How Long Does a Child Custody Case Take in New York? 

A child custody case typically takes a few months to complete in the state of New York. However, this timeline can vary depending on the court, whether the parents hire an attorney, and what is contested. 

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The first step in a child custody matter is to file a petition with the court. There are a few different types of petitions that can be filed, and the court may decide which one to file based on the facts of the case. It is also possible to make an out-of-court agreement that sets out the terms of custody. If you are able to reach an agreement with your ex-partner, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress by not having to go through the court process. 

If you cannot agree, the court will hold a hearing and determine what is in the best interests of your child. The judge will consider the child’s relationship with each parent, any special needs the child may have, and other factors that will help the judge determine what is in your child’s best interest. 

In the majority of cases, a decision will be made on the basis of what is in your child’s best interest. Occasionally, the court may require a forensic evaluation or an investigation by social services. 

The judge can award a parent sole physical custody, which means that your child lives with that parent most of the time. Or, he or she can order joint physical custody, in which the children split their time 50/50 between both parents. This arrangement is more common when both parents are able to be available to care for the children, or if they live close together. 

Many courts in New York prefer to award joint physical custody, as it tends to be more beneficial for the children. This is because it enables both parents to be involved in the child’s education and medical care. 

You can also obtain joint legal custody, in which you and your former partner are able to make major decisions about your child’s welfare. This is called an “equitable custody” arrangement, and it is common in divorces where there are children. 

If you have reached an agreement with your former partner about child custody, you can submit a consent decree to the court, which will then allow you to have a written order and a decision in writing from the court within three months of filing. This will usually include the terms of your custody arrangement and may include a parenting plan as well. 

Once a consent decree is submitted to the court, you will have to wait until it is signed by both you and your ex-partner before a judge will sign the order. Once the order is signed, it is permanent and will be legally binding on you both. 

Your attorney will be able to assist you with the process of obtaining your consent decree. They can answer your questions and help you prepare for your initial appearance in court.