Divorce and child custody cases in New York tend to involve unique situations that call for tailored solutions within the legal framework. In cases of unmarried parents, the dynamics may include additional challenges.

A look at some aspects of the New York courts reveals insights into the legal process.

A decision from the appellate division

A recent case published at NYcourts.gov involves a modification of a Family Court order regarding the visitation rights and schedules of the father. Case facts include the following pertinent information: the father and mother never married, the courts awarded joint legal custody with physical custody to the mother and the court set up a schedule of visitations for the father. The appeal by the father sought a modification of the original visitation schedule as well as equal physical custody. The appeals court, considering the best interests of the child, heard the facts of the case and considered the totality of the circumstances. The court ruled to increase the father’s visitation rights, but did not agree that the father should receive equal physical custody.

An overview of the Family Court

The website at NYcourts.gov states that Family Court and the Supreme Court of New York usually handle cases involving children and families. These courts make decisions in the following large areas: adoption, child custody and visitation, paternity, divorce and child support. The custodial parent has responsibility for the child until the child reaches 18-years of age. A custody hearing occurs when parents do not agree on who gets custody of the child. Participants in the hearing could include the judge, witnesses, caseworkers, an attorney for the child and attorney for each parent. The goal of the hearing is to make a decision in the best interests of the child.