Yes, unlike many other states, New York has several rules specifically dealing with child custody issues. These are unique to New York and may have further implications if either spouse or the child resides outside of New York. Some of the special features of New York child custody law include:
 
  • In divorce actions, if there are children under the age of 18 who reside in the state of New York, a demand for custody is mandatory.
  • If the children reside outside the state of New York, custody is not allowed to be determined (except in certain instances according to stipulation or agreement between the parties).
  • Children under 21 years of age must be supported by both parents, to the extent that each parent is able to do so under the Child Support Standards Act.
  • Custody cannot be awarded to persons other than the child’s mother or father, except under very limited circumstances which require additional hearings .
  • In the instance where a change of residence is involved, a New York court will give preference to the custodial parent’s decision to relocate (so long as their intent is not to frustrate the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent). 
These rules are specific to New York and may not apply to the laws of different states. Also, there are several Federal child custody laws that sometimes overlap with state guidelines. Therefore if you are filing for divorce or separation in the state of New York, it helps to be aware of these different requirements.

Should I hire a Lawyer to assist me with my New York Child Custody case?

Whether you are the custodial parent a non-custodial parent seeking custody of the child, a lawyer can help inform you of the laws as well as guide you in preparing your argument as to why you should be granted custody. This is especially true if you are not a biological parent of the child.     
 
The laws of New York regarding child custody are very different from those of other states, and they may present unique interplays between Federal laws. Hiring a local New York  lawyer in this case is highly recommended and may even be necessary due to the complexity of the laws governing child support.