Legal Information: New York


April 20, 2017

What is custody?

Custody is the legal responsibility for the care and control of your child (under 18 years old).  When the judge issues a custody order, it will address two parts of custody: legal and physical.*

Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions about your child.  Some types of decisions included in the right of legal custody are: where your child goes to school, whether or not your child gets surgery and what kind of religious training your child receives.**

Physical custody (also called residential custody) is the actual physical care and supervision of your child.  It refers to who your child lives with on a day-to-day basis.***

For more information on custody in New York, you can read The Basics: Custody and Visitation in New York State prepared by an organization called Her Justice.  (WomensLaw is not affiliated with this organization.)  

* NY Dom Rel § 75-a(3)
** See the NYS Unified Court System website
*** NY Dom Rel § 75-a(14); see also the NYS Unified Court System website