New York’s best interest of the child criteria

The best interest of the child

Everyone wants the best for their children. They want to be there for them and watch them grow and have a hand in forming them into successful adults.

In New York, when the court is deciding custody in complex cases, they always have the best interest of the child top-of-mind. “Best interest of the child” is not just a vague concept, but rather an evaluative test that the court conducts to determine which parent can best fulfill the child’s needs.

What follows are the questions that the court will consider in making a custody order.

Who can offer more stability?

First, the court will look at which parent can provide more stability for the child. The court will likely lean toward the parent that the child has lived with more or is most familiar with so as not to disrupt an already stable situation.

Who has childcare arrangements?

Next, the court will see who has better childcare arrangements. If one parent has a solid plan for childcare and the other doesn’t, the court will not look upon the parent with no ideas favorably.

Who is the primary caretaker?

The court will generally give preference to the parent who provided the most care for the child. For example, if one parent stayed home with them while the other parent was working, they would look upon the parent who stayed home more favorably.

What is the mental and physical health of each parent?

If one parent has mental or physical health problems that could affect their ability to care for their child, custody will most likely be awarded to the healthier parent.

Does either parent abuse drugs or alcohol? Are they abusive toward the child?

If a parent struggles with addiction or has been abusive in the past, the court will not endanger the child by giving that parent custody of them.

To sum it up

There are a few more factors that the court will consider, which you can read about on the New York City Bar website, but the ones listed here are the most crucial.

It isn’t easy to figure out custody in complex cases. An experienced family law attorney can help advocate for you so that you have the highest possible chance of getting to be a parent to your child.