If you have children, custody is one of the most vital questions to address during a divorce. New York state law operates on the assumption that regular and meaningful contact with both parents serves a child’s best interests. While many people may assume that the courts will favor the mother when granting custody, neither parent receives prejudicial preference under New York law. Fathers can win custody of their children.
Understanding how judges make custody decisions will help you know what to expect during this aspect of your divorce proceedings.
How Do Courts Determine Custody?
Courts base their decisions in each child custody case on the merits of the situation. Ideally, the spouses create a parenting schedule between themselves, which they will submit to the judge for approval. In cases where the parents are unable to agree, the court will order custody.
When determining child custody, the judge will consider the child’s best interests. This consideration will include the following factors:
- Which spouse serves as the child’s main caregiver
- Each spouse’s strengths and limitations as a parent
- Each spouse’s capacity to meet any special needs the child may have
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- Any instances of domestic violence in the family
- The parents’ work schedules
- Distance between the parents’ homes
- The child’s relationships with other family members, including siblings
If the child is old enough or has a sufficient level of maturity, the judge may also consider the child’s preferences.
Factors That Can Work in the Father’s Favor
In many New York custody cases, the court will award primary custody to one parent while the other parent will have regular visitation rights. As a father, you are more likely to receive custody of your child if:
- You were a stay-at-home parent before you separated from your spouse
- Your work schedule provides you with more time to perform parenting duties than your spouse’s schedule does
- Your child is old enough to express a genuine preference to live with you
While none of the above factors guarantees that you will win custody of your child, they can demonstrate to the court that living with you might be in the child’s best interests. An experienced New York child custody lawyer can help you understand how to present the strongest possible case.
Reasons a Judge Might Change Custody
A New York court will consider a change to custody orders if you can demonstrate that a substantial change of circumstances has occurred since the previous order. These changes might include:
- One parent moving a great distance away
- Significant changes to one parent’s work schedule
- Abuse or neglect of the child
- A parent has developed a substance abuse issue
- The child is struggling with health or education
- A parent has failed to comply with court orders
- The child is old enough to express a desire for a custody change
If a substantial change has happened, the court will reevaluate the original order. A skilled New York child custody attorney will fight to have the change resolved in your favor.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm
Are you a father who wishes to win custody in New York? Speak with an experienced New York City family law attorney. The knowledgeable legal team at The Mandel Law Firm is committed to preserving parents’ rights and ensuring that their children have an opportunity to thrive. We will provide you with clear guidance every step of the way, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf in court if necessary.
Call us today at (646) 770-3868 or contact us online for a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you.