Child Custody Lawyer in Brooklyn, New York
Whose Best Interests?
Child Custody actions can be a simple and pain free process.
No really, they can be!
When two parents consider all of the ingredients that allow a child to thrive emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually and are equally committed to meeting those needs within their financial means – and willing to be fair to one another – they can come up with a Parenting Plan that meets their child’s needs, submit it to the court to be “So Ordered”.
The most typical Parenting Plan includes every other weekend and at least one night a week. Some families spend approximately 50% of their time between each parent, and some even designate time for grandparents. Continuity of relationships and an emphasis on the economic viability of children’s needs are paramount. This policy was developed under the belief that children that are separated from, in particular their fathers, they are 80% likely to be destitute. Keeping fathers in children’s lives could make a huge difference to our country economically and socially and our individual family members too.
Yet how these policy objectives are applied to your personal family members might generously be described as a crapshoot. You’re asking a total stranger working in a government, with the power to take your assets and your liberty to enforce their orders, to make the most intimate decisions in your life for as long as a third of your natural life. Someone who never even met your children can turn your world upside down forever. Unless winning looks like scorched Earth, it might be worth rethinking “best interests”.
As a Top Rated Attorney on Avvo.com a plethora of questions about Child Custody issues abound, and legally its one of the most complex issues we address today. In the role of Legal Counsel, it’s imperative that what were once referred to as “high conflict” couples consider what a Child Custody “Battle” pragmatically means to their families.
While the legal terminology, or standard, is commonly known as the “Best Interest” of the child, how that translates can appear to be bizarre to people outside of the legal profession. So much so, that it can seem that up is down and black is white. The combination of legislation and executive orders that created the infrastructure of the Child Support Enforcement Agencies across this country were economic initiatives designed to protect the resources and societal interests of the states. When our states are stepping in for parents as a result of the impact of familial dysfunction it costs our society resources and our future. In the sense that an intact society and the government are in the best interest of the child it’s true.
But this terminology is often conflated with the best interest of the individual child in each of our families. But it’s not the intent of the system you’re asking to solve the most intimate problems in your lifetime. If you and your spouse refuse to come to reasonable conclusions that protect each other, your assets and your children nothing but fate stands between you and your family’s future.
The uninitiated, and often pro se litigant, mistakenly takes on the attitude that the Judge in their case is going to inherently understand that their parenting ideals are superior and award their excellent point of view by allowing that parent to regulate the upbringing of their child – and force their “unreasonable” partner to see the err of their ways. Worse, they assume that what was injurious to them as a romantic or life partner is naturally “wrong” or “damaging” to their child – but stop right there. Woe to the parent that seeks to punish the other with interfering with Access & Visitation; even if Child Support has been paid in full. Those issues are often shut out of the child custody determination process; and those that insist and persist, are taking huge uninformed risks. Sometimes the issues you deem as obvious, might place you in the least favorable light. The Judge might sniff as though you are the King or Queen of Whackadoodle and surprise you with a very significant lifestyle change.
Inevitably in this discussion, the wisdom of King Solomon’s decision to “split the baby” in a custody dispute is referenced. The story implies that the real parent will sacrifice themselves to protect the child from being literally, or figuratively, “torn apart”. A judge who is annoyed at their ignorance or selfishness might split every holiday you ever experience right down the middle. They might award your former partner with an unaffordable and impossible to meet Child Support Payment schedule because they don’t “like” your point of view – or they may decide that you have alienated your co-parent and order that you are unfit for being so unreasonable – and you may never see your child again. Child Custody issues can be extraordinarily risky. Often, issues that seem transparent or obvious from a social point of view are lethally complicated from legal perspectives.
Making Child Custody A Court Battle
When two parents decide that they are going to take a Child Custody battle to court they are inviting the Judge and the Family Courts to make every day decisions on their behalf; as though they are not the best two people on the planet to attend to the needs of their child. The court will determine, using a rather expensive parade of court appointed professionals, who is more psychologically fit, who is more financially fit, who can facilitate the educational needs of the child, and who is the “villain” in a dispute – and if the facts are not all laid out properly you could live with decisions that negate every thing you ever wanted to teach your child about their religious faith, the holiday traditions that are put into place, the kind of schools, doctors, and treatment they will have available to them, and who they will be spending their time with. The court will dictate your access to medical records, school records, and ability to attend extra curricular activities. Can you telephone your child before 6:00 pm? Can you telephone them more than once a week? Are you going to be required to pay a Supervised Visitation center or professional $80.00 an hour plus expenses and travel time to spend two hours a month with your own child?
Most do not consider these potential realities; or the expense and intrusion of Psychologists, Custody Evaluators, Guardian ad Litem, Child Attorneys, experts related to syndromes of every kind of questionable authenticity – and never mind the full time dedication of legal associates and paralegals and heaven forbid a public relations specialist. It can cost you everything you ever earned, your self respect, and your child. Don’t think for a minute that it doesn’t happen, it happens every day.
Equality In Child Custody Among Both Parents
For a brief period during the last century, mothers were more likely to gain custody in a custody dispute. But, legally, custodial rights are equal balanced between both the mother and the father today. This area of the law is steeped in controversy, and for very good reasons. These issues are the tip of the iceberg to willingly pursue a child custody case. Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights – and the woeful intervention of Child Protective Agencies can all become a rather distasteful part of your life… and then there are the social media campaigns and blogs you can deal with too.
Before you know it, your child will no longer be a child – no matter how many actual years they have lived… and they will suffer the fall out forever.
Yet, at times, as much as we hate it, we have to acknowledge that there is no other recourse but to pursue custody, and if you are in that very unfortunate position you will need an attorney that fully understands the risks and who successfully helps you navigate around or through them – mitigating the damage and expense as much as possible. Legal Counselor, is the most important role in a case such as a high conflict child custody case. Perhaps we can convince your partner of the “cost” of child custody cases and the value of defining the needs of your children; but if not you will have no better advocate for the benefit of your child.
Important Topic Links: