Protecting Your Parental Rights And Your Child’s Best Interests In Divorce

Our attorneys are especially sensitive to issues regarding parental rights, the importance of protecting children's best interests, and the profound legal and personal issues related to custody deliberations.  We are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for everyone involved.

Understanding Your Family Dynamics

One of the first steps we take together will be a consideration of your family dynamics in order to plan the best possible strategy and legal approach to address your unique circumstances.

We are experienced in all related issues, including out-of-state custody issuescustody modifications, relocation maters, adoption, abuse and neglect, and other circumstances that may impact your particular family.

Best Interests of the Child Standard in New York

At O'Brien Monagan Law Firm P.C., our family law lawyer in New York provides guidance to our clients and helps them understand what the best interest of the child means generally, and how it could affect their unique case specifically. Making sure our clients are informed helps them make better decisions, too. So, contact us online or at 518-427-7000 to schedule a Consultation.

To determine what is in the best interests of the child, a set of factors has been established to guide the courts. These factors are also meant as a way to objectively arrive at these decisions so that they are fairer and more consistent. The standards used by most states are based on and developed from the model statute known as the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA). Section 402 of the UMDA provides that

The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:

(1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody;

(2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;

(3) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;

(4) the child's adjustment to his home, school, and community; and

(5) the mental and physical health of all people involved.

The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect his relationship to the child.

As mentioned, these factors are the basis. With regard to the second factor, most states will listen to the wishes of the child but may not act on those wishes unless the child is a certain age. Further, many states have added additional factors into that state's specific standard of the best interests of the child. 

Other Factors in Addition to the Best Interests of the Child

Courts can also consider other relevant factors. This could include:

  • Race, although it cannot be a decisive factor
  • Religion, although the courts cannot interfere with a parent's right to practice but can weigh how the religion or religious ritual may affect the child
  • Sexual conduct, which refers to the parent's sexual conduct and if it will adversely impact the child
  • Domestic violence, where there is spousal abuse and/or child abuse
  • Disability, where one parent may be disabled, the court may reflect on how that disability may impact the parent's ability to care for the child

Contact Our Law Office Regarding Child Custody Issues

To contact our firm, please call 518-427-7000. You can also reach us online to schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Albany, New York, and in Troy, New York. We accept clients from throughout Albany and Rensselaer counties, and beyond.