WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO OBTAIN CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILDREN?

Best interest of the child is the test used in the family and supreme courts of the State of New York to determine custody of minors. The parent who presents the best evidence of providing a stable and loving home will be advantaged in any child custody dispute. In New York State, neither party has an automatic right to custody of children. To seek custody in New York, the child(ren) must have lived in state for six months before you can file a custody petition. New York Courts inquire as to who is the primary caretaker of the child(ren): the one who feeds, dresses, drives them to school, changes diapers and brings them to medical appointments. If both parents share these responsibilities equally, both are considered equal caretakers of the child(ren). The court also evaluates the fitness of the parent to take care of the child(ren): whether there are issues with alcohol or drugs or unpredictable behaviors that may negatively impact on the child(ren). History of domestic violence is also considered in determining custody and visitation. Where there is a history of behavior that is particularly worrisome, supervised visitation may be the only kind of visitation ordered by the court. An attorney for the child is immediately appointed to represent the child(ren) upon the filing of a custody or visitation petition. The attorney for the child meets with the child(ren) and speaks with the parents and/or their attorneys and makes recommendations to the court pertaining to the welfare of the child(ren). In cases where both parents are able to communicate well and agree a significant percentage of the time,...