In Manhattan and throughout the entire state of New York, child custody proceedings are handled by the Family Court system. Because rulings of the Family Court can be almost impossible to appeal and the judges are given wide leeway in coming to their verdicts, it is strongly recommended that anytime you find yourself subject to hearings within this court system you hire the best lawyer you can find.
Our lawyers have decades of experience handling child custody cases in the state’s Family Courts. We specialize in these cases and know the relevant case law and the ways in which judges typically interpret facts better than anyone else in the city. Going it alone or with inadequate legal counsel in a child custody hearing is a nearly surefire way to guarantee that you will not achieve the goals that you seek. Our lawyers know the system inside and out, and we can maximize the chances that you will prevail in the Family Courts.
Child custody hearings require a unique skill set
While there are many lawyers throughout Manhattan that handle everything from drunk driving to family law themselves, we believe that the only way to correctly approach family law is through laser-like specialization. This is especially true in the area of child custody cases, where the stakes could not be higher and the chances of a decision being reversed, once made by the judge, is nil.
The Family Court system is not like other areas of legal practice. For starters, in normal criminal and civil cases, the entire process is centered around establishing the guilt or innocence of a defendant through the accurate piecing together of past events. This is usually accomplished with such concrete evidence as ballistics or forensic accounting, things with scientific certitude that are not subject to much latitude in interpretation.
On the other hand, judges presiding over child custody hearings are attempting to ascertain the most likely patterns of behavior that will occur in the future. This inherently opens the process up to much subjectivity and open guesswork. As a result, things like the testimony of state child services investigators and that of expert witnesses can hold great sway.
This is an example of where a good lawyer can make all of the difference. The type of evidence, what is admitted to the court and taking control of the narrative at trial can make the difference between winning and losing. An experienced attorney knows how to handle these situations and will use their skill, knowledge and expertise to guide the proceedings in a way that will ensure a positive outcome for their client.
Joint custody may not be feasible
There are two recognized types of custody in the state of New York. The first is physical custody. This simply refers to the parent with which the child primarily lives. Physical custody is usually not jointly granted.
On the other hand, the second form of custody, legal custody, is often allowed on a joint basis. However, judges are usually quite hesitant to grand joint custody in cases where there is any amount of contention or hostility between the two parents. This means that, in practice, it is often not viable to seek joint custody with an ex-spouse once the matter has entered the Family Court system.
This means that it will often be the best strategy to go for sole legal custody. Again, this is something that only a highly experienced and skilled lawyer, who has specialized in child custody law, can effectively help you achieve.
For more information, contact our law offices today.