that justifies changing a custody order so they can reasonably comply with its terms.

Can I Refuse to Allow Visitation for Unpaid Child Support?

No. A parent’s right to maintain a relationship with their children and spend time parenting them is not conditioned on their child support payment history. As a result, a parent may not deny another parent’s right to spend time with their child because they have otherwise failed to pay child support. A parent who does interfere with another person’s custodial or visitation rights may be subject to legal sanctions, possibly risking their own custodial rights under the existing custody agreement.

What Is Child Visitation?

In cases involving custodial arrangements where a child lives with one parent most of the time, the other parent can spend time with their child on certain days. This is known as “visitation” because the parent spends less parenting time with the child. This right stems from a parent’s right to maintain a close relationship with their children. A parent’s visitation rights are typically outlined in a visitation schedule that either the parties prepare or the court determines in a child custody case.

Can One Parent Move Away With the Child?

If the parent with physical custody wants to move somewhere that affects the other parent’s visitation, they must have permission from the other parent or the court before moving.
You can request permission from the court to relocate with your child by filing a custody modification petition with the help of the Beacon child custody lawyers at Letterio & Haug, LLP.

Put Experienced Beacon Child Custody Attorneys on Your Side

Our Hudson Valley child custody lawyer is ready to help you navigate the New York child custody process. Get started today by scheduling an initial consultation!


Contact our Beacon child custody lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We serve the counties of Dutchess, Putnam, Ulster, and Orange, and beyond.

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