Child Custody in New York

Child Custody in New York

One of the most trying parts of going through a divorce is the involvement of any children. While divorce drastically impacts an entire family, it ultimately changes the entire upbringing of kids. While some parents can come to certain agreements, others have more difficulty deciding how to proceed with their children. When this happens, a parent may seek legal counsel to advise them on how to handle their custody arrangements. In the state of New York, there are different types of custody options for parents to consider.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, occasionally referred to as residential custody, determines which parent the child spends the majority of their time with. The parent that has physical custody is in charge of the residence, daily routine, and care of the child. This parent is often referred to as the “custodial parent” or “primary caretaker.”

Legal Custody

In addition to determining the residency of a child, it is also crucial to fight for legal custody of a child to maintain a parental relationship. The concept of legal custody handles the amount of influence a parent has in their child’s life. This allows a parent to be involved in all decisions that are made for the child. These decisions may consist of health care, academics, religious practices, and the wellbeing of the child. While sole legal custody is sometimes possible, it is not always the case. It may be awarded in the case of an “unfit” parent, who is seemed to not have the child’s best interest at heart or believed to possibly endanger the child. It is important to note that even in this case, the other party is still entitled to limited visitation rights.

Factors Considered

While working through a custody arrangement, the judge always makes a decision based on the child’s best interest. There is a set of determining factors that are taken into consideration. Before coming to a decision, the judge may consider the following:

  • The child’s age
  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver
  • If a parent can provide the child with stability
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Possible history of domestic violence, abuse, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse
  • The child’s preference is they are of a certain age


In the state of New York, courts often prefer that parents come to a mutual agreement on the custody of their child. This may result in the suggestion of a mediator in the case. A mediator can aid parents in finding common ground for a custody arrangement. This creates a space for both parents to participate in the process. Mediation is free, private, and voluntary.


If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal counsel for custody arrangements, contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. today.

The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. understands that divorce and family law matters can be very complicated and emotional. They require strong legal representation from a compassionate attorney. Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.

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