How Old Must A Child Be To Have A Say In Where They Live Or Visit?

In New York State, a child’s preference on where they want to live MAY be one of factors that a Court can consider when awarding custody. Once a child turns 18 years of age, they have the absolute right to decide where they want to live, and the Court cannot overturn that decision. However, what about before a child turns 18 years of age, how old must a child be for the Court to consider their preference?

The general rule is that the older a child is, the more influence a child’s preference will have on where they live. Certainly, most Courts will state that once a child turns 16 years of age, their preference will be strongly considered. However, this is not an absolute rule, and a Court can decide that even a 16 or 17 year old’s preference is not to be followed or considered.

A child between the age of 13 and 16, will also have their preference seriously considered. Yet, there are many Courts that will discount a child between these ages. In general, a child who is younger than 13 years of age, will have less of a say on where they live.

It is important to note, that each situation is unique and that there is no rule that says that a child younger than 13 doesn’t get to decide where they live.

What happens if the court grants one parent custody and years later the child wants to live with the other parent? What was once in the best interest of an 8-year old child may not be what is best for the child when they are 16. In those situation, a parent can petition the Court to modify the custody arrangement and based on the now 16 year’s old preference, may take that into serious consideration. The court makes these decisions on a case by case basis, and ultimately, the verdict will be the living arrangement that is in the best interest of the child.

Child custody and visitation can be a very difficult road to navigate. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have represented countless clients and helped them navigate child custody issue in their divorce or in their family court action.. If you are seeking a divorce or custody, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Divorce, Summer and Your Children

Well, summer is here, and you are in the middle of a divorce or thinking of getting divorced. How are you going to share the children during the summer? Here are a few ideas:

  • Camp: If your children have traditionally gone to camp, then it probably will be a good idea to keep sending them to the same camp. Although, now your finances may be stretched a bit thin, keeping as much consistency in the children’s lives is paramount. Indeed, in many situations, a Court may order you to keep sending the children to camp. As for who pays for the camp, that would depend on your income and your spouse’s income. Typically, camp is considered a substitute for child care, and in those situations, payment would be in proportion to your income (pro-rata).
  • Vacations: Whether or not your children goes to camp, if you have the time and the resources, this may be a good time to take your children on a vacation. It doesn’t have to be the “all-inclusive, five-star vacation”, almost any vacation or place will do. There are many good ideas on the internet on where to go and how to save money on your vacation. Typically, you should be able to have two weeks of vacation time with your children, although it will be non-consecutive.
  • The so-called “staycation”: If you can’t afford to go away, you can still enjoy a “staycation”. If you live here on Long Island, there are many opportunities and places to visit. Of course, there is the beach, but, there is also New York City, museums, parks, trips to Fire Island, Montauk or the East End.

In your divorce, it is very important to make sure that you include the ability to take vacation time with your children and to include terms and conditions about camp. You want to make sure your divorce agreement is very specific as to vacation and camp, to avoid any issues after the divorce is final.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented and help numerous clients in making sure they get vacation time with their children. If you are thinking of getting divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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Do I Have To Keep Bringing The Children To See My Ex-Spouse If The Ex-Spouse Constantly Doesn’t Show Up?

In some situations, you may be bringing the children to see your ex-spouse, yet, the ex-spouse isn’t there or constantly doesn’t show up. In those situations, here is what you should do.

  1. If your ex-spouse generally does show up, but isn’t there, then you should give him/her at least 15 minutes to show up. You should also send a text message reminder to your ex-spouse stating that you will be meeting them at the specified time. If, after 15 minutes, your ex-spouse doesn’t show up, then send another text message saying that you are leaving and that he/she can call you when they are ready to pick up the children.
  2. If your ex-spouse hasn’t shown up for months, then you should send him/her a letter, via certified mail, return receipt requested, stating that you will no longer bring the children to see him/her. I would highly recommend having your attorney write this letter. If your ex-spouse responds to the letter, stating that he/she will now show up, then you should bring the children to see him/her.

In situations where the ex-spouse doesn’t show up to see the children, there are no “cookie-cutter” answers. It is important to protect your rights and to make sure that you are not violating any court orders. This is why it is best to make sure that you document what you are doing and to inform your attorney.

