Archive for the ‘ Family Law ’ Category

How Long Does A Divorce Take In The State Of New York?

Posted on: April 22, 2017 by in Family Law
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If you are seeking or anticipating a divorce in the state of New York, understanding what you can expect is tremendously helpful. You should read as much as you can of the divorce paperwork so that you won’t be caught off-guard by anything that happens in the divorce process.

During the process – and prior to any divorce trial – the divorcing partners must complete and exchange documents verifying their incomes, assets, properties, and expenses. A Westchester County divorce lawyer can help those seeking divorce complete the paperwork and understand the divorce process.

Many people severely underestimate the amount of time it takes to obtain a divorce in the state of New York, but divorcing spouses need to think in terms of months rather than weeks. The divorce process unfolds in a number of time-consuming stages, so when you divorce in this state, have some patience and use the time to read the divorce documents and learn as much about the process as you can.

Even before a divorce action is filed, spouses can sometimes begin to reach agreements on matters like alimony, the division of property, and if children are involved, custody and child support. Generally speaking, the more matters a divorcing couple can agree on, the faster they can divorce. Even at the pre-filing stage, spouses should consider seeking legal advice and guidance from an experienced New York divorce lawyer.

HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE TO WORK OUT A PRE-FILING SETTLEMENT?

Divorce clients can work for days, weeks, or in some cases months with their attorneys on a pre-filing settlement. If the parties can reach a comprehensive pre-filing divorce settlement, the divorce will be much easier and much less complicated. Everything hinges on the complexity of the disagreements and on how willing the parties are to work toward a comprehensive out-of-court settlement. Even when a settlement is reached, the final divorce documents must be prepared and sent to the court, and that process can take another two, three, or four months.

That’s a description of the best-case scenario. In most divorces, there will be at least one matter or more of fierce disagreement between the spouses that slows the divorce process. It might be a child custody battle, an alimony dispute, or an argument over property and assets.

During pre-filing negotiations, it is imperative to work with a divorce lawyer who knows how to negotiate these issues and when to stop negotiating and move the matter to court. If a spouse is simply stalling the divorce or running you in circles – perhaps to wear you down and gain concessions – instead of negotiating forthrightly, your attorney should spot the tactic and put a stop to it.

Formally, a divorce case begins in New York when a “Summons With Notice” or a “Summons and Complaint” is filed with the County Clerk’s Office. The spouse who files for the divorce is called the “plaintiff” and the other spouse – the husband or wife the plaintiff is divorcing – is called the “defendant.” If the plaintiff does not know the defendant’s location, it may take some time to locate the defendant, or the plaintiff may qualify for what the law in New York calls a “publication divorce” if a comprehensive search fails to locate the defendant.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A SUMMONS IS FORMALLY SERVED AND FILED?

After a summons is formally served to the defendant and filed with the court, the defendant may respond with an “Affidavit of Defendant” which agrees to the divorce without contest, or the defendant may respond by filing an “Answer” with the New York Supreme Court. The latter option means the divorce is contested.

Even then, nothing will happen until one party files a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI). The RJI is the document that gets the case into court and in front of a judge. Once a summons and complaint have been served and filed, it is another thirty days before an RJI can be filed.

After a Request for Judicial Intervention has been filed, a preliminary conference will be slated with a judge or a Court Attorney Referee. The preliminary conference is typically scheduled thirty to forty-five days in advance. The purpose of a preliminary conference is to identify the precise issues in dispute, to determine and rate the probable “complexity” of the divorce, and to set a deadline for concluding the discovery process.

“Discovery” is the process of gathering and organizing exhibits and testimony before a trial. It includes subpoenas, depositions, and the exchange and sharing of all pertinent documents and evidence in the case. Discovery must conclude within four months of the preliminary conference in a “non-complex” divorce, within seven months of the preliminary conference in a “moderately complex” divorce, and within eleven months of the preliminary conference in a “complex” divorce.

The state of New York does what it can to expedite the divorce process, but if you are divorcing, it is best to expect unexpected delays and glitches. The divorce process can be slowed by the other side’s motions, by difficulties obtaining documents or depositions, or for a number of other reasons. You may have heard that patience is a virtue, but if you are divorcing in New York, it’s also a necessity.

HOW COMMON ARE DIVORCE TRIALS IN NEW YORK?

