How long is too long for a child custody case?

Many of us in Westport and Greenwich recognize that divorce is not a simple process. Rarely are spouses in such good standing with each other that they can easily agree about the divorce, a settlement, and child custody and support. More often than not, parents and their lawyers will work to create a parenting plan that specifically spells out custody and support issues. Many parents may also find themselves in court, trying to come up with a fair agreement.

All of that, of course, takes time. But how much time should it take? There is no easy answer, as some cases are much more complex than others. When the cause of delay is the court, however, it is bound to raise some eyebrows. Although this case comes from New York and not Connecticut, this week’s story is certainly something that could happen here.

For the past three years, a mother has been operating under a temporary custody award, only seeing her daughter every other weekend. The reason why there has been no permanent award, it seems, is because of the family court referee’s numerous delays. What is more, the woman’s daughter, who has been living with her father for the past three years, said in 2011 that she did not want to live with him.

So, the mother has done something that will hopefully move things along: she has filed a federal lawsuit against the referee.

It seems that this is not the referee’s first lawsuit, either. The family court referee was the subject of a lawsuit after she allegedly left a motion pending for well over a year.

Divorce and child custody are hard enough; judges should not be the ones making them even more difficult.