Child Custody Laws in the New York State

Child custody

After parents’ divorce, a child needs a guardian to care for him/her. Child Custody Laws in New York State ensure that the child is protected and that both parents are able to relate to the child. In New York, neither parent has preferred right to custody over their child; either parent can apply for custody in family court. The court makes custody decisions in the best interest of the child.

Types of child custody

There are three types of child custody in New York:

Legal custody: A parent who has legal custody makes important decisions in a child’s life like education, religion and medical care.Often, parents share legal custody, which means that they discuss on important decisions in the child’s life, although one may give the final decision.

Physical custody: Physical custody determines which parent the child will live with. Sometimes one parent watches over the child on weekdays and the other parent on weekends.

Sole and Joint custody: Sole custody means that only one parent has custody over the child while in joint custody, both parents have custody over the child.

How the court decides on child custody

Child custody decisions are based on the standard of best interest of the child. The court considers the following:

  • The primary caretaker of the child, who spends most time with the child.
  • The parent who has physical custody of the child during the custody application.
  • The parent’s ability to care for the child.
  • Each parent’s mental health and physical well being.
  • History of domestic violence in the family.
  • If the parents are able to cooperate with each other.
  • The child’s desires; this depends on their age.

Visitation rights in New York

  • The parent who does not have physical custody of the child can get frequent and meaningful visitation.
  • Visitation rights can be denied if they cause harm to the child. Abusive parents can be supervised with day time visitations.
  • Grandparents and other non-parents are permitted to petition a court for visitation. Siblings may petition the court in the same way.

Custody and visitation can change based on important issues that affect the child’s interest or as the child grows older.

For advice and assistance on applying for child custody, Contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C, experienced family lawyers in the New York area. Call us at (845) 459-0001/201 690 7735 /800 711 5258


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