Designing a road map for your child’s future

Before your marriage is dissolved, you cannot know how your divorce will affect the close bond between you and your child. For children, divorce is not simply a one-time event. It may be a significant factor throughout their childhood. The issues we can help you resolve include:

Whether one parent will get full custody.

Whether and how custody will be shared.

Educational choices for your child.

Your child’s religious upbringing.

Your child’s future educational costs.

Your child’s activities during weekends and vacations.

Other relatives’ roles in your child’s life, particularly grandparent custody rights.

Child support needs.

Custody modifications.

Relocation requests.

Protecting the rights of both mothers and fathers.

Though times are changing, the default position for some courts is to favor the rights of mothers over those of fathers. We have helped numerous fathers obtain the court orders they deserve. Examples include:

In one of our notable cases — the mother claimed that the child’s learning disability required institutional care. The father argued against institutionalization, citing the limiting effect it could have on the child’s future. Our Queens County lawyers convinced the court that awarding child custody to the father would be in the best interests of the child.
In another custody case — we argued successfully for the father’s rights. Our attorneys convinced the court that the father, who had a flexible work schedule, was more involved in the daily lives of the children than the mother was.


At some point, you or your ex-spouse may conclude that the child custody agreement you made at the time of your divorce is no longer appropriate. If your ex-spouse is seeking a modification, the divorce lawyers at Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law defend the current arrangement on your behalf. If you want a modification, for example, from shared custody to full custody, our Queens County attorneys persuade the court that changed circumstances warrant a modification of the child custody arrangement.

The first step in obtaining a custody modification is to ask your attorney to petition the court. Once the paperwork has been filed, the court schedules a hearing at which the lawyers argue the merits of the proposed change. The court makes its decision based on what is in the best interests of your child. Our family law attorneys help you build a compelling case for a child custody modification, whether it involves full custody or a shared custody arrangement.

Common reasons for child custody modifications

Child custody modifications may be justified by changed circumstances in your life or that of your ex-spouse or your child. For example, relocation of the custodial parent often leads to a modification of the custody arrangement. Other reasons courts grant child custody modifications include:

You lose your job or take a new job.

Your ex-spouse loses or begins a job.

Drug or alcohol abuse by you or your ex-spouse.

Child abuse by the custodial parent.

Your child develops special needs.

A grandparent asserts custodial rights.

Gifts and inheritances as nonmarital property

There are a number of exceptions to the general rule that property acquired during the marriage is marital property. Among these exceptions are gifts and inheritances. If, for example, you personally inherited a vacation home or received valuable jewelry as a personal gift, this property should be excluded from equitable distribution.

New York courts presume, however, that any property acquired during a marriage is marital property. As a result, the burden is on you to rebut that presumption by proving that a particular asset was acquired as a gift or inheritance.