Child Custody

Of all the decisions that must be resolved when a marriage or nonmarital relationship ends, child custody disputes can be among the most contentious. Whether you seek to be your child's custodial parent, wish to pursue joint custody, or you want to protect your relationship with your child as a noncustodial parent, the Law Offices of Douglas Scheinman will provide strong legal advocacy that focuses on achieving your objectives.

We encourage parents to work together to resolve custody and visitation issues. Cooperation generally produces more successful solutions. However, if your child's other parent is uncooperative and a fair solution through negotiation is not possible, attorney Douglas Scheinman is an experienced litigator who will advocate aggressively in court to protect your rights.

Our Strategies Are Developed To Suit Your Objectives

Often, a child will reside with the custodial parent during the week and the noncustodial parent will receive a midweek visit. Parents frequently alternate having a child on weekends. However, each situation varies. Effective communication and flexibility are encouraged to meet the challenges of dividing parenting time. Douglas has the experience necessary to think outside of the box to find an appropriate parenting time schedule consistent with the needs of the child and the wishes of his client.

If parents cannot reach a final agreement on custody and visitation, the decision will be made by the court. When the court is involved, a lawyer for the child is often appointed to represent the interests of the child. Some judges may also appoint a mental health professional to provide recommendations to the court as to the best interests of the child.

We advise our clients, whether they are the custodial or noncustodial parent, to carry a copy of the court order with them to the pick-up and drop-off locations. As a rule, the noncustodial parent does not have to call before exercising visitation. In the event the other party does not appear, clients are advised under certain circumstances to file a report. The use of an incident report is an excellent tool to help enforce the terms of an agreement.

Judges rarely put custodial parents in jail for a first violation of the parenting agreement. It is simply not in the children's best interest to have the custodial parent jailed. Seeking incarceration for a violation should only be pursued if there is continued and willful misconduct. Custodial parents often get a warning from the bench regarding the need to comply. While a warning may seem ineffective, the purpose of an enforcement petition should reflect the noncustodial parent's desire to see his or her child, not to punish the other parent.

We advise our clients to obtain and maintain a journal with dates and times for prompt recording of denied visitation and other significant information. This may be useful in a petition to enforce or modify the visitation terms. A common mistake is not keeping the journal current. It is important to record such events while fresh in your mind.

Sometimes a witness is necessary where visitation is denied. Clients often bring their significant others to pick up the children; however, this is generally not a good idea. If an argument ensues at visitation, it is usually best to retreat. It is generally better for pick-up and drop-off to occur at a neutral and public location. Continued fighting during the exchange of children often leads the parties to use police stations and for-pay facilities. Parents should try to put the interests of the children first and work toward a smooth and seamless exchange wherever possible.

A Review Of Sole Or Joint Custody

Sole custody refers to the situation in which one parent has both legal and physical custody and the other parent (generally) has the right of visitation, more commonly referred to as "parenting time."

Joint Custody refers to the situation in which one parent will still have physical (residential) custody, but both parents will have a shared role concerning educational issues, religious matters, major medical decisions, and other important issues as may arise during the child's life. As a general rule, joint custody will not be successful if the parents are not committed to working cooperatively.

New York Courts prefer sole custody. Joint custody will be granted where the parties state they can effectively communicate and cooperate regarding issues of raising the children. However, while a settlement allowing for joint custody will reduce legal fees and bring closure, it may also lead to post-settlement litigation where the parties cannot truly cooperate for the benefit of the children.

When Supervised Visitation Makes Sense

Some clients want the noncustodial parent to have supervised visitation. This is often granted where there has been a significant gap in time since the noncustodial parent has seen the child or where the noncustodial parent has a diagnosed drug, alcohol or anger management problem. Whatever the situation entails, Douglas Scheinman will provide aggressive representation on behalf of our clients.

Fathers' Rights

Although mothers are awarded custody more often than fathers, more dads are being awarded joint custody. A father has the same right to have a meaningful role in his child's life. Even if the father does not gain custody, he has the right to be involved and maintain a relationship with a child without interference from the custodial parent. Many fathers do not actively pursue their full rights. Queens lawyer Douglas M. Scheinman advises fathers of the importance of their role in raising children and asserting their legal rights.

He has more than 25 years experience in custody and all family law matters. A consultation with our law firm is recommended to advise fathers about how the court can be utilized to effectively promote, protect and preserve the important father-child relationship.

Mother's Rights

Resolving custody matters can be confusing and emotional. Women often face additional hardships regarding child and spousal support. Decisions on how to proceed are frequently difficult. Questions and concerns arise regarding the length and cost of the divorce process, whether you can remain in a family home, whether you will receive spousal support, and how to pay for child care.

Often children, family and friends do not understand or support a woman's decision to end the relationship. Children sometimes blame their mother without knowing all of the issues that led to the decision to separate. Douglas Scheinman understands these questions pose significant, real challenges.

We provide thoughtful and aggressive legal representation to protect the legal interests of women. We recognize that legal emergencies occur at night and on weekends. For a free consultation with a Rosedale child custody lawyer, please call 718-414-6182 or contact us by email.