A recent study published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (JECH) found that children of divorced parents do better when they spend time living with both parents. Time Magazine reported on the study, which broaches the heated issue of which type of custody arrangement is best.

 Supporting Statistics

According to the article, the results from the JECH study go against the current consensus that children who experience shared-custody family arrangements are exposed to more stress due to the constant moving. The JECH investigated national data of almost 150,000 sixth and ninth graders and studied various psychosomatic health factors. These included sleep issues, loss of appetite, headaches and stomach aches, feelings of tension, difficulty concentrating, dizziness and sadness, among others. The majority of the children lived in nuclear families (69%), while less than a quarter lived in joint-custody homes (19%) and the remainder (13%) lived in single-parent homes. While children in nuclear homes reported the least amount of issues, children living in joint-custody homes reported significantly fewer problems than their counterparts living in single-parent homes. The study also found that joint-custody homes tend to expose the child or children to more resources – whether financial, emotional, social or otherwise – then other family settings.

Child-Custody in New York

Child custody varies depending on the state, however, generally the following factors apply when determining this issue during a divorce proceeding under New York state law:

  • Parents have a superior right to custody over nonparents: under New York law, extraordinary circumstances must be shown in order for a nonparent to obtain custody of a child.
  • Physical custody differs from legal custody: despite no statutory distinction, it is important to understand the difference – physical custody is where the child resides, while legal custody refers to which parent has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child.
  • Types of custody: joint custody grants both parents equal decision making authority; temporary (pendente lite) custody is granted while the case is pending.
  • Best interest of the child: custody cases are very fact intensive and sensitive and, therefore, each case is decided on its own merits; the list of factors considered by the court when determining custody awards includes, but is not limited to:
    • The age, disability and physical health of the parents;
    • Whether domestic violence exists;
    • If existing informal or written custody arrangements exist;
    • Parents’ finances; and
    • Any findings of child neglect/abuse.

Experienced Child Custody Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing divorce and facing child custody decisions, it is important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable child custody attorney right away. Divorce can be an emotional and stressful time for families; especially for the children involved. The skilled child attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm have provided legal advice to clients in the Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan and Long Island areas for years. Call today (718)-233-2903 to schedule your initial consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Brooklyn, New York Trial Attorney Practicing Family Law, Elder Law, Asset Protection and Bankruptcy Claims
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