Divorce will inevitably mean a change in your relationship with your children. Unless you and your ex decide to try an unusual arrangement, like a birdnesting situation where the children stay in the family home, the children will move back and forth between where you live and where your ex lives. How you divide your parenting time will have a major impact on your life.
Not only can the division of parenting time put a strain on your relationship with your children because you separate from them frequently, but it can also affect your daily schedule and lifestyle when you have to frequently meet up with your ex to exchange custody.
Will the New York family courts expect you and your ex to share custody evenly in a 50/50 split?
There is no guarantee about the division of parenting time
New York state law does not establish a specific way for the courts to divide parenting time. There is no presumption that a 50/50 split is the best solution. Instead, a judge has to look at numerous details about your family to determine what arrangements would be best for the children.
Your current schedule, your relationship with the children, living arrangements, and sometimes even the preferences of older children can all play a role in how a judge divides your parenting time. You will likely need to split or alternate holidays and birthdays, and you will need to find a way to split parental responsibilities both during the summer vacation month and the school year.
If you worry about the unpredictable possible arrangements created by a judge unfamiliar with your family, you can potentially negotiate your own custody plan with your ex. So long as you can show that the arrangements you establish would uphold the best interests of the children, a judge may approve a shared custody arrangement that the two of you create yourselves.
If a 50/50 split isn’t realistic given your family circumstances, you can potentially negotiate a different division of parenting time that still keeps both of you as involved as possible. Understanding how New York approaches shared custody decisions will help you prepare for your day in court or upcoming negotiations with your ex.