Let’s be real, divorces involving children are not “conscious uncoupling” as Gwyneth Paltrow would like us to believe. In the majority of cases we come across as divorce attorneys and custody lawyers in NYC, it is quiet the opposite. It’s merciless warfare that turns former spouses and parents that once loved each other and their children into zombies that only wish to hurt one another and disregard the consequences to their kids. If Hamlet had children and was divorcing Ophelia, he would say: “To fight or not to fight for custody, that is the question”. Only Hamlet and the rest of the people getting divorced that have children would be asking the wrong question. It’s not to fight or not to fight, it’s what will be best for my children.
In New York, the law is that parents do not have a presumptive right to custody of their own children. Custody lawyers in NYC will advise you that until the child reaches the age of eighteen and absent a parental agreement, the courts have a duty to determine legal (decision making ability) and physical (with whom the child resides) custody for a minor child. This determination is made by considering the welfare of the child as the primary focus, and parents are awarded custody according to their abilities to provide for that individual child’s needs. In order to get custody, each parent must convince the court during a hearing that he or she is better suited to provide for the children while simultaneously attacking the other parent and disproving their position. This process tends to bring out the worst in people and hurts both parents and children in the long run. Experienced custody lawyers in NYC will tell you that fighting for custody between the two parents should be the absolute last resort measure when all other measures have failed.
Thats not to say that a parent that feels strongly that having custody will be in the best interests of the children should ever simply give up custody to the other parent to avoid a custody dispute. Top custody lawyers in NYC will affirm that if there are real and not vindictive reasons why children should be with one parent and not the other and only after exhausting extensive negotiations and attempts to make the other parent understand the reasoning behind this position, a custody battle should be pursued. It should be more of a reaction to the circumstances as the exist then a viable option. This is because the emotional, financial and psychological tall this process will take on both parents and children is a very high price to pay to simply feed the ego and selfishness of one or both parents. Often, this is realized much later when the impact is already made and felt.
The important thing to know is that there are other options and alternatives to fighting for custody in court. Experienced custody lawyers in NYC will be able to advise you and explore those options and alternatives with you instead of just throwing you into the legal boxing ring. Such options include devising and pursuing various parenting plans, mediation, collaborative approach to custody and learning to set your anger aside to focus on what’s best for the children. It’s not easy, but it will be well worthwhile. To fight for custody or not to fight for custody? That’s not the question. Will you be a responsible parent and do what’s best for your children, that’s the question.