These preferences are really a matter of personal choice. The differences between Manhattan and Brooklyn are actually becoming less pronounced. My office is in Manhattan and I live in Brooklyn, and I find the amount of crossover has dramatically increased. Many people who would only consider Manhattan in the past a very drawn to the neighborhoods we call Brownstone Brooklyn. Similarly, people who thought they coudn't afford Manhattan are finding great value in this market and with these interest rates. As licensed real estate agents, we cannot steer you to a particular neighborhood, or reply directly to your phrase "raising a young family for a variety of legal reasons, but I would suggest you do some exploring and see where you feel comfortable and research the neighborhoods you are considering in both boroughs.
Halstead Property, LLC