If you need help with your divorce, post-divorce or any other issue involving child custody or child support, David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have the experience and knowledge to help you. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Can I Make Up Lost Parenting Time With My Children?

After your divorce, if there are children involved, each parent will have designated parenting time (sometimes called “visitation time” or “parental access time”). For example, one parent may have alternating weekends plus weeknight visits, or each parent may have 50% of the time with the children.

Oftentimes, either the non-custodial parent will lose some of their parenting time due to illness, work or some other valid reason. Whether or not that parent is entitled to “make up” time, depends on two factors: (1) Does the divorce agreement address “make up” time for the non-custodial parent’s missing parenting time? and (2) The relationship (or lack thereof) between the two parents.

In most divorces, there will be a divorce agreement (usually called a “Stipulation of Settlement”). The agreement will specify when each parent has parenting time with the children. The agreement can also have a provision for make up time.

However, typically, make up time is for when the custodial parent takes a day or a weekend “away” from the non-custodial parent. This, happens when there is a holiday, birthday, or other special event that takes away from the non-custodial parent’s parenting time. In those instances, the non-custodial parent is “due” make up time as it was the custodial parent who was “at fault” for the non-custodial parent missing parenting time.

In contrast, it is extremely rare for a divorce agreement to address or allow a non-custodial parent make up time for when the non-custodial misses time due to the non-custodial parent’s “fault” (meaning, illness, work or other reason). In those instances, the reason for the missed parenting time was due to the non-custodial parent’s action.

Therefore, unless your divorce agreement explicitly states that the non-custodial parent is allowed make up time due their own illness or other valid reason, in order to obtain make up time, in those situations, is to rely on the relationship between the divorced parents.

If you are lucky enough to have a working relationship with your ex-spouse, then you can always request make up time or to switch parenting time with your ex-spouse. Of course, your ex-spouse is under no obligation to give you make up time, however, perhaps they will realize that in the best interests of the children, it is best that they have as much time with both parents as possible.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have the knowledge and experience to make sure that you receive the best parenting time schedule as possible. If you need an aggressive attorney to represent you in your child custody dispute, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Can I Change My Child Custody Agreement Even If I Have Been Divorced a Long Time?

In many divorces, the children are fairly young, and your divorce agreement regarding child custody may be very outdated. However, provided your children are under the age of 18 years of age, it is never too late to change your child custody arrangements.

In order to change any child custody agreement, regardless if it was signed two days ago or fifteen years ago, you typically have to show a significant change of circumstances. This means, that since the date that the agreement was entered into, that there have been many (significant) changes in the children’s lives; the custodial parent’s situation or your situation.

One good reason to have a change in custody, is that the children now want to live with you. However, the children will have to be sincere in their reasons for wanting to change their living situation from one parent to the other parent.

Another possible good reason, is that the custodial parent wants to move out of New York State, but, the children want to stay in New York.

If you are not seeking a change in custody, but, only more parenting time with the children, that may be easier to obtain. Again, you still have to show a significant change of circumstances (i.e. a good reason), why you should have more parenting time. Every situation is different, so depending on how much more time you want, and why, it hard to predict if your request will be granted.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have represented countless clients in their divorce. If you are seeking a divorce or a change in your child custody agreement, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Five Things You Should Not Do In A Child Custody Battle

If you are seeking custody of your child and are involved in a child custody dispute (battle), there are some things you can do to help you and some things you should not do.

Here are five things you SHOULD NOT do in a Child Custody battle.

  1. Using your child as a pawn. Do not use your child as a “pawn” in the battle. For example, despite what your ex may be doing, he/she still has a right to see the child and have parenting time with the child. Typically, the only time you should withhold the child from the other parent, is if there is an Order of Protection, the child is very sick, or for some other emergency reason.
  2. Making false accusations. If you make a false accusation, against the other parent, this will seriously hurt your chances of gaining custody. The courts will not tolerate false accusations and this can be the only reason for a court to deny you custody.
  3. Not communicating with the other parent. In a divorce, or a child custody situation, it takes two parents to parent the child. You will need to communicate with the other parent. If you fail to communicate, the court can view you as hindering the other parent’s ability to parent.
  4. Stating negative things about the other parent. Whether it is on Facebook or other social media sites, or worse yet, to the child, you should not state anything negative about the other parent. If the other parent can show that you have posted negative information about him/her (even if true) or have stated negative information about him/her to the child, the court will hold this against you.
  5. Not paying child support. Although, technically, the Court is not supposed to use the payment or non-payment of child support against you, Judges are human. The failure of not paying child support, will be looked upon as a negative factor.

