Five Things You Should Not Do In A Child Custody Battle

If you are seeking custody of your child and are involved in a child custody dispute (battle), there are some things you can do to help you and some things you should not do.

Here are five things you SHOULD NOT do in a Child Custody battle.

  1. Using your child as a pawn. Do not use your child as a “pawn” in the battle. For example, despite what your ex may be doing, he/she still has a right to see the child and have parenting time with the child. Typically, the only time you should withhold the child from the other parent, is if there is an Order of Protection, the child is very sick, or for some other emergency reason.
  2. Making false accusations. If you make a false accusation, against the other parent, this will seriously hurt your chances of gaining custody. The courts will not tolerate false accusations and this can be the only reason for a court to deny you custody.
  3. Not communicating with the other parent. In a divorce, or a child custody situation, it takes two parents to parent the child. You will need to communicate with the other parent. If you fail to communicate, the court can view you as hindering the other parent’s ability to parent.
  4. Stating negative things about the other parent. Whether it is on Facebook or other social media sites, or worse yet, to the child, you should not state anything negative about the other parent. If the other parent can show that you have posted negative information about him/her (even if true) or have stated negative information about him/her to the child, the court will hold this against you.
  5. Not paying child support. Although, technically, the Court is not supposed to use the payment or non-payment of child support against you, Judges are human. The failure of not paying child support, will be looked upon as a negative factor.

When you are seeking child custody, you need to avoid any mistakes or negative actions.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in obtaining child custody. If you are seeking child custody or a divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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A Parent’s Sexual Identity (Or Preference) Does Not Affect Child Custody

In New York State, a parent’s sexual identity or sexual preference will normally have no impact on the court’s determination in a child custody dispute.

The Court will remain neutral regarding a person’s sexual identity or sexual preference and should not take this fact into account when deciding custody. 

As with any custody determination, the court’s focus will be what is “in the best interest of the children.”  Indeed, it may be improper to even bring up a person’s sexual identity or sexual preference, as there is an element of privacy.  It would also be improper to attempt to show that the parent’s sexual identity or preference is somehow harmful to the child.

It also will not matter if a parent’s sexual identity or sexual preference was exhibited after the child’s birth.

If you have a legal question regarding child custody, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Holidays With Children During Your Divorce Proceedings

You have children and you are in the middle of your divorce and are unsure on how to handle the holiday season. The holiday season can be the most stressful and most contentious part of a divorce.

Here are some tips on helping you get through the holiday season:

  1. Make decisions ahead of time: The time to decide on how to split the holidays is NOW, not on the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah. If you and your spouse can’t come up with a plan, then you need to contact your divorce attorney as soon as possible, so that a plan can be worked out. If necessary, your attorney may need to go to Court to make sure that you get to see your children during the holidays.
  1. Allow the children to spend time with both parents: After your divorce, many divorce agreements will alternate the holidays, such that one parent will get Thanksgiving or Christmas Day one year, and the other parent will get Thanksgiving or Christmas Day the next year. If your divorce is still ongoing, and this is the first holiday that is affected by the divorce, you may want to consider splitting the day or even spending the day together.
  1. But, spend some time with the children alone. If you have some vacation days, or simply on of your usual days off, it might be a good time to spend some time with the children alone around the holidays. Each parent should work out a plan so that they can spend the day or a few days, after Christmas or Hanukkah, alone with the children. This should be a non-stressful vacation day, and not about which parent can out-spend the other.
  1. Gifts: You might be tempted to buy the most expensive or best gift for the children in an attempt to out-gift the other parent. However, with a separation and divorce, money can usually be very tight. Gifts don’t need to be expensive to be appreciated. Sometimes, the least expensive gifts are the ones that are most cherished.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have prepared numerous clients in their divorces. If you are thinking of getting divorced, and live in Suffolk County, Nassau County or New York City, call David Badanes at the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. We have offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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How Is Child Abuse Handled In New York?

Child abuse is one of the worst things that can happen to a child. If someone is suspected of committing child abuse, then there will be: (i) an investigation; (ii) an intervention; and (iii) a possible removal.

Investigation: Upon receiving information or a complaint of child abuse, Child Protective Services (CPS) will conduct an investigation. In serious cases, there may first be an arrest, and then an investigation. CPS will interview the suspected abuser, the parents and any other individuals that may have information about the abuse. CPS may also conduct a home inspection. CPS may also examine medical records and school records. In some cases, CPS may question the child’s teachers and doctors.

Intervention: If CPS, after its investigation, believes that child abuse has occurred, then CPS will take intervention measures. CPS can initiate a neglect case in court or can request that the abuse be arrested.

Removal: If CPS believes that it is warranted, then they can remove the child from the abuser’s home.  The child will most likely be placed with foster parents, although, in some situations, the child could be placed with a relative (e.g., grandparent, aunt, uncle).

It is important to know, that certain individuals are “mandated reporters” and if they suspect child abuse, they must report it. There is a very long list of mandated reporters, some of the professions on this list include: Doctors, Physician’s assistant, Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Optometrist, Chiropractor, Podiatrist, Licensed marriage and family therapist, teachers, guidance counselor, school nurse, day care center worker, and police officer. This is an incomplete list, however, you can see that many professionals are required to report suspected cases of child abuse to CPS.

