In the State of New York, all child custody cases are handled by the Family Court system. This court system is unique in many respects, with a number of characteristics that make it far different and more challenging that practicing in other areas of the law.
This is why the best lawyers to hire in child custody cases are those who specialize in that area of the law. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling child custody cases. We have the relevant case law knowledge, the litigation skills and the experience of what works and what doesn’t to give you the edge you need in your child custody hearing.
Unlike other areas of the law, the Family Courts are heavily reliant on case law. While there are some areas of statutory law, such as the New York Domestic Relations Laws, that inform the rules, procedures and range of permissible decisions in Family Court, the vast majority of what goes on there is bounded by the existing body of case law. This makes family law in the state of New York a particularly intricate and challenging area in which to practice.
A good lawyer with extensive experience and knowledge will be able to use the case law and the principles defined by it to position you in a way that maximizes your chances of prevailing in your child custody hearing.
If you are involved in a child custody situation where your ex-spouse has unilaterally decided to move a long distance away and take the kids with them, it is likely that your primary goal will be either to prevent them from moving far away or to gain sole custody of the child or children. The bad news is that these situations rarely have a constructive joint custody solution, where both parents can come to some sort of amicable agreement. This is particularly true when one spouse is leaving due to a job or other economic necessity.
On the other hand, the good news is that there is a high likelihood that you will be able to win joint custody, particularly if you can demonstrate that the other spouse is creating a situation that is threatening to interfere with your relationship with your children or that is violating either the letter or the spirit of prior Family Court rulings.
An expert child custody lawyer will be able to help you raise doubts in the eye of the court about the intent and the ability to parent of the party attempting to take the kids away. They will be able to present any evidence that may help your case, such as prior drug/e-liquid or alcohol abuse, any kind of behavior that may be construed as neglect or abuse and anything that may indicate that the other parent has been negligent. They will also be able to call expert witnesses to testify both for you and against the other parent, raising doubt as to the ability of the opposing parent to effectively carry out their parental duties.
And unlike in a criminal trial, where these things may be regarded as merely circumstantial, in the setting of Family Court, they may be considered dispositive by the judge, particularly if many such facts begin to accumulate that paint a negative picture of the opposing spouse’s parenting ability.
But most importantly, any long-distance move may be shown to be detrimental to the social lives, educational situation and even the mental health of the child or children involved. A lawyer who understands the process can often raise enough doubt for the moving spouse to be forced to either stay or relinquish custody.
We consider ourselves to be tough lawyers. We aggressively work to pursue the best interests of children in every divorce case that comes before us. That’s because courts also want what’s in the best interests of children. Sometimes during or after a divorce, a custodial parent might want to move away to another location (relocate). This can happen because the custodial parent finds a new job, feels that another community would be better for their children, or simply wants a change of scenery for themselves. A move for the parent doesn’t always mean that it’s a bad move for the child as well.
A non-custodial parent has the legal right to contest this move. If you’re in the middle of a divorce or are divorced and want to relocate, you’re going to need an experienced lawyer on your side to explain to the non-custodial or joint custody parent why the move is in the best interests of your child. We’re the people that you need on your side when you walk in that court room to explain your situation. Specific laws govern what the courts will allow in relocation cases. If you want to move away, or prevent a move, you need a lawyer that knows these laws very well. They vary state by state. In New York, they will be very specific laws that determine the legal way to relocate when you’re divorced or divorcing.
Specific New York Relocation Laws
The best interests of the child
This is the “deciding factor” of any relocation case. The court wants to know why it’s in the best interests of your child to relocate with you. It’s our job to present your case and show the court why it’s in the best interests of your child or children to move away with you.
Your reasons for relocating
The court will want to know why you want to move. What are the reasons? We’ll explain your reasons to the court and explain how these reasons are definitely in the best interests of the child.
Financial, emotional, and educational factors
The court will also look at the way the move will impact your child. If the non-custodial parent doesn’t agree with the move, it’s our job to prove to the courts why your move will help your child or children educationally, emotionally, and financially. We’re very good at doing this and have an excellent track record in showing courts just why it’s okay for our client to relocate.
All of these things are at play when you go to court to request to move away from the non-custodial parent. If you’re a non-custodial parent who wants to prevent a move, we work on your behalf as well to show the courts why a move isn’t in your child’s best interest. We can handle either side of the law because we know that each situation is different. In some cases, a move is good. In others, a move will be detrimental to a child. Since we have four decades of combined experience in relocation laws, we’re able to communicate with the court and get your point across without harming any part involved. Call us and let us take on your relocation case.
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