One of the most challenging aspects of ending a marriage is managing the emotional and physical well-being of any children who may be affected by their parents’ split. In New York, parents can seek physical and legal custody of their kids and based upon the needs and interests of those children, family law courts can establish parenting plans to accomplish those ends. However, as every child will present different priorities, it is imperative that courts look at many factors before making custodial determinations.

Courts will investigate the fitness of the parents to serve as physical and legal custodians of their kids. This can include assessments of their physical and mental health, and can also include reviews of their prior drug or alcohol use and abuse. Any histories of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse may be considered at custody hearings.

Also, a child’s physical needs will be evaluated in their custody hearing. If one parent is better suited to attend to the child’s requirements, then that parent may be granted more time in the presence of the child. In some scenarios, the preferences of the child may be used as a factor for their placement in the custody of a parent.

A child’s religious, educational, and community development may all be factored into how best to serve their best interests in the custody of one or both of their parents. Having a voice in a child’s custody hearing can be an important part of staying involved in the life of one’s own child. A committed family law attorney can support their client’s desires to retain custody of their children.