When a New York family court judge determines how child custody and parenting time should be divided between two parents, he or she does so under the best interest of the child doctrine. While the parents may agree overall about what is in their child’s best interest, it is not uncommon in these situations for the parents to have disagreements about what those specific interests should be.
This means if the parents cannot come up with a fair agreement between the two of them, the judge will need to make that decision for them. The following are some of the factors judges consider when determining child custody.
Even though the parents will no longer be living in the same house, they still need to be able to effectively co-parent together. There is no denying that co-parents may have minor disagreements from time to time – even parents who are still married do not always agree on parenting decisions – but it is important that the court be assured that both parents have the ability to work through disagreements and make the compromises necessary to reach decisions they both agree on. If one parent is unable to do that and instead consistently works against the other parent, this could indicate to the court that the parent is not putting the child’s best interest ahead of the parent’s own agenda.
Emotional and Physical Capacity
Another factor the court will look at is whether both parents have the emotional and physical capacity to properly care for the child. For example, a parent who suffers from a substance abuse issue will likely be unable to provide the child with the stability and care they need.
Children need consistency in their lives to feel secure. Knowing what time their parent will be home every day from work, what time dinner will be, what time the child’s bedtime will be, and having a routine at bedtime are all important factors to helping a child thrive. If a parent is unable or unwilling to adjust their lifestyle to meet these needs, the court will take this into consideration and that parent’s chance of having custody could be greatly reduced.
Prior Domestic Violence
If a parent has a history of any prior domestic violence towards the other parent or the child, it is very unlikely that parent will be granted custody. In fact, the court will often grant that parent limited visitation with the child, and – depending on the circumstances of the violence – the court may even order the visitation be supervised.
Contact a Rockland County Family Lawyer
If you are facing a child custody battle, you need a skilled Hudson Valley Area custody attorney fighting to protect your parental rights. Call Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C. at 845-358-7100 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.