The truth is that divorce trials are extremely rare in the state of New York. Almost always, the attorneys for each side are able to negotiate compromises and settlements that are acceptable to both sides. In the rare event that a divorce trial becomes a necessity, depending on the county, a trial will be scheduled anywhere from three to nine months in advance. A divorce trial itself can run several days or several weeks, depending on the matters in dispute and the number of witnesses who must be heard.

The bottom line is that there is no way to predict in advance how long a divorce will take in New York – especially a contested divorce. Complicated, high-asset divorces take the longest, particularly when divorcing spouses are unwilling to cooperate. An experienced Westchester County child support lawyer will do everything possible to expedite the divorce process, but once again, if you divorce in this state, you will need both a good child support attorney and a great deal of patience.

Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: Are There Any Limits?

Posted on: December 22, 2016 by in Family Law
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In 2015, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage became legal in all fifty states. It was the victory that advocates of marriage equality had sought for years. But for some people, apparently, even the right to marry a same-sex partner isn’t enough. All over the world, the institution of “traditional” marriage is facing serious challenges from people who want to redefine it in a variety of ways. However, in today’s society, we openly welcome differences, but some folks think otherwise.

In December, for example, a family court judge in Argentina authorized the marriage of a 33-year-old Argentine woman to her 32-year-old stepdaughter. Argentina’s Civil Code allows for same-sex marriage but forbids any kind of incestuous or parent-child union. Judge Ricardo Dutto overturned the code and declared that every Argentine citizen has “the right to be treated with dignity by the laws in all dimensions of life, including marriage.”

In the United States, it’s becoming clear that “plural marriage” – the union of more than two persons in a marriage – is the next looming challenge to traditional marriage. The Hawaii-based World Polyamory Association is pushing for what the organization calls “triad” marriage. Robyn Trask, the executive director of Loving More, a Colorado nonprofit group, estimates that more than 10,000 “polyamorists” are already living in semi-married triad arrangements in the western United States.

COULD PLURAL MARRIAGE PREVAIL IN THE COURTS?

Do the proponents of triad marriage have any chance of prevailing in the courts? Noah Feldman is a professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University. Early in 2016, Feldman published an essay titled “Polygamy Is Constitutional” for Bloomberg View. Regarding marriages of more than two people, Feldman asks, “What does the Constitution, properly interpreted, have to say about the topic?”

In his essay, Feldman takes a law professor’s meticulous approach to the question. The first issue Feldman examines is whether or not a state has the right to ban marriages involving more than two persons. The second issue he examines is whether or not a fundamental right to marry more than one person – and to make states treat plural marriages on equal terms with other marriages – can be found in the Constitution.

Under current laws, if you’re already married, then you can’t marry another person at the same time. Persons who are now in a traditional marriage – and who want to expand that marriage to include a third person – apparently would have to divorce and then remarry with the third partner. But consider the constitutional rights that already exist. In the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down all anti-sodomy laws, meaning that adults in the U.S. can legally have sexual relations with any other consenting adult. Adults also may already engage in any private religious ritual under the First Amendment’s free-exercise-of-religion principle.

WHY ISN’T PLURAL MARRIAGE ALREADY LEGAL?

Feldman says that given the existing constitutional rights, it’s odd that plural marriage or triad marriage isn’t already legal. You can have multiple sexual partners and you can conduct private religious ceremonies – constitutionally. On that basis, it seems that there’s nothing in the Constitution that would make plural or triad marriages unconstitutional. But there’s more to consider.

The next question is whether a state should be constitutionally obligated to recognize plural or triad marriage and to treat those marriages as the legal equivalent of two-person marriages. In Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that there is a “fundamental” right to marry “the person” of your choice, and Justice Kennedy insisted that everyone is owed the opportunity for marriage regardless of sexual orientation.

Logically and legally, Feldman continues, extending legal protection to plural or triad marriages is “warranted” – unless the government has a “compelling interest” in criminalizing such marriages. Starting with the fundamental right to choose a partner, if the partner’s gender does not matter, then why should that partner’s current marital status matter either? What is the state’s compelling interest in blocking someone’s “right” to marry whomever that person chooses?

Moreover, if all persons are entitled to have their marriages acknowledged by the state, “all persons” must include those persons who desire plural or triad marriage. Two groups in the United States – Muslims and unreformed, fundamentalist Mormons – in effect already practice plural marriage, and scores of those persons would prefer that their plural marriages were recognized legally.

WHEN RIGHTS CLASH WITH STATE INTERESTS, HOW DO JUDGES RULE?

