The overriding concern of parents and the court should be united in a child custody case behind what is in the best interest of the child. However, for parents getting divorced, this can be difficult to keep in mind. No parent ever wants to give up time with their child, but it's an unfortunate reality that parents have to accept when they split up.
When parents cannot come to an agreement on custody, the court will step in with an unbiased approach to determine custody for the child. When the court makes this decision they look at what is in the children's best interests. During this process, the court will look at several factors to determine what will be best for the child.
Factors Considered by the Court
The "best interest of the child" principle directs the court to balance the capacity of each parent to satisfy the needs of the child or children. Various factors direct the decision of the judge when considering custody in the best interest of the child. These factors are usually considered together in their totality, and include:
Primary caretaker: The court may consider who was the primary caretaker of the child before the divorce or separation.
Drugs and alcohol: Whether there is a history of substance abuse.
Parent's health: The physical and mental health of each parent.
Spousal abuse: Evidence of domestic violence will affect a custody award, as well as whether there was neglect or abandonment by one parent or interference with the visitation rights of the other parent.
Child's preference: A child's preference for one parent may be considered
Finances: The ability of each parent to provide for the child.
Home environment: Evidence of a safe and stable home life.
Educational opportunities: A child's academic needs and opportunities are a consideration.
Siblings: The court considers where the child's siblings or half-siblings live. Typically, the court tries to keep siblings together.
Behavior in court: The court observes how parents present themselves during custody hearings, which may influence a decision.
New York courts have broad discretion in deciding custody matters. So, divorcing parents are encouraged to develop on a sensible custody agreement before appearing before a judge. Child custody matters can become highly contentious. If you are concerned about your custody case, do not hesitate to reach out to our New York child custody attorneys at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC.
Call us at (347) 848-1850 to discuss your case today.