Tips for Managing Child Custody and Visitation During Quarantine

Currently, most of New York State is under quarantine orders. This has created some issues and problems as it relates to child custody and visitation. Here are some tips on how to manage child custody and visitation.

Follow Existing Orders: If you have a Court Order, then to the best of your ability you need to follow such Orders. If you have any questions about how to do this, then you should consult with your attorney.

  • If You Have the Coronavirus: If you have the Coronavirus or suspect that you have it, of course, the first thing you need to do is seek medical attention. If you have to isolate yourself, then do so. During your isolation or if you are instructed by medical professionals, do not see your children and let the other parent know that you have the Coronavirus or suspect that you have it.
  • Get re-tested: If you were diagnosed with the Coronavirus, then once you can, get re-tested to make sure that you are well enough to see your children. Inform the other parent that you now are symptom-free and that you can see your children.
  • Talk to your children: If your children are old enough to understand, then you should have an age-appropriate conversation with your children about the Coronavirus and how it affected you.
  • If you do not have the Coronavirus and the other parent prevents you from seeing your children, then you must contact your attorney.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in their child custody and visitation issues and in obtaining a divorce. Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

What You Need to Know About Child Custody (in New York)

By David P. Badanes, Esq.
If you are getting divorced and have children, issues involving the children are usually the most difficult ones. As with most things in a divorce, either you and your divorcing spouse can enter into an agreement about child custody or the Court will issue a child custody order. When discussing child custody, it is important to distinguish the concept of decision-making and the concept of time with the child. Although, the two concepts are related, just because one parent has more time with the child does not necessarily mean that parent has decision-making authority. This article will focus on decision-making.

Most Judges will tell you that they prefer if the parents can come to an agreement about child custody. Most attorneys will agree with that assessment. A child custody agreement will almost always be more detailed than a Court’s Order. Having a more detailed agreement, will help to prevent future disagreements. Of course, there are situations where the parties just will not be able to agree and a Court’s Order will be necessary.

What does a Child Custody Order or Agreement decide? All custody orders should decide who gets to make the following Three Major Decisions: (i) Medical Decisions; (ii) Educational Decisions (including what school the child attends); and (iii) Religious Decisions. In addition, the following other areas should also be in any child custody order or agreement: (i) Extra-Curricular Activities; and (ii) Where the Children live.

When it comes to making the major decisions for a child, there is

  1. Sole Legal Custody: A parent who has sole legal custody will get to make all the major decisions for the child. Furthermore, in most instances, that parent will also get to make the decisions about what extra-curricular activities the child engages in.
  2. Joint Legal Custody: In theory, joint legal custody means that both parent have equal decision making power for the children. However, in practice this might not be true. Oftentimes, when there is a difference in opinion on a major decision, one parent may have the right to have “final decision making”. In other instances, one parent may have the right to make decisions on one area (for example, medical decisions), and the other parent may have to right to make decisions in a different area (for example, educational decisions).

Although, typically the parent who has sole legal custody will have more time with the children, that is not always the case. Similarly, just because the parties have joint legal custody does not mean that each parent will have 50% of the time with the children. Indeed, in most cases, one parent will still have the majority of the time with the children, but, they still may have joint legal custody and the right to share decision making.

If the Court is forced or makes the custody order, then it will almost always award one parent sole legal custody. The Court decides custody by determining what is in the “best interests of the child.” In order to do that, here are some of the main factors that the Court will consider:

  • Willingness to foster a relationship with the other parent
  • Child’s preference
  • Who has been the primary caregiver
  • Availability of the parent
  • Quality of Care
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Domestic Violence
  • Alcohol or Drug abuse

As already stated, whether or not there is sole legal custody or joint legal custody, does not necessarily direct which parent has most of the time with the children. There are many different ways that the children can spend time with each parent. That will be the subject of a separate blog.

If you have questions about child custody, you are seeking custody or you are seeking a divorce, contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented numerous parents in their custody actions and in their divorce. If you live in Suffolk County or Nassau County, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

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What is Parental Alienation?

There are many definitions of parental alienation. A simple definition is when one parent isolates the children from the other parent through words or conduct, such that it creates anger, hostility, lack of affection or division between the child and the other parent.

Parental alienation can come in many different ways. They are:

Negative Comments (Disparagement):
Many times, parental alienation is when one parent states negative comments or criticism of the other parent. This can include insulting the other parent, speaking negatively about the other parent, or blaming you for the divorce. Oftentimes, one parent will state that other parent is “not paying child support” or “always late in picking you up” or other negative comments about the divorce.