When these kinds of questions reach the Supreme Court, the justices will usually determine if a “fundamental right” is outweighed by a “compelling state interest.” For example, your right to be left alone by the state is “fundamental,” but the state’s interest in preventing drunk driving allows the police to stop drivers at sobriety checkpoints – without a warrant or even reasonable cause. We understand the necessity of stopping drunk drivers, but when it comes to forbidding plural marriage, precisely what would be the compelling state interest?

Any New York family law attorney can explain that the law already allows you to share your life with multiple partners; you just can’t obtain a document from the state that calls those partners your spouses. Historically, the opponents of plural marriage have cited the abuse, exploitation, and coercion sometimes associated with polygamous marriages as a reason for banning them. But plural marriage is not inherently exploitative, so Feldman argues that the best solution is to outlaw the exploitation rather than the plural marriages themselves.

Some judges appear ready to do just that. In 2014, a year before Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit handed down a ruling that read, in part, “there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.”

Obviously, child custody issues would emerge in triad marriages, and the question of divorce from a plural marriage opens up all kinds of complications. But these questions have been answered before. Plural marriage is nothing new or odd, and almost every New York family law attorney has encountered some form of it. Even in the Bible, patriarchs like King Solomon had dozens of wives, and most societies have allowed some type of plural marriage. Unlike same-sex marriage, plural marriage has deep historical roots, and according to Noah Feldman, it’s time for plural marriage to be recognized by the courts and legalized by the states.

Brad, Angelina, and The Kids

Posted on: October 11, 2016 by in Family Law
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In the world of divorce, it’s easily the year’s biggest story: Brad and Angelina are calling it quits. Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, and she’s asking for physical custody of their six children. It’s too early to determine if this divorce is going to be quiet and quick or long, loud, and acrimonious. Both celebrities own plenty of wealth and property, and the divorce papers don’t indicate anything about a prenuptial agreement, so it’s almost certain that the kids will be the focus of any dispute.

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Media reports and the internet have been filled with rumors and speculations about why Ms. Jolie has chosen divorce. Unconfirmed rumors spread by social media – and now instantly spread around the world – make celebrity divorces even more messy and complicated than the divorces of couples who are not public figures. When stars divorce, they have a common interest in keeping their personal business out of the news. Things tend to be messier when a star marries and divorces someone who isn’t a public figure. In that circumstance, according to one attorney, the spouse has “less to lose by going to the press and trying to make the other side look bad.”

If you’re divorcing in New York, before you take any legal action, you should consult with an experienced Westchester County divorce attorney. Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt probably want to settle their disputes quickly and quietly, and no-fault divorce in California allows them to do that. Stacy Phillips, a family law attorney in Los Angeles, found it curious that Ms. Jolie is asking for exclusive physical custody of the kids but is also requesting joint legal custody.

WHAT DOES JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY ACCOMPLISH?

Joint legal custody gives both parents the right to make decisions about the children’s place of residence, educations, healthcare, and religious training. “If somebody’s not capable of having custodial time then one would surmise that they’re not capable of making decisions,” Ms. Phillips said. All six children – three adopted children and the three born to the couple – are listed on the divorce petition with Ms. Jolie as the mother and Mr. Pitt as the father.

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“That’s secure and it’s healthier for the kids,” Ms. Phillips told the Los Angeles Times. She added that the couple’s oldest child, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, is now 15, and at that age he may express his own wishes regarding custody to the judge. If the request is reasonable and rational, under California family law it must be taken into consideration – along with many other factors – by the court. According to divorce lawyer Christopher Melcher, one of the attorneys for Katie Holmes when she divorced Tom Cruise, work and travel isn’t going to affect a custody decision because both parties can hire all of the nannies, tutors, and other childcare personnel they need.

WHY ARE ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRAD PITT CONSIDERED UNIQUE?

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt hold a unique spot in contemporary Hollywood. Masters of their craft with two Oscars and five Golden Globe Awards between them, they’re also vocal champions for a number of causes. And by meticulously managing their public images, they’ve reminded many fans of Hollywood’s most glamorous couples of yesteryear – Bogart and Bacall or Taylor and Burton. More than any couple in our time, they came to symbolize romance, glamor, and an extravagant Hollywood lifestyle – but with a 21st-century social conscience.

