When joint custody isn’t the best option

New York law prefers that both parents share physical custody whenever possible. However, there are scenarios in which it is not in the child’s best interest for this to happen, which means that other arrangements must be made.

One parent lives far away

Joint physical custody generally isn’t practical when one parent stays in the family home and the other moves to another state. This is because the parent who moved won’t be able to host overnight events or pick up the child from school with any type of consistency. Instead of creating a massive hardship for the parent and child, it may be best to simply offer regular contact with the child or create other complex child custody arrangements. The parent who moves will typically have the right to host the child during holiday or other extended school breaks.

The parent isn’t reliable

A parent who isn’t reliable for other reasons such as drug or alcohol abuse issues may not be fit to have joint physical custody of a child. This is because a drug or alcohol binge could result in the parent forgetting to pick the child up from practice or render the adult unfit to supervise a child at home. In such a scenario, a child would be left in an unsafe situation, which means that joint custody would not be in their best interest.

If you are denied custody rights to your children, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent. Instead, it simply means that existing circumstances prevent you from being a quality primary caregiver. Custody orders can be modified if your circumstances change and allow you to be there for your children.