If you need more information about child abuse, and if you believe you have been falsely accused of child abuse, then call David Badanes at the Badanes Law Office. The Badanes Law Office has helped numerous clients who have been falsely accused on child abuse. Call today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Garden City, Nassau County.

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After Divorce: Who Decides Which School The Children Will Go To?

Perhaps you have very young children who are not yet attending school, or you have children in school, but, you and your soon-to-be-ex are in disagreement about which school the children should attend. Which school will your children attend?

Usually, the school the children will attend, will be in the same school district where the primary custodial parent lives. If neither parent is the primary custodial parent, and the parents live in different school districts, then the choice of school districts may be more difficult to determine.

If the parents cannot agree on which school district the children should attend, the court would have to consider several factors. Some of those factors may be: (i) how far is the school from the children’s homes? (ii) are the children currently attending one of the schools? (iii) do the children have friends in any of the schools? (iv) does the school have the services, athletics and extra-curricular activities that the children need or want?

If you want your children to attend private school, then that usually requires an agreement between the parents. However, if your children were attending private school before the divorce, and you can still afford to send them to private school, then typically, the children can remain in private school.

If you need more information about which school your children will attend, then you need to consult with an attorney who has the experience to guide you. The Badanes Law Office can help you and has provided real world advice to numerous client in their divorce matters.

Call the Badanes Law Office today at: 631-239-1702, email us at: dbattorney@optonline.net. The Badanes Law Office is located in Northport, Suffolk County and Garden City, Nassau County.

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In A Divorce: 12 Ways To Get Involved In Your Child’s School

You are either in the middle of a divorce or already divorced, and you want to make sure you are involved in your child’s school. Here are some ideas:

  1. Make sure the principal, assistant principal(s) and all your child’s teachers know that you are one of the child’s parents. Make sure they have your name, cell phone number and email address.
  1. Make sure that you know the principal, assistant principal(s) and all your child’s teachers name and their contact information.
  1. If you will be picking up the child from school, then make sure that the administration and security personnel are aware that you will be picking up your child. You may want to tell them what type of car you drive and the license plate number.
  1. If you will be dropping your child at school, make sure you know exactly where drop-offs are supposed to occur and what time you are to drop them off. You should also know the procedure to handle late drop offs.  You may have to walk the child into school and sign them in, however, check with your school to make sure you have the right procedure.
  1. Attend open house night. If you can’t make the open house night, make sure you call or email each teacher to find out what they discussed.
  1. Attend parent-teacher conferences. If you can’t make the parent-teacher conference, make sure you call or email each teacher to find out what they discussed.
  1. Attend school plays, school sporting events, musical events or other school events. As much as possible, attend your child’s participation in school plays, sporting events, musical events or any other school event.
  1. Never, ever argue with your ex-spouse (or soon to be ex-spouse) at school or in front of the school grounds. This is one of the worst things you can do.  No matter what your ex-spouse may say or do to you, you must “turn the other cheek” and just simply either walk away or ignore it.
  1. Make sure you have a copy of the school’s calendar.
  1. Attend the school board of education meetings. You will be surprised what you might learn about the school.
  1. If your child is having trouble at school, make sure you talk to the appropriate school personnel about this and that they know there is either already a divorce or that there is a pending divorce matter.
  1. If your child has made some new friends at school, have your child invite his/her new friends over.

It is important to remember, that although you and your spouse are getting divorced, this should have as little impact as possible on your children.  You should make an extra effort to make sure your child is comfortable at school and that you are involved.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous clients in providing legal and practical advice in their divorce and child custody matters.  If you are thinking of getting a divorce, then you need an experienced Matrimonial and Divorce Attorney to guide you through the process.  If you live in Long Island, Suffolk County, Nassau County or New York City, we can help you in obtaining a divorce.

Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. We have offices in Northport and Garden City.

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What The Solar Eclipse Teaches Us About Child Custody

On August 21, 2017, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. This is the first total solar eclipse to occur for the entire continental United States in over one hundred years. How does that relate to child custody?

In a divorce, the parents will divide their time with their children for weekends, holidays and vacations. Yet, there are certain events that no one can predict or will be included in a divorce agreement. I can safely say that before today, there are no divorce agreements that will tell the parents how to handle a solar eclipse.

I have heard that some parents are having solar eclipse parties and certainly many parents are taking their children outdoors and viewing (safely) the solar eclipse. However, most likely some divorced parents will not have the opportunity to celebrate the solar eclipse with their children.

Unfortunately, life has many unplanned and unpredictable events. The solar eclipse teaches us that no matter how detailed your divorce agreement may be, there will be events that are not covered. Hopefully, the divorced parents can discuss how to handle these events, and keep the children’s best interests in mind. Yet, it is clear that some divorced parents will not be able to compromise or work out these types of events.

