New York courts consider the best interest of children when making a custody decision in a divorce. It’s interesting because custody is the only forward-looking decision that a court is making. Everything else about the finances is backward-looking, but the custody decision, where will the children live, who will make decisions about them is a forward-looking decision and the court is trying to make a prediction as to who will be a better parent for the children.
So how do they consider that? They look at the relationships between each child and each parent. They look at the homes. They look at the history. They look at the ability of one parent to support the relationship of the children with the other parent. It’s a very broad scope of elements that come in to each particular situation in order for a court to try to make this prediction.
That having been said, it’s hard for me to imagine that a stranger is really in the best position to predict the best future for your children, and so most lawyers really encourage clients and parties’ parents to come up with their own parenting plan because you really know your children better than any stranger ever will.