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Family Law Attorney Stacy Sabatini, Esq.

News and insights about divorce and family law in New York.

What are a Father’s Custody Rights in New York?

One of the most common misconceptions about child custody is that the court will always favor giving custody to the mother over the father. While at one time that was the case, modern courts have changed their way of thinking and are embracing the positive impact a father’s role has on their child’s life.

The evolution of father’s rights in New York New York

has come a long way in developing fathers’ custody rights. Until the 1970s, New York courts—and courts throughout the country—presumed that children were better off in the custody of their mothers. Known as “maternal preference,” the presumption was based on archaic notions of parenting where the mother was the primary physical and emotional caregiver and the father was little more than a paycheck and a nighttime pat on the head.

In the last few decades, however, courts have begun to rethink a father’s role in parenting and re-evaluate the benefits children receive when fathers are an active part of their child’s life. Now, courts have abandoned the outdated maternal preference model in favor of a 50/50 presumption: that each parent is equally entitled to custody and determinations will be based on the best interest of the child and not the gender of the parent.

The “best interest of the child” standard

In all cases involving children, the court looks to see what type of custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. A child’s best interest is determined by a group of factors that speak to each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. Though many factors can be considered by the court, the following are the most common in New York custody cases:

  • Stability and continuity of care
  • Child-care arrangements
  • One parent’s role as primary caretaker
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • Instances of spousal abuse
  • Instances of abuse or neglect of the child
  • Child’s preference (for older children)
  • Finances of each parent
  • Conditions in the home
  • Educational opportunities for the child
  • If the child has siblings, the court will favor keeping the children together

Protecting fathers’ rights to custody in Rockland, Orange, and Westchester counties

At the Law Offices of Stacy Sabatini, Esq., we believe that a child benefits equally from the involvement of both parents in their life; that’s why we zealously defend fathers’ rights to custody. If you are a New York father interested in finding out more about how we can fight for your custody rights, call us at 845-243-0295 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation at our New City, New York office.

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