When it comes to divorce, there are many matters to resolve. One of the most important and sensitive matters is that of child custody. In some divorce cases, parents will come to an agreement regarding the custody of their child. Other times, the court will have to decide upon which custody arrangement will best suit the needs of the child. Read on to learn more about the different types of child custody in New York and how custody is determined.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will spend the most time. The child resides with this parent for the majority of the time. In some cases, parents may work together to share custody equally. This is referred to as joint physical custody.

Legal custody allows a parent to make important decisions regarding the child. These decisions may include education, religion, and medical issues. Legal custody is not determined by physical custody, and it may be awarded to one or both parents. For the most part, New York courts believe that a child will benefit from having some type of relationship with both parents, and will work to arrange that.

What Factors Determine Custody

Because child custody is such an important decision, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the custody arrangement. The court will examine the following factors:

  • The parents’ willingness to accept custody
  • Any history of domestic violence and drug/alcohol abuse
  • The safety of the child
  • The preference of the child, if of sufficient age
  • The relationship of the child with his/her parents and siblings
  • The child’s needs
  • The stability of the home environment
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • The parents’ employment responsibilities and lifestyles


Some couples can resolve child custody issues without the help of the court. They may turn to mediation, which will include a neutral third party to help them navigate their situation. It may help to keep a tight schedule to avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes. Parents who share custody may want to make a schedule that includes:

  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Other special events
  • School breaks
  • Nightly schedules

Child custody is one of the most important decisions one can make, and it is important to do what is in the best interest of your child. If you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody, reach out to The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC.

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.