How can You use Direct Examination for Child Custody Trials?

Child Custody Trials

Mr. Darren M. Shapiro has dealt with numerous cases during his time as a child custody attorney and divorce lawyer. In some cases, he works with parents through negotiation-friendly solutions like mediation and collaborative law. With these services, some couples will be able to approach a more amicable solution to settlements, overcoming various concerns with limited exposure to highly emotional and conflict-focused litigation. Unfortunately, it won't always be possible for certain clients to avoid the complexities of the court. In some cases, parents will need to use Mr. Shapiro's skills as a divorce attorney in litigation, to pursue the best interests of a child in front of the courts of New York.

Litigation can be a very complicated subject, and there are various methods and skills that a child custody lawyer can use to pursue what you argue is in the best interests of a child, and highlight crucial areas within a case. One common technique addressed in child custody issues, as well as many other litigation cases, refers to "direct examination". This strategy can be used skillfully to demonstrate to triers of fact, and judges, that a person's plan for custody or parenting time is what's best for all children involved.

Understanding Direct Examination

Direct examination is the practice that a divorce lawyer and child custody attorney like Mr. Darren Shapiro can use to question their own witnesses in a case, deposition, or trial. This process focuses on uncovering as much information as possible from any witness, to support the facts that are relevant to the summation of a story at the end of the case. Crucially, child custody lawyers will need to think about what facts they can highlight with their questions to support the needs of their client, and push the court towards a preferable decision. An experienced child custody lawyer and divorce attorney like Mr. Shapiro will be able to use the direct exam methods to support the story of their client, while a judge will ensure all questions remain relevant. Crucially, direct examination questions, unlike cross-examination questions, generally avoid any kind of leading questions.

In some cases, direct examination is used to question the plaintiff, respondent, defendant, or petitioner in a child custody case. In other instances, it can be used to ask experts about their opinions on a case. For instance, a forensic psychologist might be able to indicate why one parent is more beneficial to a child's best interests and another.

Questions that May be Addressed in Child Custody Cases

As a divorce lawyer and child custody attorney, it's important for Mr. Shapiro to think carefully about the questions that may be most significant to the case of his client. Highlighting the right questions is essential in any litigation case, as it ensures that the potential of the person in question to act as a good parent is drawn into focus. To make decisions about the custody of a child according to the New York best interest standard, the courts will need to consider a range of crucial factors. In some cases, direct examination will be used to help address these factors for the judge. For instance, an attorney might use direct examination to outline the position of the "primary caretaker" for the child. By asking focused questions about the care that has been provided for the child in the past, by the witness being examined, it's possible to show the position of a primary caretaker.

Many courts will want to examine the type or location of residency that can be provided to the child by the parent seeking custody. In this instance, Mr. Shapiro can use his skills as a child custody lawyer to provide a line of questioning that asks the individual to describe the property a child might stay in during parenting time. A divorce attorney like Mr. Shapiro can ask the witness to provide information about the location of the home where the child would live. After all, most courts will try to make sure that any child involved in divorce and custody cases will be able to maintain a consistent standard of living following a divorce, similar to the standard they experienced when their parents were still together.

If the ability of a caretaker to provide care for a child is brought into question by the other attorney in a custody case, then direct examination using evidence could help to draw focus to the fact that a parent can provide consistent and high-quality care for a child. For instance, if a plaintiff suggested that a defendant couldn't offer adequate care as a result of health issues, questions could be asked to highlight those concerns, and face them with testimonials and documents from doctors in proper evidentiary form (such as certified medical records).

Using Direct Examination in Child Custody Cases

Mr. Darren Shapiro will always work to give the best standard of care and professionalism to his clients in any case. This may sometimes mean using direct examination methods. In these instances, open-ended questions that start with things like "Who", "When", "Describe", "Explain", and "Why" followed by a specific fact can be very helpful. For instance, Mr. Shapiro might say "Tell us how the child gets to and from school"; so that the defendant can show that they live close by to the school, and ensure that the child can get the right level of education every day. In some cases, the story can begin with an introduction of the witness with small amounts of background information that can help to set the scene. It's all about asking questions that help a particular individual within the case to prove their specific side of the story.

To discover more about the complexities involved in child custody cases, or to simply figure out whether litigation featuring direct examination questions might be right for your specific circumstances, reach out to our principal, Mr. Darren M. Shapiro at your earliest convenience. You can contact him either via our online form, or over the phone at (516) 333-6555.

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