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Child custody cases in New York are governed by statutes and case law. Those laws require the judge in a child custody case to consider certain factors and order a custody schedule that is in the best interest of the children. Bronx child custody attorneys can provide legal representation to parents in child custody cases to help pursue the custody schedule they seek to obtain.

What factors does a judge consider in a child custody case?
In every child custody case, the judge is required to consider any relevant factor. The law requires the judge to consider some specific factors. These include the following:

1)The wishes of the parents: the judge will consider the custody schedule and concerns expressed by each of the parents. The motivation behind why the parent is requesting that schedule is also a relevant factor.

2) The children’s wishes: the court will consider the wishes of the children as to custody, provided the child has sufficient maturity to express and articulate the reasons for their wishes. In general, the court will give more weight to the wishes of older children than younger children. The court will also consider the reasons behind the child’s wishes, also whether the expressed wishes have been wrongfully influenced by a parent.

3) The character of the parties: the court may consider the character of each of the parties. This includes consideration regarding any criminal conduct of either party or other type of wrongdoing. The court may also consider issues related to the credibility of the parties. Criminal records and evidence of other conduct related to character may be presented to the court.

4) The circumstances of the parties: the court may consider the financial situation of each of the parties, job schedules, availability to provide care for the children, physical limitations, mental issues, and any other circumstance that may have an impact on the party’s ability to parent their children.

5) The relationship of the children to the parties and others: evidence related to the historical relationship of the children to the parents, siblings, step siblings, and other family members may be relevant to a child custody case. For example, if one of the parents has traditionally been the primary caretaker of the children, then that factor would weigh in favor of that parent.

6) Stability and continuity: an important factor the court considers in a child custody case is the desire to promote stability and continuity in the lives of the children. Preserving the status quo for the children and the routine that they know may be important in any case. Further, the ability of a parent to provide a consistent living environment and reduce the chance of uncertainty is important.

7) Domestic violence: consideration must also be give to whether there have been any acts or threats of domestic violence from either of the parties. This includes incidents that did not result in formal criminal charges.

8) Substance abuse: because substance abuse may affect a parent’s ability to provide their full attention to the children, the court may consider alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and prescription drug abuse in a child custody case. In some situations, the court may require drug or alcohol testing as a condition of visitation.

What custody schedule with the court order?
After considering the relevant factors, the court will order a custody schedule for the parties to follow. If the court orders a joint custody schedule, then the parties will each have a significant amount of time with the children. In situations where there is a risk of abuse or neglect, the court may require one of the parents to have supervised visitation. The court may include additional provisions setting forth various requirements for the parents to follow, including limitations on relocation, requirements to provide information to the other parent, limitations on who the children can associate with, and so on.

How can Bronx child custody attorney help?
Parents who are needing to establish a child custody order or modify an existing order should contact a child custody attorney for legal representation. A child custody attorney can help present a parent’s case to the court and provide evidence to support your position. A child custody attorney can explain how the law applies to your situation and assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. An attorney will advocate on your behalf and file the necessary paperwork to pursue the custody schedule and specific provisions that you desire.

Contact a Bronx child custody attorney as soon as possible if you have questions about child custody in New York or seek to retain legal counsel.

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