New York State Temporary Custody Laws

By Alexis Writing

Child image by Serenitie from

There are many types of custody, including permanent, temporary and joint custody. Depending upon the state in which you reside, these different forms of custody may have different meanings. The definition of temporary custody and the laws that govern it in New York are different than the laws for temporary custody in other states.

Pendente Lite

In New York, temporary custody is also referred to as "pendente lite." This alternate term for custody translates to "pending the trail." In federal courts or the New York Supreme courts, the latter term is usually used when discussing temporary custody. In New York family courts, the former term is used. In New York, this custody order is issued by the court after the case is filed. However, the court issues the order before the case goes to trial. When the outcome of the case is determined, this temporary order is vacated. A final order of custody is issued in its place.

Factors in Determining Custody

There are several factors that may determine which parent or legal guardian receives temporary custody before a case goes to trial in New York. The following list is not exhaustive of the different factors, but they are some of the most common factors that help determine custody.

The age of the parents helps determine custody---if one parent is much older and more mature than the second parent, he or she will be more likely to gain temporary custody. The alcohol and drug use of the parents are also considered. If one parent has a drug problem, he or she most likely will not receive temporary custody. The availability and finances of the parents are also considered. The court typically wants the child to go with a parent or guardian that has the means and the time to care for the child.

Read More: Informal Custody Agreement

Parental Input

When determining temporary custody in New York, the court will sometimes ask the opinions of the parents. If either parent agree that one parent should receive temporary custody before the case goes to trial, the court may honor that wish. For example, one parent may be unusually busy at work for the next couple of months and be unable to care for the children as well as the other parent can.