Either parent can seek an award of custody from the court. There is no longer a presumption of custody to the mother. The "tender years" doctrine in New York State is long gone. Unfortunately, an unfit parent will seek custody of a child for the wrong reasons.
I am skilled at demonstrating these cynical attempts to the court, and obtaining custody for fathers who are faced with challenging situations. I have personally obtained custody for fathers, who were employed on a full time basis, and even obtained a change in custody during high-conflict litigation following trial.
The court will no longer decide custody cases based upon the gender of the parent. The issue of custody is based upon the "best interest of the children" standard and I will zealously advocate for my client regardless of gender.
I have also litigated many cases on behalf of clients who were falsely accused of abuse and domestic violence. I have successfully enforced the parenting rights of clients who were denied access or visitation to their children by unfit parents.