Which child custody order is best for your divorce in New York?

Child custody arrangements in New York can be tricky business. There are many types of child custody that may or may not work for your family. Depending on your situation, you and your ex-spouse might have physical custody, legal custody or both.

What is physical custody?

Physical custody refers to where the child lives full time, which is why it’s also referred to as residential custody. There are several different physical custody arrangements:

  • Sole physical custody: The child physically resides at one location with the non-custodial parent either having visitation rights or no contact.
  • Joint physical custody: This is referred to as shared custody. In this case, the child will travel back and forth between the parent’s home.
  • Bird’s nest custody: In this situation, there’s a main home where the child resides full time. The parents take turns residing at the home with the child in addition to maintaining their own residence.

What is legal custody?

There is another type of custody that should be discussed during divorce proceedings. Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make major decisions on behalf of the child, such as where they’ll go to school and what religious upbringing they’ll have.

Legal custody can be established at the same time as physical custody, but this is sometimes a separate hearing and issue all together. Parents can either share legal custody, or one parent will have sole legal custody.

Custody arrangements are always decided based on what’s best for your kids in the long run. Even if you want sole custody, the court might decide that split custody is what’s best for the children’s well-being.