At Amina Rashad & Associates, P.C. we are dedicated to ensuring that your custodial rights to your child, both legal and residential, are protected during your New York divorce or Family Court custody proceeding.
Legal custody  refers to “decision making” on behalf of your child, such as those relating to your child’s health, education, and general welfare. Residential custody determines where your child primarily resides. Therefore, it is important to have a strong and effective child custody attorney working to protect your rights.

During your New York divorce or Family Court Custody proceeding, the Court will resolve your custody dispute based upon your child’s best interest, and in doing so the Court will consider the following factors:

  • Current custodial agreement (if one exists).

  • Parental stability (such as home environment, substance use/abuse, criminal history, etc.).

  • History of domestic violence.

  • History of abuse or neglect.

  • The child’s relationship with the parent.

  • Which parent has been the child’s primary caregiver.

  • Which parent is more likely to foster and nurture a relationship between the child and the other parent.

Child custody determinations are extremely fact specific, and there is no one-size-fits all answer to how they will be resolved, except that the Court seeks to disrupt the child’s life as little as possible.
We often yield phone calls from potential clients asking at what age their child can make a decision as to which parent they want to live with, and the answer is when they attain the age of majority, which is 18. Although the court will take an older child’s wishes into consideration, children cannot run the show. If child custody is an issue in your New York divorce or Family Court Custody Proceeding, your child will be appointed an attorney to represent him or her and advise the Court of his or her position, however, the Court is not bound by your child’s preference. In the event your child is too young to voice his or her opinion, then, the Attorney for the Child is authorized to substitute his or her own judgment for your child.





Joint Legal

This means both you and the other parent must consult with and agree with any major decisions relating to the health, education, and general welfare of your child.

Joint Legal with Final Decision Making to One Parent

This means that both parents must consult with one another before making any major decisions relating to the health, education, and general welfare of the child, but, in the event they cannot agree, one parent has final decision making authority (typically this will be the custodial parent).

Spheres of Influence

This is similar to Joint Legal with Final Decision Making, except that a different parent has final decision making authority in different “spheres.” For example, one parent has final decision making authority with respect to medical decision, while the other has final decision making with respect to education.

Sole Legal Custody

The parent with sole legal custody is entitled to make decisions without consultation or agreement from the other parent. This is much more rare than the arrangements discussed above, and typically only occurs where there is a history of domestic violence such that communication between the parties is untenable, or if one side is overly obstructionist, etc. The court does not favor this arrangement.

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