New York Child Custody: Getting Sole Custody

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Child custody and visitation paperworkOnly a couple of states award sole child custody. Under New York child custody statutes, the court would always presume that continuous and regular contact with both parents in the child’s best interests. That is unless shown otherwise. That said, most states (including New York) favor joint child custody, except in cases when one of the parents is found unfit and a joint child custody arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest.

Child Custody Factors in New York

Courts take into account different factors that it deems relevant to a child’s best interests. In child custody cases where a parent is asking sole custody, the court would pay closer attention to the following factors:

  • Drug and/or Alcohol Use – Use or abuse of illegal drugs, habitual drunkenness, as well as DUI arrests could prohibit a parent from getting custody.
  • Mental and Physical Health – The custodial parent should be in the right state of mind and have sufficient energy to care for the child properly.
  • Availability – A custodial parent should be as present as much as possible to supervise the child’s welfare.
  • Child Abuse or Neglect – One of the most crucial evidence against an unfit parent is substantiated allegations of child abuse or neglect.
  • Domestic Abuse – A parent with a domestic violence conviction or subject to a protection order could be easily considered unfit by the court.
  • The Home Environment – The custodial parent should provide a healthy and safe home for the child.
  • Financial Capacity – This isn’t an extremely significant factor because the court could balance financial differences by ordering child support payments.
  • The Parents’ Age – Age isn’t a huge factor either unless there’s a substantial difference.

The Main Takeaway

If you’re concerned about your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s reliability as a parent and strongly believe that it would be best for your child that you get sole legal and/or physical custody, you should be prepared to show proof of your spouse’s unfitness, says many prominent divorce attorneys in Long Island.

Take note that it’s not necessary to take child custody disputes to court. In most instances, showing your readiness to take your case to court could persuade your spouse to go to mediation instead (especially if they’re guilty of things that could disqualify their custody rights) and work things out more amicably.

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