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Articles Posted in Child Custody

Negotiationpic-300x207Child custody cases are some of the most complex and emotional in the world of family law. In order to pursue the “best interests” of the child or children involved, parents can consider a range of options. Some will consider working things out through mediation or negotiation, others may believe litigation is the most effective strategy for their needs.

In all instances, accessing the support of an experienced family lawyer is always recommended. Even in mediation, having your own consulting attorney can be a crucial part of ensuring you achieve the right outcomes in your case. However, it’s particularly important to have the right guidance if your case makes its way in front of a judge and testimony is being heard.

Divorce attorneys and child custody lawyers have the ability to use a range of methods to demonstrate their client is capable of supporting the best interests of their children. Often, this means using cross-examination and direct examination at the right moments throughout the trial.

So, what happens in cases wherein an individual may choose to represent themselves? Continue reading ›

Lawyeratdesk-300x200Custody cases can vary drastically from one situation to the next.

Some parents prefer to negotiate agreements on things like parenting time, visitation, and custody through a mediation session. In some instances, mediation can be a beneficial alternative to a court battle for both the parents involved in the case, and the children, as it reduces the need to expose youngsters to potentially stressful interviews with attorneys for the children or a judge.

However, not every case will be able to avoid a court battle. Sometimes, the only way to ensure the best interests of the children, and the parents are served, is to take the matter in front of a judge at a New York Supreme Court in the context of a divorce or family court. When a child custody case is taken into the court room, there are various stages involved in ensuring the judge, referee, or judicial hearing office can come to the right decision about the needs of the children. Continue reading ›

ParentsKitchenChild-201x300When a relationship comes to an end for any couple, there a multitude of issues to be addressed and factors to be considered. Each party needs to think about how assets and liabilities will be distributed between themselves and the other spouse. They’ll also need to consider whether it’s necessary to apply for any maintenance payments to assist with supplementing future earnings.

A settlement agreement is a legal document these parties can use to outline the plan for how the divorce or separation will be managed. Within this document, individuals can make suggestions to the court about how they plan to handle everything from equitable distribution to child custody.

In most cases, settlement agreements are created with the guidance and assistance of a professional family lawyer, with experience handling all forms of divorce and child custody law. However, there are circumstances wherein individuals may choose to create their own settlement agreement, and represent themselves when presenting this document to the courts. Continue reading ›

Parents-with-Children-300x200Discussions surrounding paternity and equitable estoppel in the courts of New York can be challenging concepts to deal with for parents or alleged fathers. It’s always essential, in any case, for the courts to put the best interests of the child first. However, for parents, it can be difficult to determine what kind of results this may lead to.

Sometimes, testing the genetics of a parent can be an important step in ensuring the right decisions are being made on behalf of that child. However, there are exceptions in certain situations. As a family law attorney and divorce lawyer, I do my best to keep my clients, any anyone in search of information on the subject as informed as possible.

I’ve blogged about this before but it is worth analyzing further as from paternity a myriad of possibilities arise such as:  support; custody; parenting time; family relationships; inheritance among others.  Here’s a guide to the basics of paternity and equitable estoppel. Continue reading ›

ParentsBeach-300x200When parents separate or divorce, the law is designed to try to ensure the parent with physical custody over a child or children has access to the right resources to raise the child according to the incomes of each parent. Child support is one of the most common issues which needs to be addressed in a case involving children.

While there are various factors which can come into play when determining who should be responsible for providing child support, and how much support needs to be given, there are also specific guidelines in place to help with the calculation of appropriate levels of child support.

As I often advise my clients, New York law does provide a formula which helps the court to determine an appropriate level of child support. This formula allows for deviations to happen according to the specific needs of the case. Continue reading ›

Law is an ever dynamic and changing field, which responds to evolutions in our society and the way we live. When changes occur to laws which may influence my clients, I attempt to offer an overview in the form of these blogs and articles, to assist in developing a deeper understanding.

Recently, changes occurred within the standards used to “indicate” a case in Social Services law. These changes were introduced within “Part R” of chapter 56 of the laws of 2020 – sometimes referred to as the “SCR reform legislation”. Among other alterations, the new law changes the standard of evidence which must be implemented when determining whether to indicate a report of child abuse or maltreatment.

The new standard adapts the rule from providing “some credible evidence” to providing “a fair preponderance” for evidence. Let’s take a closer look at the changes. Continue reading ›

Kitchenfeeding-300x200It’s no secret that cases involving children are among the most emotional and complex in family law. There are many different things parents need to think about when not living with the other parent or beginning a divorce, from how they’re going to split the family home, to how they can manage parenting and custody time.

One element which can become confusing in some cases is how the “residential custodial” parent is determined in a case when there is equal parenting time distributed between both parties.  In the custody context, the residential parent would be the one that the child lives with most (residential custody being separate and independent from “legal custody” which refers to decision making authority for the child).  Notably, in the family law world, to count as a day living with one parent or another is counted according to the place the child sleeps and then wakes up the following morning on a given occasion.  In other words, it is measured by overnights with the child.  If both parents receive the same number of overnights with the child, and the parents both look after the child in their own properties, it can be difficult to determine which is the “residential custodial” care provider.  Although I have blogged about this topic before, it is worth looking at again, as shared residential custody seems to come up in more and more of my mediations, negotiated cases and even litigated matters. Continue reading ›

Arms-Crossed-200x300There are various complicated concepts which apply to legal cases in matrimonial law. Courts must consider the various components of each case on an individual basis, as the situation surrounding those involved can make a huge difference to the order made.

One possible consideration which may emerge in some postnuptial, prenuptial, separation, and stipulation of settlement cases is the choice of law clause. This is a clause in the legal world which can influence decisions of which state laws should be applied to certain cases.

Here, we’ll be exploring the concept of the choice-of-law clause, and how various factors can make a difference to which state’s laws are applied to particular family law cases. Continue reading ›

Kissing-Parents-300x200In a previous blog, we began discussing the basics of “Maltreatment” in cases involving children. The term “maltreatment” can be somewhat complex, as it often refers to a number of different acts which might put the child in the case in danger. Maltreatment might be identified as “negligence” or direct endangerment of the child. It could also apply to situations wherein a care provider has failed to properly look after a child in their charge.

Child maltreatment cases can emerge in everything from personal injury law, where parents or officials may make a claim against an individual for maltreatment, to family law, where a party may use a finding of child maltreatment to reduce a spouse’s exposure to a child.

To further define what “maltreatment” may entail in the legal landscape, particularly the world of family law and Child Protective Services investigations, let’s look at some cases wherein the courts of New York explored the issue in greater depth. Continue reading ›

Young-Parents-1-300x207Since I began my focus in matrimonial and family law in 2004 and working as a child custody attorney, divorce lawyer, and mediator throughout New York and Long Island, I’ve discovered some cases are always more complex than others. Cases involving children, for instance, are often the most emotional for everyone involved. This is particularly true when the safety of the child is brought into question.

The duty of ACS, Child Protective Services or a court when dealing with cases involving children is to make sure the child in question remains safe and protected with the order provided.  For CPS investigations this might mean “indicating” someone for child maltreatment or filing a neglect case in family court. In a child custody and parenting time case this means when making orders around custody and visitation, the courts will consider all of the details of the situation surrounding the case carefully, to determine what outcome is in the “best interests” of the child.

A number of factors can contribute to a determination of a child’s best interests, including any evidence presented by an individual or party in the case, and the accusations made by plaintiffs during a child custody or divorce case. One particularly worrisome concept is when an individual is accused of “maltreatment” of a child. Continue reading ›

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