After the divorce or separation of parents in New York, it is imperative that the children of the failed relationship are looked after and provided with as much support as possible. To this end the courts of the state seek to preserve the children's best interests when they make decisions regarding their custody. A number of factors are considered when courts decide how the custody of children should be managed, and their decisions may result in a variety of different child custody outcomes.
First, courts will look into factors related to how able the parents are to care for their children. They may consider the parents' work commitments as well as their physical and mental capacities to care for their children while on their own. If there is evidence of violence perpetrated by either of the parents that may weigh against a parent having custodial rights, but as with all legal matters individuals should seek their own counsel as different cases may result in different outcomes.
Second, courts will investigate if the children have any preferences toward being under the custody of one parent or the other. However, the age of the child or children will weigh heavily on whether these preferences are honored by the courts.
After considering the subjective factors related to a case a court will decide the legal and physical custody of the children. Both types of custody may be awarded jointly to both parents or may be granted exclusively to one parent. If exclusive physical custody is given to one parent the other parent may be able to secure visitation rights with their children.
Child custody orders can look very different from case to case, and readers with questions about custody should speak with a family law attorney. Lawyers in this field are prepared to provide client-specific guidance on the many factors that can influence a child custody outcome.