How does the court determine which parent will have legal and physical custody in New York?

The court determines which parent will have custody by determining the best interest of the child.

What is legal custody?

In New York there are two types of custody, legal and physical.  Legal custody is a parent’s right to make life decisions for the child in areas such as: medical/health, school/education, extracurricular activities, plans for summer vacation/camp, religious upbringing, etc.

What is joint-legal custody?

Under a joint-legal custody arrangement, both parents are equally involved in making decisions that affect the child’s life.

What is physical custody?

Physical custody is with whom the child will physically reside with for the majority of time.

How does the court determine best interest of the child in New York?

The determination is not clear-cut and since there is no mathematical calculation to determine custody, the court will take into account all circumstances presented.  The following is a non-exhaustive list of those factors that courts take into consideration:

1. Relative fitness of each parent;

2. Whether one parent has been the “primary caretaker” since birth;

3. Financial status of each parent;

4. Each parent’s ability to contribute to the emotional and intellectual development of the child; and

5. Parental guidance of each parent

Do New York courts have a gender-bias?

Technically no and under the law, courts must evaluate the best interest of the child in a gender-neutral manner.

How can this firm help?

Determining which parent should have custody is a difficult and sensitive topic.  As such, it might be to the benefit of both parents to make this determination outside of the courtroom in a more private and unrestricted setting.  This firm can help you to assess the best setting to make your custody determination and offers a free case evaluation.  You may submit your inquiry electronically by clicking the link below or you may call toll free at (877) 631-7919.

Free Case Evaluation
Please note that the sole purpose of the Free Case Evaluation is to assist individuals in determining the divorce option most suitable for their individual needs and interests and that submission of any information through the use of any forms contained on this site does not automatically create an attorney/client relationship.