When it comes to custody, visitation, and father’s rights there is some constitutional protection but nothing to get too excited about. Because men’s roles have changed throughout the years, the protection is very outdated, according to our child custody attorneys. Although parenting is quite different now with shared parenting or what some call “co-parenting” when it comes to the courts in New York, and really just in general, there is still a gender bias insight that makes most fathers think they cannot get custody of their children.

The truth is that more and more fathers are getting custody rights of their kids and the term “sole custody” is basically obsolete. Today’s father wants shared custody and they are getting it. Fathers that have taken an active role in their children’s lives are almost certainly to have the right to continue after a divorce. Fathers play a crucial role in the lives of their children and they should.

It seems that society is still bitter about “deadbeat” dads who vanish from the lives of their children because of child support they felt was too high or the fact that their wages are garnished to pay support. Some dads even wind up in jail for failure to pay child support. When arrearages get behind, you should understand that the law is very unsympathetic to dads who don’t pay for their children.

Physical custody of the child could be either sole physical custody or shared physical custody. In a sole physical custody arrangement, only one parent will retain physical custody of the child, which means that the child will primarily be living in that parent’s home. However, even in a situation like this, the child will have visitation arrangements with the other parent, and may visit the other parent’s home.

In a joint physical custody arrangement, the parents may decide to split child-rearing duties, by dividing the time that the child spends in each house. Therefore, you may have a situation in which the child spends half of his time in one house, and half of his time in the other parent’s house.

This kind of arrangement is not an easy one to make work. Our Westchester County child custody lawyers often find that it’s difficult to precisely divide the exact amount of time that the child will spend in each house. One parent may still end up having the child for a slightly longer time than the other parent.

It is important in an arrangement like this for the parents to agree to compromise and cooperate with each in the best interests of the child. Besides, this model is specifically most suited to those situations in which the parents are living close to each other, and in which the logistics involved in transferring the child from one house to another are not too complicated.

If you want shared custody of your children and you have been a dad who has been involved in the lives of your children you have rights and your children have needs. They need two parents to provide for them emotionally and financially.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

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