Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful periods of a person's life. There are many important questions going through your mind at once. How much will the entire process cost? How long will it take? But the most important question on your mind might be: Who will get the kids? The answer to that question may have a greater impact on your life than the previous two.
The primary caretaker
Who is currently the primary caretaker of the child? This may play a major part in the custody ruling. Presumably, the child has developed a stronger bond with this parent and will feel safer growing up with him or her. The primary caretaker may have a better knowledge of the child's specific needs. In many parenting situations, there is a primary caretaker because one parent works significantly more hours than the other.
The physical and mental health of the parents will determine whether sole custody, joint custody, or some other option is granted. If there is any evidence of child abuse, this will factor in strongly to the court's decision. If it seems like a trial is unavoidable to determine custody, sometimes a psychologist is appointed by the court. The psychologist will determine the strengths and weaknesses of the parents through an interview and testing process. This will help determine the most beneficial custody outcome.
An important component of successfully caring for a child is having the time to do so. For example, dad might make twice as much as mom, but is he going to be around? What about meetings at school concerning the child's academic progress? Does dad's job involve constant travel that prevents him from being physically present to oversee the development of the child?
The kids' choice?
It would surprise some parents to know that in certain cases the children have a say as to which parent they would like to live with. Generally, the child has to be over the age of 12 for one's wish to be a serious consideration in the custody decision. However, if the child is 12 but is not deemed by the court to be mature for that age, other factors will more strongly impact the custody decision.
The main consideration in a New York court's decision on child custody is that which is in the child's best interests. This is much more important than a factor such as gender or which parent has more money in the bank. The factors that determine child custody in New York are myriad and complex. Hiring an experienced attorney may greatly increase your chances of a beneficial outcome for your child and for your own peace of mind.