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Family Court Proceedings

Navigating a case in Family Court can be a daunting process. At The Law Offices of Daniel A. Singer PLLC, we make the process easier by providing quality and personalized attention to your matter. Below are examples of some of the types of case which we litigate in Family Court.

Custody and Visitation Proceedings

With some exceptions, where the custody and visitation issues do not stem from a divorce or other matrimonial action, they are heard and determined in the Family Court of the State of New York rather than in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Even when such issues arise in a matrimonial action, custody and visitation may be determined by the Family Court rather than the Supreme Court either at the option of the parties or at the direction of the judge of the Supreme Court presiding over the matrimonial action. A proceeding for custody and visitation in commenced by filing a petition in the Family Court, which has the effect of placing the matter on the court’s calendar. At its discretion, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the child in the action. At the request of the parties or at its own discretion, the court might order a forensic report to be conducted by a psychologist or other mental health care professionals to assist it in making a determination regarding custody or visitation orders. Where there are indications of child abuse, to court may order a child protective service report or investigation. While the court will generally encourage the parties to reach a settlement, where a settlement is not possible a full hearing is required to determine matters of custody and visitation. In so doing, the court applies the “best interest” of the child standard in which it examines the totality of circumstances to determine what custodial and visitation arrangement would be best for the child

Child Support Proceedings

Where issues of child support do not arise from a divorce or other matrimonial action, they are determined by the Family Court of the State of New York rather than the Supreme Court of the State of New York, though some exceptions apply. Even when issues of child support arise in a matrimonial action, child support may be determined by determined by Family Court either at the direction of the Supreme Court judge or on application by either party. A child support proceeding is commenced in the Family Court by filing a petition, which has the effect of placing matter on the court’s calendar. Child support matters are initially heard and determined by magistrate judges. Child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. At the request of the custodial parent the court must issue an order for temporary child support pending the final determination of the case. Up to a certain baseline amount, child support is determined in accordance with a statutory formula which takes into account the combined income of both parents. As of April 2016, such baseline amount is $143,000.00 per annum. A court may deviate from the statutory formula in making its determination but, in order to so, it must examine certain factors including, by mere example, the financial resources of the non-custodial parent and the custodial parent and the child; the physical and emotional health of the child and his or her special needs or aptitudes; the educational needs of either parent; and, if the non-custodial parent is supporting other children, the needs of those children.

Family Offense Proceedings

When one is abused by a person with whom he or she is in a familial relationship, he or she may commence a proceeding in the Family Court of the State of New York to seek protection from the alleged abuser. The person commencing the family offense proceeding is known as the petitioner whereas the alleged abuser is known as the respondent. The goal in commencing a family court proceeding is generally to obtain an order of protection against the respondent. The relief available in an order of protection is wide ranging and may include, by mere example, a provision that the respondent refrain from engaging in further family offenses and/or that the respondent stay away from the petitioner. At its discretion, a court may issue a temporary order of protection during the pendency of a proceeding if there is a concern that the petitioner may be in danger.

While there is no doubt that domestic violence is rampant in New York, the mechanism of the family offense proceeding is often abused by a party in order to attempt to gain an advantage over the other parent in a custody proceeding. If you are contemplating filing a family offense proceeding or if you are named as a respondent in such an action, it is important that you consult with counsel so that you could best determine your rights and remedies.

Please contact us should you wish to discuss our prospective representation of you in a matter in Family Court.

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