Child Custody Trials
Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. is an experienced litigator that has handled a number of child custody and parenting time cases from inception through trial in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens and Long Island. Darren has years of experience with child custody and parenting time (aka visitation) cases on Long Island, New York City and the surrounding areas. He knows the law and utilizes it to best effectively represent his clients. When negotiations fail and the lines are drawn, asking a court to decide the case is likely the solution. At all times before a trial is complete, Mr. Shapiro will stay cognizant of a chance to negotiate a favorable settlement if it is appropriate. If a settlement is not possible, we will fight hard to get a favorable decision rendered.
Custody and visitation or parenting time trials may occur in the Supreme Court during or after a divorce or in the family court when a divorce is not pending. There are subtle differences between the New York Family Court and New York Supreme Court in regard to custody cases. For example, usually the county pays for attorneys for the child (ren) when they are assigned in a case regardless of whether or not the parties have private counsel. On the other hand, in the Supreme Court the parties most often have to pay the fees for the attorney for the child. In both courts the trials are not by jury, the trier of fact is one person usually a judge, or a court attorney referee, justice of the Supreme Court, or judicial hearing officers. The parties give consent for anyone besides a judge in family court or justice of the Supreme Court, which is another word for judge, to decide the case. Once the consent is given, that person has all the powers to be the judge on the case. As Mr. Shapiro represents clients in both family and supreme court, he is familiar with most of the nuances peculiar to each.
The best interests of the children is the standard to apply when deciding custody and parenting time issues for children. In a modification of custody case there is an additional hurdle that must be first overcome before the best interests of the children are weighed. A party must show that there is a substantial change of circumstances from the time of the last custody order to the application to modify it in order to be able to proceed with the case. Darren attempts to never lose sight of these standards as the case is proceeding. Our experience is that courts like a presentation that contains relevant information without too much fluff. The elicitation of testimony is an art form though so the testimony should paint a picture. We do our best to ensure that picture painted is what we need the court to see.
The course of trial usually consists of opening statements, testimony and the presentation of evidence for the plaintiff or petitioner’s case, testimony from the respondent or defendant’s side, motions during the trial, and closing arguments. The rules of evidence are applicable such as hearsay, hearsay exceptions, relevance, objections, and leading questions to name a few. Making appropriate objections and overcoming objections is an art form. Objections are an important part of preserving the record for appeal so that a ruling at trial can be looked at by an appellate court. It takes a lot of training and experience to gain a mastery of the rules of evidence. With his many years of trial experience, Darren has the ability to effectively represent you through your custody trial.
After trial, there may be an appeal, enforcement proceedings, re-argument motions, contempt and modification matters. We have dealt with all phase of cases and can give you the advice you are seeking about your child custody case. To speak with a caring attorney that can diligently represent you please call our office. Free initial consultation are offered. It will be our pleasure to speak with you about your case.