Emotions frequently run high when divorcing spouses become embroiled in a dispute concerning child custody, and New York law contains a number of provisions designed to encourage parents to resolve their differences amicably. When it does become necessary to involve the courts in a child custody dispute, judges will make their decisions based upon what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. Disputes over child support can also become extremely contentious, and noncustodial parents may face severe consequences when they fail to make their court-ordered child support payments.
It is not unknown for parents involved in a child custody dispute to make incendiary accusations about one another, and claims of physical or sexual abuse or allegations of drug use or alcoholism may sometimes lead to the termination of parental rights altogether. Mediation provides a less confrontational environment for parents to work through their differences in search of a compromise, and parents in New York may be urged to pursue this option before taking their child custody case to court.
While many states consider only the noncustodial parent's income when making child support decisions, New York law requires the incomes of both parents to be taken into account. Parents in New York who fail to make their required child support payments could have their paychecks garnished, their driver's licenses suspended and their income tax refunds intercepted.
Family law attorneys will likely understand the emotional strain often caused by protracted disputes over child custody or support, and they may urge parents to make every effort to reach an agreement. Such attorneys could point out that court proceedings are adversarial and offer no guarantee of a successful outcome, but they may also advocate vigorously on behalf of their clients in court when an amicable resolution remains elusive.