Written by attorney Robert Walter Dapelo

New York State Standard for Custody of children is the Best Interest doctrine

It is axiomatic that the essential consideration in making an award of custody is the best interests of the child. Eschbach v. Eschback, 56 N.Y.2d 167, 451 N.Y.S.2d 658 (1982); Neuman v. Neuman, 19 A.D.3d 383, 796 N.Y.S.2d 403 (2nd Dept. 2005); Chebuske v. Burnhard-Vogt, 284 A.D.2d 456, 726 N.Y.S.2d 697 (2nd Dept. 2001); Young v. Young, 212 A.D.2d 114, 628 N.Y.S.2d 957 (2nd Dept. 1995); Fialkowski v. Gilroy, 200 A.D.2d 668, 607 N.Y.S.2d 50 (2nd Dept. 1994); Graham v. Graham, 24 A.D.3d 1051, 806 N.Y.S.2d 755 (3rd Dept. 2005); Thompson v. Thompson, 267 A.D.2d 616, 699 N.Y.S.2d 181 (3rd Dept. 1999); Van Hoesen v. Van Hoesen, 186 A.D.2d 903, 590 N.Y.S.2d 139 (3rd Dept. 1992). Factors for a court to consider in determining the child's best interests include the quality of the home environment and the parental guidance the custodial parent provides for the child, the ability of each parent to provide for the child's emotional and intellectual development, the financial status and ability of each parent to provide for the child, the relative fitness of the respective parents, and the length of time the present custody arrangement has been in effect. Eschbach v. Eschbach, supra,; Fialkowski v. Gilroy, supra. The Trial Judge is to be given great deference in reviewing the evidence in custody cases. The Trial Judge's decision should stand unless the decision lacks a sound and substantial basis in the record, and is not contrary to the weight of the credible evidence. Application of the foregoing principles of law to the facts as the Trial Judge found them demonstrates that the Family Court's decision to give custody to the Respondent-father was based on a careful review of the situation and had a sound and substantial basis on the record. Young v. Young, supra.

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