Perhaps the biggest issue that people face in divorce proceedings is getting child custody. In New York, child custody is determined by the policy of “the best interests of the child.” Most frequently, child custody is awarded to one of the parents of the child.
In the context of a divorce proceeding, both parties may come to an agreement for who gets custody of the child, whether it be joint legal custody, sole custody, and which parent has physical custody of the child.
What does the term, “the best interest of the child” mean?
If the parties cannot agree on child custody, the court may intervene and determine child custody for the parties under the policy of “the best interest of the child.”
Usually, the court will weigh various factors in order to determine which parent should receive custody, such as the parenting skills of each parent, the physical and mental health of the parents, work schedules and childcare plans of each parent, etc. Most often, child custody cases are highly fact-specific.
Very often, the noncustodial parent has the right to visitation of the child. Thus, the parties may agree upon a visitation schedule, or the court may determine a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent, which may be a specific visitation schedule.
One common issue regarding visitation is the case in which the custodial parent wishes to move with the child that disrupts the noncustodial parent’s right to visitation. In these cases, the court will consider the policy of “the best interests of the child” and look at the economic, educational, and emotional benefits and detriments to the child of the move.