In addition to direct negative comments from one parent to the children, parental alienation also occurs when one parent allows their relatives or friends to also engage in stating negative comments. It is not “ok” to allow a grandparent, aunt or uncle to engage in negative comments about the other parent.

Undermining Your Authority as a Parent:
Another form of parental alienation is when one parent allows the children to believe that the other parent’s authority or discipline can be ignored. It is completely improper to tell the children that they “don’t have to listen to you”.

Some examples of undermining authority are when one parent tells the children, while they are with you: (i) that they don’t have to do their homework; (ii) they don’t have to listen to your bedtime; or (iii) they don’t have to do the chores you assign to them.

Of course, it would be best if both parents have similar rules when it comes to parenting the children.

Parental alienation is also defined when you allow a child to make decisions that are more suited for an adult or parent. For example, allowing the child to decide whether or not they can visit with you.

A Second Dad or Second Mom
During the divorce process, if a parent tells the children to call their significant other “Mom” or “Dad”, this is a form of parental alienation. Similarly, allowing the significant other to “act” as a second Dad or second Mom. This could be when the significant other shows up to teacher-parent meetings, coaching the child in sports, or taking the child to the doctor and “acting” as the biological parent.

False Allegations:
False allegations of domestic abuse, child abuse, drug use, neglect or other negative actions are a serious issue by themselves. False allegations can also be part of parental alienation. If one parent uses false allegations so as to alienate the other parent or to restrict the other parent’s parenting time, then that can be considered part of parental alienation.

Parental alienation is a serious concern and unfortunately can happen in your divorce. If you believe that your spouse is engaging in parental alienation, you must take immediate action. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. are equipped to notice the signs of parental alienation and help you in fighting such actions.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Immunizations and Divorce

New York State recently passed a new law, whereby children must be vaccinated against measles and other diseases to attend public or private school. The only exception, that would allow a child not be vaccinated and to attend public/private school, is if there is a valid medical exemption. Before the new law was passed, New York State recognized religious exemptions to the mandate that children must be vaccinated.

The change in the law will also affect child custody issues in a divorce (and in non-divorces where child custody is an issue). There are already examples where one parent wants to have their children vaccinated and the other parent does not want to vaccinate. Courts will now have to consider the issue of immunizations as it relates to child custody. Furthermore, lawyers will need to consider how immunizations are to be handled in their divorce agreements.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LAW SAY NOW?

As stated above, as of June 13, 2019, there is no longer a religious exemption to the requirement that children be vaccinated against many diseases in order to attend either: (1) public, private or parochial school (for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) or (2) child daycare settings.

Although, the new law is being challenged, in the past, the United States Supreme Court has stated that a State can mandate that children are vaccinated in order to attend public school. To date, New York Courts have also agreed with the United States Supreme Court. In addition, New York Public Health Law § 2164 obligates parents to have their children vaccinated against diseases, and New York Education Law § 914 obligates schools to enforce and comply with the aforementioned statute.

Accordingly, as of now, it is constitutional for New York State to require that you vaccinate your child in order for that child to attend public/private school.

HOW WILL THIS EFFECT CUSTODY?

A Court or a Judge cannot force a parent to vaccinate their child. However, by granting custody to a parent that either want to vaccinate the child or to a parent that does not want to vaccinate the child, the Court is essentially deciding if the child will be vaccinated.

As always, a Court/Judge will decide custody on the basis of the “best interests of a child” test. One of those factors may be if a parent wants to vaccinate their child. Many judges would probably agree that vaccinating a child is safer for both the child and the general welfare of the community. However, that would be just one factor in the Court’s decision.
Clearly, the decision to vaccinate your child is a personal one. As it relates to a divorce or child custody, parents may have legitimate differences on whether or not to vaccinate a child. With the new New York State law, when considering child custody issues, Courts and Judges may find themselves having to consider this issue.

If you are u are considering getting a divorce or have a child custody issue, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.

Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

By David P. Badanes, Esq. and Hayley Hayden

Back to School Tips for Separated or Divorced Parents

Going back to school can be a stressful time for a child, especially when their parents are newly divorced. However, with proper communication and cooperation, the parents can make the transition to school much easier for the child.

