How is Child Custody Determined in New York?

How is Child Custody Determined in New York?

When a divorce occurs, it generally impacts an entire family. This is especially so when the couple has children. In these situations, families often worry about their future. That is why it is important to handle these matters sensitively so that children can settle into their new life. In doing so, parents are required to establish custody arrangements for them. Some parents are able to do this on their own without outside assistance. Other times, parents may need the help of the court. In the state of New York, there are different custody arrangements for parents to consider.

Types of Custody

The different types of custody arrangements are both in regard to separate aspects of a child’s life. It is important to know that neither one is necessarily more important than the other. The arrangement that a family may reach can vary depending on their personal situations and needs. The main types of custody in New York are as follows:

  • Physical Custody: This type of custody determines a child’s custodial parent, also known as a primary caretaker or main guardian. This is the parent the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. It is in regard to the daily routine, care, and residence of the child. Even if one parent is awarded physical custody, the child still spends time in the home of the non-custodial parent as well.
  • Legal Custody: This type of custody is in regard to the amount of influence a parent has in their child’s life. With legal custody, a parent has the right to be involved in making important decisions for the child throughout their upbringing. This can include matters of healthcare, academics, religion, the general wellbeing of the child, and more. 

Determining Custody

When parents need the court to determine custody for them, the judge is required to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. Often times, both parents believe they are the best option for their child. By acting in the child’s best interest, it ensures they are placed in a happy and healthy home. To make this decision, the judge considers many different factors relating to the family. This can include:

  • If a parent can provide the child with stability (a home, school, activities, etc.)
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Both parents’ work schedule and lifestyle
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse in the home
  • Any history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Both parents’ healthy
  • The child’s preference if they are of sufficient age

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