Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


New York Divorce Custody


While awarding custody in NYdivorce custody cases, the best interest of the child are given the top most priority. Custody is awarded to the child based on the welfare and safety of the child. Following guidelines are followed in child custody issues in NY:
  • The parent who is willing to offer the most stable environment to the child and a stable family unit is preferred during child custody.

  • NY divorce custody guidelines specify that custody is awarded considering the sex, age and physical/mental health of the child.

  • Courts also try to determine the physical and mental capability of the contesting parents regarding the raising up of the child. If a parent can prove in the court that the other parent is incapable of taking care of the child because he/she suffers from some physical ailment or is mentally unfit, then courts award custody of the child to the “fitter” parent.

  • NY courts also try to determine if there are any histories of child abuse or child neglect or physical violence in the family. If the child is a witness or is a victim of such an act committed by a parent, then the custody issue becomes more complicated. In such cases, joint custody to both the parents is not awarded at all. Courts may choose to award sole physical and legal custody to one parent only with supervised visitation rights to the other parent. If the presence of the “abusive” parent is found to be detrimental to the child, then courts may forfeit the visitation rights of that parent. However, child support is to be extended by that parent to meet the financial needs of the child.

  • Parental preference of the child is asked by courts handling NY divorce custody cases if the child is twelve and above, and if the judges consider that child to be mature and intelligent enough to voice his/her preferences. In such circumstances, courts try to determine if the child is under the influence of any parent or is being pressurized to voice a preference.

  • Courts may ask parents to participate in child custody evaluation, if the judges wish to understand the parent-child relationship in the family. Custody evaluators are mental health experts who try to analyze the parent-child relationships in the family and make suitable recommendations to the courts regarding the best custody arrangements in the given circumstances.

  • NY child support laws specify that both the incomes of the parents should be pooled together and a proportion of it needs to be extended as child support to meet the financial needs of the child. Child support figure can be arrived at after considering important factors such as number of children in the family, income sources of the parents, other obligations of the parents etc.


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