by nydfl

How Parenting Style Determines Custody

August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized by nydfl

As seasoned Family Law attorneys, we know all too well that emotionally charged divorce proceedings and impending custody battles can easily bring out the worst in parents.  As a firm, we encourage our clients to negotiate amicably to avoid not only the financial expense, but also the emotional cost, that results from “battling it out in court”.

This methodology may have well served a Westchester county woman who not only paid a former soap star actress $57,000 to prep her for her ‘role’ as a witness in court. She also delivered her son to a forensic psychologist enough times to accumulate a $40,000 -$50,000 bill, all in an effort to undermine the boy’s relationship with his father, with the goal of achieving full custody.

The New York Law Journal highlighted this case in which the mother, so fixated on undermining the father, was found by the court to be untrustworthy. In fact, she was stripped of custody after the judge found she could not be trusted with parental custody of her five-year-old son.  The court decision read, “[W]hen left to her own devices, she misused her decision-making authority to trot a mentally healthy child to numerous psychological appointments clearly aimed to deprive him of a relationships with this father—a result that may have, and if allowed to recur, certainly would rob [the boy] of his remaining childhood.” While the judge wrote that revoking the mother’s right to custody “may appear extreme,” the judge seemed more gravely concerned that left to her own cleverness, she may continue to negatively impact the welfare of the child and attempt to build another meritless case to alter access and custody.

This decision address a disturbing possible new trend in the area of custody litigation; i.e., the use of hired forensic psychologists to bolster a parent’s argument, and the use of trial consultants (in this case, a former television actress) to prepare witnesses for testimony.  According to Timothy Tippins, a New York Law Journal columnist and professor at Albany Law School who represented the father, “[T]his is a very important decision. It is very instructive not only for lawyers and judges, but also for forensic psychologists, for therapists who don’t stay within the bounds of therapy and inject themselves in litigation roles and for forensic consultants who are engaged to prepare a litigant for the interviews with the court appointed evaluator.”

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.

by nydfl

Spanking: Actionable Abuse or Discipline?

August 6, 2014 in Uncategorized by nydfl

SPANKING---c44c1abffca0c3dba9520961238460371For parents around the world, physical discipline has long been an oft debated topic. Some parents believe that spanking, for example, is a necessary tool in the disciplinary arsenal, while others view it as abuse.

Last week, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Long Island father of an eight-year-old boy, who admitted to using open-handed spanking as a form of discipline after hearing his son curse at an adult during a party. The court agreed that the father used ‘reasonable force’ and under circumstances presented, spanking did not constitute excessive corporal punishment.

Currently in New York State, spanking falls under ‘child endangerment laws’ and could, in some cases, constitute abuse. Parents found guilty of the offense can therefore be legally charged with abuse, child endangerment, or neglect simply by tapping their child on the tush.

In this case however, the New York State Court of Appeals upheld the father’s use of spanking as a form of discipline, and said it was not abusive.

What is your take on spanking? Should the courts be involved in the parental decision to use basic discipline, or has government gone beyond appropriate limits by telling parents how to raise/discipline their children?

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.