Defining the Best Interests of the Child: NY Custody Law

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When working through a divorce in New York, child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of the process for most parents. No matter what the state of the adult relationship is, both parents undoubtedly wish to not only maintain and encourage the relationship they have with their children, they also undoubtedly want only the best for them. Most parents believe sincerely that a relationship with them is part of the child’s best interests.

In general, the courts will agree, and in fact the “best interests of the child” are generally the main standard the court will follow if forced to determine a custody arrangement – if, for example, the parents cannot develop a custody agreement between them. If no agreement can be reached, be certain to consult with your NY Divorce Attorney to ensure you understand what “the best interests of the child” means in a New York court.

Best Interests

Unlike in many other legal matters, when it comes to determining child custody the courts have very wide discretion and can take many things into consideration. This is in recognition of the fact that every family, and thus every divorce, is different.

Some of the factors that can be considered include:

  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The children’s relationship with extended family, neighbors, or friends
  • The parents’ financial, temporal, and physical ability to care for the child
  • The relationship between the parents as perceived by the court

It is usually in each parent’s best interests to be cooperative and present a unified front to the court when it comes to child custody plans – it is in fact preferable that parents generate their own plan. The more positive you are the better.

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