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Family Law Blog New City, New York

News and insights about divorce and family law in New York.

Parenting Plan Modifications

Whenever a couple with children divorce, a parenting plan helps facilitate the transition by outlining the terms of custody and visitation as well as other issues that affect their child. Once the parenting plan is accepted by the court, it is official and enforceable: violations of the parenting plan have serious consequences, including loss of custody.

If, however, one or both parents want to change the original parenting plan, the court allows for modifications in most circumstances. New York law provides parents with 3 options for parenting plan modifications: coming to an agreement on their own, using custody mediation, or litigating the proposed modification in family court.

The easiest way to modify a parenting plan is when both parents agree with the changes: the modified parenting plan is simply filed and (usually) accepted by the court.

When couples don’t agree on the proposed changes to the parenting plan, they can either choose to use a custody mediator or to take their case to family court.

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Divorce Mediation and Gray Divorces

Divorce rates are increasing for couples in long-term marriages. Known as a “gray divorce,” these couples have issues unique to the length of their marriage as well as their age.

Gray divorces are much more complex than the divorce of a couple married for a shorter time: special issues like retirement, home equity, and possible ailing health of the parties can complicate the divorce process significantly.

As the rate of gray divorces continues to climb, so does the number of couples who choose divorce mediation over traditional divorce litigation.

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Property Division in New York Divorce

Dividing a couple’s property during a divorce can lead to confusion and endless arguments; whether the property at issue is your great-grandmother’s antique clock, the kitchen table, or your primary residence, New York law establishes who gets what during a divorce and the division might not be as obvious as couples think.

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The Effect of Alcohol and Drug Use on New York Custody Cases

Whether you are concerned about the alcohol or drug use of the parent of your child, or your own use has been questioned, alcohol and drug use can impact your New York custody case.

The use of drugs and alcohol can affect the entire family; however, the impact of parental alcohol or drug abuse can be especially devastating to a child. Like all legal cases involving children, the court’s objective is to come to a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. Because parental substance abuse can deprive the child of stability, safety, and a healthy relationship with the using parent, the court takes parental drug and alcohol use seriously.

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Getting Custody of Your Children Back in New York

Losing custody of a child is devastating: whether you have lost all custody rights or are simply unhappy with your current custody order, having restricted access to your child doesn’t have to be permanent. With the help of a qualified and experienced New York family law attorney, you can regain custody or change your current custody agreement in certain circumstances.

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What You Need to Know About Getting a Divorce in New York

Getting a divorce is a hard decision that requires careful thought and planning. As an experienced New York divorce attorney, I have helped hundreds of clients navigate through this stressful and difficult time.

While every divorce is unique, there are standard guidelines and requirements that apply to every New York divorce: by understanding the divorce basics, you can be better prepared for your initial consultation with a qualified family lawyer.

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3 Tips on Sharing Child Custody During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here!

No matter which holidays you celebrate, or how far in advance you begin preparations, the holiday season is always busy and stressful. But when you share custody of your children with an ex, the holiday season can turn into a battleground when conflicting family events put your co-parenting arrangement to the test.

Minimize conflict with your ex by following these 3 simple tips on sharing custody during the holiday season:

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What are a Father’s Custody Rights in New York?

One of the most common misconceptions about child custody is that the court will always favor giving custody to the mother over the father. While at one time that was the case, modern courts have changed their way of thinking and are embracing the positive impact a father’s role has on their child’s life.

The evolution of father’s rights in New York New York

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Child Custody and Parental Drug Testing

In a perfect world, child custody arrangements would be simple and straightforward. However, there are some instances in which one parent may feel that their child is in danger while under the supervision of the other parent. Perhaps no such situation poses more danger to a child than parental drug addiction. This article explores the role of parental drug testing in child custody cases and the impact drug use has on parental custody rights.

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F.A.Q. About Domestic Partnerships in New York

F.A.Q. About Domestic Partnerships in New York As ideas about marriage and households evolve, the legislature attempts to reflect these changes within the laws. One such New York law allows couples who meet certain requirements to be able to file as domestic partners, entitling them to many of the same benefits as married couples.