  1. Make your child your top priority: Your child’s wellbeing should be your top priority. Any issues you have with your ex-spouse should not affect your child’s educational experience.
  2. Attend school events with your ex-spouse: Whether it be parent-teacher conferences or various school functions, it is important that you both attend school events and conferences. Your child will benefit from having both parents attend their school events.
  3. Work with your ex-spouse as much as possible: Although there may be tensions between you and your ex-spouse, it is important to keep these differences outside of the school setting.
  4. Review home routines and rules with your ex-spouse: Routines are crucial to your child’s success at school. The smoother the transition between the child’s homes, the easier it will be for your child to maintain focus on their school work. Be sure to communicate and standardize bedtimes, mealtimes, playtime, and screen time.
  5. Communication is key: Be sure to communicate any schedule changes, or relay important information given by the school, after school advisors, or coaches to your ex-spouse. It is especially important to do so when the child’s school activities conflict with the other parent’s time with the child.
  6. Back to school shopping expenses: Typically, back to school expenses are the responsibility of the custodial parent. However, offering to help with these expenses may help ease tensions between you and your ex-spouse.
  7. If you are going through a divorce and need an attorney, contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702 or david@dbnylaw.com. Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

    By: David P. Badanes, Esq. and Hayley Hayden

What if My Ex-Spouse Excessively Calls or Texts Our Children During My Parenting Time?

With the ease of cell phones, your spouse may abuse his/her privileges to call or text your children during your parenting time. Here are a few tips of what you can do.

  • Establish Set Days & Times For Calls & Texts: One of the most effective methods to limit excessive phone calls and excessive texting, is to have set days and times for such communication. For example, depending on the age of the children, you might want to state that your ex can call or text every night from between 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You also need to explain to your ex that any other calls or text messages will be ignored.
  • Use a Specialized Application (e.g. Family Wizard): If your ex still abuses phone calls and texting, then you can use a co-parenting application that can keep track of the excessive phone calls or text messages.
  • Contact Your Attorney: You can contact your attorney who can then send a “cease and desist” letter to your ex (or your ex’s attorney). The cease and desist letter will inform your ex that they are not to continue their excessive phone calls or excessive texting. If need be, your attorney may have to file a petition to court.

Although, there is no excuse for excessive telephone calls or excessive texting, your spouse does have the right to call and text the children (unless there is a court order that states otherwise). If your spouse is only calling once a day or has a few text messages, then that will be allowed.

Whether you are going through a divorce or you are already divorce, many times one of the issues that leads to conflict is your ex-spouse excessively calling or texting the children. If you are contemplating a divorce or you have been served with divorce papers, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County and Nassau County. Their phone number is 631-239-1702, David’s email is david@dbnylaw.com or you can visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Child Support, Child Custody and Parenting Time in Mediation

Some divorcing couples choose to use mediation when resolving their divorce. For couples who can compromise, mediation may be a good alternative. In many divorces, child support, child custody, and parenting time issues are the most contentious issues. Those issues can also be resolved in mediation.

If you choose to use mediation, then this is how issues surrounding children can be resolved:
Child Support: In New York, there is a child support formula. However, with mediation (and also in a contested divorce), you can choose to modify the amount that the formula calculates. There are many reasons why you might want to modify the amount of child support. Some examples: (i) perhaps one spouse will pay the mortgage instead of child support; (ii) you might receive more in retirement assets: (iii) you might receive more in personal property; and (iv) because each parent has more parenting time, that might be a reason for less child support.

Child Custody: One of the best uses of mediation is in the area of child custody (and parenting time). Mediation allows the parents to be very creative with how to determine the issues of decision making and custody.

Parenting Time: Similar to child custody, mediation allows a lot of flexibility when it comes to parenting time. With mediation, parents can arrange their parenting time that fits their schedule and the children’s schedule.

As with any divorce agreement, it is important that in mediation the written agreement is clear and specific. If you choose to use mediation, make sure that the mediator actually drafts the final divorce agreement. Some mediators will only draft a summary or a “memorandum of agreement”, which is not a full blown divorce agreement.

Although mediation can be a good option, there are situations where mediation is not appropriate. For mediation to succeed, both parents have to be: (1) willing to compromise; (2) be able to talk in a civil and respectful manner to each other; (3) be able to listen to the other parent’s opinions and points of view; (4) ready to get divorced; and (5) willing to present fair and realistic options.

In addition to being an attorney, David Badanes, Esq. is also a mediator. Mr. Badanes has conducted numerous successful mediations. If you are seeking mediation, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Traveling With Your Children – During and After Your Divorce

Here is what you need to know about traveling with your child – during and after your divorce.

For International Travel:

  • Passports: If your child is under the age of 16 years of age, both parents must sign the child’s passport. Both parents should also be present when you obtain the child’s passport. However, if one parent is not there, that parent can sign a document giving their consent. If the child is over the age of 16, only one parent has to sign the child’s passport.
  • Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program: This is a program run by the State Department that verifies that both parents have consented to allow a child to travel with a passport.

