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534 Delaware Ave, Suite 433, Buffalo, New York 14202 | 19 Limestone Drive, Suite 9, Williamsville, New York 14221

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How Many Parents Does Your Child Have? Count the Courts

One of the great frustrations that people experience is to see their intentions thwarted because they did not know how to navigate the legal system. For example, parents may take the time and effort to put together a well-thought out custody agreement, but neglect to have the agreement approved by the court. Without a court sanctioned agreement, the courts and state agencies may intervene at any time and upend the agreement.

Under the doctrine of parens patriae, New York State claims a parental role over every child in its jurisdiction. The state usually wields this power to intercede when the child is in the custody of a negligent and/or abusive parent. But the state retains the right to step in and determine what is in the best interests of children, even if it is against the wishes of well-meaning parents.

New York’s highest court has ruled that it will revisit custody agreements entered into by parents, even when those agreements were agreed to on the record before the court itself. Similarly, agreements to arbitrate issues of child custody are considered invalid under New York State law.

Understanding the power and role of courts in questioning parental custodial agreements is just one example of the importance of working with an experienced New York divorce lawyer to make sure that your interests are most effectively represented.

The most important decisions relating to your divorce, your children, and your property should be your decisions. And they are best made, if possible, in coordination with your former spouse.

If you are contemplating divorce or separation, contact our office to discuss how we can help you through these important decisions.

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