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What the Best Interests of the Child Means in New York

When it comes to determining the custody of a child, New York courts have the freedom to take the entire context into account and decide for themselves what is best for the child. There are no strict guidelines. Before the matter comes to court, however, you and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement on your own. This could be through mediation, or some sort of parenting plan that you both agree to. You can file this with the court, and unless it is believed to not be in the child's best interests, the court will accept the arrangement you chose for yourselves. Of course, determining child custody is not always that easy, and a court will have to arbitrate.

Again, every case is different, but a judge will definitely look at the quality of the child's relationship to each parent. The court will also look at what the child's needs, what he or she requires emotionally, physically, mentally, and academically. A court will examine such issues as the capability of each parent to nurture and provide for the child. It will have to be determined whether or not the parents can actually get along enough to co-parent. These are just some of the basic matters a court will examine. The best interests of child can lie almost entirely within the discretion of the court.

As far as domestic abuse is concerned, courts will take any accusations seriously. There only has to be a "preponderance of the evidence", meaning that they only have to be convinced that more likely than not the accusation is real. Of course, any allegations must be made under oath, meaning that any false accusations could be perjury. If a spouse mistakenly accused the other based on probable enough cause, the accusing spouse will not be in trouble. As long as the accusation was made in "good faith", then it was not meant deceitfully or maliciously.

If there has been a pattern of domestic abuse, then it is still possible that the guilty parent might still have some supervised visitation, though definitely not custody. If the abuse was a one-time issue, then the parent might have visitation or even limited custody. There are some cases where a court may still deem it best for the child to still have some contact with that parent.

If you need to determine child custody in divorce mediation, then a Long Island divorce lawyer from our firm can help you through the process. If you need a trial lawyer to defend your child's interests in court, then the Meyers Law Group, P.C. can help you with this matter as well. Whether you need to arrange a parenting plan or to modify current custody orders, our Long Island divorce firm has the experience and dedication to help. Call us today!