Getting a divorce is challenging for any family, as it inevitably changes the dynamics of a home. This is especially true for children who may not understand the full implications of divorce. However, child custody is a highly contested issue that many families face, as parents will want their children full-time. If you’re unsure how custody is determined in New York, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll also discover how a Nassau County child custody lawyer can help secure your child’s best interest.
How Is Custody Determined in New York?
In New York, child custody is not a 50/50 default judgment. Though it seems unfair that each parent wouldn’t get equal custody of the child, this is because the judge and courts will examine several factors to award custody.
Generally, the judge will start by examining the case through an unbiased lens. This is to ensure that the decision is completely fair and unbiased toward one parent. However, the judge will review all the factors that can impact their decision.
The elements that a judge will examine, include the following:
- The child’s emotional attachment to each parent
- Where the child primarily resides
- If there is a history of violence or substance abuse with either parent
- The parent’s career
- The ability of each parent to provide a nurturing home
- How many siblings, and if they should be kept together
Though these are not the only factors that will be considered, these are some of the most significant elements that the courts will examine.
Also, if a child is old enough, typically in their teenage years, they may express a preference of which parent they would like to reside with. Given the child’s emotionally mature enough, their opinion will hold weight.
While 50/50 custody may seem like the fairest arrangement, the court doesn’t care about fairness for the parents. Instead, the judge’s primary concern is ensuring that the child’s best interest is prioritized and guaranteeing the custody arrangement reflects the child’s needs. For some, this may be a joint custody arrangement.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Some families can work out child custody on amicable terms, especially if the divorce is a mutual decision. However, some parents will have drastically different ideals about what is best for the child, meaning there is no way to reach an agreement.
If you know your spouse plans on moving or has a history of violence or substance abuse, ensuring you have an attorney is essential. This is vital to shielding your children from being uprooted or subjected to violence.
When you need assistance during your custody battle, we can help. At Barrows Levy, we can examine all the evidence to help you navigate your child custody case. We will work to ensure your child’s best interest is prioritized.