For years, the presumption in divorce was that the children should go to the home of one parent. Then, that started to shift as divorce became more common. For several decades, shared or joint custody has been the presumed better option for families facing divorce.
The New York family courts tend to operate under the assumption that both parents should share parenting time with the children splitting their time between two households. Will that truly serve the best interests of the children in your family?
Children need a strong bond with primary emotional caregivers
No matter how carefully a couple may have tried to share responsibilities early in their relationship, almost all families will eventually see one parent serve as the primary emotional caregiver and parental attachment for the child. It could be either parent, but the bond a child has with their primary caregiver is the most important to preserve in a divorce.
Parents who really keep the focus on these children may be able to identify which parent fills that role and seek to minimize the disruptions to the children’s lives. By working together, they can make the upcoming changes less stressful for the children and reach an uncontested custody agreement. Unfortunately, many parents fight bitterly over custody matters instead of cooperating.
What if you have to go to court?
If you and your ex cannot settle a mutually agreeable custody arrangement on your own, then the New York courts will play a role in your custody decisions. They will typically assume that it will be best for the children for the parents to share custody unless either parent has evidence to the contrary.
Documentation of abuse or addiction, as well as serious health issues, might influence what judges decide is appropriate for a family in a contested New York custody situation. If your ex has adamantly refused to work with you or has tried to alienate you from the children, evidence that shows they put their wants out of the children’s needs, like text messages they sent saying you will never see the kids again, could help develop your case.
Employing the right approach and having realistic expectations as you consider shared custody arrangements in a New York divorce will help ensure the best possible outcome for your children.