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What are the different forms of child custody in New York?

Divorcing parents in New York are often able to put their differences aside when discussions turn to the welfare of their children, and the courts take the same pragmatic approach. If a judge is called upon to make a decision regarding child custody, such a decision will be made based upon what is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

While joint physical custody may be awarded in New York, in most cases sole physical custody is awarded to one parent with the other parent receiving visitation rights. Family law in New York also allows for grandparent visitation rights to be granted when the court is convinced that such visitation would be in the best interests of the child. New York law also allows siblings of a child to petition the court for visitation rights.

A parent in New York may be awarded legal custody or physical custody. Physical custody is what most people would imagine when thinking about child custody. This is a situation where the child actually lives with the parent who has been awarded custody. Legal custody gives a parent the authority to make important decisions about such matters as the child's education or medical care.

Separation or divorce is rarely easy, and it often takes a significant emotional toll. Decisions about child custody and visitation cast a long shadow, and it is important that they be made in an atmosphere where all parties are focused on providing the best outcome for the child. An experienced family law attorney may be familiar with the pressures that a divorcing parent sometimes faces and thus can provide the client with the perspective necessary to negotiate an amicable agreement.

Source: Findlaw, "New York Family Laws", October 28, 2014

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