Often, determining child custody arrangements is the most complex part of a divorce. Read on to learn more about the process.

Physical vs Legal Custody

There are two main types of custody awarded in the state of New York: 

  • Legal custody refers to a parent’s legal right to make important decisions in a child’s life. These decisions may regard matters of religion, medical treatments, education, and more.
  • Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child resides for the majority of the time. This parent is mainly responsible for providing the child with a stable home and other necessities. In some cases, parents share physical custody equally.

In some cases, a parent will be deemed unfit, and the fit parent will be awarded sole custody. This does not occur often, as New York State believes that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents. Some reasons a parent may be deemed unfit include:

  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Refusal to co-parent
  • Failure to follow court-ordered mandates

If a parent is deemed unfit, he or she will likely still have visitation rights.

How is Child Custody Determined?

New York courts take custody matters very seriously. In order to determine custody, a judge may examine the following: 

  • The parents’ ability to communicate, cooperate and agree regarding matters of the child
  • The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any unwillingness to allow parenting time
  • The relationship of the child with their parents and siblings
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The safety of the child and the safety of one parent from another
  • The preference of the child when of sufficient age
  • The child’s needs
  • The stability of the home environment
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The fitness of both parents
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • The parents’ employment responsibilities

If you have any questions or concerns about child custody in New York, our firm is here to help. We will walk you through the process every step of the way.

Contact our Firm

The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC understands the harsh implications of relocation can have on a child and his or her parents. When you have a contested relocation matter, it is important to have an experienced attorney to represent you in court. If you are faced with a relocation matter in Rockland County, contact The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC today to schedule a consultation.