Child Custody

We are here to answer your pressing questions about your custody arrangements as well as to speak about any other family law and divorce issues you may have.

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New York City Child Custody Lawyers

We understand that right now, many New Yorkers have urgent questions about their parenting and custody agreements and arrangements. Coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions imposed on movement have created a sense of uncertainty for many parents. The firm is currently open for business. We are also offering remote consultations via video chat and phone calls. We are here to answer your pressing questions about your custody arrangements during the coronavirus crisis, as well as to speak about any other family law and divorce issues you may have.

We want you to stay safe and healthy. If you wish to meet with an attorney remotely, we can accommodate that need. If you have questions, please contact us

Distinguished Manhattan law firm protecting your child’s best interests

A divorce – splitting with the parent of your child – is a difficult and emotional event. When the issue of child custody is involved, most of the time each parent wants to spend as much time as possible with their child, and each parent wants an equal say in their child’s important life decisions. Meeting everyone’s needs while keeping your child’s best interests in mind can be challenging.

Often, however, what is in a child’s best interest is not so easily determined. Every family and every marriage is unique, which is why it is so important to have experienced legal representation on your side when children are involved.

The Manhattan divorce attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP are highly experienced in the area of child custody law and understand the emotions and stress behind these types of legal issues. Allow us to guide you through the process and advocate for your parental rights. Contact us today.

Who gets custody of the children in a New York divorce?

If you and your spouse are able to come to agreement regarding custody of your children in the event of a separation or divorce, you can outline these terms in a custody agreement. This contract should provide a detailed outline of you how major decisions are to be made for your child and the parenting access, including what holidays, birthdays, vacations and other events the children would spend with each parent.

However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree about custody, you may have to involve the court to help you resolve your custody dispute. Some couples may also find mediation or collaborative law helpful to work out conflicts. If you still cannot come to agreement, the courts will make a final custody ruling based solely on the best interests of the child. Today, many judges strive to award equitable joint custody when possible, to give each parent significant parenting time with their child.

The different types of child custody

New York City courts grant two types of custody – legal and residential. They are different in nature and will not necessarily both be awarded to one parent. Legal custody means making the major decisions about a child’s education, health and religion.

Residential custody pertains to the schedule of when the children will be with each parent. The parent who has the child with him or her more nights than the other will be the parent with primary residential custody. The court will dictate the parenting schedule based on the best interests of the child (or children).

Who pays child support if we have joint child custody?

Even in joint custody situations, one parent still has to pay child support, as laid out by the New York Child Support Standards Act. Typically, the non-primary custodial parent pays support to the primary custodial parent. In cases where there’s an even split of time between both parents, the parent with the higher income is generally considered the non-custodial parent for the purposes of child support. Your New York divorce attorney can explain more.

Can my NYC child custody order be changed or modified?

Your child custody order (as well as a child support or spousal maintenance order) can be changed. However, you must do it properly and legally. You may find, sometime down the road, that your child custody order no longer fits your or your child’s life circumstances. In cases like these, you may need to file for a child custody modification order. When you have a substantial change in life circumstances, consult with our lawyers at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP to find out the best options for your child.

Can my ex move out of the state with our child?

Depending on the terms of your child custody agreement, your ex-spouse may be in violation of your legal contract if they move out of state. Your divorce decree should have the terms of your custody agreement defined and, if one parent is planning a significant move, may need to be modified. If you or your ex-spouse want to relocate, contact your attorney as soon as possible.

What happens to my parenting and custody agreements during the coronavirus crisis?

Parents across the nation are currently grappling with how to handle parenting arrangements in such a radically changed world. Perhaps you live in a state or city that has instituted a “stay in place” order, as New York has. Perhaps you live with an elderly or immunocompromised relative, or are yourself at high risk if you contract COVID-19. How does this effect your current custody and parenting arrangements?

Each case is going to be different. With the New York courts currently limited only to emergency applications, guidance from judges may be difficult to obtain. Our family law attorneys are here for you in these uncertain times. We are staying abreast of all legal developments concerning coronavirus in New York. If you have questions or concerns about your custody arrangements, contact our firm. Our attorneys remain available for phone and video consultations, to answer your urgent questions about how to best protect and parent your children in this truly incredible time.

We invite you to read our attorneys’ thoughts on co-parenting, divorce, and other matrimonial and custodial issues:




    All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.


    Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.


    We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.


    Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.

Compassionate New York child custody lawyers

At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, our family law attorneys can help you with a child custody agreement that protects your children and helps them thrive. We provide empathetic and strong representation across New York City, Westchester and the surrounding suburbs. Schedule a consultation today at (212) 466-6015 or fill out our contact form.


Call 212-466-6015 or fill out the form below to get started. 

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