Custody & Parental Access


Child Custody and Visitation

When parents divorce, the most difficult legal matters they face involve the children. The same applies to unmarried parents who are separating and need to determine who will get custody of the children.

If you need legal guidance for a child custody matter in New York, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, are here for you. We have extensive experience handling complex and contentious child custody matters, including international child custody and UCCJEA issues.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York child custody attorney.

Child Custody

Divorces where child custody is at issue between the parties are frequently acrimonious, and coupled with high levels of emotion. The reasons for this are clear to even non lawyers, our children are our lives, and our children are our legacy.

In determining custody, the courts seek to determine the best interest of the child(ren). Determining the best interests involves a multifaceted inquiry, such as: “the quality of the home environment and the parental guidance the custodial parent provides for the child, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual development, the financial status and ability of each parent to provide for the child, the relative fitness of the respective parents, and the effect an award of custody to one parent might have on the child’s relationship with the other parent.” Matter of Yu Chao Tan v. Hong Shan Kuang, 136 AD3d 933, 934 (2d Dept 2016).

Generally, child custody is divided into two aspects: Physical / residential custody, and legal custody, also referred to as legal decision making.

Physical Custody: Also called residential custody, generally addresses which parent the child(ren) will live with. Residential custody generally determines who will be the payor and who will be the recipient for any child support awarded.

Legal Custody: Decision-making authority over important aspects of the child’s life such as education, health care and religion. Our courts have a significant history of denying shared decision making when the level of animosity between the parents is at an untenable level. A few cases that have held the position that joint legal custody is not appropriate when domestic violence or high levels of conflict exist are Fountain v Fountain, 130 AD3d 1107, 1108–09 [3d Dept 2015]; W. v Vanderhorst, 92 AD3d 615, 616 [1st Dept 2012]; and Jacobson v Wilkinson, 128 AD3d 1335, 1336 [4th Dept 2015].

In every case, we try to spare the children from the stress and acrimony of a prolonged legal dispute. We are passionate advocates for the best interests of the child and use our experience to help resolve child custody disputes in an amicable, cost-effective manner. We handle a broad range of child custody matters, including modification and enforcement of orders, as well as grandparents’ rights. (*** we are not passionate advocates for children as we do not represent children.)

Shared Parenting

Many recognize that children benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both parents. Today, more and more parents are opting to engage in shared residential arrangements, whereby the parents live in close proximity to the children’s school. This type of shared parenting requires mature co-parenting.

Co-parenting places the emphasis on achieving this goal. In the past, one parent, usually the mother, would get physical custody of the child, and the other parent would have visitation privileges. Co-parenting broadens the role of the non-custodial parent so that both parents are meaningfully engaged in the growth and happiness of their children.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York City family law attorney.

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the parent having legal authority to make decisions over important aspects of the child’s life, including education, health care, religion and general welfare. Legal custody also determines if the parent will have access to school and medical documents. In most cases, parents share legal custody, even if one parent has primary physical custody of the child. In contrast with physical custody, legal custody has nothing to do with where the child actually lives.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the child holds primary residence and which parent is responsible for day-to-day care of the child. The courts recognize the importance of both parents playing a meaningful role in the child’s life. If parents share joint physical custody, the child will spend significant periods of time living with each parent.

In determining physical custody, most courts place significant importance on which parent has been the primary caregiver prior to the divorce or separation. While physical custody does not typically result in a 50-50 share, the courts do favor the non-custodial parent being more than just a weekend mom or dad.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York City family law attorney.

International Child Custody

When a child custody matter crosses international borders, the legal issues can become extremely complex. If you are engaged in a child custody dispute in which parents are living in different countries, it is important to consult with an attorney who is well versed in international child custody and visitation law.

International Visitation

In the wake of a divorce or separation, it is important that the child maintain a meaningful relationship with each parent. This holds true no matter how far apart parents live, even if they hold residence in different countries.

If the child lives in a country outside of the U.S., it may be necessary to persuade that country to recognize the visitation order. This can be difficult, depending on whether or not the country is a Hague Convention signatory and other factors. Knowledge of the country’s’ laws and customs regarding child custody are crucial in handling these complex legal matters.

Our lawyers are experienced in the complex issues involved in establishing international child custody and visitation. We can guide you through this complex legal terrain and help you pursue the outcome that is best for you and your child.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York City family law attorney.

Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that returns jurisdiction over child custody matters to the country where the child “habitually resides.” At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, we represent parents whose children have been unlawfully removed to foreign countries as well as parents with lawful custody who wish to relocate with the child to other Hague Convention or non-signatory countries.

In order for the Hague Convention to govern a child custody case, the child in question must be under the age of 16. Determining which country is the child’s “habitual residence” can be a contentious issue. In some case, the UCCJEA can help make that determination.

With extensive experience handling international child custody matters, including child abductions, our matrimonial attorneys will work to protect your rights and the rights of your child in these complex legal matters.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York City family law attorney.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction
and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is an act which places jurisdiction for child custody matters with the courts of the child’s home state. Under the UCCJEA, the child’s home state is the state in which the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to the commencement of the child custody proceeding (or since birth if the child is younger than six months).

If you are engaged in a child custody matter that crosses state lines, it is important to consult with an attorney who is well versed in UCCJEA law. At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, we have extensive experience handling child custody matters for clients throughout New York City and are prepared to address the complex issues that arise when parents live in different states.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Interstate child custody disputes are common in New York, as parents often live in or relocate to New Jersey, Connecticut and other neighboring states.

Whatever state is determined to be the child’s home state under the UCCJEA will retain jurisdiction over the case unless and until it is determined that neither the child nor the child’s parents have a significant connection with that state. In such a case, the state will likely relinquish jurisdiction to the state where the child and at least one parent lives.

No two cases are alike. To determine how the UCCJEA applies to your situation, it is important to consult with an experienced New York child custody lawyer.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced New York City family law attorney.