Published on: December 4, 2023

What Is Joint Physical Custody in New York?

In New York, there is no legal presumption that child custody will be split evenly between parents. There are several factors to consider and things that shouldn’t be done when determining custody. This is why parents should understand their custody rights and arrangements and get on the same page as much as possible to maintain control of where they want their children to live and how they want their children raised. Regrettably, many couples are not at a place where they can agree upon these things at the time of their divorce.

A New York child custody attorney is well-versed in the complex field of child custody law and has the experience to navigate through the intricacies of the court system. They can provide guidance on how the courts may interpret various factors in a custody decision and can help parents present their case in the most favorable light. Attorney Juan Luciano and his team of New York City child custody lawyers can assist in negotiating agreements between the parents, with the aim of reaching a resolution that best serves the child’s interests, even in the most contentious of circumstances. Contact us today at (212) 537-5859 to schedule a consultation.

What is Joint Physical Custody?

Physical custody determines where a child will legally live. Joint physical custody sets out that the children will move between parents’ homes, but it is not necessarily a 50/50 split between homes. In most cases, joint physical custody will depend on what is most convenient to both parties. This is a couple’s opportunity to hammer out custody arrangements that work best for them mutually and independently. It is also essential for partners to spell this out as precisely as possible in their custody agreement to ensure against misunderstandings and disputes.

If the Parties Can’t Agree

If the two spouses can’t agree on how they will share the physical custody of their children, the court will get involved. As in all matters of child custody, the court’s main objective is the best interests of the children, not the two marital partners. Consequently, the court will consider many factors when determining physical custody:

  • Where the child’s primary residence has been and how long they have lived with each parent.
  • Each party’s skills as a parent
  • If there has been any history of drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence
  • What is the best scenario to keep siblings together?
  • The mental and physical health of both parties
  • Which parent is most likely to foster a good relationship with the other
  • Which parent is most likely to offer a positive home environment
  • Work schedules of each party

In a perfect world, equal joint physical custody would allow both parents a balanced living arrangement, but once the courts get involved, they will look closely at both parents to determine what they feel is best for the children. This means that one parent may be given considerably more legal and physical custody of the children than they would have liked.

Factors Considered in Physical Custody Description
Child’s Primary Residence Where the child has primarily lived and for how long.
Parental Skills Assessment of each parent’s parenting skills.
History of Abuse Any history of drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence.
Sibling Placement Consideration of keeping siblings together.
Mental and Physical Health The mental and physical health of both parents.
Promoting Relationships Which parent is more likely to foster a good relationship.
Positive Home Environment The suitability of each parent’s home environment.
Work Schedules Evaluation of the work schedules of each parent.

Residential Custody in NY

Also referred to as physical custody, residential custody is the term used to identify which parent a child primarily lives with following a separation or divorce. In New York, the determination of residential custody is guided by the ‘best interests’ principle, which aims to prioritize the child’s well-being and contentment.

The ‘best interests’ criteria take into account various factors such as the child’s age, physical and emotional health, the emotional bond between the parent and the child, the capability of each parent to provide a steady and nurturing environment, and the continuity of the child’s existing routines, which may encompass school, activities, and community connections.

Although it is feasible for a child to split their time equally between both parents under a joint residential custody arrangement, this is not commonly seen in NY due to the practical difficulties it can pose. Typically, primary residential custody is granted to one parent, while the other parent, referred to as the noncustodial parent, is awarded visitation rights. The specifics of these visitation rights can range widely from case to case and may be either supervised or unsupervised.

Given the intricate nature of custody determinations, it’s vital to have skilled legal representation. A lawyer well-versed in child custody laws can provide guidance throughout the process, aiding you in understanding your rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, they can assist you in presenting a strong case to the court, advocating on your behalf, and ensuring the court’s decisions are in line with your child’s best interests.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Lawyers

Studies have shown that kids are able to bounce back from the divorce of their parents. Even if their parents split up, they will likely grow up healthy and happy. Children can also develop well even if their parents are not in love with each other, but remain together. However, children may not be able to recover as easily from the bitter and long-running divorce battle between their parents. Children suffer more damage the longer and harder the divorce battle is.

It is important that parents try to settle their differences without the intervention of the Court, especially in relation to visitation and custody issues. If possible, avoid an extended, nasty battle. It is important to seek the legal advice of an experienced lawyer. 

Matters such as child custody require a highly skilled lawyer who is familiar with the laws and procedures. A lawyer must be committed and dedicated to your family, able to absorb all the facts and do the work required to present your case to a successful outcome. A skilled, creative lawyer will help you identify connections that you may not have noticed on your own and build a case to win. These issues are a good example of why you will need to have a competent negotiator who is skilled at mediation and can convince the opposing party to agree to a fair resolution.

Contact us today at (212) 537-5859 to schedule a consultation.

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