Does a NY Judge Have to Account for a Child’s Custody Preference?

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When it comes to custody arrangements, it is normal to have a lot of questions. In fact, your child may have questions as well. Custody is an incredibly important decision, and as a result, your child may want to weigh in. After all, his or her day-to-day life will be heavily impacted by the deicision. Read on to learn more about how child custody is determined in New York and what to do if your child has a preference when it comes to your custody arrangement.

How does a judge determine custody in New York?

When making a decision about custody, a judge is working to do what is in the child’s best interest. Additionally, it is important that the child’s standard of living is the same as, or better than, before the divorce. In order to make a decision about custody, a New York judge may examine some of the following factors.

  • The parents’ ability to communicate, cooperate and agree regarding matters of the child
  • The parent’s willingness to accept custody and any unwillingness to allow parenting time
  • The relationship of the child with their parents and siblings
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The safety of the child and the safety of one parent from another
  • The child’s needs
  • The stability of the home environment
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The fitness of both parents
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • The parents’ employment responsibilities

What if my child has a preference?

It is not uncommon for a child to have a preference when it comes to a custody arrangement. For example, if a child has a closer relationship with one parent, prefers a parent’s house, etc. he or she may express this to the court. However, a New York judge is not obligated to take this into account when making a decision about custody. Many judges will consider a child’s preference if the child is mature and of an appropriate age, but again, it is not a legal requirement.

Our firm is here to advocate for you and your child. Reach out today to discuss your options with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.


Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. Our firm understands the impact a divorce can have on your life. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, please do not hesitate to contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.

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