In many divorce cases, custody over the children is one of the most hotly contested issues. A court custody order gives the responsibility for a child’s care, control and maintenance to one or both of the parents or to someone else. A Buffalo child custody lawyer can explore all your options with you to resolve your child custody dispute in a way that works for you.
Custody is either “legal” or “residential.” If you have legal custody, you have the right and responsibility to make decisions for your child with regards to schooling, religion and medical needs. Residential custody determines where your child lives. Both legal and residential custody can be attained by one person (“sole custody”) or two or more people (“joint custody”). A judge determines custody cases based on the best interest of the child.
A judge may refer you to a mediation program and request that you try to agree on a parenting plan that provides solutions for your custody dispute. You may also request your case be referred to mediation.
Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process, in which a neutral mediator tries to help you come to an agreement that forms a viable solution to your custody dispute. If you agree on a parenting plan and custody arrangement, it may be granted the power of a court order after a judge’s approval. If you do not reach an agreement, you can stop the mediation at any time and return to litigation. In 2009, of the 463 cases involving parenting issues in Erie County, 352 couples were referred to mediation. The parties reached an agreement in 270 of these cases.
If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute, a child custody attorney in Buffalo can assist you in resolving your dispute through mediation or litigation. Attorney Linda M. DiPasquale has more than 20 years of experience in child custody law and can help you protect your rights and the best interests of your child.