If you are wondering how to file for child custody in New York, or how to win full custody in New York, you have come to the right place. Disputes regarding child custody for unmarried parents in New York are resolved in Family Court. So long as paternity has already been established, the process starts by filing a custody petition with the Family Court. The parties will then receive a court date to appear before a Family Court Judge. The parties with their respective attorneys will then try to work out an agreement on custody. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will set the case for trial, and the Judge will decide who gets 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.
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.
The parents split physical custody and decisions related to health, education, religion, and welfare of the children are decided by both parents together.
The Court will consider what is in the "Best Interest of the Child" when determining which parent gets custody. The best interest of the child standard is made up of a broad range of factors that the Court will consider. The factors are taken together as a whole, none of which taken alone are the determining factor.
Modifying a Family Court Custody Order in New York requires what is called a "Material Change in Circumstances", unless the parents are in agreement that the terms of custody should change. Changes in circumstances arise when the circumstances of a parent or child have substantially changed since the entry of the prior court order that require a change in Custody. Changes include, but are not limited to, the fact that the other parent is unable or is not properly caring for the needs of the child, because they are financially unstable, unfit, or addicted to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes a parent has abused or neglected the child or their home environment has become unsafe for the child to continue to reside. Changes do not have to be this extreme, however they need to be material to the welfare of the child to the extent that it is in the best interest of the child to change custody.