Disputes Over Access And Custody
In a dispute about custody, the court will look to the "best interests of the child" and what will best promote the child's welfare or happiness. The term "sole custody" is used where one parent is granted physical custody, subject to the other parent's right to be advised about decisions and access to see the children (visitation).
In deciding custody between parents, New York courts historically have granted sole custody to one parent, with visitation to the other. In some cases, where there is evidence of real cooperation, the courts will award joint custody.
Many times one parent will fail to assert their access rights, or settle for less access than he or she may desire thereby establishing custody with the other parent. While custody can be modified, there is a presumption in favor of not imposing changes to custody once it has been established because a change in custody can be very disruptive to a child.
Disputes about custody often center around one parent's right to visit with the child. Visitation is a joint right for the non-custodial parent and the child. The courts have held that in order for the non-custodial parent to develop a meaningful relationship with the child, visitation must be frequent and regular.
Visitation established early in the case can impact the final visitation. It is very important to talk to a divorce or family lawyer if custody and visitation access is an issue in your case.
Both parents can agree on a visitation access schedule, however, where the court is left to set visitation, it is generally scheduled as every other weekend, one overnight per week and alternating holidays and school vacations. Generally, people feel that this minimum access schedule is not enough time with the children.
Contact us today to discuss your case.
Basic Child Support Laws
For the most part, Child Support in New York is governed by the Child Support Standards Act Guidelines which provide for basic child support and contemplate statutory "add-ons" to the basic support amount, for example, a pro rata amount for daycare while the custodial parent is working and a portion of unreimbursed health insurance for the children.
The Child Support percentages are as follows: 17% for one child; 25% for two children; 29% for three children, 31% for four children; and no less than 35% for five or more children. The Standards Chart (below) can give you an approximation based on your income. These percentages are not just based on the noncustodial parent's income, but on a formula that contemplates both parents' incomes and apportions those figures.
Depending on your income and the children's needs, there may be other factors involved in coming up with an appropriate amount of support. Further, couples who agree may decide to opt out of the statute and can decide on a support amount and scheme that best fits their needs and the needs of their kids.
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Criminal charges can feel overwhelming. The arrest. The allegations. The hurt and anger.
We work hard to handle your case with personal attention and proven strategies to get the best outcome possible. If the criminal case is related to a divorce or family dispute, we often take over all such related matters to provide consistency of representation.
What Can I Do If My Loved One Is Arrested?
When a loved one is arrested, the immediate aftermath can be a trying experience. Communication with central booking in whichever county the individual was arrested will be key to determining when that person may be released and what bail might be set. The first hearing -- called an arraignment -- will take place once the formal charges are determined. In New York City’s five boroughs, criminal court arraignments are held day and night, seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM. Our lawyers are on-call and will attend arraignment with your loved one.
What Happens at Arraignment?
Typically, at the arraignment, the primary issue will be whether or not the Court will set bail or release the individual on his or her "own recognizance" (without requiring any bail). If the judge decides that the accused cannot be trusted to return to court without some encouragement, the judge may set bail. The decisions to set bail and the amount of bail to set are discretionary, and depend on three factors: 1) prior criminal history, 2) the seriousness of the alleged conduct, and 3) community ties of the accused. At Richardson Legal, we review the case with your loved one before arraignment (in lock-up) before presenting the judge with a thorough case for release.
After Arraignment, What's Next?
After arraignment our lawyers will reach out to the district attorney that handles the case to try and negotiate a reasonable settlement. Depending on the circumstances of your case, settlements may range from dismissal of the charges to pleading guilty to a lesser offense. Serious cases can involve incarceration. Where settlement is not a reasonable alternative, trial may be the only option.
Contact us today to discuss your case.
Richardson Legal PLLC
31-08 Broadway, Suite 204
Astoria, NY 11106
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New York, NY 10019
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"Morghan Richardson is an excellent attorney. She is very understanding and patient. Great communication and quick response, even if she is working another case or if she's in court she will still respond. I highly recommend her."
Morghan Richardson's popularly discussed article featured on The Good Men's Project addresses issues faced by active fathers going into court custody disputes: Custody tips for Dads: Top Five Things Involved Dads Should Know Before Court
Is Child Support Fair?
Read Morghan Richardson's article for the Good Men Project discussing child support: perhaps the math is fair, but maybe the system needs changes?
Join in the comments to this popular article: Child Support: Paying Your Fair Share or Funding A Spending Spree?
When emotions impact the case:
The underlying emotions of a case play a large part in how people respond to issues like divorce, child custody and property division. Our lawyers are sensitive to these issues because they impact the end result.
Many times, as Morghan Richardson, Esq. observes, one party will respond out of guilt, letting his or her emotions wreck their divorce settlement options. Join the discussion in the comments to her article featured on The Huffington Post: Resolve Your Divorce Guilt.
Family Offense Petitions & Orders of Protection
New York law enables people who have a "relationship" to file for an Order of Protection in the Family Court by filing a Family Offense Petition. Such orders are an important tool in situations where one spouse is afraid of violence by the other, particularly where there is a history in the home of such violence.
Unfortunately, Family Offense Petitions may be filed unjustly in cases where anger or retaliation may be the dominating factor. The result can be devastating, especially if the Order of Protection prevents you from returning to your home or prevents contact with your children.
A violation of such an Order will result in your arrest on Felony charges (felony criminal contempt of a court order).
If you have been served with a Family Offense Petition, you should not wait until the hearing date to seek help from a lawyer. Violations of an Order of Protection are considered "must arrest offenses" by the NYPD and, in some cases, may result in jail time.
In cases involving Family Offense Petitions and Orders of Protection, an aggressive courtroom attorney can help you through the process when such complex and sensitive issues are at risk.