Child custody can be a hot-button issue during many divorces. Parents are understandably concerned about the amount of time they will get to spend with their children following divorce. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about child custody, it is helpful to be familiar with the factors New York courts use to determine child custody.
In all decisions related to child custody, the court bases its decision on its determination of the best interests of the child. Other factors used to determine child custody include:
- Which parent has served as the main caregiver or nurturer to the child.
- The parenting skills of each parent, including the strengths and weaknesses of each and their ability to care for any special needs the child has.
- The mental and physical health of each of the parents.
- If there has been any domestic violence in the family.
- The work schedules of each of the parents and the childcare plan of each of the parents.
- The child’s relationships with siblings and members of the rest of their family.
- The wishes of the child, depending on the child’s age.
- The ability of each of the parents to cooperate with one another and encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parent provided it is safe for them to do so.
Courts don’t necessarily favor mothers or fathers
Neither parent is automatically granted preference in child custody decisions. The family law court will use the factors above to determine which parent is best suited to provide for the child’s best interests, health and safety. If you have concerns about your child custody arrangement, you should be familiar with how child custody is decided and the family law tools available that may help you address your concerns.