If you are facing a child custody battle, you may be wondering what it will entail. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement about custody, the court will make the decision for you.
A judge considers what is best for the child above any other factor. Although there is usually a preference for joint custody, a judge may give sole custody to one parent after weighing the facts and evidence.
General custody information
According to the New York City Family Court, a judge determines both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who makes important decisions for the child, no matter who has physical custody. Physical custody refers to who the child lives with.
A judge may order joint legal custody but sole physical custody. If this is the case, the custodial parent has the child for more than 50% of the time, and the other parent has visitation rights.
During the hearing, the judge examines a number of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the judge looks at the current living situation, the ability of each parent to provide for the child and the health of all parties.
There are numerous studies that show that most children benefit from living with both parents equally. However, this situation is not always the best for the child. Obvious reasons why a court may order sole custody include abuse in the home, safety issues, addiction and domestic violence.
However, less ominous reasons may result in sole custody. For example, if one parent works 80 hours a week, or travels frequently for work, the judge may grant sole custody to the parent that is more available for the needs of the child.