Beware: The Common Causes of Custody Disputes

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In every divorce or child custody case in Family Court, it is inevitable that conflicts will arise as things become more emotionally charged. No issues tend to be more emotional than issues surrounding the custody and access of children. It is not unusual for parents, who may normally seem agreeable and even tempered, to start arguing over where the children may live, who will make parenting decisions and how much visitation the other parent may have.

Though these disputes can vary from one family situation to the next, there are a few patterns which tend to be more common:

  1. Believing the Other Parent is Irresponsible

Often, parents have problems sharing partial custody with the other party because they firmly believe that the other person is too irresponsible to properly care for their children. Often a parent will adopt the legal language used by the courts and claim the other parent cannot serve the “best interests of the child.”

The reasoning behind this belief can vary, with concerned parents commonly citing the following problematic behaviors:

  • Criminal activity
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Party lifestyle
  • Domestic abuse
  • Child neglect
  1. Getting Revenge

Occasionally, parents allege irresponsibility or make other more severe claims against the other person as a way to effect their true motive: vengeance. For example, if one party's infidelity prompted the divorce or the parties to separate, the other party may attempt to exact revenge and punish the other parent in the form of a custody battle. This approach rarely offers the satisfaction sought and does not often achieve the desired results. Moreover, it causes undue stress and anxiety for the child at the center of the dispute.

  1. Asserting Paternity Rights

Fathers often wrongly assume that courts will automatically hand custody of the children to the mother. In reality, New York courts believe it is the child's best interest to maintain and develop strong relationships with both parents. Still, this common misconception may lead a father to take the aggressive approach of disputing paternity. Again, this approach usually creates more stress than achieving the desired outcome in court.

Regardless of the circumstances underlying your current custody battle, you deserve support from a family law attorney who cares and will spend the time to listen to you. The team of Riebling & Payton is happy to help. Reach out today to find out about our approach to child custody and parenting time, and how we can represent you.

Stephen J. Riebling, Jr. and Marcia Payton are family law attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC, located in Westchester County, NY. To learn more about them, the firm and their approach please visit Riebling & Payton, PLLC at

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