The typical family in New York might look much different than it did generations ago. Increasingly, both parents are employed outside of the home and take on equal parenting roles. Family law does not always reflect this reality, though, leaving some parents left playing non-vital roles in child custody agreements.
When decided by judges, child custody agreements largely favor mothers over fathers. This is usually in spite of the active roles that modern day fathers tend to play in their children's lives. This has left some wondering how a custody arrangement can truly be in a child's best interests when access to one of their primary caregivers is essentially cut off.
Opponents of shared custody claim that having to move back and forth between parents would be unstable for children. Others believe fathers' rights advocates are merely scheming for ways to cut their payments for child support. They worry that a shift toward equally shared custody would actually jeopardize a child's well-being rather than support it.
Divorcing parents who both agree on their child's needs are usually successful at creating their own child custody agreement without court intervention. Unfortunately, some New York divorces are simply not civil enough to accomplish this task, which is when parents can proceed to court where they will go before a family law judge. At that point, it is up to the discretion of the judge to survey a child's needs and parents' testimonies and then create an arrangement based on what he or she perceives to be in the child's best interests.
Source: stltoday.com, "Aisha Sultan: Making child custody more fair to divorced fathers", Aisha Sultan, June 11, 2016