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Child Custody Decisions: What’s in a Child’s Best Interest?

By The Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC on July 19, 2017

child-custody2Child custody issues in New York are usually the responsibility of the family courts. The family courts hear a broad scope of cases in addition to custody, including:

  • Adoptions
  • Delinquency
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Marriage filings
  • Cases involving child abuse or neglect
  • Paternity-related concerns, and more…

Child custody cases ultimately designate who will be assigned the responsibility to care for and raise the child.  The family court’s decision is issued in the form of an “order of custody.” Child custody can be ordered, modified, or terminated until the children are 18.

Two Types of Custody

Custody in New York is composed of two parts known as legal custody and physical custody:

  • Legal custody assigns responsibility to an individual for making key decisions relating to how the child is raised. Some of these decisions may commonly include educational options, medical and healthcare issues, and religious affiliation and activity. Legal custody can be classified in two ways:
    • Sole legal custody: One parent is designated as being responsible for these decisions.
    • Joint legal custody: Both parents make these decisions on behalf of the child together.
  • Physical custody is often referred to as residential custody, and is assigned to an individual who will be responsible for providing a home for the child, which entails day-to-day care and supervision. Physical custody orders are classified in a similar fashion to legal custody:
    • Sole physical custody: One parent or guardian provides housing and supervision over one-half of the time. The other parent or guardian is eligible to spend time with the child based on a visitation schedule.
    • Joint physical custody: Both parents or guardians share these responsibilities.

 In the Child’s Best Interest

The New York family courts have a responsibility to make custody decisions based on the child’s “best interest.” This term doesn’t have a formal definition, but is rather a decision that considers various factors, which may include:

  • Whether one parent is currently, or has been, the primary caretaker of the child, and evaluating how the arrangement has fared.
  • Any health concerns, either mental or physical, that may limit either party from effectively caring for the child.
  • Evaluating the practicality of the parents to care for the child based on their schedules and time availability.
  • The opinions or preferences that are expressed by the child.
  • The means and ability of the parent to provide adequate and safe housing, food, and access to education.
  • Whether the child has a sibling(s) that currently reside with one of the parents.

Child custody-related issues can be emotionally challenging. Are you are heading towards a divorce, in need of an adjustment to a parenting plan, or seeking to establish paternity for child? Contact the New York custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC, at (516) 227-5353 to schedule a consultation appointment today.

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Posted in: Child Custody

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