Child Custody in New York

Going through the process of a divorce is an emotional and difficult situation that burdens an entire family. When a couple ends their marriage, several aspects of their children’s lives are brought into question. While some parents can come to a civil custody agreement, others struggle with the situation. If those parents cannot come to arrangements on their own, they sometimes seek legal action to resolve the issue. In the state of New York, there are two different types of custody arrangements for parents.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines which parent the child spends most of their time with. Also known as residential custody, this deals with the residence, daily routine, and care of the child. When an individual is awarded physical custody of a child, they are what is known as the primary caretaker. Sole custody may be awarded in the case of an “unfit” parent who is believed to endanger the child. In an event of this, the other parent is still allowed visitation rights even though they are limited.

Legal Custody

While a child might spend more of their time with one parent than another, the concept of legal custody addresses the matter of influence in their life. Legal custody is the right for a parent to be involved in the decision-making process for their child. These decisions may include, health care, academics, religion, and the wellbeing of the child. While it is ideal to have both parents involved in the child’s life, this may not be possible in all cases. Some cases call for one individual to make all the decisions in their child’s life without the input of the other parent.

Factors to be Considered

When determining the right custody arrangement for a family, the judge always acts in the best interest of the child. It is often the case that both parents believe they are the best option for their child. While they both have equal rights to their child, certain factors are taken into consideration when coming to a conclusion of custody. This may include:

  • If a parent can provide stability in the child’s current life (home, school, activities, etc)
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Both parents’ work schedule and lifestyle
  • Any history of domestic violence and abuse
  • Any history of alcohol and drug abuse
  • The health of both parents as well as the child
  • The child’s preference


If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal counsel for custody arrangements, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.