HOW IS PARENTAL FITNESS DETERMINED IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE?
New York Courts focus on the best interests of the children when managing a child custody case. What is in the best interests of the children varies case-by-case. Generally the court will look at: any evidence of child abuse, evidence a parent abuses alcohol or drugs, who was the primary caretaker prior to this hearing, if a parent has mental health issues or is emotionally unstable, and the physical health of each parent.
Depending on the age of the child their preference may be taken into consideration. An attorney for the child may be appointed in some cases to asses what is in the best interests of the child and how custody should be determined. The Court will also determine if a parent is unfit to care for the child. Typically, an unfit parent is one who puts the child at risk or does not properly care the child’s social, physical or educational needs.