How is Custody Determined in New York?

How Does Child Custody Work in New York?

In New York, child custody is determined by what works in the best interest of the child. If you are getting divorced, seeking custody early on during the separation period is recommended so that your kids can maintain their relationship with both parents.

Child custody is a complicated process, especially if you feel your divorce may be difficult or cause issues with your child. An experienced child custody attorney can be your guide as well as handle your case with care while your family resolves custody-related issues.

What is Child Custody and Visitation?

Child custody orders give parents, or someone else, the responsibility to care for a child and how they are brought up. While both parents have the responsibility to care for your child, one parent does not have higher chances to have custody of your child. Custody is determined based on your situation and on a case-by-case basis.

There are two different types of child custody in New York, called legal custody and physical custody.

What is Legal Custody?

In New York, there are two parts to legal custody – sole custody and joint custody.

Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal custody gives one parent the right and authority to make major decisions for your child. Your child would live with you and you will make decisions for things like:

  • Your child’s medical care.

  • Your child’s education.

  • Your child’s extracurricular activities.

  • Your child’s religious education.

As a parent with sole custody, your ex’s input would not be necessary for you to make decisions for your child. However, if you have joint legal custody, your ex would be more involved with the decision-making process.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint custody means you and your ex will share the roles and responsibilities of your child. Joint custody can also be given to other relatives with the right to make decisions for your child.

You and your ex will both make and agree on major decisions for your child together for things like their education, health care, religious education, and more.

Physical Custody

Physical custody means you are responsible for your child’s physical care and supervision. Physical custody can be joint and your child can have the opportunity to live with you and your ex an equal amount of time.

However, if a judge gives you sole physical custody of your child, then your child will most likely live with you more than 50% of the time. This means you will be their custodial parent and your ex would be the non-custodial parent: meaning you will need to negotiate a visitation schedule that works for both of you and your child.

What is Visitation?

Although you and your ex may have your own preferences and expectations for child custody, a judge would likely want to make sure both parents have access to your child by creating a visitation agreement. If your ex doesn’t have custody, they can request a visitation agreement in order to spend time with your kids. Visitation is likely to be granted unless there’s a reason not to, for example, if it’s not in the best interest of your child for their safety or well-being.

Visitation is separate from a custody agreement and can be filed separately during your custody case.

File Your Child Custody and Visitation Order

Are you getting a divorce and need the guidance of a child custody and visitation attorney? Our attorneys at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC have successfully helped families sort their custody disputes in a peaceful manner.

If you’re ready to begin filing paperwork to gain custody of your child, or to simply request a visitation agreement, reach us at (347) 848-1850 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.

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