Child Custody Lawyer

When it comes to the health and well-being of your family, you do not want to trust your family law case to just any child custody lawyer or firm. You need a group of lawyers with well over three decades of experience in New York family law. The dedicated attorneys in the Spodek Law Group ( are here to make sure that the livelihood of your children is fully protected throughout the entirety of the legal process.

The reason that clients from every one of the five boroughs trusts our judgment is because of our continued success in New York family law cases. You can easily find some of the successes on our website; however, it would be much better if you sat down with one of our attorneys face-to-face for a free consultation. We like to understand exactly what your situation is and how we can help you to remedy it as quickly as possible.

If you are looking to research our credentials, you can start with the lawyers and the clients of the Spodek Law Group that have been mentioned on major media outlets such as CNBC, NBC, CBS and many others. Our record is very public, and our record is very strong. When it comes to family law, we have the ear of the judges and the court system because we, with the integrity and the evidence that the court can trust. This is the reason why we have been entrusted with some of the most prominent and private cases that New York family law has ever seen.

Even if you are not a celebrity, we will treat you with the same distinction that a celebrity client would receive. For your child custody case, you will receive two lawyers for in court consultation and full customer service. You will also have another lawyer who is specifically tasked to find the information that will help to present your case in the most positive light in court. The reason that we assigned three lawyers to your case is because we want to be sure that all perspectives are considered and the case is chosen – the case that is most representative of the real you in what can be a very emotional time.

Not only are we a dedicated law firm, but we are also a very convenient law firm. With a centrally located Manhattan office that is within walking distance of the 2, 3, A, C and E trains, residence from everywhere including Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island have been represented by us with no transportation trouble. We are just as easily accessible over the phone and when it matters most – before your case.

If you are considering going with another law firm based solely on the price of that law firm, do not do your family the disservice of a representation that you do not necessarily want. We realize the strain that family law cases can put on your finances. While we are researching the child custody case, we will also be looking into spousal support, equitable distribution and all of the other financial issues that come along with child custody cases. Nothing is more important than ensuring the representation for your family when it comes to your children, not even our fees.

No matter how far your case may go, we have lawyers with over three decades of experience in every sphere of New York family law court, up to and including the Supreme Court. We understand the politics of the court, we know the individual personalities that will be handing down decisions and we will formulate a strategy that is uniquely based on your individual situation as well as the personalities in the courtroom that will decide on the livelihood of your children.

We also provide post-consultations at no additional cost if you believe that something was mishandled at any point during our service to you. We guarantee to fix it without charging you another dime. Our reputation is of the utmost importance to us, as our firm was started on word-of-mouth, not advertising. We want you to leave knowing that you received the absolute service that New York had to offer in terms of legal representation.

Give us a call or an email so that we can sit down for your free consultation immediately. When it comes to your children, there is no such thing as too early. The sooner that you get into contact with us, the sooner that we can assign you your full three-person team and begin gathering evidence in your favor. We look forward to helping preserve the texture of your family and the livelihood of your children. Thank you for trusting us in what we know is undoubtedly a very trying time for you and your entire family.

What does Legal Custody Mean?

Custody in a divorce case is a category under which decisions about the welfare and upbringing of minor children are litigated and enforced by a family court. Generally speaking, there are two broad types of custody. Legal custody is when one or both parents are awarded the right to make decisions about a child’s education, religious affiliations, food and clothing, extracurricular activities, participation in sports or membership organizations and medical care. Physical custody gives a parent the right to have a child live with them, usually in the same home.

Legal and physical custody can be shared between both parents or even between parents and other relatives like grandparents, depending on the ultimate decision of a family court judge. Custody arrangements can change over time, and occasionally a parent can lose custody if they do something abusive or neglect their parental duties.


Custody arrangements are adjudicated and justified based on what a court considers to be the  interests of the child. This is somewhat different from other kinds of legal disputes. In most cases, the decision of the court rests on its interpretation of whether a plaintiff or defendant has a better argument or better evidence. In a custody matter, the decision instead rests on the interests of a person who isn’t even a party to the case at all.

The burden of any custody order is likely to be borne by the parents rather than the child on the grounds that stress and inconvenience to a child should not be placed in order to make circumstances easier for one or more of the litigants. It is not the child, says the court, whose life should be negatively impacted by circumstances they can’t control.