For Both International and Domestic Travel:

  • Itinerary (Knowledge) of Travel Plans: The parent who is not traveling, should be provided with the full itinerary of the traveling parent’s travel plans. They should know where the children are going, what airlines and flights they are taking, and what hotels they are taking. They should also know exactly what days that the children will be away from home.
  • Prior notice: In most divorce agreements, you will need to give adequate prior notice to the other parent on the information stated above.

What if you object to the children’s travel plans?

If you object to the children’s travel plans, you should first consult with your attorney. You may be able to present your objections to the Court (typically in the form of an emergency motion). However, in order to succeed, you need to have a very good reason why the children should not be permitted to travel.

One area where you may have a legitimate reason for concern is where there is a reason to believe that the parent is not going to return from their international travel. You should determine if the United States has extradition rights with the destination country or if the destination country is part of the Hague Convention treaty.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have provided legal advice and common sense advice to numerous parents about traveling with their children. If you have questions about traveling with your child or you are seeking a divorce, contact: David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Five Things You Did Not Know About Child Custody in New York

Here are Five Things You Did Not Know About Child Custody in New York:

  1. No Court Order means No Rights: For unmarried parents — without a Court Order, you do not have any enforceable rights to custody. This is why if you are an unmarried parent, it is very important to go to Court to get a Court Order for your rights. If you are married, you have certain rights, but, again, to make your rights clear and enforceable, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine if you need to get a Court Order.
  2. Failure to Pay Child Support Does Not Necessarily Affect Custody: If a parent does not pay their child support, it does not necessarily affect their custody rights. Therefore, even if that parent is not paying child support, you cannot unilaterally refuse that parent their parenting time. However, you may want to consult with an attorney to see what can be done with a Court order.
  3. Children’s Wishes May Effect Custody: The key word here is “May”. The older a child is, then the more that their wishes will have an effect on which parent gets custody. However, until a child is 18 years of age, the Court does not have to follow the child’s wishes.
  4. Parental Alienation and False Allegations are Two “Negative” Factors: There are a few factors that the Court will consider when awarding custody. If one parent has engaged in parental alienation or has made false allegations against the other parent, then that will be considered a negative factor against the parent engaging in parental alienation or making the false allegations. In many cases, a Court will award custody to the “innocent” parent even if there are other factors that normally would grant custody to the parent who is engaging in parental alienation or is the one making the false allegations.
  5. In New York, Joint Custody means …: Typically, the term joint custody means that both parents have joint legal custody. This gives both parents the right to make major decisions in the upbringing of their child. Major decisions are usually defined as: medical decisions, religious upbringing, educational decisions, and sometimes what extracurricular activities the child engages in.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented numerous parents in their custody actions and in their divorce. Contact the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

What the Jon and Kate Gosselin Custody Battle Teaches Us

It has been reported that Jon Gosselin and Kate Gosselin are still locked in a custody battle, which has been going on for over 10 years. The Gosselins were in the hit TLC series, “Jon & Kate Plus 8”, which was about their life with two twins (now 18 years old) and their sextuplets (now 14 years old).

The couple divorced in 2009, yet, to this day, Jon reports that he and Kate no longer communicate, except through their attorneys.

What can their custody battle teach us?

Unfortunately, even years after a divorce, some former married couples still will not communicate. This typically only serves to hurt the children, and the children’s relationship with their parents.

What may help these couples are a couple of ideas:

    1. Use of “Family Wizard” or other communication program. There is a well-known program called Family Wizard. This program helps communication between parents as it logs and records all communications between the parents. With this program, one party can no longer claim that the other party did not send a text (or email), sent a text with all curse words, or simply did not respond to their text. The program also solves the problem of text messages getting deleted or lost.
    2. Going to Family Therapy. Using a family therapist who is familiar with post-divorce issues can be helpful. The therapist is not there to “take sides”, but, to help the parents communicate.
    3. Non-communication will hurt you in court. If either parent does go back to Court to change custody, then the issue of non-communication will hurt you in court. One of the main factors in custody, is cooperation with the other parent. If you go into court and “blame” the other party for not communicating with you, the Court typically sees this as a “two-way street”. The Court wants to see that you went above and beyond in trying to communicate and cooperate with the other parent.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can help you with your divorce or child custody issue. David Badanes has helped numerous clients in their divorce cases. Mr. Badanes personally handles the most complicated divorce cases and also so-called uncontested divorce cases. If you are thinking of getting divorce, or are thinking of hiring a new attorney for your divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.