When it comes to child custody battles in New York, the judge ultimately has the final decision. However, most judges know that the child's livelihood is in their hands. They'll want to gather all the facts before making a decision so they know they're acting in the child's best interests. Here are some of the factors that a judge might consider during a child custody case.
How will a judge decide who gets custody?
During a child custody case, the judge will evaluate each parent's living situation and their relationship with the child. The judge might consider which party shoulders most of the parenting responsibilities. They might also consider each parent's mental fitness, level of education, sense of judgment, career prospects and other factors that can affect the child's quality of life. If the child has been living with one parent for an extended amount of time, the judge might prefer to award custody to that parent.
Most judges want the child to be able to maintain a relationship with both parents. Unless there's a reason that the child shouldn't stay with one parent, a judge will typically rule for joint custody. For this reason, certain lifestyle factors aren't automatically a deal breaker. You might still receive partial custody if you live in a trailer, don't currently have a job or have other children living in your household. But regardless, you might still want to consult a family law attorney to make sure you're well represented during the trial.
How can an attorney help you seek custody?
An attorney may help you make a good first impression and show the judge that you're able to provide a safe, loving home for your child. If you have reason to believe that your former spouse is dangerous or abusive, your attorney may help you shoot for sole physical custody.