Custody and Parenting Plans for Children

In New York there are two types of custody; legal custody and physical or residential custody.  Legal custody refers to how major decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, including healthcare, education and religious practices will be made.  Physical or residential custody refers to which parent a child will reside with most of the time or whether a child will split equally the time they reside with each parent.  

Legal Custody

Joint Legal Custody

In our experience, parents who mediate or use the collaborative law process tend to agree to joint legal custody.   This means that the parents will work together jointly to make the major decisions for their child that are in a child’s best interest.  If parents are unable to agree on medical or educational decisions, for example,  they will seek the advice of professionals in these fields to arrive at a decision.  

There are instances where one parent may have the final decision for certain  major decisions that are integral to a child’s upbringing. For example, one parent may be the final decision maker for a child’s education and the other parent may have the authority to make final decisions regarding a child’s medical care. 

Sole Legal Custody

If one parent is not able to make decisions in the best interests of a child due to such problems as drug or alcohol abuse, neglect or domestic violence,  the other parent will have sole decision-making authority for the child.  

Residential Custody and Parenting Schedules

Residential Custody refers to which parent the child resides with a majority of the time or if the child resides with each parent half the time.  If a child lives more than half the time with one parent, that parent has primary residential custody.  The other parent is the non-custodial parent.   If the parents each have the child half the time, this is known as shared residential custody.  

In mediation and in the collaborative law process, we help parents consider and tailor parenting arrangements that consider the age and temperament of a child, the parents’ work schedules, how close each parent lives near the other parent, which parent has been the primary caretaker, and the parents’ mental and physical health. We listen to your concerns and priorities to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. 

We look forward to answering any of your questions confidentially.

Please call us at 516-749-5017 or e-mail us