How Is Custody Determined?

Taking a Look at New York Child Custody Proceedings

Typically one of the most challenging issues to address in any divorce, child custody involves the determination of a child's living situation and who will make decisions about a child's physical and emotional well-being. These are highly personal matters that can make even the most amicable divorce turn ugly. It is therefore of the utmost importance to carefully consider your goals and your child's best interests as you approach your divorce or separation. In working out a custody agreement or approaching a contested divorce in court, a New York child custody lawyer can offer invaluable insight and representation.

One such area in which a lawyer can provide guidance is how custody is typically determined by the court. Knowing the answer to this question can help you understand the possible outcome of your case and whether going to trial is your best option. In deciding custody and visitation, a judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child. The judge will address both physical custody, which applies to the child's day-to-day living situation, and legal custody, which refers to the right to make major decisions about the child's education, medical care, religious training, etc. The judge may consider:

  • Who has been the primary caretaker of the child;
  • The child's current living situation, and how long it has been so;
  • Each parent's home environment;
  • Each parent's stability, judgment, employment, health and lifestyle;
  • Each parent's ability to provide emotional and intellectual support to the child;
  • The child's preference (depending on his or her age);
  • Whether the child would be separated from siblings;
  • Whether either parent is actively trying to cut the other parent out of the child's life;
  • Whether either parent has been abusive in any way; and
  • Whether domestic violence has been involved.

In a divorce, both parents have a legal right to seek custody. If parents cannot come to their own agreement regarding custody and visitation, a judge must make this determination. This is no easy task, considering the many factors that must be taken into account. Having a competent lawyer who can present your case in a clear and compelling manner can help you seek your ideal custody arrangement.

Involve a New York Child Custody Attorney

At Eiges & Orgel, PLLC we recognize that custody battles are complex and emotionally charged. The outcome will directly impact your child or children and your own life. With more than 40 years of experience and thousands of clients helped with their family law matters, our attorneys stand prepared to seek the best possible result in your custody dispute. We handle custody agreements in contested and uncontested divorce as well as separation agreements, and we can address custody enforcement or modifications.

To learn more, contact a New York child custody attorney at our offices.

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