When couples with children decide to divorce, the well-being of their kids should take top priority. However, those in New York facing such a scenario may be unsure as to the types of custody awarded and how the court determines what is best for the children. The following details child custody laws in The Empire State.
Types of Custody
New York, like many other states, offers two types of custody: legal and physical custody. Legal custody pertains to a parent’s ability to make important decisions in the child’s life, such as medical, educational and religious decisions. Physical custody refers to which parent the child or children will live with most of the time. The state also recognizes sole and joint custody, which determines whether a parent will have full legal and physical custody of the kids or will share those responsibilities with the other parent.
New York also adheres to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This act requires states to respect custody agreements awarded in other states and fosters an atmosphere of legal cooperation among the parties involved. New York’s child custody laws also take into account grandparent visitation rights as well as joint custody.
Court considerations in child custody matters
If parents with children are able to work together, and each is a loving, active and competent parent, they can come up with a child custody plan on their own and present to the court for confirmation. However, the court will always consider a child’s best interest in all child custody proceedings and will look at factors such as each parent’s ability to raise and care for the child, each parent’s working ability and income, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse, among other things. The court will also consider the child’s desire regarding child custody, if the child is old enough to make such determinations.
Seek legal counsel
Although parents can come up with custody plans on their own, they would be well advised to seek legal counsel during the process. A family law attorney can help a client make the best-informed decisions and will work to protect both the parent and child’s rights and best interests. The lawyer can also present the case to the court for final confirmation or be on hand to work through any outstanding legal issues in court, should that be necessary.