A Final Decision On Child Custody Requires A Trial

The New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York State) has recently held that a final custody determination should only be made after a full trial.  As stated by the Court: “custody determinations require a careful and comprehensive evaluation of the material facts and circumstances in order to permit the court to ascertain the optimal result for the child.”  This can be best done by weighing the credibility and sincerity of the witnesses and the character and temperament of the parents.

Although, the court stressed the need for a full trial, it did leave open a very small window for those cases where there is no dispute of the facts and therefore there is no “absolute” right to a trial.  However, the tone and writing of the court’s decision is very clear.  Where there are any facts in dispute a custody hearing is required.

It is important to note that although a full trial is required for a final decision of child custody, there is no requirement that a court hold a full trial for a temporary decision of custody.  In many divorce cases or child custody cases, a court will make a temporary decision of custody without a trial or hearing.  This is still permissible.

If you have questions concerning child custody, please contact the Badanes Law Office and David Badanes at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  You may also visit our website www.dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office has helped numerous clients in child custody cases.  We represent clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City.

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