Child custody cases in the state of New York are handled by the Family Courts. This is a unique and challenging area of the law that has many differences from normal criminal or civil proceedings. If you are going through a custody hearing regarding your children or grandchildren, the best thing that you can do to ensure that you will have the best possible chances of prevailing is to get a skilled and experienced child custody lawyer on your side. The right lawyer can give you the edge you need to win in child custody disputes.
In custody hearings, the biological parents are heavily favored
If you are seeking to retain or be granted custody of your grandchildren, we will be honest with you: You will be facing an uphill battle. However, there are ample precedents set that have established that non-parental figures may be granted custody. The fact that you share a biological kinship with your grandchildren can also greatly aid you, so long as you are able to demonstrate that retaining custody is in your grandchildren’s best interest.
Unlike other areas of the law, child custody law in New York is heavily framed upon the existing body of case law. While there are statutory laws, such as the Domestic Relations Laws, that govern some aspects of child custody hears, the majority of the controlling law in custody cases and in Family Court generally is predicated upon case law and precedential rulings.
One such example is the case of Bennett v. Jeffreys. That case established that even non-relatives may retain custody of a child where the biological parent had relinquished guardianship many years prior. Case law such as this, among many other examples, provides a solid ground for the possibility that you may be awarded guardianship over your grandchildren.
Other factors that can run in your favor may include any drug or alcohol abuse by the grandchildren’s biological parents as well as any overt neglect that the grandchildren may have experienced at their guardians’ hands. The truth is that New York child custody law is far to extensive and too complex to even give a moderately accurate overview of the possible legal points that may prove beneficial to a case where grandparents are seeking custody of their grandchildren. As usual, the best thing that you could possibly do is call our law offices and consult with one of our dedicated and skilled lawyers who specialize in the area of child custody cases.
In New York, there are two types of custody
In the state of New York, there are two different categories of custody. The first is called physical custody. This simply refers to the fact that the parent with whom the child spends the majority of the time residing will have that relationship codified before the Family Court. The fact that someone may be physically non-custodial does not mean that they will not be able to visit with the child, nor does it mean that the child will not be able to reside at their home some portion of the time.
In fact, in almost all cases, the non-custodial parent is awarded visitation rights that may include the child living at the non-custodial parent’s home a number of days each month.
The other type of custody is called legal custody. This refers to the parent’s ability to participate in decisions that are crucial to the child’s well being. These decisions may include but are not limited to matters of religion, education and healthcare. Even if a parent is denied legal custody or joint legal custody, they will still have recourse to object to life-altering decisions before the Family Court.