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Factors affecting child custody in New York City

Child custody cases in New York City and elsewhere all have one common denominator -- the court tries to determine what is in the best interests of the child(ren). When the parents can't agree on custodial matters between themselves, these are some of the factors a judge may take into consideration when rendering a decision in the matter.

The court will consider both parents' lifestyles and living accommodations for purposes of visitation and custody. Most will insist that the child has his or her own living space in the parent's home, except in the case of infants and perhaps toddlers who may still be young enough to share a parent's bedroom for a short while. As children grow up, they will be expected to have their own room, or to share a room with a same-sex sibling in some cases.

When there are multiple children involved, either from this relationship or from others, a judge may question whether the living accommodations are sufficient for the number of kids in the home or apartment. He or she may insist on certain conditions like separate bedrooms for kids of the opposite sex or when there is a significant age difference between the children before granting overnight visitation or custody.

Courts realize that there are no two cases that are exactly alike when making custodial decisions. In cases where grandparents seek custody of their grandchildren, the court acknowledges that some grandparents on limited incomes have less money for rent on a larger apartment for their grandchildren. Accommodations can often be made in these circumstances.

Other sets of circumstances under consideration could be any other child support obligations or other custodial arrangements already in place that may limit a custodial parent's ability to afford a more expansive living arrangement in the tight New York City housing market.

Kids are remarkably resilient, as judges are aware. However, a judge may consider the adjustment factor of any drastic changes to their living environment. The psychological cost of being uprooted from one location, school and set of friends can be offset by the opportunity to spend more time with their parent even if the living space is smaller.

A New York legal professional can provide guidance for specific questions in individual custodial situations.

Source: about.com, "Child Custody & Living Accommodations for Single Parents" Debrina Washington, Dec. 25, 2014

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