Dealing with family legal issues is no easy task. Get the assistance you need from an attorney with a broad focus on matrimonial and family issues. Our team is skilled in family law.
You can get expert legal advice during you initial legal consultation to decide what is best for your family.
Orders of Protection (Family Offense Petitions):
Do not hesitate to protect yourself or your loved ones. Your safety comes first.
If you are in immediate danger, call the police and try to put distance between yourself and the threatening person. Then talk to an attorney about your options.
The Family Court has authority to issue orders of protection when certain offenses occur between members of the same family or household. These offenses include harassment, menacing, assault, and certain other threatening acts.
Even if there is a pending criminal case against the accused person, it can be in the victim’s interest to also file in the Family Court for an order of protection. The two courts use different rules and can order different remedies. For example, the Family Court can also make temporary orders regarding child custody and support, as well as give the petitioner exclusive occupancy of the shared residence.
These are proceedings in which one party asks the Court to punish the other party for failing to follow a Court Order. Such disobedience is often called Contempt of Court.
Examples include: A respondent violating an order of protection, a parent refusing to make a child available for court-approved visitation, or a parent failing to pay the court-ordered child support.
Child Custody and Visitation:
Cases involving child custody or visitation must be handled carefully. The standard used by the Court to make its decisions in such cases is called “best interest of the child.” This concept should be a foremost concern for all the parties involved, including both of the parents and their attorneys.
This means that the attorney in a child custody or other parental access case must not only be an advocate for the client, but must be a counselor helping the parent to understand the effects of the proceedings on the child or children.
Often, agreements reached without trial are best for everyone involved: The children do not have to go through extensive interviews, the process is resolved more quickly and at lower cost, and the parties can agree to a resolution that meets their particular needs and circumstances better than an order decreed by a judge.
New York law states that both parents have equal rights to the children. If you are a father, do not assume that you cannot have custody of your children. And if you are a mother, do not assume that you will automatically be granted the custody and visitation arrangements that you wish. All factors will be considered by the Court; therefore you need an effective attorney to make your case before the judge.
In New York, the basic child support obligation is calculated using the following formula: The non-custodial parent's “adjusted gross income” is multiplied by 17% for one child, 25% for two children, and 29% for three children, etc.
However, many parents are misled by the apparent simplicity of this calculation. There are many additional considerations, such as:
What is a parent’s “adjusted gross income?” Does it include taxes (and which taxes)? Does it include child support or spousal maintenance payments that the parent is already making? What if the parent is not working, or does not report all of his or her actual earnings?
How long does a child support obligation continue? In New York, the age of emancipation is 21 years, but are there ways a child may be declared emancipated before he or she reaches this age? What if the child and non-custodial parent live in another state? Can a different age of emancipation apply?
What about expenses such as medical bills or college tuition? Are these included in child support?
Is child support always calculated using the formula? If not, what are the other factors that are considered?
When two parents share custody or visitation of the children, and one parent wants to relocate, the parents must consider how this will affect the custody and visitation arrangements. If relocation will make a court-approved custody and visitation arrangement impractical, the parents need to work out a new arrangement.
If the parents are unable to agree to a new, workable arrangement, the parent who wishes to relocate should seek permission from the Court.
The main consideration remains “the best interest of the child,” but an effective attorney is needed to argue how all the factors (including the parents’ jobs, the location of extended family, etc.) justify permitting the parent to relocate with the child.
Other Family Law Proceedings:
Child Protective Proceedings
Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)