There are many family dynamics in New York. Some families consist of a married mother and father living in the same home, some families have divorced parents or parents who were never married in the first place. Sometimes other relatives take care of the children due to issues the child's parents are going through. These types of situations can create some legal complications for the relatives taking care of the children though.
These relatives can try to obtain child custody of the children they care for. The first step in this process is to determine if extraordinary circumstances are present. These types of circumstances can include but are not limited to if the parent of the child abused or neglected the child, a parent who is unable to provide care due to being in prison, if the parent is addicted to drugs or if they have taken other actions, which could seriously harm the child's well-being and other circumstances.
If a judge finds that there are extraordinary circumstances present, then the judge can make a custody determination based on what is in the best interests of the child. If the judge finds that it is in the best interests of the child to grant the relative custody, then the parent would lose custody. For a variety of legal reasons, it can be important for the relative to have custody, if they are going to be caring for the child.
There are many people in New York who care for children who are not their biological children. The people may be able to gain custody of the children if certain circumstances are present. These are very fact specific type cases though and understanding the law can be very important for one going through this process.
Source: NYCourts.com, "Extraordinary Circumstances" accessed on June 7, 2016