Contested Divorce with Children

New York City Lawyer Advising Parents in Complex Family Law Disputes

Young Family Sad For parents undergoing a divorce, their children are a top priority. If child custody arrangements cannot be determined outside court, presenting a strong argument before the judge may be essential in a contested divorce with children. New York City divorce attorney Ingrid Gherman understands the complexities of divorce litigation as well as the value of keen negotiating skills. She can assist you in defining your goals and determining a strategic course of action in a contested divorce case. While she is sensitive to the anxiety of a divorce, Ingrid Gherman offers honest, compassionate legal guidance to her clients.

Considerations in a Contested Divorce with Children

Divorce proceedings require the resolution of certain matters, both for the final decree to be entered by the court and for the spouses to move forward with their lives. Many of these matters relate to children, the division of marital property and debts, and financial support. In a New York contested divorce, the spouses disagree on one or more of these issues at the time of filing for a dissolution of marriage. For instance, while both spouses may want a divorce, they may not be able to agree on a shared custody arrangement for their children. Any unresolved issues are presented to the court in what is considered a contested divorce, and these issues will be decided through litigation and, if necessary, a trial.

The spouses may have successfully settled some matters outside court before filing a petition for divorce, and they can move on to litigate the unresolved issues. Once the divorce action has been filed, the process is subject to filing deadlines and the court’s docket. The parties must respond to requests for discovery under oath, sworn depositions may be taken, and documents from third parties may be subpoenaed. Litigation can be essential in this respect because the discovery process ensures that all financial assets are fully taken into account and accurate. As more information is disclosed, the parties may continue to engage in negotiations outside court and, if possible, settle all outstanding disputes before proceeding with the expense of a trial.

In a divorce in which child custody is contested, the parties must consider whether the best course of action is to allow a judge to set the terms of personal and life-altering arrangements concerning their children. Of course, in cases involving an unfit parent, substance abuse, domestic violence, or other unworkable situations, a settlement outside court may be impossible.

A judge will determine custody matters according to the best interest of the child. In New York, the court will often appoint an attorney, known as a law guardian, to advocate for the child’s interests and make recommendations. The purpose of the law guardian is to provide an unbiased voice for the child that is not influenced by either parent. The law guardian can obtain information from the child’s parents, teachers, therapist, and others in order to appropriately represent the child’s position in court. It is also common for the court to order a forensic investigation conducted by a professional child expert, who is typically a psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist. The forensic investigator may interview parents, relatives, and other people who are close to the child. If there are allegations of neglect or any kind of abuse, the court may order a state agency to investigate the claims and issue a report to the court. In addition to the testimony of the experts enlisted by the court, the court will consider testimony from any witnesses called by the parents at an evidentiary hearing, such as child psychologists. The parents will also have the opportunity to cross-examine the court’s experts at the hearing.

Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney During a Contested Divorce in New York City

In contested divorce proceedings, legal representation can be crucial to protect your interests. Attorney Ingrid Gherman has significant experience in contested and complex divorce cases throughout New York City and is prepared to handle any issues that may arise. Her family law practice serves residents of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Arrange for a personalized consultation by calling the Law Office of Ingrid Gherman, P.C. at (212) 941-0767 or completing the online contact form.