If a divorce involves children, the couple will have to decide on a child custody arrangement. In the unfortunate event that the couple cannot agree on the issue, the matter will have to be resolved in court. When a judge is determining whether to grant physical and legal custody of a child, they will first evaluate several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest. Essentially, when the court looks at a child’s best interest they are considering the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The court will not grant sole or joint custody to parents without considering the child’s best interests. Custody is a contentious issue that typically turns into a legal battle. Please continue following along to learn how your child’s parental preference can affect a child custody order and how a seasoned Rockland County Child Custody Attorney can help with your situation. 

Can my child express what they want during a child custody proceeding in New York?

In New York, physical custody refers to where the child will live and spend most of their time. When one parent is granted physical custody of a child, they are referred to as the custodial parent. Legal custody on the other hand pertains to making decisions regarding major aspects of the child’s life such as religious practices and health care decisions. In most cases, the court will favor joint custody as it is believed it is in the best interest of a child to have relationships with both parents. However, if one parent is deemed “unfit” by the court they will not be granted joint custody. Instead one parent would be granted sole custody. Ultimately, when determining custody, the court’s biggest concern is the child’s best interests.

Furthermore, along with several other pertinent factors, the court can consider the child’s preference for custody. In most custody cases, despite a child’s young age, the court will allow children to express their parental preferences regarding custody. However, the court is not obligated to abide by the child’s wishes. It is more likely that the court will take into consideration the parental preference of an older child, as they can make their own decisions. Young children’s parental preference is not considered as heavily because they can be easily manipulated by their parental figure to express a certain preference.

If you are seeking custody of your child after a divorce, please don’t hesitate to speak with one of our trusted and determined attorneys. Child custody can turn into an overwhelming legal battle, which means you need the right legal representation to ensure your child’s best interest is a priority. Our firm is committed to helping our clients understand what factors could affect the court’s decision on awarding a parent custody.