child custody


My name is Paul Matthews. I am a Family Law attorney and have been practicing Family Law for over 20 years In that time I have tried hundreds of custody cases, including complex cases, and cases where I was up against some of the premier Family Law Firms in New York City. My rates are reasonable and I will always be totally honest with you. I understand that your custody case is probably one of the most important events that will happen in your life. Call me today at (347) 461-0760 for a free initial telephone consultation. The best times to call are weekdays between 1 and 2 or after 5 and anytime weekends (between 9 to 5 weekdays I am often in court except during the lunch hour).


In York State there are different types of custody.

Physical custody, also called Primary Physical Custody or Primary Residential Custody, is determined by which parent the child or children spend most of their time with. The parent who has physical custody is almost always entitled to child support.

Legal Custody is the power to make important decisions regarding the child or children’s health, education, or religion.

Joint Custody and Shared Custody are terms often confused with one another. Joint Custody is usually understood to mean that both parents must make major decisions together after consultation. Shared custody is a poorly defined term and can mean the same thing as joint custody or could meant that the child or children spend half of their time with each of the parents.

Contested child custody cases are usually between parents, but may involve grandparents, other relatives, and on occasion, non-relatives. New York Courts apply different legal standards depending on what the litigant’s relationship is to the child or children, and also whether the other party has a prior custody order.

In contested child custody cases, the court will often appoint an attorney for the child or children. Often the court will also appoint a neutral psychologist or psychiatrist to perform evaluations, and sometimes to make recommendations as to who should be awarded custody. Due to the complexity of the legal and factual issues, and the significance of the outcome, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney to handle any contested child custody case. In particular, dealing with forensic psychologists or psychologists requires the attorney to have special training and experience as these types of witnesses are notoriously difficult to cross examine.

Custody cases often involve a broad range of factual issues. Most other cases involve one or more discrete incidents. For example, in an accident case the factual issues may be limited to how fast the cars were driving, whether or not the injured parties were wearing their seat belts, and which care had the light when it entered the intersection. The scope of relevant facts in a custody case may encompass the entire lives of each of the parties. Consequently it is not that unusual for custody cases to take over a year to be resolved. Some cases have been known to go on for many years.

Visitation cases are sometimes as difficult and challenging as child custody cases. Under the law a parent is said to have a right to visitation with his/her child or children. Some situations require that visitation be supervised. Contested visitation cases involving grandparents and step parents often present special legal issues and challenges.

Whether your matter involves custody or visitation you should be represented by a lawyer who is qualified and experienced in Family Law.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended to show general principles, and should not be relied upon for decision making without consultation with an experienced Divorce Lawyer or Family Law attorney as to your particular situation. Contact via email does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Paul W. Matthews Esq 305 Broadway, Suite 801, NYC 10007 tel (347) 461-0760