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Child Custody in New York: How Does it Work?


Types of Child Custody

In New York, child custody matters fall under the jurisdiction of the state. There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody allows a parent to make important decisions for a child’s life, including decisions related to medical care, education, and religion. A parent with whom a child lives is said to have physical custody. When both parents share custody, it is called joint custody.

How are Child Custody Decisions Reached in New York?

When a New York Court has to make a decision about child custody, the criterion for the court is to make a determination that is in the “best interests of the child.”

In following this standard, the courts will take the following information into consideration:

  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate with one another
  • The mental and physical health of each parent and child
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse in the family
  • The parents’ work schedules
  • The wishes of the child, if old enough to make an informed decision

In many cases, parents will share legal custody of a child, meaning that they will both have a say in how the child is raised and cared for, and will also often share physical custody through planned visitation schedules. Sole custody is usually sought in cases involving parental neglect, abuse, or substance abuse. Note that if the parents of a child were never married there needs to be proof of paternity/acknowledgement of paternity in order for the father to have custody or visitation rights

If there is ever a significant change in a parent’s situation that affects the best interests of the child, custody arrangements can be modified usually by the court. For example, a custody modification maybe justified in the event that the parent with primary custody is for some reason unable to care for a child. Modifications can be obtained with the help of a family law attorney.

Need Assistance with Your Child Custody Matter? Contact Lois M. Brenner, Esq. Today

Child custody law has many facets and can be complex. That is why it is so important to work with an experienced and knowledgeable NYC family law attorney to help you make important decisions affecting your children. For more than 35 years, Lois M. Brenner, Esq. has been an exceptional advocate for families in Manhattan and throughout New York. Whether you are considering divorce or need help resolving a child custody issue, you can trust in Lois Brenner to navigate the complexities of New York law and lead you toward a solution that suits your needs.

To begin discussing your case with a New York City child custody attorney, please contact Lois M. Brenner, Esq. today to schedule an initial consultation.