If you have become involved with the Family Court system on Staten Island, it is important to recognize the need to hire a competent and experienced attorney to give you the fairest shake possible in the proceedings. In the state of New York, the Family Courts handle all legal matters pertaining to domestic relationships, child custody, child support and marital dissolution. Contrary to how benign the name may sound, the Family Courts wield a great deal of power and have the ability to hand down life-altering decisions. The best thing you can possibly do, should you find yourself summoned to Family Court, is to hire the most qualified and skilled attorney that you can find.
The best type of attorney for a case before the Family Courts is one who specializes in this area of the law. Unlike civil and criminal proceedings, the vast majority of the controlling law in the Family Court system comes from the existing body of case law. While there are some statutes that have direct bearing on the way in which the Family Courts operate, such as New York’s Domestic Relations Laws, the majority of the legal edifice on which the Family Courts have been built comes from individual decisions made in real cases by the state’s appellate courts or the Supreme Court of New York itself.
This patchwork of legal precedents makes family law and uniquely challenging area in which to practice. In addition to this, Family Court judges are generally given unusual leeway in making their decisions. In almost all civil and criminal cases, the court proceedings are centered around the judges, litigants and defense attempting to establish past events as accurately as possible through the use of inference and hard evidence. However, in the Family Court system, the court is tasked with the more elusive goal of determining what events are most likely to take shape in the future, given a number of possible circumstances and familial configurations.
Because such an enterprise naturally involves a great deal of guesswork and extrapolation, judges tend to be granted wide leeway to introduce evidence and testimony and examine and interpret the facts as they see fit. This means that decisions at the Family Court level are rarely overturned by appellate courts. All decisions, in effect, are final.
All of this adds up to appearances before the Family Courts being serious business. With the ability to hand down decisions that may be binding on the parties to the case for 30 years or more, including child support amounting to thousands of dollars per month, it is in your best interest to make sure that you are adequately represented the first time around and that no major mistakes are made. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced lawyer with a proven track record of getting what their clients want in the Family Court system.
A good lawyer, who knows there way around the Family Court system, will be one of the best investments you will ever make, should you find yourself being summoned in for a hearing. Skilled family law practitioners know how to control the flow of evidence and the broad narrative in a way that decisively favors their clients. If your ex-spouse has not hired a lawyer, you will be at a definitive advantage when you hire one of our attorneys to represent you.
Every case is different, and family law is one of the most complex areas of legal practice. Call us for a free initial consultation today.