New York Court Explains Children’s Rights in Divorce Actions

Many married couples have children, and if they eventually decide to divorce, the dissolution of their relationship will undoubtedly impact their children in some ways. While parents typically want what is best for their children and act accordingly, in some cases, the court will find it necessary to appoint an attorney to advocate for the interests of a child. An attorney for children’s role is limited to matters that directly impact the young parties they represent, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling. If you have children and intend to seek a divorce, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable New York family law attorney to determine your rights.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married in July 2003, after which they had three children. Prior to getting married, they entered into a prenuptial agreement which stated that neither party would be entitled to equitable distribution, maintenance, or attorney’s fees in the event of a divorce. The couple ultimately decided to part ways and filed for divorce. The wife then filed a motion asking, in part, that the court set aside the prenuptial agreement. The court issued an order denying the wife’s motion. The attorney for the children then moved to vacate the order pertaining to the prenuptial agreement on the grounds that he should have been permitted to participate in a hearing on the matter to protect the interests of the children. The court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Children’s Rights in Divorce Actions

On appeal, the court held that contrary to the assertion of the attorney for the children, he did not have the standing to file a motion to vacate the trial court’s order. The court explained that while children have some rights with respect to matters such as custody, visitation, and child support in matrimonial actions, they do not have a general right to participate in the litigation of financial matters relating to maintenance or equitable distribution in their parents’ divorces.

Further, the court explained that although attorneys for children are expected to fully participate in the proceedings for which they are appointed, their participation is typically limited to matters in which the children are the topic of the dispute. As children are not parties to agreements that their parents enter into, they are not the topic of hearings to determine whether an agreement related to equitable distribution and maintenance is valid. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Meet with an Experienced Family Law Attorney in New York

While the court’s primary interest in any divorce case involving a child is what is in the child’s best interest, only issues such as child support and visitation will directly impact children of divorce. If you wish to end your marriage, Ksenia Rudyuk can advise you of your options for seeking a result that benefits your child and helps you protect your interests. Ms. Rudyuk is a skillful New York family law attorney with the resources and experience needed to help you pursue a just outcome. You can contact Ms. Rudyuk via the form online or at 212-706-2001 to set up a meeting.

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