In a dispute about custody, a court will look to the "best interests of the child" and what will best promote the child's welfare or happiness. Often times courts determine that having equal access to both parents will be in the best interests of the kids.
The term "sole custody" is used where one parent is granted residential custody (where the kids live) and legal custody (who makes decisions about things like education and religion). Sole custody is always subject to the other parent's right to be advised about decisions and access to see the children (visitation).
"Joint custody" does not always mean equal custody. Joint legal custody simply means that both parents will retain equal rights to make major decisions about the kids (like where they go to school). True joint custody can mean that both parents have equal time and equal rights over decisions.
Disputes about custody often center around one parent's right to visit with the child. It is important to understand that visitation is not just the right of the non-custodial parent, but access to the other parent is a right of 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.
Questions about custody? 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 provides for basic child support amount and contemplates "add-ons" costs (like daycare and health insurance co-pays).
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.
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.
Contact us today to set up a consultation.
Criminal Matters and Family Offenses
Criminal charges and Family Offense proceedings 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.
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.
Contact us today to set up a consultation.
Morghan Richardson, Esq.
"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."
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.
FAQs about Criminal Cases
What Can I Do If My Loved One Is Arrested?
When a loved one is arrested, the immediate aftermath can be a trying experience. 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 work hard to coordinate and be available for such emergencies.
What Happens at Arraignment?
Typically 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, 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 will be ready to present the best case for quick release.
After Arraignment, What's Next?
Our lawyers will be in contact with the district attorney that handles each case to work towards a fast resolution. Depending on the circumstances, settlements may range from full dismissal of charges to reduced charges. Where settlement is not an option, we will be ready for trial.
Contact us today to discuss your case.