Hearings Necessary in New York Child Custody Disputes

In a significant change in adjudicating New York child custody disputes, the New York’s Court of Appeals recently ruled that, in most cases, NY child custody and visitation orders should, only, be made after the parties have been given the right to a full evidentiary hearing before a New York court. The recent NY Court of Appeals (highest court in New York state) decision in the matter of S.L. v. J.R., the NY Court heard an appeal from an order upheld by a lower appellate court that allowed a custody award to be upheld without conducting a hearing.  The reason the lower appellate court upheld the custody award is because it determined that no hearing is necessary where the court had enough relevant information to make an informed decision as to what was in the child’s best interest. In reversing the appellate decision, the New York Court of Appeals noted,

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