As a divorcing father, you may assume a court will favor the mother when awarding custody of your child. Thankfully this is not the case in New York.
State law requires courts to treat both parents equally in custody matters. While a particular judge may have personal feelings on the subject, they need to put those to one side.
How does New York define child custody?
First, it is crucial to define custody. There is legal custody, and there is physical custody. The usual solution is for both parents to share legal custody. It means you both retain the right to make the big decisions in your child’s life. So you will need to decide between you which religion your child follows, which school they go to and which medical treatment they receive.
Physical custody refers to where the child lives. If they split their time between both parents, that would be joint custody. The alternative is the child can live mainly with one parent, who has primary custody, and the other parent gets visitation rights.
Once you understand the options, you need to decide what you want. Bear in mind that a judge will look at what is in the child’s best interests. So if you work 80 hours a week and want to seek sole physical custody, you will need to cut your working hours to be there for your child.
A judge will consider many factors when deciding on child custody in a divorce. The fact that you are the father, not the mother, is not one of them. If you and the other parent can put your differences aside, it allows you to do the same and reach an acceptable solution yourselves which you can ask a judge to accept.