Child custody decisions are often the most difficult family court issues to resolve. The state of New York encourages parents to develop a parenting plan and to both be involved in maintaining relationships with their children. When parents cannot agree on custody and visitation, the court will hold a hearing where both parents can present evidence. Then, the court will make custody and visitation orders it feels are in the best interest of the children.
“The Best Interest of the Child” is the key element in any custody case. Some factors the court considers include, but are not limited to:
- Which parent is currently the primary caretaker. This means which parent spends the most time with the children and the one the children turn to when they need something.
- The relationship the children have with each parent. For example, which parent stays home with the children when they are sick? Which parent helps with homework?
- How will certain custody arrangements affect other family relationships such as those with siblings, step-siblings or grandparents?
- Will the children have to relocate to a different house or school district?
- Are there any domestic or child abuse issues?
- Does either parent have alcohol or drug abuse problems?
- Is one parent more likely to encourage a relationship with a noncustodial parent than the other one?
- Preference of the child, depending on the age. This is not controlling, but the court may consider the preference as evidence.
- The capacity of each parent to provide for all the needs of the children.
The court will also accept evidence from any relevant source such as from friends, relatives, teachers and experts. When custody is established, the court also encourages liberal visitation with the noncustodial parent. If the parents cannot agree on a schedule, the court will make routine visitation orders.
Call the Law Office of Shari B. Rackman for help in pursuing custody and visitation. She has the experience you need to advocate for your rights and for your child’s future.