In Brooklyn, as in the state of New York as a whole, all child custody hearings are handled by the state’s Family Court system. This area of the state’s judicial system has a number of unique features that make it a particuarly complex and challenging area of the law in which to practice.
The Family Court system is mostly guided by the existing body of case law. While there are a large number of statutory laws, such as the state’s Domestic Relations Laws, that are controlling in the Family Court setting, the vast majority of the rules, procedures and precedents set for the Family Court come from the extensive body of case law.
For this reason, it is extremely important that, in order to maximize your chances of a positive resolution to your child custody battle, you hire a competent lawyer who specializes in child custody law. Our lawyers have the skills, knowledge and experience to handle anything the Family Courts may throw your way. We have the winning track record and the extensive history in court that demonstrates our commitment to cases and ability to win when it counts.
Unfortunately, many parents who are going through the Family Courts for the first time do not fully grasp the seriousness of these proceedings. Unlike civil and even criminal law, Family Court rulings are both virtually unappealable and have effects that can literally last an entire lifetime, as in the awarding of alimony. Even in cases of child custody, the court’s decision will have binding effect until the child turns 18. That’s why it’s so important to get it right the first time around when you are facing actions brought in Family Court.
The two types of child custody
The state of New York recognizes two broad categories of child custody. The first is known as physical custody. This is the form of custody that is usually awarded to the parent living in the marital domicile, where the child has been accustomed to living. While physical custody can be granted to the parent that has left the marital domicile, such rulings are rare.
It is often not usual for joint physical custody to be granted. This is simply due to the fact that most cases appearing before the Family Court system involve situations where the parties have physically separated. Even though a parent may find themselves without any physical custody rights, this does not mean that they will have no right to visit their child or even have them live at their residence on a limited basis.
In fact, in nearly all cases brought before the Family Courts, the physically non-custodial parent is granted at least some visitation rights. In many cases, the child is allowed to live at the non-custodial parents home for significant portions of each month.
The other form of custody is known as legal custody. This form of custody denotes the ability of the custodial parents to make decisions involving the well being of the child. It also entails the ability of custodial parents to veto any decision taken by the other parent that they believe may be deleterious to the well being of the child.