Saturday, August 17, 2013

Can I file paperwork to overrule a referee's decision

Q:  I'm in the midst of a custody battle. Recently, my sons father refuses to return my child violating the court ordered visitation. I went to court to file a violation and was given false information from an inexperienced clerk. I sought suspension of the visitation as I had to get the police involved when he didn't return the child. He goes to court and files for an order to show cause. When I appeared, the referee didn't even ask to see the police report and instead refused to discuss what he did and in turn says I violated her order as I only filed a petition and an order wasn't in place. I feel as she is not only biased but is not looking at the best interest of the child. She even changed the visitation. What can I do to suspend the visitation?

A:  David's Answer:  I agree with the other counsel - you need to either retain a lawyer or ask for court-assigned counsel. That said, whether you can file a motion to a Judge to deny the Referee's findings depends in part on whether you signed a stipulation allowing the Referee to "hear & determine" (versus "hear & report") as well as whether the this was a final order or an interim decision. You would also need to advise whether you are in Family Court or Supreme. For a full assessment, you're best advised to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody lawyer. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

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