Custody And Parenting Agreements

The care of and access to children are some of the most contentious issues in family law. These arrangements are outlined within the divorce through both child custody and the parenting agreement. At the law firm of Mattingly Cavagnaro, LLP, we take time to understand unique circumstances of each situation and work with clients to resolve this issue outside of court through mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. The rationale for collaboratively creating your own parenting agreements is that parents best understand the needs and schedules of their children as well as their own schedules. This will then be submitted as a part of the divorce agreement when the judge reviews the case.

However, it is still sometimes necessary to litigate a dispute in court. We solely focus on family law matters in and out of court and always work with clients to aggressively protect their interests as individuals and as parents. Once a judge approves the parenting plan as part of the divorce agreement, it becomes a binding "decree" or court order. Any violations of the arrangement can lead us to pursue post-judgment enforcement.

Custody In New York

The courts generally will award joint legal custody, although it sometimes determines that sole custody is in the best interests of the children. The other parent may still have visitation rights if there is sole custody. Joint custody need not mean that the children spend equal time in each home. Instead, it gives the parents equal rights in the care and support of the children. The courts will nevertheless examine the following:

  • Income of each parent
  • The children's relationship with the parents
  • The willingness of the parents to work together
  • The current and future plans for the children's schooling
  • Parents' personal history, health and ability to fulfill obligations

What A Thoughtful Parenting Agreement Addresses

While custody establishes the legal and financial responsibilities, parenting agreements outline how the new family unit will function. Some issues to consider include:

  • The children's living arrangements on a daily and weekly basis
  • Visitation schedule for parents
  • Grandparent involvement
  • A schedule for where the children spend holidays
  • How modifications to the agreement are handled

Separate Legal Advocacy For Children

The courts will sometimes appoint a lawyer to represent the interests of children in a case. Both Melissa A. Cavagnaro and Rebecca J. Brawn often work in the New York courts as a court-appointed attorney for the child. They can represent minor children in paternity, custody and visitation matters.

Contact Us To Protect Your Custody And Parental Interests

Call our office in downtown Buffalo at 716-262-8040 to schedule an appointment. Clients can also reach us through our Contact page. All initial consultations with our attorneys are free and confidential, so call our firm today.