How Child Custody is Determined in New York

In the state of New York, family courts make their child custody decisions based on what they consider to be in the “best interests” of the child. While this is the same in most states, different states have different ways of defining the child’s best interests. In today’s blog, we’re discussing how you can expect New York family court to make decisions about your child custody matter.

A Case-By-Case Basis

You may have heard that New York courts tend to assume the children will be happier and healthier with their mother than with their father. While this used to be the case, it isn’t anymore. Today, courts have a more modern understanding of family dynamics and acknowledge that while some children may share a closer relationship with the mother, just as many might have that bond with the father. New York family courts look at every situation on a case-by-case basis and take many factors into consideration.

What is the child’s best interest?

There are numerous things a judge will look into to determine what is in the child’s best interests. Again, it is decided on a case-by-case basis. Some questions that may factor into their decision include: How long has the child lived with each parent? Has domestic violence occurred? Does the child have special needs that one parent is better equipped or more willing to handle than the other? What are the home environments like with each parent? Does either parent struggle with substance abuse? Are both parents mentally and physically healthy? Does the child have a preference about which parent he or she would like to live with? Does the child share a stronger bond with either parent?

Custody Options

There are a few different types of child custody arrangements that the court may determine as being in the child’s best interest. Let’s take a look:

Joint custody vs. sole custody: In a joint custody arrangement, both parents share custody of the child. In a sole custody arrangement, one parent has custody of the child and the other does not.

Physical custody: The parent who has physical custody of the child is the one with whom the child resides. The other parent may have visitation rights.

Limited visitation: The court may place limitations on one parent’s visitation rights. For example, they may only be allowed to visit with the child while supervising and in public places if there has been a history of physical abuse or substance abuse, but the court still finds that it would be in the child’s best interest to have some sort of relationship with the parent.

Legal custody: The parent with legal custody makes decisions regarding finances, education, and health care for the child. Usually, one parent has the final say in these matters.

Contact Drucker & Mattia PLLC

At Drucker & Mattia PLLC, we have the knowledge and experience to help New York families with child custody cases. Contact us to learn how you can help you with this and other family law matters.

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Drucker & Mattia PLLC

When you’re facing legal issues or pursuing a lawsuit, skilled legal counsel makes a big difference. At Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, we specialize in a wide range of legal areas to meet the needs of a diverse client base.

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