When a divorce involves children, in the eyes of the court and the parents, the children become one of the most important pieces in maneuvering the terms of the divorce. Almost all parents want the rights to their children and want only what’s best for them. And so do the courts. In order to insure the best for your children it is important to peacefully sort out child custody.
There are two main types of child custody, physical and legal. Physical custody, or residential custody, determines who the child lives with. Legal custody on the other hand determines which parent makes major life decisions involving the child in question. Both types can be shared between parents or can be given to only one parent and is referred to as sole physical or legal custody. Child custody can also by joint, in which both parents have that certain type of custody. For example, if the child is to live with both parents and switches between locations, this can be referred to as joint physical custody. This type of joint physical custody is uncommon since living in two different residences is usually not in the best interest of the child – sleep in one bed one night and a different bed the next is not good for children. Also, if the parents have joint legal custody and live far apart then the child may have difficulty maintaining continuity in schooling.
When the court decides on the terms of child custody, many variables are considered. All these variables are seen to make certain that the parents are fit to take care of the child and that the decisions they make would be in the best interest of the child – this in fact is the stated standard that the New York courts uphold, the “best interests of the child.” They care more about this standard than the individual parents. The court may consider the parents’ health, finances, availability, alcohol and drug use, and much more. If a parent were to fight for sole custody they would use these variables against the other person to prove them unfit as a parent. However, it can be difficult to acquire sole custody without good reason, since the court always hopes to have both parents involved in the child’s life. It is very difficult to strip a parent of his biological rights to be a parent against their wishes.
The child’s birth parents are typically the individuals that are offered a chance at child custody; however it is possible that people that do not hold this title may still be considered for custody, such as grandparent or qualified aunt or uncle. If the child has a figure in their lives that acts as a parent or holds a role similar to that, they may also be considered for custody.
If you are interested in finding out more about child custody and any matrimonial issues, contact our office at 718-539-1100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.