Family law courts in New York can set forth a variety of different custody plans that suit the varying needs of the different children who come through their chambers. In some cases, it may be appropriate to grant one parent the sole physical and legal custody of a child, while in others it may be appropriate to allow the parents to share both important forms of caring for their children. To this end decisions regarding physical custody must be based on the needs of the particular kids who will be subject to the orders' mandates.
At an earlier point in history, some courts sought to give parents joint physical custody as a preference, believing that children benefit from spending as much time as possible with both of their parents. However, due to the transient lifestyle that develops when a child is constantly shuttled from one home to the next, joint physical custody can be too much for certain kids to endure. As such, it is generally not a preference embraced by courts but still may be employed if it is in the children's best interests.
In cases where one parent is not capable of caring for a child, such as when they are incarcerated or affected by addiction, sole physical custody to the non-affected parent would be appropriate. Cases of child custody must be evaluated on their own merits and with the specific kids' needs in mind.
If a parent does not receive physical custody of their child then they may still have the opportunity to secure visitation time with them. Though visitation time is not the same as raising a child under one's own roof, it does allow parents and kids to build important bonds that may not otherwise be forged due to the familial circumstances surrounding them.