When a couple has a child, parents usually expect to be a big part of their son’s or daughter’s life, even if the relationship with the other parent ends someday. When it comes to child custody matters, New York State law says that decisions are gender-neutral. The child’s best interests are paramount, and each parent is supposed to have an equal chance to show that they are entitled to majority custody, if they want it.

However, as in other parts of the country, many fathers in New York say their experience left them believing the system is biased against men. They say that their child’s mother was granted majority custody, even though it was not a good situation for their son or daughter.

There are actually two forms of child custody under the law: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody has to do with where the child will be living. Some parents share physical custody; other times, one parent gets sole custody, while the other gets visitation time.

Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the right to make important life decisions for the child. Examples include where the child goes to school and what religion he or she will practice, if any. In New York, it is possible to share legal custody over a child without having physical custody.

An attorney who fights for fathers’ rights can help remind the court that men can be as fit as women when it comes to making a healthy, supportive and safe home for a child.