In my experience, child custody happens to be one of the most sensitive and, all too often, painful, issues in all of law practice, when parents break up, or grandparents must intervene to protect their grandchildren.
Child custody appeals come about in two ways. One way is from a proceeding in a Family Court which may be only issues of custody, visitation and child support. There may also be issues of domestic violence and/or child abuse and neglect. Family Courts are resorted to by married and unmarried parents, and grandparents.
The second way is divorce proceedings in a New York State Supreme Court where a married parent has filed a complaint for divorce. The Supreme Court judge can consider issues of child custody as well as grounds for divorce and division of property.
Either way, the judge in the case will decide child custody questions in an Order, sometimes with an explanation, where the parties cannot agree and stipulate to a workable arrangement. Many times, parents and grandparents will return to a Family Court over disagreements with parenting arrangements. However, it is possible to challenge the original Judge’s Order in a higher, appeals Court if you are not satisfied by the outcome of your case, and feel it was unfair to you or not in the best interests of your child. I have seen many cases in which the parent, often the father, is devastated by an outcome of a Family or Supreme Court case, where the parent does not get much visitation with the child; and is made to feel like a mere visitor in his or her child’s life when the other parent gets sole custody. Even joint custody arrangements do not always work out.
If this has happened to you, you may benefit from an appeal. You may also wind up needing to defend the Judge’s Decision and Order when the other side appeals. Because Family Court Orders affect people’s lives so greatly, poor parents can get a free appeal, and, generally, will appeal or defend an Order, and that happens, as I have seen, whether or not there is any merit to their position on appeal. The parent or grandparent who happens to be better-off must hire and pay a private attorney.
If you are in potential need of appeals work by a retained lawyer, please call or e-mail me for a gratis discussion and evaluation of your case. I strive to be sensitive to the emotional roller coaster you are on, and to provide you with high-quality advice and work, with an affordable fee arrangement.