What to Know About Child Custody in NY

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A divorce can be an incredibly complex process. One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce is often child custody. Custody can be a subject of great contention because parents often feel strongly about their children and may have vastly different opinions when it comes to what is best. To make the child custody process easier, it is important to educate yourself about your various options and the road ahead. Read on to learn more about how child custody is determined in New York.

What are the Types of Custody?

The two main types of custody in New York are physical and legal custody.

  • Physical custody: The child will mainly reside with the parent who is awarded physical custody. Sometimes, one parent has the child for more time, but other times, parents will split the time evenly, resulting in joint physical custody.
  • Legal custody: This refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions regarding the child. These decisions may include choices about academics, religion, and medical options. It is important to note that even if a parent does not have physical custody, he or she can still have legal custody. Legal custody can be awarded to one or both parents.

In rare cases, a parent will be deemed unfit and sole custody will be awarded to the fit parent. This does not happen often, and New York State courts believe it is in the best interest of the child to have some form of relationship with both parents.

Sole custody may be awarded to a parent if the other parent has a history of domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse. Even in cases where sole custody is awarded, the unfit parent may be able to obtain visitation rights to maintain a relationship with his or her child.

What Factors Determine Custody?

Because custody is such an important decision, there are many factors that come into play. When determining child custody, the court may consider the following:

  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • If the parent can provide a stable home
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Any history of domestic abuse or substance abuse
  • The mental and physical health of the parent
  • The work schedule and lifestyle of the parent
  • The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age

We understand that child custody can be a sensitive topic and we are here to help guide you through the process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody in New York, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C.


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.

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We have an excellent AVVO rating from our many happy clients

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We offer aggressive and effective representation

We treat our clients with the compassion, patience, and respect that they deserve

We have more than 20 years of dedicated legal experience

We have the legal knowledge necessary to help you obtain the outcome you desire

We tailor our practice to the representation of your divorce case

What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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