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New York Custody Process

If you live in New York and are going through the child custody process, you know that it can be a trying, uncomfortable time. With the services of a trustworthy, effective New York child custody lawyer, and some background information about the process, you can take comfort in knowing that you are doing exactly what is needed for custody of your children.

How does the custody process work?

  • The process starts when a petition for an order of custody is filed in Family Court, either by you, or on your behalf by your New York child custody lawyer.
  • An order of custody grants responsibility for childcare and control to one parent, both parents or to a third party.
  • Any parent, grandparent, or other person with a considerable relationship to the child can file an order of custody.
  • If both parties are able to reach a prior agreement about the custody arrangement, the judge can hear testimony and enter an order of custody on consent, avoiding a full hearing.
  • If the parties cannot agree, a hearing takes place, during which each party issues testimony as to why they should receive custody. The court will consider that testimony, along with added evidence as needed, and make a decision based on the child’s best interests.
  • At any time, either party is able to formally request that the custody order be changed due to a substantial change in situation. The court will then judge based on the best interests of the child.

What are the types of child custody in New York?

  • Physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with.
  • Legal custody refers to the ability of each party to make important decisions in the child’s life.
  • Joint custody is an arrangement in which parties share legal custody of the child, and is typically only issued when the parties demonstrate that they can effectively work together.

What goes into custody decisions?

  • The age, availability, and physical state of parties all influence custody decisions. In addition, alcohol and drug use, mental health, finances, the preference of the child, prior primary caretaker arrangements and custody of siblings all contribute to the decision, which is ultimately based on the child’s best interests.

If you are facing the custody process, it is vital to obtain the services of an experienced, knowledgeable New York child custody lawyer to ensure that your child’s best interests are served.