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Family Law Blog New City, New York

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

What Happens To Children of Unmarried Parents In New York When They Split?

 

Most people think that family law is mostly about divorce, child custody, and child support. But in addition, family law also deals with the rights of parents who are not married when their relationship ends.

In a divorce situation, the law presumes that the husband is the father of all the children. Then the family court follows the procedure to decide child custody and child support.

Because there isn’t a formal and legal relationship between the two people, there is no need for a divorce proceeding.

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Are Jury Trials Disappearing?

 

Most people are familiar with divorces that make the news when they head to trial. They can take months or even years to resolve, and be very costly. Divorces that don’t make the news can be just as difficult.

But jury trials for divorces—as well as other civil cases—are actually decreasing in favor of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation. Parties who choose mediation frequently settle without the need for a trial, and walk away with a more favorable outcome.

A recent study by social scientists Shari Diamond and Jessica Salerno, published in the Louisiana Law Review, examines the sharp decline in overall cases that involve a jury trial. Although 80% of civil attorneys interviewed believe that a jury trial is worth the money it costs. Mediation and other ADR decisions are more client-driven because of the cost and the uncertainty.

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How an Attorney for the Child Can Help New York Children

An Attorney for the Child, also commonly referred to as an “AFC”, can be appointed by the Court to represent any child (from birth to 21 years of age) who is subject to a Family Court Petition. Empowered by the Family Court Act, an AFC gives the child a voice in family legal disputes. The Attorney for the Child is literally that: they represent the child’s wishes and feelings directly, and not those of the child’s parents. The attorney has the same ethical and legal responsibilities to the child as they would to an adult client.

What Does an Attorney for the Child Do?

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How To Make Your Visitation Schedule Work During Covid-19

One of the many ways that the Covid-19 pandemic has upended families is that it has thrown many custody and visitation situations into disarray. In addition to worrying about the health of their children, some parents have the added stress of adhering to their visitation schedules in light of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and other novel restrictions that have come as a result of the unprecedented pandemic.

Many parents are surprised to find out that, despite Covid-19-related restrictions, child custody orders are still legally binding exactly as originally ordered; parents who violate their visitation schedule without the consent of the other parent or without a temporary custody order can be found in contempt and be sanctioned by the court. Sanctions for violating a custody and visitation orders can be severe, including loss of custody.

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The 4 Basic Steps in New York’s Child Custody Mediation Process

Child custody agreements don’t have include bitter court battles; with the help of an experienced New York child custody mediator, you can achieve a custody and visitation schedule that is right for your family in just 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Choose the right mediator and have initial meeting

First, choose the best mediator for your needs. Your mediator should have experience mediating child custody cases similar to yours, be able to provide information and answer questions in an accessible way, and excel at both compromise negotiation and communication.

At your initial meeting, your mediator will discuss the mediation process including what to expect during future conversations, explain certain rules that apply to mediation such as confidentiality, and answer any questions you or your spouse may have.

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Pros and Cons of Uncontested Divorces in New York

For those who qualify, an uncontested divorce can be faster, cheaper, and better for the long-term post-divorce relationship of the spouses.

To find out more about uncontested divorces in New York, including eligibility requirements, advantages and disadvantages of an uncontested divorce, and how to receive a personalized consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer, read on.

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New York Divorce Mediation and Nesting

One of the hardest struggles for families going though a divorce, especially those with young children, can be the division of the family into two separate homes. For children, the process can increase feelings of upheaval, stress, and loss while parents may struggle with the financial burden of acquiring a second home, paying property taxes, and the cost of replacing household items that became property of the other spouse at the conclusion of the proceedings.

Some families, however, have developed their own unique way to slowly progress towards living in separate homes: “nesting” or “bird nesting” has become a smart option for families that want to reduce upheaval in the home and save money on expenses.

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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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