Most states in the US, including New York, comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. The UCCJA promotes legal cooperation between states regarding the custody arrangements for a child in the event of multi-state custody issues. What this means is that although custody is typically handled on a state-by-state basis when key members of the child's family relocate and bring matters to a different state's courts, a consistency can be applied honoring the former jurisdiction's original orders.
New York recognizes legal custody and physical custody as the two types of custody parents can be granted. Legal and physical custody can then be granted in one of two ways: as either joint or sole custody.
When physical custody is granted to one parent, it means the child resides with that parent primarily. If you are granted physical custody, you provide care for your child on a daily basis in your home.
Legal custody means the right to make important decisions for the child in matters such as religion, medical treatment and education. Sole legal custody means the right to make those decisions is bestowed upon only one parent; joint legal custody can mean the parents must cooperate to make decisions together. This is not always the case. It is common for parents to be granted joint legal custody, in which case some level of co-parenting may be necessary in the future. This will require the parents to work to alleviate tensions and avoid disputes that could affect the child's emotional well-being.
If you are concerned about the custody of your child, a New York attorney well-versed in family law may be able to answer your questions and assuage your fears. Whether a custody order already exists and may require modification or you are concerned aboutyour relationship with your child as you contemplate divorce, your attorney may be able to help you set things in motion.