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New York Child Custody Laws

Family law matters generally fall under state jurisdiction, including custody. Most U.S. states have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which fosters legal cooperation with respect to multi-state custody cases. New York child custody laws comply with the Act, while also allowing grandparent visitation rights and joint custody.

This article provides a brief overview of child custody laws in New York.

How a Child Custody Decision is Made in New York

Child custody is always determined by what is in the “best interest of the child." This is called the best interest of the child standard. New York courts take a number of factors into consideration when deciding on child custody, including:

  • Each parent's ability to care for the child;
  • Each parent's mental health and physical well-being;
  • Any history of domestic violence in the family;
  • The parents' work schedules;
  • The child's desires, depending on the child's age; and
  • The parents' ability to cooperate with each other.

New York Child Custody Laws: At a Glance

The following summary chart highlights the basics of New York child custody laws. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section

Dom. Rel. § 240

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, § 240

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 72

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Codes and Court of Appeals Decisions

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about New York's child custody laws, click on the following links:

Get Professional Help With Your Child Custody Case

If you would like to know more about child custody in New York, there are many attorneys in your area with child custody experience who may be able to help. A skilled attorney can help explain unfamiliar legal jargon such as “joint custody" or “best interests of the child."

Start the process by contacting a New York family law attorney today.

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  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
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