Whether parents get legal or physical custody is a function of their suitability as a parent, and any arrangements favorable to the child. For example, physical custody is more likely to be awarded to a parent living close to a child’s school and the home where they were most recently living rather than a parent that has moved out of state. Legal custody is more likely awarded to parents that demonstrate responsibility rather than those who might be facing legal problems of their own or who cannot support their children.

Abusive parents or those who have neglected their children in the past do not have very good prospects for either obtaining or sharing custody of their children, as the other parent will point out that living with or being under the influence of an abusive and neglectful adult isn’t in any child’s interests.


In the rare cases where both parents have shirked their responsibilities and have demonstrated a lack of capacity to care for any of their children, it is up to the court to step in and provide where parents either cannot or will not. In many of these cases, a judge will order the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. Literally “for this suit” or “for this occasion” Ad Litem Guardianship is established by the court for purposes of helping a child or family of children navigate a legal case in which they cannot rely on the care or attention of their parents.

A Guardian Ad Litem is empowered by the court to make decisions on a child’s behalf, such as obtaining legal counsel, finding other family members who may be able to care for that child and so forth. In such cases, the children may find themselves at odds with their own parents, and may have to work out their own custody arrangements over one or more of their parents’ objections.

A key benefit to the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem is the elevation of the children in a divorce case to the station of a recognized party to the case. Even though children only rarely have standing on their own, once a Guardian is appointed, they can obtain legal counsel and begin the process of making their own motions and arguments in favor of arrangements suited to them regardless of the wishes of their parents. In many such cases, older children end up emancipated and on their own legally.

Custody arrangements can be among the most highly contested legal disputes. The impracticality of making completely subjective decisions based on what are almost exclusively emotional arguments can be a major burden on a court. Few such decisions produce any relief for any of the parties. Nevertheless, the overriding purpose of a court in making certain the interests of the children are preserved must prevail.

He claims he’s the primary parent, but we agreed to joint custody

During divorce proceedings, couples often live in separate residences. When the divorce agreement involves Joint Custody, there can be one parent who is designated as the primary custodial parent. This is the parent who spends the most time with their child or children. A custody arrangement could involve a child or children spending the week with one parent, and the weekends with the other. The parent who cares for the child or children during the week would be considered the primary custodial parent.

Choosing Primary Custodial Parent
It is common during a divorce for the primary custodial parent to also have legal custody of the child or children. This gives them the legal authority to make any legal decision involving the child or children. When a court wants to determine which parent should be the primary custodial parent, it will attempt to determine what is in the interest of the child or children. A court will choose the parent who is able to serve the needs of the child or children. A court will examine the mental and physical capacities of each parent. If either parent has a criminal record or any history involving the neglect or abuse of the child or children, it will be taken into consideration. The court will look at the nature of the relationship between the child or children and parents. The financial background, as well as the parent’s ability to care for the child, or children, will be factors in the court’s decision.

Joint Custody
Arrangements that involve true joint custody are very rare. This is because they can cause the child or children and parents personal difficulties. It could cause a serious disruption to a child’s or children’s routine as well as stress from constantly changing households and more. It is possible for two parents to agree on a schedule where a child or children live with each parent one month at a time. They may also agree on how to handle their child or children’s legal issues.

Joint Legal Custody
In this situation, both parents share the right to determine how a child or children will be raised. These types of decisions involve important aspects of a child’s welfare. This could be medical as well as religious decisions and more. In this arrangement, it’s common for the court to grant physical custody to one parent, but joint legal custody for both. When this is the case, the parent with physical custody agrees to work with the other parent when it comes to all major child-rearing issues.

Changing Primary Custodial Parent
It is natural over time for the needs of a child or children to change. It is also common for one parent’s ability to provide financial or other types of support to diminish. These are situations that could cause the court to alter primary custody from one parent to the other. It’s also possible for a court to assign custody to a completely different individual. These types of changes for a child or children will have a major impact on their life. In order for this change to happen, it will require additional court hearings.

Determining Joint Custody
It will be up to the court to determine if joint custody is in the interest of the child or children. It may not matter if only one parent wants joint custody. The court will look at the details of a situation and determine what it thinks is for the child or children. The financial background and other personal information of each parent will be examined. The court will want to know if the parents have agreed to joint custody. They will assess the willingness of each parent to cooperate and communicate on issues concerning the welfare of their child or children. The court will also consider how close the parents live to one another, as well as the emotional and physical environment of each household and more.