Before they married – it was only two years ago – they became the parents of three of their own children, and they adopted children from Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Ms. Jolie is an activist for breast cancer awareness and the plight of refugees, and she acts as a special envoy for the United Nations. Mr. Pitt was a vocal advocate for same-sex marriage and has contributed considerably to disaster relief in Haiti and in New Orleans.

Leonard Maltin, the film critic and film historian who reviewed movies on Entertainment Tonight from 1982 through 2010, said that “we don’t know anything about their private lives, really, nor is it any of our business, really. But they’re both successful and attractive people who have been forced to live at least some of their lives in public. So the public feels a certain ownership, whether they’re entitled to or not.” Brad Pitt released a statement to People magazine which said: “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”

IS BRAD PITT BEING INVESTIGATED?

According to a Hollywood Reporter story on September 22, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services would not reveal if it is investigating Brad Pitt. “We have very strict confidentially laws that don’t allow us to confirm or deny the subjects of our investigations,” said spokesperson Amara Suarez. Sgt. Barry Montgomery of the Los Angeles Police Department said on September 22 that the LAPD is not investing Mr. Pitt and has received no allegation against him. “We understand how rumors get spun up, and hopefully we can put a few of them to rest,” said Sgt. Montgomery.

Nevertheless, a number media outlets were reporting that Ms. Jolie is claiming Mr. Pitt was recently abusive to at least one of the children on a flight from France, and the FBI is determining whether it should pursue an investigation. The FBI told the Hollywood Reporter: “In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued.”

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If you are divorcing in the state of New York, you’ll need legal help from an experienced family lawyer – a Westchester County divorce attorney, for example. Prior to World War Two, most spouses with marriage difficulties didn’t even turn to the courts. They lived together – or apart – unhappily for years, because only the most affluent couples could afford divorce. Like the glamor of old-time Hollywood, those days are gone. Divorce is available to everyone, and today there is no reason for anyone in any walk of life to remain in a failed, utterly hopeless marriage.

Deviation from Child Support Guidelines: When Is It Allowed?

Posted on: November 18, 2015 by in Family Law
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The child support payments that you may have to make, or you may be eligible for, may be based on youngster support guidelines in New York. A number of factors may be taken into account, including your income, your spouse’s income and the number of children to be paid for, and a number of other different factors.

However, in some cases, a judge or magistrate may order a child support amount that is different from the one that is reached using the existing guidelines. For instance, you may feel that the amount that has been determined is not fair to you, because of your financial resources or your spouse’s financial resources. In some cases, the court may determine that there are special considerations involved in the child’s physical or emotional health, needs, or attitudes that may require an increase in the child support payments. The youngster may suffer from a disability, and the child support payments determined using the guidelines may not suffice for his care. The judge may also consider the standard of living that the child would have continued to enjoy if his parents had not gotten divorced. If the child support payment does not take into account the child’s standard of living, that judge may order a higher amount to be paid.

Also remember, the judge may consider any non-monetary contributions that you make towards welfare of your youngster, educational needs of the parents, differences in the gross income of parents as well as the needs of other children that you as the noncustodial parent are currently paying for. These may all be factors that the judge deems relevant.

But, a youngster support order is not permanent. If a situation changes that affects how much money your child needs or how much money you make on a regular basis, you could petition the court for a modification to a child support order. Some circumstances that could cause the need for a youngster support modification include:

  • The income of one or both parents has changed significantly. This could be because of a job loss or reassignment, an investment that went wrong, or any other event that could cause a substantial loss of income.
  • Changes in an alimony recipient’s needs
  • A youngster has turned 18
  • The youngster now requires more money because of a surgery, medical condition, disability or private school tuition, for example
  • One parent now has another child, and therefore has additional expenses, making it difficult to pay the original amount of child support
  • One parent has died, and therefore the entire youngster support agreement is no longer valid

If you are dealing with child support issues during a divorce, get legal assistance from an experienced Westchester County family lawyer. To understand how a court may decide on your child support payments or for advice on how to proceed legally, speak with a Westchester County family lawyer. For help negotiating with your spouse and his or her child support lawyer on child support, seek help from a Westchester County child support lawyer.

What Types of Parental Income Are Considered during Calculation of Child-Support

Posted on: November 13, 2015 by in Family Law
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When it comes to determining child support, a court may consider different types of factors, and the primary factor is the income of the both parents. Remember however, that your income will include more than simply salary or wages. This is a misconception that parents suffer from. The court may also consider any commissions, or overtime, or tips that you earn as your income. Talk to a Westchester County family lawyer for help.

