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Child Custody & Visitation

Astoria, Brooklyn & Manhattan Child Custody & Visitation Attorneys

Child Custody & Visitation Lawyers – Astoria, Brooklyn & Manhattan, NY

A divorce can be an emotionally draining time for all involved, especially when children are involved. Determining parenting time and visitation is often an emotionally charged process, and it’s important to have someone objective on your side. The skilled team at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP, provides high-quality legal representation with sensitivity and compassion. Our professionals have decades of experience backing up their every decision and action and will use that legal knowledge to bring your child custody and visitation arrangement to a successful resolution while upholding your rights and the best interests of your children at all times.

What types of child custody and visitation rights are recognized in the state of New York?

When children are involved in divorce proceedings, both parents will need to agree upon who will have the primary responsibility of raising the child and who will have visitation rights. Note that visitation is not a one-size-fits-all situation and can be adapted to best suit the needs of parent and child. A lawyer familiar with family law can help draft an agreement that helps ensure your time with your child is protected. This is true whether the divorce in question is an amicable one or a hostile one. Don’t let the future of your relationship with your children be left to chance – invest in an attorney who can help represent your best interests in court.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody refers to the care of a child. If your child is in your custody, they are under your care. Child custody, then, is used to describe the schedule during which the parents involved (or a third-party as appointed by the courts) in the divorce proceedings have custody of their children. In New York State, the court can make orders regarding the custody of a child until they reach the age of 18. Custody is determined based upon on what is best for the child.

In New York, there are multiple types of child custody arrangements.

These include:

  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Joint custody
  • Sole custody

The type of arrangement that is ordered in your case largely depends upon factors unique to your situation. The relationship you have with the other parent, the amount of time and money you have to spend with your child, and the special needs of the child in question all impact the final custody order.

Legal and Physical Custody

When physical custody is granted to one parent, the child lives with that parent for the majority of time. That doesn’t mean that the other parent ceases to be involved in the child’s life, however, as parenting time and appropriate visitation rights are separate parts of the custody arrangement. Physical custody just means that the child physically remains with the parent in question for the majority of their time.

In many situations, when one parent has physical custody, both parents will share legal custody of the child. Legal custody grants both parents the right to make long term decisions about how the child will be raised, including input on things like education, dental care, medical care, and religious practice. In most cases, legal custody is granted to both parents unless there is proof that one parent is unfit or incapable of making good decisions pertaining to the child’s rearing. Any history of drug abuse, child neglect or domestic violence would play a part in the decision-making process.

Sole Custody

When one parent is granted sole custody of a child, they have full and exclusive rights to the upbringing of the child. This custody arrangement is quite rare and usually occurs when one parent is deemed unfit or unable to take responsibility for a child. Most custody arrangements grant each parent some share of parenting time.

Joint Custody and Joint Physical Custody

Joint custody refers to parents sharing responsibility for their children. Joint physical custody refers to the child spending part of their time living between both parents and both parents cooperatively making decisions regarding the child’s rearing and best interests.

Child Custody of Unmarried Parents

Of course, divorce is not the only time that a child custody arrangement might need to be determined. In New York State, parents that are unmarried have similar rights as married parents. The issue of paternity, however, is often an issue in this kind of custody case. In order to move forward with any formal arrangement, paternity of the child or children must be established. Once this happens, then the judge will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child regarding custody and visitation.


In New York, visitation also referred to as “parenting time”. This can be granted to the parent with whom the child does not live with as well as to grandparents and siblings. Visitation is usually granted to the parent who does not have physical or legal custody of the child as long as it is in the child’s best interests. If you’re worried about how your custody case might be determined, an attorney can help.

What visitation rights are recognized in New York?

In New York, there are three types of visitation arrangements – supervised, unsupervised and therapeutic supervised visitation.

  • Unsupervised Visitation. An unsupervised visitation occurs when the parent without physical custody is allowed to visit and spend time with the child without being monitored.
  • Supervised Visitation. In a supervised visitation, a representative from a local social services department is present during visitation dates.
  • Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. A therapeutic supervised visit occurs when a mental health professional observes the visitation of the child and the visiting parent, often because there was concern about the parenting skills of this individual in question.

Can custody or visitation be changed?

Either parent has the right to file a petition to modify the custody or visitation arrangement. In this situation, the parent must prove there is a significant reason behind the change since the last court order and that the change they are petitioning for is in the best interests of the child.

Ortiz & Ortiz Can Help You

If you need legal counsel, we can help you. The attorneys at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP have the knowledge and expertise needed to offer you comprehensive legal help with all divorce and family law issues and matters. For over fifty years our legal team has helped the people of New York take on their legal issues.

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