New York Child Custody
Chapter 14 of the New York Consolidated Laws contains the laws that govern domestic issues. Under this umbrella of laws, the state has included guidelines and rules about child custody. A parent involved in a custody situation should learn these laws–especially the ones that relate to the creation of New York parenting plan.
A very important law in the New York Family Code is the Social Services Law. This law specifically states that the mother and father have an equal right to custody of the children. Neither parent should presume that custody will be granted to them because they are the mother or father of the child. New York also gives parents an option to have joint custody if that is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody means that each parent shares in the responsibility of raising the child by making decisions and providing physical care. A joint New York custody schedule doesn’t mean that both parents get exactly equal time with the children.
Chapter 14 in the Consolidated Laws gives the state of New York authority over child custody matters. This means that the state court has the authority to determine custody arrangements. The best situation would be a mother and father cooperating on a New York custody agreement so that both parents are happy with the end result. However, if that isn’t a possibility, this law gives the power to a judge to make the final decision about the custodial parent, visitation time, legal custody, etc.
The law requires that any custody decision must be made with the child’s best welfare in mind. Some of the factors the judge will consider when determining what is in the child’s best interest are: the parenting skills of each parent, the role each parent played before the separation, the preference of the child, the relationship between the child and parents and siblings, if there has been a history of domestic violence, if the parents are able to get along, etc. The mother and father should consider these factors as they create a New York visitation schedule. The parents will need to show the court how the schedule benefits and provides for the needs of the child.
Once the judge has accepted a plan or schedule, it becomes a custody order. The custody order is a legal document and the court has power to enforce it. If the parents do not follow the order, they can be held in contempt of court.