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A child custody order is the legal order that provides the framework for the child’s relationship with both of his or her parents after their divorce. The terms and processes used in child custody orders vary from state to state. In New York, custody is divided into two categories: legal custody, the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf regarding his or her medical care and other substantial aspects of his or her lifestyle and well being, and physical custody, the right to spend time with the child face-to-face.

Parents can share both types of custody, one parent can have one type solely and share the other type with the other parent, or one parent can solely hold both types of custody. The court considers various factors to determine which of these arrangements is in the child’s best interest.

Developing a Child Custody Order in New York

The court has to carefully consider all of a child’s needs and the environmental factors he or she faces to develop a custody order for him or her. In every state, the court follows a standard known as “the child’s best interest,” which basically means the best case scenario for the child after his or her parents’ divorce.

Factors the court considers to create this best case scenario include:

  • Which parent has more day-to-day involvement in the child’s life, which can mean helping with homework, arranging doctor appointments and administering medical care, providing meals for the child, and communicating with parties such as the child’s teacher and caregivers;
  • Each parent’s work schedule and child care plan;
  • Both parents’ willingness to cooperate with an established court order;
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence in either parent’s household;
  • If the child is old enough to articulate a well-reasoned preference, the child’s desire; and
  • Both parents’ mental and physical health.

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Strategies for Handling Child Custody Issues

The court cannot make its custody determination without evidence that shows the type of lifestyle the child and parents currently live. This is where your strategy for showing the court your fitness as a parent comes into play. To help the court make its determination, provide sufficient evidence that shows your strong relationship with your child and your ability to care for him or her, such as:

  • Testimonies from parties like your child’s teacher and pediatrician;
  • A copy of your work schedule and pay stub to show your financial ability to raise a child; and
  • If you are facing false allegations from your former partner, such as an alleged substance addiction or history of abuse, documents that can disprove these allegations like a clean drug test.

An Experienced Dutchess County Child Custody Lawyer can Protect your Custodial Rights

As a parent, having an appropriate child custody order in place is probably one of your top divorce priorities. Work with a family lawyer who can be your advocate and help you develop an effective legal strategy that provides a fair, consistent amount of time between you and your child. Contact our team at The Colwell Law Group, LLC today to set up your legal consultation with us.

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