As a seasoned family law attorney, mediator, and psychologically-trained
medical professional, I regularly counsel mothers and fathers going through
divorce who are considering a custody action. Often these concerned parents
have a fair amount of misconceptions as to what custody actually means.
From the outset, it’s important to know that custody is not necessarily
about the physical location where the children live. It’s about
the right to make major decisions on matters such as a child’s schooling,
religion and medical care. In my over thirty-five years of experience,
I’ve witnessed custody battles that can be vicious, lengthy, and
excessively expensive. For parents going through a divorce, if you want
to be sure you make the right choice when it comes to your child’s
custody – put your child first and consider that there are a few
effective methods for settling a custody dispute.
Consider the following:
Mediator: A third party who can help negotiate an acceptable agreement. This is
a person who helps spouses communicate but doesn’t make any decisions
for them. Someone who can save you time and tens of thousands of dollars.
I have successfully navigated agreements with creative solutions for parents
that have been in the best interest of the child and the family. Why fight
and spend money over an issue that can be discussed rationally and resolved civilly.
Lawyers Negotiate Out of Court: As straightforward as it sounds, it’s for spouses who tell their
attorneys to try to stay out of court. This may be an option when spouses
have engaged in threatening, deceptive, or manipulative behavior between
each other. Unable to resolve conflict on their own, they must come to
a reasonable solution using their attorneys outside of the courtroom.
Parent Coordinator: This is a relatively new practice used in some states to manage ongoing
issues in high-conflict child custody and visitation cases. Usually performed
by professional psychologist or a lawyer assigned by the Court. The coordinator
meets with both parents regularly, handles questions and complaints, and
makes recommendations to the mother and father. These are usually supported
by the judge.
There are times when using the court to settle child custody is necessary,
such as in intractable cases. But know that judges can make decisions
about the future of your children without having all of the facts or a
true understanding of the psychological dynamics within your family. Buyer
Beware! This option is often the priciest and most risky.
If you have any other questions regarding a creative, and less expensive
approach to child custody, please feel free to call me at 212.734.1551.
I am offering a free consultation till the end of January! I hope to hear from you.
Remember, it’s always best to do what is in the best interest of