Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer
Child Custody Attorney Serving Manhattan and All of NYC
CUSTODY: IT’S NOT JUST A FIGHT, IT’S YOUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE!
Almost without exception every parent loves their child and wants it to be happy and well cared for. Almost every parent wants to do what is best for their child. Nevertheless, many are blinded by their own agendas or needs or perhaps do not correctly understand what the child actually needs. They might imbue the other parent with negative characteristics and therefore believe they need to protect their child. Thus, parents frequently disagree about what is best for their child and who should have legal and residential custody, and what the parents’ respective access schedules should be. For experienced legal guidance, reach out to a Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer at Chaim Steinberger, P.C. today.
CUSTODY, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF CASES
Custody disputes have a certain gravitas and importance that is absent from even the largest money cases. Because these cases determine the present and future health, well-being, and development of a child, New York Family Law Courts assume the role of parens patriæ, the lord protector of the vulnerable and defenseless, and throw their cloak of protection around the child. While parents, when they are not embroiled in litigation and so long as they are not abusing or neglecting their children, have great discretion in determining the health, welfare, discipline, and education of their children, once the parents disagree and invoke the jurisdiction of the Court, the Court becomes the arbiter of what is best for the children. This can feel intrusive to the parents but, as in any dispute that isn’t resolved without Court intervention, society needs a mechanism to resolve disputes peacefully among its members and, once invoked, permits its courts’ judges to intrude into citizens’ lives to achieve a righteous result and ensure the protection of the children.
THE SAFETY & WELL-BEING OF YOUR CHILD IS PARAMOUNT
There can be nothing more upsetting and emotional for a parent than to believe their child is in danger. Most parents would move heaven and earth to secure their child’s well-being. Not being able to protect a child has to be frustrating and scary. Then to be forced to rely on our complicated, antiquated legal system, with its arcane laws, rules, processes, and procedures amplifies the fear and frustration. It is understood by only a small handful of society, those trained in the technical arcana and legal jargon and understood well by only a small fraction of those. It can be frustrating and irritating to be thrust into such a position, disempowering to be forced to relinquish control and agency to those specialists in the area and to have to rely on them.
SELECTING THE RIGHT LAWYER CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Moreover, studies have found that children can “bounce back” from their parents’ divorce. They can grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted, even though their parents divorced. Similarly, children can develop properly even in a household where the parents do not love each other but stay together. However, children can never recover from their parents’ long, nasty, bitter, divorce battle. The longer the battle and the nastier it is the greater, more profound, permanent, and deep-seated the damage is to the children.
Thus, particularly with regards to custody and visitation issues, it is very important for the parents to make every effort to resolve their disputes without Court intervention and, if at all possible, to avoid a nasty, extended battle. The stakes are too high, therefore, to utilize just any ole’ lawyer.
Particularly for these matters you need a skilled practitioner, one who’s mastered the law and procedure. You also need a lawyer who will be dedicated and devoted to you and your children, thoroughly absorb the relevant facts of your case, and ready and willing to do the hard work necessary to prepare your case for a victorious outcome. You need a skilled and creative lawyer to help you see connections you might not have recognized on your own, and help you build a case for success. However, particularly for these issues, you need a skilled negotiator, someone with mediators’ skills, who can sway the other party to accept a reasonable resolution and think outside the box to develop win-win resolutions that benefit everyone.
PROVEN TRACK RECORD
Chaim Steinberger has been mediating these types of disputes for more than twenty years. He has achieved incredible results for many of his clients. Demonstrating the admiration of his colleagues on the Bench and Bar, he was appointed to a second term as Chair the Custody Committee of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, to serve on the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and elected to serve a three-year term on the Council of the ABA Family Law Section. Chaim uses his mediation skills even when he’s representing someone in litigation, often finding ways to resolve sticking points and averting a long agonizing, drawn-out trial. These are the skills you need when you are faced with a custody dispute.
