Child custody is one of the most emotional issues for divorcing couples in New York. It’s important to have answers to the most frequently asked questions about the topic.
What are the laws of child custody?
Child custody laws oversee what happens pertaining to the custody of the children after a divorce or separation between their parents. It determines what type of custody each parent gets and outlines the rights of each parent based on their custody and visitation rights.
How does the court determine child custody?
In family court, a judge makes the decision about child custody based on what’s in the best interests of the child. The judge will determine whether it’s better for the child to be placed in the sole custody of one parent or if it’s better for each parent to receive joint physical custody. Sometimes, a judge might even decide that a third party should get custody based on the parents being absent from the child’s life or due to other serious reasons.
What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
Legal custody means that the parent has the right to make all important decisions that affect the child. Physical custody involves where the child lives. While it’s unusual, a parent who has physical custody might not be the one who has legal custody.
How is visitation decided?
The court determines visitation and decides whether they should be supervised or unsupervised. For example, if the parent who has visitation has a history of abuse, a substance use disorder or has spent time in prison, the court might decide that supervised visitation is appropriate. Visitation as a whole is decided if the court finds that it’s in the best interest of the child.
Custody can be made easier when couples negotiate a parenting plan that benefits all parties.