When you are seeking child custody, you need to avoid any mistakes or negative actions.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in obtaining child custody. If you are seeking child custody or a divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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A Parent’s Sexual Identity (Or Preference) Does Not Affect Child Custody

In New York State, a parent’s sexual identity or sexual preference will normally have no impact on the court’s determination in a child custody dispute.

The Court will remain neutral regarding a person’s sexual identity or sexual preference and should not take this fact into account when deciding custody. 

As with any custody determination, the court’s focus will be what is “in the best interest of the children.”  Indeed, it may be improper to even bring up a person’s sexual identity or sexual preference, as there is an element of privacy.  It would also be improper to attempt to show that the parent’s sexual identity or preference is somehow harmful to the child.

It also will not matter if a parent’s sexual identity or sexual preference was exhibited after the child’s birth.

If you have a legal question regarding child custody, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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What Is The Right Of First Refusal In Child Custody?

In many divorce agreements, each parent may get what is informally called the “right of first refusal.”  What does it mean? And why is it important?

The best way to explain the usefulness of the right of first refusal is to give an example. Let’s assume that it’s your ex-wife’s weekend with the children, however, she has decided to go away for the weekend with one of her friends. She could have switched weekends, but, decided not to. Instead, she wants her mother or a friend to watch the children. But, wait you say, I’m free this weekend to watch the kids, let me do it, instead of your mother. If you have the right of first refusal, then you can asset this right and state, I have first right over your mother, friend or anyone else to watch the children.

The right of first refusal gives you the first option to watch the children when it is the other parent’s time with the kids, but, can’t do it. It usually only applies after a specified number of hours or days. So, it doesn’t apply, when the parent can’t watch the children for a short time (let’s say 8 hours or less).

If you have the right, it doesn’t mean you have to use it, it is your option. So, using the above example, if the ex-wife gives you the option to watch the children for the weekend, but, you can’t do it, then, you can say no.

The right of first refusal in child custody is useful as it makes sure that as one of the parents you get to watch the children before someone else does. It basically ensures “common courtesy”.

Do you need an attorney to help you through the divorce process? Call the Badanes Law Office. We have the knowledge and resources to help you get through your divorce on Long Island, NY. Contact David Badanes, Esq today by calling 631-239-1702 or send an email to david@dbnylaw.com.

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What Are Some Important Aspects To Know About Child Custody? Video

David Badanes concentrates in Matrimonial and Family Law with offices in Northport and Garden City.

Today’s straight talk: What are some important aspects to know about child custody?

If you are getting divorced and you have children, you may be concerned about child custody and how often you’re going to see your children after the divorce.

There are many examples of child custody, there is joint legal custody and sole custody. If you have joint legal custody, you have certain rights in determining what happens to your child when it comes to medical decisions, educational decisions, and other decisions that affect your child’s life. And that would be determined in the divorce. That determination will either be made by the judge or in your agreement that you make as part of your divorce.

What To Know About Visitation Rules? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq, an experienced divorce and family law attorney, about child visitation rules.

What to know about visitation rules?

If you have children, you may be wondering how you can visit your children or what I like to called “parenting time” or what some people called access time with your children.

What’s important to know about parenting time is that it has to be very specific of what your times would be with your children. If it’s not specific, then it’s left out to your spouse or court to determine exactly what it means.

A good example would be, you cannot just say I am going to see my child on a weekend, you should say something more like I’ll have my child on Friday evening at 5 o’clock and return the child on Sundays at 7 o’clock. Of course the exact times and the exact dates may change depending on your situation, but the important thing to know is that it has to be very specific.

Also, you have to take care of all the holidays that are important to you, whether it is Christmas or Hanukah or whatever other religious holidays you may enjoy and celebrate with your child. You have to go through the calendar and make sure that all the holidays are taken care of and all the school holidays are taken care of so that you get to see your child when you want to see your child.

Also, you should make sure you have some of the vacation time in that agreement so that you know that you have vacation time with your child.

So visitation again means parenting time with your child and should be very specific when you get to see your child or your children so that you can make sure that your rights will be protected.