In a custody dispute between a parent and a non-parent, the parent has a superior right to custody that cannot be denied unless the non-parent establishes that the parent has relinquished that right due to surrender, abandonment, persistent neglect, unfitness or other extraordinary circumstances. (Source: 2020 decision, NYS Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department.) Interestingly, this standard came up in a recent court case for Ken Novenstern, Esq., just as it did in a child custody matter he handled back in 1985. He elaborates in this video.

Ken Novenstern is a partner here at Fredman Baken & Novenstern, LLP. With offices in Mount Kisco and White Plains, NY, we provide legal services including divorce, separation, custody related matters, and pre and post nuptial agreements. Learn more at

If you have questions regarding child custody or other NY family law related matters, contact Ken Novenstern at (914) 997-9070 or (914) 241-2400. You can also send email or book a consultation through our contact page at