Legal Custody & Physical Custody in NY

In New York, a child custody order makes one or both parents responsible for the care and upbringing of their children. There are two main parts of custody: legal custody and physical custody. 

Legal Custody 

Legal custody gives one or both parents the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, or religion. No matter which parent the child lives with, if the court grants both parents joint legal custody, then they both share equal decision-making power. Therefore, parents with joint legal custody must effectively work together to make informed decisions about their child. 

On the other hand, sole custody means that one parent has the authority to make important decisions for the child. The noncustodial parent is only allowed to receive the child’s education or medical information, rather than make any decisions. 

Physical Custody 

Physical custody determines which parent is responsible for the child’s actual care and supervision. If the courts award both parents with joint physical custody, the child spends an equal amount of time with each parent. 

In contrast, if the court awards one parent with sole physical custody, the child lives with that parent more than 50 percent of the time. In turn, the noncustodial parent will have visitation rights. 

What If I Do Not Have a Custody Order? 

If there is no court order for child custody in New York, then the court assumes both parents have equal rights to legal and physical custody. To get started, you must file a custody petition with the help of an experienced family law attorney. 

If you are interested in establishing or modifying a child custody order in Brooklyn, contact Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 for a free initial consultation. More than 35 years of family law experience!