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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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