Here more than in most other areas, it’s important to have a lawyer who will guide you so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones and obtain a fair and favorable result. You need someone who will help you develop a plan to come out ahead; who can help you develop the facts to sway the outcome in your favor; who will strategize with you so that you now make the moves that set you up for victory later.
Here, more than in most other areas, it’s important to have a strategic overview and real-world practical knowledge of how the system works, so you can develop a winning endgame for yourself and your loved ones.
Unlike lawyers who have some day-to-day knowledge of running cases but who are uncomfortable with the technical requirements of trial – the rules of evidence, rules of procedure, and the skill of master storytelling– Chaim Steinberger sees every case from the viewpoint of how it will “play out in Court.” Thus, every case is prepared for trial, which makes settlement more attractive to the other side.
CUSTODY – A COMPLICATED LEGAL & PSYCHO-SOCIAL ISSUE
In addition to being emotionally difficult, custody cases are also particularly complicated cases to litigate and try in New York. The statutory guidance is simple and broad. Courts are to be guided by the “best interests of the child.” “Best interests,” of course, includes anything and everything that could affect a child’s present and future physical, emotional, and developmental needs. Thus, just about everything is “in play.” (For a more detailed, though not comprehensive, list of factors relevant to a custody determination, click here.)
In New York, when a person chooses to press or contest a claim, the person is deemed to have placed “in issue” all of the information that is relevant to that claim. Thus, for example, a person can’t sue for a broken leg but withhold information about his medical treatment or his earnings (assuming that he is claiming lost wages). Similarly, parents who contest custody are deemed to have placed their mental health and well-being at issue and have therefore waived their privacy rights to what would otherwise be protected mental health information.
Each situation must, therefore, be examined from multiple angles to determine the most powerful “theory of the case” that will compel a victorious result. The weaknesses of the case must be dealt with and, if at all possible, converted to strengths in what the late Judge Ralph Adam Fine calls Legal Jiu-Jitsu – the technique of turning your own weaknesses into strengths and your opponent’s strengths into weaknesses.
Aside from these legal complexities, custody and visitation disputes also have procedural anomalies. Courts often appoint an Attorney for the Child (“AFC”) who comes in as a third party with full rights to examine and cross-examine witnesses. Unfortunately, the AFC is not tasked with advocating what is best for the child, only to try to obtain the result the child requests be obtained. Moreover, despite being “just another lawyer” in the case, Courts often [inappropriately] imbue the AFC with superpowers.
Though all decision-making is difficult, deciding what is best for a child is particularly difficult. Courts, therefore, often also invoke the help of a forensic custody evaluator. Often a psychologist or other mental health professional, the evaluator is tasked to report to the Court the strengths and weaknesses of each parent’s parenting capacities and behaviors. (Click here for an excerpt of our Guide to Clients About Presenting at a Forensic Interview.) The report then becomes a thumb on the scale of justice, making life much easier for the parent the report favors, and much harder for the parent to report disfavors. Deconstructing and challenging an adverse forensic report requires great skill and knowledge of the forensic process. (Click here for an outline on How to Review a Forensic Report.)
Because this is such a complicated issue and the result will affect your child’s life, you don’t want to do this on your own. You need a superior, skilled Manhattan family law attorney to help you get the justice and fair result you deserve. You need someone to help you strategize and understand the tactical implications of the options facing you. You need someone with knowledge and experience to guide you, someone who will take the case to trial if that is the only option, but help you settle the case on favorable terms if at all possible.
Contact Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Chaim Steinberger Today
Child custody issues can be some of the most anxiety-filled matters when it comes to family law. There is nothing more important to you than the health, happiness, and general well-being of your child or children. When you are faced with disputes regarding physical custody, making important decisions about your child, or parenting plans, you may not know where to turn. You most likely have many questions regarding the law or the legal process for resolving child custody matters. Don’t feel like you have to go through this alone. Contact Manhattan child custody attorney at Chaim Steinberger, P.C. as soon as possible. We are here to help you through this difficult time. Call (212) 964-6100 for your compassionate and confidential initial phone consultation.