Although, no divorce agreement can have contingencies for every event, it is a good idea that your child custody agreement addresses the following somewhat common events: weddings (your own, close family members), religious events (communions, bar mitzvahs, etc.), grandparent anniversaries, funerals, and graduations). It is also a good idea to have a catch-all, which would cover any “special event”.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented countless clients in their divorce.  The Badanes Law Office makes sure that your divorce agreement covers special events.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, call David Badanes, Esq. today at 631-239-1702, or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Garden City, Nassau County.

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What Is The Right Of First Refusal In Child Custody?

In many divorce agreements, each parent may get what is informally called the “right of first refusal.”  What does it mean? And why is it important?

The best way to explain the usefulness of the right of first refusal is to give an example. Let’s assume that it’s your ex-wife’s weekend with the children, however, she has decided to go away for the weekend with one of her friends. She could have switched weekends, but, decided not to. Instead, she wants her mother or a friend to watch the children. But, wait you say, I’m free this weekend to watch the kids, let me do it, instead of your mother. If you have the right of first refusal, then you can asset this right and state, I have first right over your mother, friend or anyone else to watch the children.

The right of first refusal gives you the first option to watch the children when it is the other parent’s time with the kids, but, can’t do it. It usually only applies after a specified number of hours or days. So, it doesn’t apply, when the parent can’t watch the children for a short time (let’s say 8 hours or less).

If you have the right, it doesn’t mean you have to use it, it is your option. So, using the above example, if the ex-wife gives you the option to watch the children for the weekend, but, you can’t do it, then, you can say no.

The right of first refusal in child custody is useful as it makes sure that as one of the parents you get to watch the children before someone else does. It basically ensures “common courtesy”.

Do you need an attorney to help you through the divorce process? Call the Badanes Law Office. We have the knowledge and resources to help you get through your divorce on Long Island, NY. Contact David Badanes, Esq today by calling 631-239-1702 or send an email to david@dbnylaw.com.

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Understanding Forensic Evaluation Reports In Child Custody Disputes

If there is a child custody dispute, the Court may order that a forensic evaluation be conducted. A forensic evaluation is an evaluation done by a psychiatrist who will then produce a forensic report for the Court.

The psychiatrist, who will sometimes be referred to as the “forensic evaluator” will consider the factors in determining who should be the custodial parent. In addition, the psychiatrist will determine what is in the best interest of the children as it relates to child custody and parenting time (visitation).

The psychiatrist will typically see the children alone and will observe their interaction with each parent. They usually will also see each parent alone and may give certain psychiatric tests to each parent and sometimes to the children.

The psychiatrist, unlike a court, can consider almost anything in rendering their report. This would include considering hearsay evidence. They could also consider unverified Facebook posts or other social media postings.

A forensic evaluation is typically very expensive. It can also take a long time to obtain one. This is why forensic evaluations are not done in every divorce where there is a child custody dispute.

As stated above, once the psychiatrist completes their evaluation, they will produce a forensic report. The report will usually be very extensive and very long.

Now that you have a forensic report – can you read it? The answer, at least in Suffolk and Nassau Counties is generally “no”. In New York City and in most other parts of New York, the answer is “it depends on the Judge.”

No matter where your divorce is, your attorney has an absolute right to read the forensic report.  Your attorney, while reading the report, can take as many notes as they want. However, at least on Long Island, your child custody lawyer may not make a copy of the report and they will not be given a copy of the report.

Yet, virtually every Long Island Judge will not allow the parties to read the actual report. The Court will allow the attorney to discuss the contents of the report with their client. The attorney can also show their client their attorney’s notes.

What if you do not have an attorney, and you are representing yourself pro-se? Although, there is no reported case on this fact, it would seem that a person representing themselves, would have the opportunity to read the report.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office has represented and helped numerous clients in their divorce and in their child custody disputes.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office has the experience to guide you through your divorce.  If you need an experienced Long Island family lawyer, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. We have offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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Can You Take A Vacation With Your Children While In A Middle Of A Divorce Case?

You are in a middle of a divorce case – can you still take a vacation with your children?  The answer depends on many factors.

Before you plan or book a vacation, you want to make sure that you are allowed to take the children with you on the dates that you have planned. For example, if you want to take a week’s vacation in July, you have to make sure that you have the children for that week. It is important to plan way ahead and get everything in writing.  It typically is best to have your child custody attorney inform your spouse’s attorney of your plans.

Once you know that you can take the children, then you have to determine if spending the money on a vacation is something you can afford in a middle of a divorce. If you are the non-monied spouse (i.e., the spouse who makes less money), you will have to explain how you can afford a vacation based on your income. Conversely, if you are the monied spouse (i.e., the spouse who makes more money), you will have to make sure that the money you are spending on the vacation will not be used to demonstrate that you have more income or money than you are claiming.

Finally, you need to make sure that the children will be comfortable going on a vacation, just with one parent. Depending on the status of your divorce, the children may not be emotionally ready to spend a week with one parent.

There is no law or rule stating you can’t take a vacation with your children. However, if you are planning a vacation, you want to consult with your attorney and use some common sense.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce or need advice about child custody and visitation rights, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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