How Is Child Custody Determined in New York?

Watch the following educational legal video by experienced New York Divorce & Family Law Attorney Jennifer Arditi as she explains how child custody is determined in New York State.

New York State’s legal standard for determining custody is based on what is in the best interest of the child. Depending on the specifics of each case, the court considers a number of different factors when making that determination. A forensic evaluator may be appointed during the course of your trial, and that person will render an opinion regarding which parent should have primary physical custody and how parenting time should be split; however, the forensic evaluator’s report or opinion, on its own, is not determinative.

The court will listen to both parents, as well as any experts and witnesses who can shed light on the child’s circumstances. School witnesses can sometimes be very important in the court’s evaluation. After taking all of their testimony into consideration, the court will make its determination as to what will serve the child’s best interest. Several factors go into what constitutes the child’s best interest, and one that is becoming particularly important is the ability of one parent to foster a successful relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. If the court determines that the parent seeking custody is not in a position to do that – and has not demonstrated their ability and willingness to do so in the past – the likelihood that the child will be placed in the custody of the other parent is very strong.

Whether the issue is a divorce, spousal support, child custody and support, or domestic violence, we have the experience to guide you. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation at our office in the Maspeth neighborhood of Queens.


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