What Does the ‘Best Interest’ Standard Mean for New York Parents?

If you and your spouse have children and are going through a divorce, it is important to know about the “best interests” standard and how it will impact your proceedings. When parents cannot agree on child custody terms, a court may have to use the best interest standard to determine which parent receives primary custody.

If a child custody decision goes to court, judges in New York consider their primary concern to be the wellbeing and best interests of the child. Custody decisions are determined based on which parent can best provide for the health, safety and overall happiness of the child.

A judge will review a case to piece together the family’s situation and each parent’s ability to provide care. They will also look into the health of the parents, and existing relationships between family members before making a decision in the best interest of the child.

Factors that may determine best interests

Custody of a child — as well as visitation rights of noncustodial parents — are awarded based on the judge’s analysis of certain situational factors. While each custody hearing is different, some issues that may pertain to the judge’s decision include whether one parent is the child’s primary caregiver, the parenting skills of each spouse, mental and physical wellbeing of parents, availability and work schedules of parents and each spouse’s ability to cooperate with each other.

Additionally, a court may weigh the importance of the child’s relationships with their siblings, or if the child is old enough, his or her custody preferences. Together, these factors provide a clearer picture for the judge as to which living situation is in the best interest of the child.

For more information on how a court may determine the best interests of your child, consult a skilled Long Island family lawyer with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.

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