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Mom sues New York judge after custody case drags on for years

Child custody matters are the most contentious issues in many New York divorce cases. Divorcing parents tend to have strong opinions about custody, parenting time and parenting plans, and it can be difficult to reach agreements. In many cases, however, it is possible to come up with a suitable child custody arrangement by working hard outside of court, with the assistance of family law attorneys, to come up with a plan that is in the best interests of the children involved.

In other cases, it is not possible to resolve things outside of court and it is necessary to engage in litigation. In order to minimize any related trauma for children, as well as manage court-related expenses, New York law states that child custody proceedings must take no longer than 90 days.

Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons courts do not always hand down child custody decisions within that time frame. One Manhattan case has dragged on for three years, and the mother has now filed a lawsuit against the judge.

The mother is accusing the Manhattan Family Court Referee of stretching the case out, causing her to incur rising legal fees while her ex-husband makes decisions regarding their child's upbringing. In March, another parent filed a lawsuit against the same judge after a child custody motion was reportedly left pending for more than one year.

In this current case, there are reportedly disagreements surrounding the schooling and religious upbringing of the now 9-year-old child; the girl's mother is Catholic and her father is Jewish.

The father has blamed the mother, in part, for slowing down the legal process by filing numerous appeals.

While the outcome of the mother's lawsuit remains to be seen, the case illustrates the time-consuming and costly nature of child custody litigation. In some cases, going to court is necessary. However, in many cases, it is preferable for Poughkeepsie parents to design their own practical child custody arrangements, on their own timelines, by working through disagreements outside of court.

Source: New York Post, " Mom sues judge over 3-year custody battle," Julia Marsh, Dec. 2, 2013