One of the most emotional parts of going through a divorce is changing a child’s life. Divorce is a challenging situation that impacts the entire family. When a marriage changes, several aspects of their child’s upbringing change as well. While some parents are cordial when it comes to the arrangements of their children, others have difficulty handling the situation. When parents struggle to come to an agreement on their own, they may seek legal counsel to clear up the issue. In the state of New York, there are two different types of custody options for parents.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, occasionally referred to as residential custody, determines which parent has the child majority of the time. This means that the parent is in charge of the residence, daily routine, and care of the child. The parent that has physical custody of the child is also known as their primary caretaker. If one parent is believed to possibly put the child in danger, they may be deemed “unfit” and the other parent may be given sole custody. When this happens, the other parent is still allowed visitation rights even though they are limited.

Legal Custody

While physical custody handles the location of the child, there is another matter to handle the influence a child has in their life. Legal custody gives a parent the right to be involved in all decision-making throughout the child’s life. This may consist of medical care, schooling, religious practices, and the general welfare of the child. Sole legal custody is possible, but a rarity. It may be awarded if a parent is believed to not have the child’s best interest at heart. Even in this case, the parent still maintains visitation rights.

Factors Considered

While working to find the right custody arrangement for a child, the judge always makes a decision based on the child’s best interest. While parents typically both believe they are the best fit for their child, there is a set of determining factors that are taken into consideration. Before coming to a decision, the judge looks into the following:

  • If a parent can provide the child with stability (home, school, activities, etc.)
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Both parents’ work schedule and lifestyle
  • The health of both parents as well as the child
  • Possible history of domestic violence and abuse
  • Possible history of alcohol and drug abuse
  • The child’s preference if they are of a certain age


If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal counsel for custody arrangements, contact the Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC. today.

The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC is an experienced divorce and family law firm located in New City, NY. It is essential to retain effective legal guidance during such pivotal times in life. Contact our firm today to discuss your legal matter and get the quality legal representation you deserve.