Apart from this, the court will also consider any earnings in the form of dividends, interest, investment income, or business income that you earn. Capital gains are also often considered as part of the calculation of income. Any voluntarily deferred income or compensation will also be added to the income.

Any cash benefits that you’re currently receiving, including workers’ compensation benefits, employment insurance benefits, disability benefits, Social Security benefits, and veteran’s benefits are also included. However, Supplemental Security Income benefits are not included in the calculation. Your disability benefits as well as federal government disability benefits may also both be considered.

If you are currently receiving retirement benefits or pension benefits, stipends, royalty payment and annuity payments, these may also be included as your earnings.

If you’re currently receiving fringe benefits or any type of compensation, like lodging, meals, or automobiles, which give you a certain type of economic benefit, the court may also decide to consider these as your earnings.

After the court has determined your income, certain deductions will be made, including Social Security, Medicare and New York tax to come up with your adjusted gross income. Then, the court will most likely use a formula to determine how much you should pay based on your adjusted gross earnings. In New York, it is typically calculated by multiplying your adjusted gross income by these different percentages based on how many children you are providing support for:

  • 17% for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • at least 35% for five or more children.

For example, if your adjusted gross earnings is $100,000, the courts may order that you pay $17,000 for one child, $25,000 for two children, $29,000 for three children, $31,000 for four children and at least $35,000 for five or more children. Of course, this is just a guideline to make calculating child support more clear, and does not always have to be used by the courts when determining how much the supporting parent should pay.

If your child support payments put you below the poverty line, then the arrangement should be reconsidered by the courts. However, that does not mean you don’t have to pay if you are not doing well financially. Even parents who are currently receiving unemployment benefits are expected to pay their child support if it has been ordered by the court.

If you are dealing with child support issues, contact an experienced Westchester County child support attorney. Speak to a Westchester County family lawyer for help understanding what amount of child support payments may be ordered in your case. Call an attorney and discuss your case.

Can I Ask for a Change in My Child Support Order?

Posted on: October 5, 2015 by in Family Law
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Sometimes, there may be changes in financial circumstances that may call for a modification of the youngster sustain order. For instance, the parent may lose his job, may suffer a disability, and may have suffered huge losses in business that make it difficult for him to continue making child support payments. Children need surgeries or special tutoring. You already know that anything can happen in life. New York law provides for changing circumstances, but the parent whose circumstances have changed must initiate the legal action. For example, if you are the non-custodial parent and you are laid off from your job, you can’t just stop paying child support – if you do, you could conceivably go to jail. What you must do is petition the court to modify your current child support order. A Peekskill child support lawyer can help.

Similarly, the custodial parent may have a change in his or her financial circumstances that call for an increase in the child support payments. There may be an increase in the cost of childcare, like increase in daycare costs, increase in healthcare costs, and education costs that may call for an increase in payments.

Either parent can ask a New York family lawyer to change the youngster sustain order. For this, you must file a petition with the court based upon a change in your circumstances. Remember, you may also wish to apply for child support modification if there has been a change in your partner’s income.

A modification cannot be implemented soon after the order was passed. You may have to wait a minimum of three years after the order was issued in the case of orders that were passed on or after October 2 13 2010. Speak to a New York family lawyer for help.

If you need a youngster sustain order modified, and if it’s possible, try to work out an agreement with your ex-spouse first; the courts are much more likely to grant a modification if it won’t be disputed, but the court is not a rubber stamp, either. New York courts will always place the best interests of the child above all other considerations.If you anticipate a dispute regarding child support during or after a divorce; if you need to have a child support order modified; or if you are not receiving the child support payments that have been ordered by the court, get legal help immediately.

When a child support order is issued by a New York court, a great deal of consideration has gone into it, and the court isn’t going to change that order quickly or easily. However, eventually, the financial circumstances of one or both parents will probably change, and a modification of the youngster sustain order will probably be appropriate. If circumstances have changed and you need to pay less child in child support – or if you need to receive more – speak at once with an experienced Peekskill family law attorney. Obtaining a post-judgment modification of child support isn’t necessarily easy, but a good child support attorney routinely helps parents with such requests and knows what it takes to obtain the modification you need.

Is Shared Custody for Me?

Posted on: September 25, 2015 by in Family Law
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In some cases, parents may decide to share custody of the child. There may be several variations of this kind of arrangement.

