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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Why Most Child Custody Attorneys Get July 4th Wrong And I Get It Right?

July 4th, Independence Day, and a day that is typically celebrated with fireworks in the evening and parades in the morning. Yet, when it comes to how divorced parents will celebrate the holiday with their children, most child custody attorneys do not set up the correct custodial schedule.

I have read hundreds of other attorney’s divorce agreements. Virtually every one of them will states something like this:

On even years with the Mother from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., on odd years with the Father from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

This makes no sense. If the parents were to try to follow this schedule they would have to switch the children at 8 p.m., close to the time that a typical fireworks show will go on.

Instead, it makes more sense and will benefit the children if the child custody agreement states something more like this:

On even years: The Mother will have the children from July 3rd at 12 noon until July 5th at 12 noon; On odd years: The Father will have the children from July 3rd at 12 noon until July 5th at 12 noon

That schedule will allow the children to enjoy all of July 4th with one parent with the added benefit of not having to wake up so early on July 5th.

Even if you do not like fireworks, your children may or you may be invited to a July 4th party. It is better to have the flexibility of having the entire July 4th day, instead of breaking up the day, and forcing you to rush back to switch the children to the other parent.

If you want more common sense solutions to child custody issues, David Badanes, Esq. at Badanes Law Office can help you. David Badanes has represented countless clients in their divorce cases.

Contact a child custody attorney today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has an office in Northport, Suffolk County and an office in Garden City, Nassau County.

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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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New York Court Expands The Definition Of Parent In Custody Cases

In 1991, New York’s Highest Court (the Court of Appeals) held that the only person who could petition a court for custody or visitation of a child was someone who either: (1) was the biological parent or (2) had an adoptive relationship to the child. This ruling precluded numerous de-facto parents and many same-sex parents from seeking custody or visitation of a child.

The Court has now overruled that decision and now, if a partner can show by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner can petition the court to seek visitation and/or custody under the law.

The Court’s ruling expands the definition of parent and now allows same-sex couples and other persons to seek visitation and/or custody, even if that person is not the biological parent or has not adopted the child.  However, the Court’s ruling is limited to situations where a petitioner can prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she agreed with the biological parent of the child to (1) prior to conception to conceive the child and (2) raise the child as co-parents.

Furthermore, the Court’s ruling only means that the petitioner now has the right to bring the case to court (called standing), but, it does not mean that the petitioner will actually succeed in gaining visitation and/or custody rights.

The Court’s ruling does not necessarily effect whether a non-biological parent who agreed to raise a child AFTER conception has standing to bring forth a case for visitation and/or custody. Therefore, it will be left for another case to determine if the Court would allow a parent in that situation to petition for custody and/or visitation.

It is also important to note that the Court used the “clear and convincing” evidence standard to prove that an agreement existed.  This means that you must prove that it is substantially more likely that the agreement actually existed.  This is a higher level of proof than “preponderance of the evidence” were you only need to show that it is “more likely to be true” (greater than 50%).

Although, the Court’s ruling is somewhat limited, it is clear that the Court has opened the door and thus those persons who are not the biological parent or the adoptive parent now have some rights when it comes to child custody and/or visitation.

If you are not sure of what your rights are as a non-biological parent, the Badanes Law Office can help you. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous clients in establishing their custody and visitation rights.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office represent clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City.  Please contact 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 Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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