Child Custody & Visitation
Often in Custody and Visitation battles, everybody seems to forget about the children. Every major scholarly article written in the last few decades on the topics of Child Psychology and Developmental Psychology, as well as every major study on Child Custody and Visitation, concludes that a child blossoms with the mutual, cooperative support of both biological parents, whether they are divorced or not. A child needs both parents in his or her life, with plenty and equal amounts of quality time spent with each parent, and perhaps even more importantly, it is crucial that the parents have at least a mutually respectful and supportive relationship when it comes to the raising of their child. Parents often forget, however, to put their personal differences and baggage aside to come together for their child’s well-being. As a Family Law Attorney, I often see so many extraneous issues and outcroppings of ego and revenge in Divorce Court, and the child is keenly aware of all the animosity, regardless of how subtle the parents think they are acting. Children see right through it all, and they suffer needlessly. Custody conflicts between divorced parents hurt the psychological and even physiological well-being of children, who often suffer from anxiety, depression, identity conflict, or imbalanced ego or self-esteem issues as a result of such disputes between his or her parents.
I try to help parents do the right thing for their children. Sometimes, this means urging the parents to compromise, which means to each give up something they really don’t want to give up. And sometimes this means I have to litigate, especially when I am up against hostile opposing parties and their attorneys, who often seem curiously intent on expanding and lengthening the hostilities between the parents, rather than talking some good sense into their clients about the realities of the law, the mandates of the rules of evidence, and the true best interests of the children. Unlike many family law attorneys out there, I focus on the child’s well-being and sense of peace. Certainly, I know how to bring the fire and rain to litigation in the courtroom, make no mistake. But my goal and style is based on creating a peaceful home environment and supporting a child’s basic human rights to equal time with both parents.
Child Visitation Rights
In Child Visitation matters, non-custodial parents seek visitation time with their child either in supervised or non-supervised settings. The primary goal is to help such parents maintain regular visits with their child and transition into non-supervised settings when reasonable. When a non-custodial parent is facing wrongful allegations by the custodial parent in order to limit the visitation time and structure, it’s crucial to aggressively litigate such matters in court and to sanction the custodial parent if necessary. Sometimes biased expert witnesses are used to support such wrongful allegations, at which point it’s key to dismantle the basis for such wayward opinions. As you can read from Client Testimonials, I am particularly adept at confronting injustice in the courtroom, and it is my pleasure to help my clients through such sharp terrain.
Non-Parent and LGBTQ Child Visitation Rights
Non-parents also may enjoy visitation rights, including grandparents, LGBTQ partners, and persons with a special relationship to the child, depending on the specific facts and applicable law. While this area of the law is relatively newly developed, there are substantial case laws and statutes that assist non-parents in maintaining relationships with the children in their lives. New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and California have been particularly progressive in the USA in bringing about much needed change for the benefit of grandparents, special parties, and LGBTQ parents with good changes in the law. For example, in California, grandparents can file for visitation rights in child custody matters now, while New York and Massachusetts have permitted that for some time as well. Further, in California, LGBTQ partners seeking child visitation rights can rely on case law such as K.M. vs. E.G., 37 Cal.4th 130 (Cal. 2005) and Elisa B. v. Superior Court, 33 Cal.Rptr.3d 46 (Cal. 2005), and on statutory law such as that codified in CA Family Code sec. 297.5 regarding domestic partners. In New York, as of August 2016, two crucial cases were decided which granted extensive custody and visitation rights to LGBTQ parents, namely Matter of Brooke S.B. vs. Elizabeth A.C.C., 129 AD3d 1578, and Matter of Estrellita A. vs. Jennifer L.D., 123 AD3d 1023.
As an attorney staying ahead of the curve on developing issues of child custody and visitation law, I offer aggressive and full scope litigation representation, mediation services, Collaborative Divorce representation, and Parenting Coordination for clients in Child Custody and Child Visitation legal proceedings. I have unique access to a hand-selected cadre of family law professionals, including child psychologists, therapists, additional mediators, and private social workers. I seek to create a network of professionals who share my core values when it comes to creating a peaceful and loving relationship between a child and his divorced parents.