Most parents want what is best for their kids, and when their family matters become subject to the review of New York courts, those courts generally want the same thing, to serve the best interests of the children. However, what is best for one child may not be best for another, and as such it can be difficult for a parent to anticipate what a court may view as being in the best interests of the child at issue.
New York courts do not provide a specific definition for what it means to serve the best interests of the child subject to a custody case. They do, however, note that the best interests of a child include preserving the safety and health of a child as principal concerns. Though, as previously mentioned, factors that may serve one child's safety and health may be detrimental to the safety and health of another child.
Consider, for example, a situation in which one parent's behavior or history suggests that the parent may inflict harm on a child. It may not serve the child's interest to be in the custody of that parent and in such a scenario, that child may be placed under the sole physical and legal custody of his or her other parent. In other scenarios, a child may have two parents who are equally committed to caring for him or her, and in such a situation a court may grant shared or joint custody of the child to the mother and father.
Many factors will weigh into how a New York court determines the child custody and visitation rights relevant to a family's legal situation. It is important for families to remember, though, that the best interests of the child will generally guide how courts will make their legal determinations. Consultation with an attorney can help people to work through their questions related to child custody.