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If you find yourself at the mercy of a child custody proceeding in the state of New York, the single best thing that you can do is hire a competent and experienced lawyer to fight on your behalf. Child custody law in New York is a complex patchwork of statutory laws and existing case law, making it one of the more challenging areas in which to practice. On top of this, judges in the Family Courts, the competent jurisdiction for all child custody battles in the state, are granted broad leeway to interpret the unique facts of the case before them. This makes the Family Courts and child custody hearings far more subjective and potentially difficult to navigate than other areas of the law.
However, a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer with a strong grasp of the relevant case law can give you the edge you need to prevail. The most important thing when entering a child custody hearing is to have a set of well-defined goals and a game plan to reach them. With the right lawyer, this can usually be achieved.
In New York State, there are two types of custody that can be awarded. The first is referred to as physical custody. This is granted to the parent with whom the child will spend the majority of their time living. Although it is rare for joint physical custody to be granted, due to the fact that parents coming through the Family Court system are rarely living together, this does not mean that one parent will have a monopoly over the child residing with them. The parent who is not granted physical custody will almost always have visitation rights established by the court. These can be significant, including two or even three days each week where the child resides with the non custodial parent.
The other form of custody is legal custody. This involves the ability of parents to make or veto any important decision affecting the life of the child. These decisions include but are not limited to questions of religion, education or healthcare. Legal custody is the type that is most often shared in the form of joint custody.
Unfortunately, if your goal is to obtain joint custody in the state of New York, you already have the deck stacked heavily against you by the very act of showing up in Family Court. This is because joint custody in New York State allows a parent absolute veto power over any decision the other parent takes. The Family Courts have traditionally shied away from granted joint custody in any cases where there has been demonstrated animosity or contention. This is done to avoid deadlocking every decision that must be taken on behalf of the child.
Still, even if you are not granted joint custody of your child, that does not mean that you are disenfranchised from important decisions regarding their life. Any time a decision is made that may have a negative affect on the child or may not be in their best interest, a petition can be made to the Family Court to review that decision. If it is deemed that the decision of the custodial parent is deleterious to the child’s well being, then the court will issue an injunction, nullifying the decision.
Divorce proceedings can be quite challenging. During this time, the separating spouses must resolve numerous issues. For those with children, there is often no matter given greater importance than who is awarded custody of their children. In many instances, this decision is rendered by a judge. However, the spouse for whom the ruling went against may not agree with the judge’s opinion. Under such circumstances, he or she might choose to appeal the court’s custody order. This piece offers a brief examination of the custody order process.
What Is A Custody Order?
This legal rendering directs not only which parent receives custody of a divorcing couple’s child(ren), but also dictates specific tenets of how the child(ren) is/are to be brought up. Custody is divided into two categories: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody references which parent is bestowed the authority to make important personal and/or life decisions for the child(ren). In some instances, both separating parties are awarded legal custody meaning the former spouses have equal legal recourse in offering opinions and/or making choices about their offspring’s well-being.
Physical custody, also referred to as residential custody, determines which parent the child(ren) live with. In this circumstance, the parent awarded physical custody is expected to provide supervision and provide for his or her offspring’s basic needs and care. A court may also render that both parents share physical custody equally. In such a case, the splitting couple’s child(ren) will live with each parent half of the time.
Can A Parent Challenge A Judge’s Ruling?
If a judge was needed to resolve child custody issues, the law enables such a ruling to be challenged. In most cases, custody orders are appealed only when one of the splitting factions and/or their attorney believes the judge made an error in reaching the conclusion he or she handed down. When one party is unhappy with a judge’s renderings, a more common method of challenging a ruling is to petition the court for a modification of the custody order.
Family court proceedings differ depending upon the regulations of the state within which they are located. Ergo, how much time a challenging spouse is given to file an appeal varies anywhere from one week to a month following the judge’s rendering.
Appeals differ from modifications and are typically somewhat more complicated, as well as harder to win. More often than not, appellate courts will only reverse a judge’s decision if it is presented with clear evidence suggesting he or she made some kind of error (usually of the legal variety) in putting forth the decision that was rendered.
How Should A Parent Go About The Appeals Process?
If a divorcing parent is intent on filing an appeal, he or she should first consult with an experienced family court attorney. From there, the appealing party and his or her counsel should review the case and carefully try to comb out any inaccuracies or inconsistencies that might be construed as a potential mistake made by the presiding judge. Even if such issues are detected, there is still no guarantee the appellate court will overturn the initial ruling. If the legal body deems the judge delivered a decision with designs on upholding the child’s (children’s) best interests, the appellate court is not very likely to reverse or make any changes to such a rendering. Making the task even more difficult is the fact that the appellate court does not permit the individual seeking the appeal to introduce new testimony or allow additional witnesses to speak on the said individual’s behalf.
Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.
Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.
Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.
Our divorce lawyers provide superior service, and results, with a white glove touch that few others can deliver.
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