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Determining the Best Interests of the Child
How Is custody Decided in nY?
The dissolution of a marriage or a relationship can greatly affect any child directly involved. Therefore, it is important that it is done in a way in which there is minimal disruption to the child’s life. According to the New York Social Services Law §158, the child’s health and safety, above all else, is of utmost importance. After these primary concerns are met, the court will explore other dynamics of the parent’s home life.
Learn how you can protect your child's best interests: discuss your options in an initial case evaluation with our Long Island divorce attorneys!
A Birth's Parents Inherent Rights
It is desirable for a child to grow up in a stable home environment with a permanent residence and to remain with the birth parent. Generally, but not always, the child’s needs will be best met by residing with, and living under the supervision of, the birth parent. When constructive and nurturing parent-child relationships no longer exist, termination of the parental rights can occur in order to satisfy the best interests of the child.
When making any decision about the children of either your spouse or partner, the Court will make the determination of what is best for the child or children involved. This can include issues of custody, visitation rights, and child support. It is important to contact an experienced family lawyer in Long Island who can protect you and your children.
What Will the Court Consider?
What exactly does “in a child’s best interests” mean to a divorce court? How will that definition actually sway the court? It all comes down to, more or less, the relationship a parent has with their child and their own personal histories and lives. Who can and will be the mostly likely to raise this child with success and little stress, the court asks. Through multiple considerations and discussions with each parent, which should be bolstered by a logical and sound argument formed by a family law attorney, the court must make the decision through its own discretion.
Aspects of your life and your child’s life the court will use in its final decision include:
- Criminal history: If you have a criminal history, the court will be less likely to grant you child custody rights, especially if those crimes were violent in nature or dealt with domestic violence. The court may fear that you could be a negative influence on your child, potentially causing them to resort to crime in their future.
- Medical history: Chronic health conditions can be debilitating in numerous ways, and raising a child alone while also struggling with physical ailments can be an undue challenge. If you have a long medical history of complications, the court may deny you primary child custody rights to prevent you from attempting to do too much at once and worsen your condition.
- Financial history: Raising a child is not cheap. According to recent studies released by the United States Department of Agriculture, it will cost the average American $245,340 to raise one child from birth to the age of 18, assuming they become independent at that point. If the court finds that you do not have financial stability with an added history of irresponsible spending, you may not get primary custody.
- Relationship: Of course, the divorce court will want to know how you and your child get along, and what they think of you. This really is the definition of a child’s best interests, for they will not want to house the child with a parent that is disconnected or outwardly expresses disdain for the responsibility of raising a child.
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