Filing for child custody in the state of New York

New York judges base their decisions in complex child custody cases on what is in the best interests of the minor. Ideally, both parents agree to mediation to discuss the details of physical and legal custody, but this isn’t always the case. When parents disagree or one feels the other is unfit, filing for child custody is sometimes the next step.

Filing a custody petition

If you decide to file a custody petition, the court will typically hear your case. If you did not yet go through meditation, the court may refer you there first. These matters typically start in Family Court.

Who may file such a petition?

It is interesting to note that you do not have to be a parent to file for custody. The law recognizes third parties who may have an important role in the child’s upbringing. Moreover, the court may find that there are extraordinary reasons why someone other than a parent should have custody. Examples might include neglect or abuse of the child.

How to handle complex custody issues

There are several matters that can complicate custody agreements and filings. For example, when a parent asserts that the other one is using bad faith reasons to move the child, the matter may turn into a complex child custody case.

In this scenario, the petitioning parent might have to show that the other parent is attempting to move the child out of reach to exact revenge for the divorce. However, once the court decides the issue, you may be able to do modifications to any custody and visitation orders. If you are currently the petitioner or respondent in a child custody case, it could be critical to speak with an attorney to protect your rights and those of the child.