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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody in New York

DIVORCE ATTORNEY IN TROY, NY

Child custody NYAccording to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in the U.S. eventually end in divorce. Although divorce is a common experience, it is still a difficult and emotionally trying process for couples, especially when issues regarding child custody arise. However, understanding the basic components of the child custody process in New York may ease some of the uncertainty and frustration associated with this process.

 

HOW DO JOINT CUSTODY AND SOLE CUSTODY DIFFER?

The New York State Unified Court System states that there are two main parts to child custody. The first is legal custody and refers to who has the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child. The second, known as physical or residential custody, refers to where the child lives.

When a child’s legal custodian is determined, the court will decide whether one parent will receive sole custody or share custody with the other parent. In a joint custody situation, both parents make decisions regarding the child’s health, religion, education and other aspects of his or her life. In comparison, in a sole custody situation, only one parent has the right to make these decisions.

WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE COURT USE WHEN DETERMINING WHAT’S BEST FOR A CHILD?

When a court is in the process of creating a child custody order, they take into account a variety of different factors in order to determine what is best for the child. According to the New York State

Unified Court System, these include the following:

  • The mental and physical health of each of the parents.
  • Which parent has been mostly responsible for the care of the child up to this point.
  • The parenting strengths and weaknesses of each parent and their work schedules.
  • Any history of domestic violence in the family.

In some situations, the desires of the child are also considered by the court, but this often depends on how old he or she is.

CAN A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER BE CHANGED?

Once a couple’s divorce has been finalized and a child custody plan has been arranged, this order can be modified. To do this, the New York State Unified Court System states that a modification petition must be filed. However, a modification will only be granted if the court decides that the child’s circumstances have changed and that altering the order is what is best for the child.

Awaiting the creation of a child custody order or having this order modified can often be a stressful and ambiguous process for parents. In this situation, divorcing parents or currently divorced couples should meet with an attorney who can discuss the process and address their concerns.