50 / 50 Custody in New York

September 3, 2023
Louis Sternberg

Is New York a 50/50 Child Custody State?

Child custody is a substantial component of divorce and family law.  States utilize varying approaches and presumptions in determining custody arrangements. Understanding child custody laws in New York is crucial for parties in litigation or anticipating divorce or separation. An increasingly common question is whether New York follows a 50/50 child custody arrangement. The answer is not simple.

New York Child Custody

New York places a primary focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. Under New York’s Domestic Relations Law and Family Court Act, the courts consider several factors, including the ability to care for the child, each parent’s stability, mental health issues, work schedules, domestic violence, ability to co-parent and substance use.  The courts strive to create a custody plan that serves the child’s best interests and promotes their overall well-being.

50/50 Child Custody In New York

The concept of 50/50 child custody, also known as shared custody, involves both parents sharing equal parenting time with the children.  Until recently 50 / 50 custody arrangements were very rare but they are growing increasingly common.  Joint custody implies both parents share legal and physical custody, allowing the child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.

New York’s Presumption Of Sole Custody

In New York, there is a presumption of sole custody, which means that the courts begin the case with the assumption that one party should have sole decision making authority based on the belief that there would be no such litigation if the parties were able to cooperate effectively. Increasingly, courts are granting joint custody but such decisions are still exceedingly rare.

Do 50 / 50 Custody Arrangements Work?

According to a recent New York Times Article – yes, 50 / 50 custody arrangements do work, at least for Guest Essayist, Amy Shearn.

Implementing a 50/50 custody arrangement in New York may present challenges for parents and the court system. Often these are scheduling concerns based on the parties’ ability transportation issues including getting the children to and from school and activities.

Additionally, many allege that a 50 / 50 arrangement is not beneficial to children as it deprives them of having one single “home base.” 

New York’s child custody laws prioritize the best interests of the child, intending to safeguard their well-being and foster a meaningful relationship with both parents. The determination of custody is a complex process, taking into account various factors unique to each case.

When navigating child custody matters in New York, it is essential for parents to consult with a family law attorney. An experienced Suffolk County lawyer can provide guidance on the relevant developments, court procedures, and approaches of particular judges..

Suffolk County Custody Lawyer

The Law Office of Louis L. Sternberg, P.C. utilizes  takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. In striving for an effective and efficient process for our clients, our staff approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for your family. Call us now at 631-600-3295 to schedule your free consultation with a Suffolk Custody Lawyer or use our online intake form.