When Long Island area parents decide they no longer are able to be together and their marriage is heading for a divorce they have often already been down a tough road. There are many important matters that need to be worked through in a divorce. Oftentimes emotions are high and feelings can get in the way of making important decisions. When children are involved, everyone can feel the strain. Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues of a divorce and it can help for parents to understand how child custody is awarded.
Physical and legal custody
In New York there are two types of child custody, physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions for the child over matters like schooling, health care, and religion. Sole legal custody means one parent has all the decision-making authority while joint legal custody means both parents work together to make important decisions.
Physical custody refers to the amount of time the child will spend with each parent. Joint physical custody means the child will evenly spend time with each parent. Sole physical custody means the child spends most of the time with one parent and the other parent may have visitation awarded.
When determining child custody, the courts look at a number of factors but always make their decision on the best interests of the child. These factors include:
- How much time the child spends with each parent.
- Where the child has been primarily residing.
- Any history of domestic violence.
- If one parent is better equipped to handle the emotional and intellectual development of the child.
- If parental alienation is involved.
- Home environment of each parent.
- Ability of each parent to care for the child.
- Mental and physical health and stability of each parent
A legal professional who is skilled in child custody can help their client understand their options when it comes to child custody and can help them through crafting a child custody agreement that works for everyone.