The phrase “family law” is often thrown around to describe many aspects of marital law. Strictly speaking, Family Law is a legal practice area that involves family relationships. This manifests itself mostly as Child Custody and Visitation, Child Support, Paternity, Orders of Protection, and cases involving Child Protective Services (CPS), among many other issues. The most common cases we see in our office are outlined here.
Child Custody and Visitation
Cases concerning Child Custody and Visitation are the most prevalent type of family court matters. In both your Long Island Divorce and your Family Court case, the “Best Interest of the Child” standard will control your situation. What this means is that the court will determine what is in the best interest of your child with respect to custody and visitation. Each Child Custody and Visitation case is extremely different and there is really no blanket rule. There is no legal presumption for one parent over the other. The court will only look to the facts and circumstances of your particular situation and attempt to determine what is in your child’s best interest.
Child Support in New York State is governed by the Child Support Standards Act. This Act sets forth a very strict formula that the Court uses to determine a Child Support Obligation. Once a Child Support Obligation has been determined, there are only 3 situations in which a Court will allow a modification:
#1. A substantial change in circumstance
#2 3 years have passed since the original Order was entered, last modified or adjusted
#3. There has been a change in either party’s gross income by 15% or more since the original Order was entered, last modified or adjusted.
When Paternity is established, the father will be responsible, both legally and financially, for a child. The father will also be entitled to parenting time and, possibly, custody of the child or children. There are multiple ways to establish paternity in New York, with the most common 3 being:
#1. Marital Presumption
#2. Acknowledgement of Paternity
#3. Court Petition.
In all situations, the most important consideration will be the best interest of the child.
Orders of Protection
An Order of Protection is a court order that will require one party to stay away from the other, or, to refrain from engaging in certain activity directed at the other. The Order of Protection may also contain additional instructions that the abuser must follow, such as refraining from all contact or refraining from harassment or abusive behavior. If an abuser violates the Order of Protection and the victim calls the police, the abuser can be arrested and put in jail for the violation.
Child Protective Services cases
Child Protective Services (CPS) cases are typically initiated to determine whether the child is or may be in danger of abuse or neglect. If a suspicion of such danger is reported, CPS will investigate the situation by meeting with the child or children and family, including, possibly, visiting the home to see the child’s environment. If the allegations are founded, a formal investigation will be opened. CPS cases can be very complex and include a lot of players, such as yourself and the child’s other parent, a County Attorney, the Attorney for your child and the State Agency that filed the allegations, i.e. CPS. Such cases encounter further complications if a parent is dependent upon drugs and/or alcohol. CPS cases are not something to be taken lightly, as a child may be placed into the foster care system or released into the care of a family member.
Family Law Cases Require the Expertise of an Experienced Long Island Attorney
Along with these few categories, Family Law encompasses a very large array of situations that deal with your family. Because of the sensitive nature of almost all Family Law cases, it is very important that you seek the advice of an experienced Long Island Family Law attorney as soon as possible. Contact us at 631-923-1910.
“Robert has represented me twice in actions regarding child support and custody. He did a fantastic job in both instances. He is very professional, organized and detail oriented. He was easily accessible whenever I needed to speak with him and responded to emails quickly (even on weekends). I felt that he was absolutely honest and fair in his billing – not like many attorneys you see out there who charge you every time your name is mentioned in their office! He is a skilled negotiator (especially against a crafty ex-husband), honest, personable and truly cares about his clients and what is in their best interests. I do not hesitate to highly recommend!”
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