Divorce & Family Law

Muller & Mannix, PLLC. are New York Child Custody and Child Visitation Attorneys serving clients in Saratoga, Warren, Washington, Schenectady, Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Essex and Clinton Counties and throughout the entire Capital District Area.

Deciding child custody can be one of the most litigious aspects of a divorce or separation. New York Family Courts will urge couples to approach child custody negotiations based on what is in the best interest of the child or children. Deciding what is in the “best interest” of the child or children is not always easy, especially where there your spouse or partner may have prior history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or may have been emotionally, psychologically or physically abusive towards you or your children. Your spouse or partner may now be involved with a new relationship with a new lover or paramour, and you may be very concerned that this new person should not be around your children. To receive a meaningful decision concerning custody or your child or children, you need a qualified and experienced legal team.

If you are considering divorce or separation, and have questions about child custody, joint custody, sole custody, or child support or maintenance, it is important to confer with an experienced family law attorney. Do not try to handle a child custody dispute without legal assistance. Contact the lawyers of Muller & Mannix, PLLC. Our child custody team of attorneys in Glens Falls, New York, serve clients in Family Court in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington, Fulton, Montgomery, Essex and Clinton Counties and throughout the Capital District Area and Upstate New York.

What Does "Child Custody" Mean?

Child custody covers both physical and legal custody of your child or children. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child will live during the majority of time for the year. A Family Court may decide that both parents should share physical custody of the child or have “Joint Physical Custody.” Or, the Court may decide to grant only one parent physical custody of the child or children. This is called “Sole Physical Custody.” If the court grants sole physical custody to one parent, a parenting schedule for “visitation” or “parenting time” will generally be drawn up for the non-custodial parent. Legal custody is granted to the parent who is responsible for making major life decisions about the child's education, religion and medical care. The court may decide that both parents are responsible for making these major life decisions, which is called “Joint Legal Custody.” The Family Court will not grant Joint Legal Custody to a husband and wife that cannot communicate with each other. So, couples who are constantly fighting or arguing with each other will not be granted “Joint Legal Custody” by the Court. In order for a joint custodial arrangement to succeed, both parents must be able to cooperate with one another. Joint custody means that the parents will discuss major issues pertaining to the child, such as matters involving health, education and the child’s activities. If a parent is awarded sole legal custody, then that parent will make all of the decisions concerning the child.

How Does the Court Decide Custody of Your Children?

New York's child custody laws support the idea that regular contact with both parents is normally in the best interest for your child or children. Family Courts and most experts believe that children grow stronger with two parents that are active in the children’s lives. A well drafted custody agreement will maximize the child's access to both parents, but will still be convenient with the parents' respective work schedules and daily responsibilities.

If the parents cannot agree on who should retain custody of the child, then the Family Court will make the decision for you and your spouse or partner. The court will consider many factors, including the following:

  • Who was the primary or main caregiver for the children before the parties petitioned the Court to make the child custody decision
  • What is the health of both parents? Does one parent have physical, medical, mental or emotional health issues that need to be considered in deciding which parent should have primary physical custody
  • is the level of each parent's parenting skills? Has one parent been the primary disciplinarian? Has one parent been the person to go to school or teacher’s meetings, sporting events, school activities or club events with the child or children?
  • What is each parent's ability to provide for any special physical, medical, emotional or psychological needs of the child
  • Have there been any instances of domestic violence? Have the police been to the home? Was anyone injured? Is there proof [medical records] of injuries?
  • If the child is old enough to decide, what are child’s wishes and desires?
  • Which parent has the most stable home environment?

If you need an experienced attorney to handle your child custody hearing, contact the Law Firm of Muller & Mannix, PLLC. Our legal team of experienced attorneys is here to protect your legal rights to custody and visitation with your children. Contact our office today to schedule a private and confidential consultation.

How to File for a No-Fault Divorce in New York?

At Muller & Mannix, PLLC., we believe that your New York divorce should not be expensive or time consuming. You should not have to spend every penny of your life savings to obtain peace of mind and separate from your husband or wife. With the new “No Fault” New York Divorce Law, our office can now help you to obtain a prompt and easy divorce.

In July, 2010, New York State joined the other 49 states by adding the option for a No Fault divorce as ground for divorce. This change allows couples who wish to file for uncontested divorce in New York to do so without having to prove that the spouse was subjected to “cruel and inhuman treatment” or “adultery” or was abandoned.

As a result, after you have decided to separate and have settled on the terms of your Separation Agreement, you no longer have to decide who will be accused of being "at fault" in the divorce papers filed with the court. This new No Fault grounds merely requires proof by one spouse stating, in a written affidavit, that the marriage has been "irretrievably broken for a period of at least 6 months." The statute does not define "irretrievably broken."

Under the old “fault” grounds, if one spouse did not want a divorce, then he or she could effectively block the divorce for years. The spouse wanting the divorce would have the difficult time of proving that the grounds for the divorce [adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, actual or constructive abandonment] actually existed.

Now, if you wish to file for a no-fault divorce, the law firm of Muller & Mannix, LLC., can offer you a civilized, short and economical process. We will help you reach a divorce agreement [called a “Separation Agreement”] that is acceptable to you. We will then file the necessary No Fault divorce papers to obtain your divorce in a timely fashion.