Helping You Do What Is Best For Your Children In Divorce
For many divorcing couples, the primary concern is how the end of their marriage will impact their children. Many parents want to minimize the consequences of divorce on their children while also protecting their parental rights. If both parents enter the divorce process intent on doing what is best for their children, it is usually possible to reach an agreement regarding custody and also provide sufficient parenting time for a noncustodial parent.
The legal team at the Law and Mediation Office of Helene Bernstein, PLLC, helps guide parties through the process of determining custody and creating a parenting plan that works for everyone involved. Attorney Helene Bernstein is a strong proponent of collaborative divorce or using mediation to reach agreements regarding parenting issues. Even if divorcing couples do not agree on custody at the outset, they can often reach an agreement through negotiation and, if necessary, mediation. Ms. Bernstein can represent one parent in negotiations or serve as a neutral facilitator to assist both sides in reaching a settlement. Often, parents who are experiencing high conflict can benefit from attending a parenting education class such as classes that are offered through Familykind, Ltd.
When Custody Requires Litigation
There are times when custody cannot be reached amicably. In these situations, Ms. Bernstein, a trial-tested attorney who has extensive experience advocating for children as a court-appointed representative, is able to provide knowledgeable legal counsel. She will listen carefully to your objectives and speak candidly with you about what is realistic to expect. Ms. Bernstein is always prepared to advocate in court on her clients’ behalf, but she aims to reach an agreement without litigation because it allows all parties involved to retain more control over the outcome.
Divorcing couples must determine legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who can be involved in making decisions regarding a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing and other aspects of life. Frequently, legal custody is shared between both parents.
Physical custody refers to where and with whom the child spends days and nights. A noncustodial may receive a certain number of days and nights he or she spends with their child. Custody decisions are based on a number of factors, including:
- Each parent’s ability to care for the child
- Each parent’s mental and physical stability
- Whether there are siblings (courts generally like to keep siblings together)
- Any history of domestic violence
- Each parent’s work schedule and the ability to provide supervision
- Whether the child has any special needs that one parent is more equipped to provide
- The child’s desires, depending on the child’s age
- Each parent’s cooperation in fostering a strong relationship with the child’s other parent
When Existing Custody Orders Need To Be Modified Or Enforced
Because life continues to change after divorce or separation following a breakup, existing custody orders may need to be modified or enforced at some point. A custodial parent may wish to move away with a child or the noncustodial parent may wish to contest this request. In other instances, a child may request a change, a parent may be wrestling with addiction and creating an unsafe environment for a child, or one parent may encounter serious health problems that prevent them from performing their parental duties. A parent may also be alienating the other parent from the child and as a result, the noncustodial parent is not receiving their court-ordered visitation or parenting time.
A custodial parent may also wish to relocate with a child due to job changes, remarriage or other “substantial change in circumstances that are in the best interest of the child.” This requires formal notification to the child’s other parent and court approval if there is no agreement to the request for relocation. Ms. Bernstein can assist with a petition to move away or represent a parent who wishes to prevent a custodial parent from relocating.
Ready To Address Your Needs
The Law and Mediation Office of Helene Bernstein, PLLC, is ready to assist you and protect your parental rights in divorce. Call 917-748-9854 or use the online contact form on this website to schedule a meeting.