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Child CustodyThe best interests of the child are the objective of custody and visitation proceedings, which are governed by statute. Domestic Relations Law §70(a) specifically grants standing to “either parent” to “apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus” regarding adjudication of custody and visitation matters. Domestic Relations Law §240 is silent as to who may petition the court for custody, but the focus is on “parents.” Family Court Act §651(b) is also silent as to who has standing to petition the Family Court for custody.

The U.S. Supreme Court has defined standing as follows: “Whether a party has a sufficient stake in an otherwise justiciable controversy to obtain judicial resolution of that controversy is what has traditionally been referred to as the question of standing to sue. Where the party does not rely on any specific statute authorizing invocation of the judicial process, the question of standing depends upon whether the party has alleged such a ‘personal stake in the outcome of the controversy, as to ensure that ‘the dispute sought to be adjudicated will be presented in an adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of judicial resolution.’” Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 731-32 (1972).

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