Child Custody NY

by SKU

Published: Oct 22, 2018 | Updated: Nov 11, 2022 |

child custody law ny

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Child Custody in NY

Child custody laws in New York state are based on what is in the "best interest of the child". New York Courts will follow a set of factors that stem from case law to determine which parent will receive custody of the children. It is important know what factors constitute the best interests of the child so you can determin the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Child custody cases are decided on a case-by-case basis based on these factors.

Best Interest of the Child Factors

The following factors are considered by the Court to determine the "best interest" of the child when making a Custody determination.

  • Is there Domestic Violence in the Household.
  • Who was the primary caretaker of the children.
  • Who is the better parent.
  • What is the nurturing ability of each parent.
  • Which parent has better judgment.
  • The desirability of keeping siblings together.
  • The wishes of the child, if the child is of sufficient age.
  • The lifestyle of each parent.
  • The religion of each parent.
  • Whether each parent will encourage or discourage visitation with the other parent.
  • The Continuity of a stable environment.
  • The age of the child.
  • The Substance abuse or chemical addiction of either of the parents.
  • The quality of each parent's home environment.
  • The parental guidance each parent provides to the child.
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child's emotional and intellectual development.
  • The financial status of each parent, and their ability to provide for the child.
  • The relative fitness of the respective parents including their mental condition.
  • The length of time the present custody arrangement has been in effect.
  • A parent's sexual behavior, character and lifestyle (only if it directly affects the child)
  • Any other factor the Court determines to be just and proper based on the circumstances of the case.

Types of Child Custody in New York

Sole Custody

Sole Custody is when the children primarily reside with one parent and that parent makes all the decisions related to health, education, religion, and welfare of the children. Generally the non-custodial parent will receive independent access to the health, education, and welfare records pertaining to child so that he or she can monitor the custodial parent's decision making.

Joint Custody/One Parent is Designated as the Primary Residential Parent

The children mostly reside with one parent but decisions related to health, education, religion, and welfare of the children are decided by both parents together.

Joint Custody

The parents split physical custody and decisions related to health, education, religion, and welfare of the children are decided by both parents together.

What New York Courts Decide Custody Cases?

The Supreme Court decides Custody cases in the context of a Divorce, and the Family Court decides Custody cases for parents that are unmarried. The Family Court often decides Custody Modification Petitions after a Divorce is final, because it generally costs less to litigate these matters there.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Custody Case?

No, but Custody cases are often complicated and you are better off Hiring a Family Court Lawyer to represent you on such an important matter. Unless you ar comfortable representing yourself in Court and are familiar with the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules, it is not recommended.  

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