Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences you will have, especially if you have children. Child custody is a major part of most divorce cases, and it can be broken down into two types: physical custody, and legal custody.
What is physical custody, and what does it mean for your divorce?
What is Physical Custody?
Physical custody, also known as residential custody, determines which parent a child will live with. According to the New York State Unified Court System, the custodial parent is “responsible for the actual physical care and supervision of [the] child”.
Physical custody can be joint, or sole. Your child will live you a majority of the time, if you are awarded sole physical custody. In certain cases, a judge will grant joint physical custody. Under one of these custody arrangements, you child will split their time evenly between both households. A visitation schedule is part of every child custody order.
Determining Child Custody
Your custody decision will be made with your child’s best interest in mind. Before issuing a child custody ruling, Judge’s need to take many factors into consideration:
- Your child’s age (older children’s wishes may be take into account)
- The health of your child, including any social or developmental needs
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and their employment status
- Which parent was the primary caregiver during the marriage
- Whether or not your child would benefit from growing up with other siblings
Child custody cases are unique, so it can be difficult to predict how a judge will rule. Given their unpredictable nature, custody cases require the help of an experienced family law attorney.
Modification of Physical Custody
Child custody orders aren’t always permanent. You can modify your custody agreement months, or years, after you finish your divorce. Reasons for modification may include:
- The custodial parent can no longer care for the child full time
- Your child wishes to live with their other parent
- The custodial parent is moving, and your child needs to stay in the same school district
- There are instances of abuse or neglect
Modification petitions often proceed to trial, where a judge will take you child’s best interest into consideration. (An in-depth look at modifying child custody orders can be found on our divorce and family law blog.)
Get Help for Your Custody Case
All child custody cases are different. Their quirks make them incredibly complex matters. Trying to represent yourself during a custody case is risky, and it will end in disaster. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is always the right idea.
If you’re facing a divorce or child custody action, you need to contact the team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.. We provide expert advice and guidance for New Yorkers just like you. For more information, or to schedule your free consultation, contact us today!