Family Law Services
The family court provides an array of services to those with family relationships. Below are just a few of the areas of family law in which we can assist.
- Child Custody: Where two people have children in common, whether they are married or unmarried, they can petition the court for custody and/or parenting time (visitation) of the children. The court can help determine where the child will live, who will make the major decisions on behalf of the children and what the scheduling with the other parent will be.
- Child Support: If you are the custodial parent, in that your child lives with you more than 50% of the time you are entitled to child support based on certain percentages and calculations that the court’s set. You may petition the family court to help make those determinations.
- Modifications: If there is a change in circumstances, which requires adjustments to an existing order, you can ask the court to make those changes based on the new set of facts.
- Violations of Custody or Support Agreements: Where there is an existing agreement that the other parent is not following, you may bring an application for “contempt” in the family court. You may elect to request a “willfulness hearing,” where if it is proven that the person violated the terms on purpose, they can be punished with fines, legal fees or even jail time. However, you can also ask the court to help you enforce the order, forcing the other parent to do as they were ordered.
- Family Offenses: Where someone with a close familial relationship (parent, child, spouse, significant other, in-law, etc.) has put you in immediate fear of your safety, you may be entitled to an order of protection. The Court may grant “stay away” language, forcing the person to complete avoid contact with you, or “refrain from” language that would allow for an immediate arrest if an incident occurs.
- Guardianship/Non-Parental Custody: There are times when a non-parent wants to petition the court for “custody” of a child or children. This may be on consent of the parents or against the parent’s wishes. It may also arise after the death of a parent. We can help you navigate whether a petition for guardianship or custody is most appropriate.
- ACS/Article 10 Matters: At times, incidents occur that cause your local child services to become involved in your family affairs. At times, caseworkers will make home visits, generate reports and clear your name. Other times, they may find that behavior or failure to act is considered “abuse or neglect” and may bring a petition against you in the family court.
- Office of Child and Family Services - Fair Hearings: Where your local child services (ACS, CPS, OCFS) has found that, more likely than not, your action or inaction was a form of abuse or neglect, they may not bring a proceeding in family court. Rather, they may make a “finding” against you, which could show up in a background check as something called an “indication.” There are two ways to appeal this indication through a fair hearing. We are able to help you navigate this process.
We can help. The specifics details of your issues matter, making every family court case unique. In order to get the most accurate information for your situation, feel free to contact our office by phone, email or through our website or Facebook page. Our skilled attorneys are here and ready to answer any questions you may have.
Child Services Matters
- Article 10 Proceedings: At times, ACS or CPS may launch an investigation and determine that some form of abuse, neglect or maltreatment has taken place. If so, they may file an application with the Family Court to prosecute these actions. We represent those who are facing these proceedings, as well as “non-respondent” parents, who have not been named, but are interested in the safety of their child(ren). Our attorneys can guide you through the process.
- OCFS Fair Hearings for Parents: Sometimes, ACS or CPS may investigate for abuse, neglect or maltreatment and decide against making an application with Family Court. However, they may still make a “finding” or “indication” against you. In these instances, you have the right to appeal with a Fair Hearing. Our attorneys are skilled in negotiating and conducting administrative hearings to dismiss or seal your case.
- OCFS Fair Hearings for Child Care/Foster Case Agents: When something happens to a child while in your care, licensed child care providers and foster parents can be “indicated” as well. This indication could jeopardize your ability to work or foster children. Our experienced attorneys can help overturn or seal these findings through a fair hearing.