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If you are experiencing a child custody dispute in the Queens area or anywhere else throughout the state of New York, you need an experienced and skilled lawyer on your side. In New York State, all child custody disputes are handled by the Family Courts. These cases are not like other judicial proceedings, and they require a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases.
The Family Courts are based heavily on case law and allow judges considerable leeway in their decisions. Aside from a few areas of statutory law, such as New York’s Domestic Relations Laws, the vast majority of the controlling law in Family Court proceedings is based on the existing body of case law. This means that without specializing in that area of jurisprudence, it is unlikely that a lawyer will be able to provide optimal counsel in the Family Court setting.
Our law offices feature lawyers who have spent their entire careers in the Family Courts and know how to get results. With the right lawyer on your side, you can get the edge you need to prevail in your child custody dispute.
It is important to understand that in the state of New York, there are two distinct forms of custody. The first is referred to as physical custody. This is generally granted to the parent who is living in the domicile where the child spends the majority of their time. In cases of divorce, physical custody is almost always granted to the parent that ends up living in the marital home.
Although one parent is frequently denied physical custody, this does not mean that they have no right to see their children. On the contrary, in almost all cases, the physically non-custodial parent will have visitation rights with the child. This may include the right to have the child live at the non-custodial parent’s home for significant portions of each month.
The other form of custody is known as legal custody. This refers to the ability of a custodial parent to participate in decisions that materially affect the child’s well being. A parent with legal custody will also have absolute veto power over any decision taken on behalf of the child that the parent feels may not align with the child’s interest.
While physical custody is rarely granted jointly, legal custody may be given to both parents. But this is usually only done where there is no obvious contention or animosity between the parties. For this reason, most child custody cases that appear before the Family Courts will not result in both parents being awarded joint legal custody. In cases where there is considerable hostility between the parties, joint legal custody would almost always result in constant deadlock, and the parents would need to resort to the court system on nearly every important decision.
Still, even if one parent is denied legal custody, this does not imply that they have no rights or input with regard to crucial decisions. If a non-custodial parent strongly feels that a decision taken regarding the child’s situation runs contrary to their interests, they may file a petition with the Family Court to review the decision and intervene, if necessary.
But what all of this means, in practice, is that it is often for our client to seek sole legal custody. With the experience and winning track record produced over hundreds of cases, we can help them realize that goal.