Camera Interview a Child In a Custody Matter In New York

It has been well established in New York jurisdiction that the appropriate method to conduct an interview with a child in a custody matter is an in camera interview. In Matter of Lincoln v. Lincoln (24 NY2d 270, 272 [1969]), the New York State Court of Appeals over 40 years ago held: "It requires no great knowledge of child psychology to recognize that a child, already suffering from the trauma of a broken home, should not be placed in the position of having its relationship with either parent further jeopardized by having to publicly relate its difficulties with them or be required to openly choose between them. The trial court however, if it is to obtain a full understanding of the effect of parental differences on the child, as well as an honest expression of the child's desires and attitudes, will in many cases need to interview the child. There can be no question that an interview in private will limit the psychological danger to the child and will also be far more informative and worthwhile than the traditional procedures of the adversary system--an examination of the child under oath in open court." See also, Rauschmeier v. Rauschmeier, 237 AD2d 702 [3d Dept 1997] [it was not error not to include the participation of two litigants and their counsel in the Lincoln hearing].