Diefenbach Law Firm PLLC


One nerve-racking issue faced during a divorce is to understand the plethora of child custody laws that apply to your case.  Most of the time Family Law matters are designated under state jurisdiction, including New York child custody laws, and the Courts in NY that deal with custody matters can be the Family Courts or the Supreme Courts of the five counties. Almost all of the U.S. states have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which encourages legal cooperation with respect to multi-state cases. Grandparents will also have visitation rights, as New York laws comply with this Act.

Below highlights some of the basic New York child custody laws and you can find more information as well.

Code Section    Dom. Rel. §240
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted    1977
Joint Custody an Option?     Yes, Dom. Rel. §240
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?     Yes, Dom. Rel. §240(1)
Child’s Own Wishes Considered?     Yes

Types of Child Custody in New York

Legal Custody

Parents have legal custody of a child when that parent makes the important decisions in that child’s life. Decisions include medical coverage, religious beliefs and education needs. Some parents share in these decision-making powers. Parents need to have discussions and to come to decisions about these important issues, although one Parent may end up having the final decision.

Physical Custody

A parent has physical custody when that child lives with them.  Physical custodial parent receives child support in NY, which is mandatory. A schedule is organized by the parents, and/or the Court. This schedule can be worked out between the parents and their lawyers.

Sole and Joint Custody

When only one parent is involved in all major issues related to the child, such as education, religious training, medical care, this is called sole custody.  The other parent may not even have a legal right to obtain school records or medical records. When custody is shared between parents it is called joint custody.



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