The parents, for instance, may decide to share legal custody, but one person may decide to retain physical custody of the child. In a case like this, they share legal custody which means that the parents jointly decide on the child’s education, extracurricular activities, the religion that he will follow, his healthcare, and may make a joint decision on these matters. However, the child will live primarily with one parent. Talk to a child custody lawyer in New York about the child custody arrangement that is most appropriate for your situation.

In another variation, the parents may share both legal as well as physical custody of the child. In a case like this, the child may live with each parent, spending about half of his time with one parent and half of his time with the other. The parents may also share legal custody of the child.

Remember, that in a joint custody arrangement, it is important for both of the parents to cooperate, and the divorce must have been a friendly one. If you decide to share physical custody, know that it is often very difficult to make such arrangements work, because of geographical distances between the parents’ houses. These kinds of arrangements work best if both of the spouses live close together, and have a mutually agreeable relationship.

Post-Divorce Parenting Tips

When your ex shares custody of your children, you’ll face some difficult parenting challenges. If you need legal assistance with a divorce or any child custody dispute in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, contact an experienced Peekskill family law attorney at once. Even in the happiest marriage, parenting is the hardest job. After a divorce, nothing is harder. Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a family psychologist who writes about divorce and parenting issues. Recently, Dr. Tietz offered these suggestions for solo parenting after a divorce:

  1. Don’t kid yourself. Accept the reality. Single parenting is a difficult situation to be. Don’t pretend that it isn’t.
  1. Do not be too hard on yourself. Understand that every parent makes a few mistakes. Your kids are resilient, and usually, they’re forgiving too.
  1. Try to practice flexibility. Your ex may be hard to work with, but try to. Unwillingness to budge can make things tougher for everybody.
  1. Different parents will inevitably have different rules. If you’re a stricter parent than your ex, one day your kids will know that you were doing your best in a tough spot.
  1. Do not go it alone. Have some people in your life who care. When you alone are supporting and supervising your children, be sure that you have your own emotional support.
  1. Maintain patience and faith that you will find a way to handle solo parenting, and you will.

Even without custody fights, child support battles, or visitation disputes, divorce is difficult and solo parenting is hard. If you are involved in a dispute with your ex regarding any of these matters, you need relief fast. Contact an experienced Peekskill child custody attorney at once for whatever legal help or advice you need as a single parent in New York.

What Is Joint Legal Custody?

Posted on: September 18, 2015 by in Family Law
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Child custody can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Parents can come to an agreement over the division of assets, but might find themselves at loggerheads when it comes to determining who gets primary custody of the child, and how visitation will be set.

In any child custody situation, one of several things can happen. In New York, a court may decide to grant physical custody and legal tutelage of the parent either to the parents jointly, or to only one parent. Physical custody refers to living arrangements of the child, his care, and other aspects of his well-being. Legal custody however, refers to the decision-making authority and responsibility of the child’s welfare.

Legal tutelage may either be awarded to one person only in a sole tutelage arrangement, or the court will determine that the custody must be shared between the parents. When you share legal tutelage in a joint legal custody arrangement, the parents may jointly make decisions about child.

These decisions affect the child’s education, the kind of school that he may enroll in, the kind of religious education or training that the child will receive, healthcare and medical decisions related to the child, and other decisions. In this kind of arrangement, the parents discuss with each other and come to a mutual agreement. Talk to a Westchester County family lawyer to learn whether this kind of arrangement would suit your family.

Obviously, a joint tutelage arrangement is only suitable in those situations in which the divorce has been amicable, and the parents have a cordial relationship with each other. A joint legal custody demands that parents frequently communicate with each other, and are ready to put their needs aside in order to make decisions that are best for their children. The court will always prefer to make joint tutelage arrangements if it is in the best interest of the child.

In other situations, one of you may retain sole custody of the child, while the other gets visitation rights. It’s best if you can make these decisions between the two of you, without involving the courts.

However, if you should choose a sole tutelage arrangement, you will have to set visitation schedules. In a sole custody arrangement, there may be custodial parent, who has tutelage of the child for most of the time, and a noncustodial parent who may have visitation rights. Visitation in some courts in New York is also referred to as access.

Remember, that if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement about child tutelage, the court will appoint a person as an attorney for the child who will inform the court of the child’s wishes. When the divorce is in progress, your Westchester County child custody lawyer will ask the court to issue a temporary child custody order which will be in place until the divorce is finalized. To understand whether a joint tutelage  arrangement would suit your situation best, speak to our Westchester County child custody attorneys.

