Covid 19 is putting stress on marriages as a result of the quarantine. Couples do not have the social options that existed prior to the pandemic. For Husbands and Wives quarantine means a new life style where they are physically in close proximity under the same roof, without relief, together almost 24/7. We have been receiving calls from unhappy spouses wanting to know his or her options concerning a divorce or separation. A common question is who gets the kids? The following may be helpful for those people domiciled in New York State
How is custody determined?
The standard for determining custody is what is in the Best Interest of the Children?
In determining Best interest the Court should be gender neutral.
Joint custody is generally not awarded unless the parties can agree.
Siblings should not be separated without good reason.
Custody should not be changed without proof of a substantial change in circumstances.
Once the above is addressed the Court will examine the following (only a partial list):
· Which parent is the primary caregiver. Who puts the kids on the bus, helps with homework, takes kids to doctor, takes kids to extracurricular activities, goes to school for conferences, speaks with teachers, etc
· Who has a greater psychological bond with the children
· Parents work schedule. This generally favors teachers and those parents who work from home
· Mental Health and physical ability of the parents to take care of the children
· What existed immediately prior to the commencement of the divorce Action. What type of behavior were the children exposed to including discipline,
· Substance and alcohol abuse
· Child’s preference
· Which parent is better able to promote children’s relationship and contact with other parent
· Domestic Violence
· False or subsequently determined to be “Unfounded” CPS Reports, Police reports, allegations against the other parent.