How New York determines the “best interests of the child”

The state of New York refers to the same set of standards when making decisions regarding child custody. So, understanding what these standards are may give you a better sense of your custody chances. At the heart of every custody proceeding is a desire to act in the best interests of the child, meaning the state makes every effort to figure out what living situation should serve your child most favorably. 

What are some of the variables New York considers when awarding child custody? 

The existing parent-child relationships to date

New York’s family courts consider how much time and attention each parent or party seeking custody has given to raising and nurturing the child at the center of the matter. If one parent took on the majority of the child-rearing responsibilities, it may lead to more parenting time for that individual. 

The child’s preferences and relationships with siblings

The courts may also make efforts to have your child live in the same home as his or her sisters and brothers. This may prove especially likely if your son or daughter expresses a desire to do so. If your child is of an appropriate age, his or her own wishes with regard to where to live may also factor into final decisions. 

Each parent’s willingness to work with the other

The court may also consider whether each parent seeking custody has demonstrated a willingness to work with the other for the benefit of the child. If one of you has a history of refusing to cooperate with the other or stick to agreed-upon terms, this may hinder custody chances. 

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