Shared Custody Rights in New York

Posted on: July 3, 2015 by in Family Law
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When it comes to custody, visitation, and father’s rights there is some constitutional protection but nothing to get too excited about. Because men’s roles have changed throughout the years, the protection is very outdated, according to our child custody attorneys. Although parenting is quite different now with shared parenting or what some call “co-parenting” when it comes to the courts in New York, and really just in general, there is still a gender bias insight that makes most fathers think they cannot get custody of their children.

The truth is that more and more fathers are getting custody rights of their kids and the term “sole custody” is basically obsolete. Today’s father wants shared custody and they are getting it. Fathers that have taken an active role in their children’s lives are almost certainly to have the right to continue after a divorce. Fathers play a crucial role in the lives of their children and they should.

It seems that society is still bitter about “deadbeat” dads who vanish from the lives of their children because of child support they felt was too high or the fact that their wages are garnished to pay support. Some dads even wind up in jail for failure to pay child support. When arrearages get behind, you should understand that the law is very unsympathetic to dads who don’t pay for their children.

Physical custody of the child could be either sole physical custody or shared physical custody. In a sole physical custody arrangement, only one parent will retain physical custody of the child, which means that the child will primarily be living in that parent’s home. However, even in a situation like this, the child will have visitation arrangements with the other parent, and may visit the other parent’s home.

In a joint physical custody arrangement, the parents may decide to split child-rearing duties, by dividing the time that the child spends in each house. Therefore, you may have a situation in which the child spends half of his time in one house, and half of his time in the other parent’s house.

This kind of arrangement is not an easy one to make work. Our Westchester County child custody lawyers often find that it’s difficult to precisely divide the exact amount of time that the child will spend in each house. One parent may still end up having the child for a slightly longer time than the other parent.

It is important in an arrangement like this for the parents to agree to compromise and cooperate with each in the best interests of the child. Besides, this model is specifically most suited to those situations in which the parents are living close to each other, and in which the logistics involved in transferring the child from one house to another are not too complicated.

If you want shared custody of your children and you have been a dad who has been involved in the lives of your children you have rights and your children have needs. They need two parents to provide for them emotionally and financially.

How Custody Disputes Are Settled

Posted on: June 1, 2015 by in Family Law
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In New York, if you are divorcing with children, or if a custody dispute erupts after the divorce, obtain legal help at once by contacting an experienced Peekskill family law attorney. When the issue of child custody comes before a New York court, the first thing to be determined is if the court has jurisdiction. The child must have lived in New York for the previous six months. If this is not the case, the parent seeking custody will have to file in the state where the child most recently lived for at least six months. If the youngster is less than six months old, you’ll need to file for custody in the state where the child was born.

New York courts make no general presumption about whether mothers or fathers make better parents. The mother is not automatically given precedence over the father. Either parent may have an equal chance at getting custody of the child. Every parent enters youngster custody disputes on equal legal terms, except that the parent with physical custody of the child when the case is heard has a “default” advantage because the courts resist making decisions that will “disrupt” a child’s life. The primary custodial parent is typically the person, who is in charge of the well-being and the care of the child, including taking care of the child’s needs, giving shelter, food, taking the child to school and other activities. Talk to a New York family lawyer for advice on a youngster custody matter.

New York courts make the “best interests of the child” the top priority in custody cases and all other cases involving children.

The court then considers the parents’ lives and lifestyles. If there’s drinking or drug use, it’s considered. If a child would be separated from siblings, that too is a consideration. The court will consider the relationship that your child has with other members of your family and your relatives. A court will also consider the amount of time that you’re willing to spend in caring for the child. In some cases, the court will appoint an “Attorney for the Child” to advocate on the child’s behalf. All of the issues and arguments will be considered and deliberated upon before the court hands down a custody ruling. When the divorce is in progress, your Westchester County family lawyer will ask the court to issue a temporary youngster custody order which will be in place until the divorce is finalized.

Nothing in the world is more important than your relationship and your future life with your youngster. If you are seeking sole or joint physical and legal custody of your child in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, discuss your situation and your legal options as quickly as possible with a trustworthy and experienced Peekskill child custody attorney. A Westchester County child custody lawyer will be able to give you legal advice about which arrangement he or she believes is right for your family situation so you can make the right choice.

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