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Understanding Child Custody in New York State: The Basics

Harding Law Firm - Tuesday, March 11, 2014
child custody

What does the word “Custody” actually mean in New York?

Understanding child custody can be difficult and confusing in New York State. But for the sake of your children or child and their overall well-being, it’s vital to have at least a comfortable understanding.

First, know is that Custody has two (2) parts in New York. The first part is Legal custody which refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions for a child. The second part is Physical custody which refers to the place where the child resides. The term ‘primary physical custody’ usually refers to the parent who has physical possession of the child more than 50% of the time. The day-to-day decisions that impact the child are usually made by the parent who has physical custody.

Another important thing to understand is that there are various types of custody that can be awarded by a judge.

1. “joint legal custody” which refers to a situation where the child’s parents have the right and responsibility to make major decisions, such as those affecting religion, education and elective health care regarding the child together.

2. “sole legal custody” which is when just one parent has the right to make those decisions for the child.

How do courts in New York State decide custody disputes?

Courts decide this issue by considering many factors, including the parent’s work schedules, parenting skills, the mental and physical health of each parent, history of domestic violence, and depending on age, the child’s wishes. However, a primary consideration is which parent has a history of providing the primary care for the child.

When custody disputes arise, trust The Harding Law Firm to help you navigate your way through this difficult process.

If you’d like more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at 518-384-3400 or email us directly.