Does the court consider a child’s parental preference when determining a child custody order in New York?

Does the court consider a child’s parental preference when determining a child custody order in New York?

child custody parents fighting over child

If you are getting a divorce and there are children involved, you will have to figure out a child custody arrangement. If you and your spouse cannot reach a mutual agreement on child custody, the issue will have to be settled in court. Child custody is often a contested issue, which causes parents to wonder what factors could affect whether the court grants sole or joint custody. Many wonder whether a child’s parental preference could affect whether they are awarded custody. If you want to understand how your child’s expression of parental preference will affect a judge’s child custody order, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined Nassau County Child Custody Attorney. 

How does child custody work in New York?

In New York, there are two types of child custody. Sole custody is when one parent is awarded custody. Sole custody may mean that the other parent can see their child through court-ordered visitations or not at all. Joint custody, on the other hand, is when both parties are granted custody. The court tends to grant joint custody, if possible, as they find it is in a child’s best interest to be nurtured by both parents. In some cases, one parent may be deemed “unfit” as their actions can be harmful to their child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this case, sole custody would be granted to preserve the child’s best interests and maintain their overall well-being. Ultimately, when it comes to child custody, the court’s biggest concern is the child’s best interests. Moreover, when determining a child custody arrangement, the court will have to assign legal and physical custody. Parents with legal custody have the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s life such as their religious practices, school, education, and health care. Parents with physical custody are the ones who the child lives with. Parents with physical custody are referred to as custodial parents. The court will determine several pertinent factors when determining custody including the child’s age, the quality of each parent’s home, and the mental state of each parent. However, as mentioned above, their primary concern is ensuring the custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

Can my child talk to the judge about what they want?

Furthermore, another factor the judge can take into account to determine custody is the child’s parental preference. Many wonder whether the court will consider an expression of parental preference from a child. In New York, the judge can consider a child’s parental preference to determine custody. However, there are more factors weighed than just the child’s wishes. Typically, older children’s parental preferences weigh more heavily on the court as they can form their own independent decisions. The court rarely considers younger children’s parental preferences as they are not able to form their own decisions they can easily be manipulated by a parent to express a certain preference. Ultimately, the court can take into account a child’s parental preferences regarding custody. Nevertheless, it is not the only factor considered by a judge.

If you are seeking custody of your child, it is imperative to have the right legal representation. Our firm is committed to helping our clients get sole or joint custody of their children. Moreover, we are dedicated to ensuring your child’s best interests are prioritized. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today.


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