In New York, child custody is divided into two categories. The first is legal custody. Legal custody essentially means that a parent has the right to make legal decisions for the child. Some examples of those legal decisions include the religion of the child, the extra-curricular activities of the child, and the education of the child.
Physical custody refers to where the child will physically reside after the divorce. Is the child mostly with the mother or is the child mostly with the father? Physical custody amounts to the parent being the custodial parent of the child. If sole physical custody is awarded, the non-custodial parent may be awarded visitation rights.How Does the Court Decide Who Gets Custody?
In most cases, a family court judge will opt for a shared custody arrangement. It is only under certain circumstances that a judge would award sole custody to just one parent. However, they may choose to do so if it would be in the “best interests of the child”—which is the standard for determining child custody in New York.
Other factors that may be considered by the court include:
- The ability of each parent to provide a stable home
- The age and physical and mental health of each parent
- The amount of time each parent could spend with the child
- Existing informal custody agreements, if applicable
- Alcohol or drug use / past instances of domestic violence
- The ability of each parent to financially support the child
If you are entering into a custody agreement, or if you are in court adjudicating your custodial rights, it’s very important for you to meet with an attorney to determine what type of custody you would like and what type of custody you are entitled to in New York State. Call Tilem & Associates, PC at (877) 377-8666 for a free consult.
Our firm serves all of New York City, including Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.