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Custody, The “Home State,” and UCCJEA

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, also known as UCCJEA, was enacted in 1997 to establish which state has jurisdiction over child custody when more than one state is involved in the dispute. The Act gives the child’s home state jurisdiction over custody: the “home state” is defined as the state the child resided in for at least six months prior to the filing of the action. If the child has lived outside the home state for the six months prior to filing, the other state is given priority. If the child is less than six months old, the home state is whichever state the child has lived in since birth.

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New York Child Support and The Cost of College

Parents who wish to provide for their children’s college education are often confused by how the payment of child support affects their responsibility for their child’s future education costs. While each parent undoubtedly wants to provide for their child’s education, dividing the cost between two parents can be more complicated than just assigning a simple static monetary amount.

Standard child support in New York is calculated by the total combined income of the parents, minus deductions, to determine the pro-rata share of each parent based on the number of children needing support. In New York, the noncustodial parent is required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 21. For those children who pursue a college education, this means that child support will still likely be paid for a portion of their collegiate years.

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Social Media Use and New York Divorce

Thanks to the widespread use of social media, it is now easier than ever to go online and find out intimate details about other people’s lives. While social media is a great way to keep your friends and family updated on your life, during a divorce or other family law case, social media use can be a liability. Few people realize the extent to which the comments, photos, location check-ins, and other activity can be admissible evidence in a divorce case. If you are considering obtaining a divorce in New York, here are some general guidelines to follow to prevent your social media use from jeopardizing your case.

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Exclusive Use of the Marital Home in New York Divorce

One of the biggest questions clients have when contemplating a divorce is which spouse is entitled to remain in the marital home during the during the proceedings. For obvious reasons, it is not always ideal to have both spouses remain in the home during a contentious divorce. Deciding who goes and who stays, however, sometimes must be decided by the court through an order granting temporary exclusive use of the marital home to one of the parties.

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4 Surprising Things You Can Do With a New York Prenuptial Agreement

Whenever a prenuptial agreement is mentioned in popular culture, the parties involved are usually incredibly wealthy. This association—that only the wealthy benefit from prenuptial agreements—is partly to blame for the general public’s lack of knowledge about them. Since most people aren’t incredibly wealthy, they write off prenuptial agreements as something that wouldn’t benefit them; unaware of the potential benefits to average couples; they miss out on the opportunity to save themselves thousands of dollars in future litigation costs should the parties later divorce.

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The Evolution of “Best Interest of the Child”: Transgendered Children and Custody Cases

As awareness and understanding of transgendered people and related issues grows, courts are being forced to examine how the “best interest of the child,” the standard used in all custody cases, is applied in cases where the parents disagree about raising their child as a transgendered individual. From hormone replacement therapy to name changes to transformative surgeries, transgendered children are fighting to establish their right to make changes to their identity without both parents’ consent.

Factors that may be considered:

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Forensics in New York Custody Cases

Forensic examinations can be an extremely useful tool employed by the courts to offer the judge a clearer picture of both parent-child relationships, the child’s home life, and other factors that are considered when establishing a custody arrangement.

What are forensics in child custody cases?

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Supervised Visitation in New York

For most divorced or otherwise separated parents, visitation is a time for the noncustodial parent to nurture a healthy parent-child relationship. In some cases, however, the court can order that the visits must be supervised by a third-party. Supervised visitation allows the noncustodial parent to maintain a parent-child relationship without subjecting the child to any danger of harm that might otherwise occur if the visits were unsupervised.

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New York Custody and Visitation for Same-Sex and Unmarried Couples

On August 30, 2016 in a landmark case, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that non-biological, non-married, non-adoptive parents can seek custody and visitation of a child born within their relationship, with the biological parent’s consent.

The huge impact of such a ruling cannot be overstated. The case has substantial ramifications for parents of same-sex couples, as well as couples who never married and later split up. Previously, individuals in either circumstance were treated as if they were total strangers to the child in the eyes of family court, and had no legal standing to seek custody or visitation. Now, thanks to this case, “where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody.”

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New York Family Offense Petitions

In New York, the court allows for certain protections against inter-family abuse. One such protection is a family offense petition. A family offense petition is filed in cases where one family member has committed one of several punishable acts against another person in the family. A family offense petition can lead to a temporary order of protection that is effective until the date of the hearing, and if the allegations are proven at the hearing, a final order of protection that is valid for up to five years is issued.

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