Non-Parent and Child Custody

Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer said this was the appeal of an order of the Family Court should award sole custody to a nonparent.  Appellant Mother brought the appeal on the grounds the Family Court erred in making its decision by failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine whether extraordinary circumstances existed.  The Appellate Division reversed the order and remitted the matter to the Family Court for the requisite evidentiary hearing.

When a nonparent is seeking custody of a child the parent has a superior right to custody that cannot be denied.  A nonparent can obtain custody only by establishing that the parent has relinquished that right as a result of surrender, abandonment, persisting neglect, unfitness or other extraordinary circumstances.  A Nassau County Child Custody Lawyer said the nonparent must first prove extraordinary circumstances exist and then the court will address the issue of the best interests of the child.

The Appellate Division ultimately found the Family Court “deprived a biological parent of custody of her children without them…[requisite evidentiary] hearing’ on the issues of extraordinary circumstances and best interests.”  Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer said the Appellate Division looked at the specifics of the Court’s approach.  When the parents were asked if they were calling any witnesses to testify on their behalf the parents said that only they were testifying.  The Court then stated that there was “no triable issues of fact and granted the nonparent’s petition for custody.”  By doing this the Family Court “failed to place the burden of proof on the nonparent to prove that extraordinary circumstances exist[ed]”.

Each family’s circumstances differ and sometimes a child living with a nonparent is in the best interest of the child.  If you have a similar situation seek out the advice of the experienced family law attorneys at Simonetti & Associates.