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Businessdebtpicture-300x200There are a lot of important decisions that need to be made during a divorce. Separating the lives of two people, particularly after a number of years spent together can be extremely complex. Decisions need to be made not just about children and property, but in regard to crucial family planning.

It is possible, today, for would-be parents considering having a child in the future to freeze embryos, or have embryos collected for the purpose of IVF. When these couples are divorced, decisions need to be made about what to do with an embryo.

Embryos, crucially, are not marital assets subject to equitable distribution, like a house or car. Rather, the concept of contract law needs to come into play. Continue reading ›

ParentsBeach-300x200When parents separate or divorce, the law is designed to try to ensure the parent with physical custody over a child or children has access to the right resources to raise the child according to the incomes of each parent. Child support is one of the most common issues which needs to be addressed in a case involving children.

While there are various factors which can come into play when determining who should be responsible for providing child support, and how much support needs to be given, there are also specific guidelines in place to help with the calculation of appropriate levels of child support.

As I often advise my clients, New York law does provide a formula which helps the court to determine an appropriate level of child support. This formula allows for deviations to happen according to the specific needs of the case. Continue reading ›

Kitchenfeeding-300x200The law is designed to be a changeable concept, ready to adapt to our evolving perceptions of justice, and fairness. As the world has continued to evolve in the last few years, and communities around the world have begun demanding further recognition and acceptance of a person’s individual identity, the law has had to adapt accordingly.

In 2021, a new set of regulations began to roll out in New York, regarding Gender Recognition and Name Changes. This update, known as the “Gender Recognition Act” is continuing to have an impact on the way people can legally identify themselves in the eyes of the law today.

On this blog, I’ve already discussed some of the changes implemented by the Gender Recognition Act, and what they might mean to name changing law. Today, I’ll be looking a little closer at the mechanism provided by the Gender Recognition Act for New Yorkers petitioning to have the courts change their official sex designation.

Updating Gender Identity in the Eyes of the Law

Continue reading ›

ParentsJeansKids-300x200Name changes are an important part of the family law landscape which can apply to a wide range of cases. There are various instances wherein a person might decide to change their name, their identity, or even their designated gender identifiers in today’s modern world. With the introduction of the new Gender Recognition Act, New York’s laws governing name changes have been updated and revamped.

The new guidelines, signed into law on June 24th, 2021, allow Transgender and non-binary residents of New York to have the documentation they need to accurately represent their gender identity. The act also ensures individuals seeking these forms of identification can access the right forms of protection.

If you’ve been looking into name change law or are considering changing your name in legal documentation to represent your gender identity, the following insights might prove useful. Continue reading ›

Closeupfamily-300x200The law is a changeable, dynamic, and ever-evolving concept. As our lives change, and the way we define “justice” becomes more refined, our legal guidelines continue to transform. This is why it’s so important to ensure you’re up to date with the latest versions of different laws in your state when you’re in the midst of or beginning to start a family law case.

If you’ve visited this website before, you’ll know I regularly use my blogs and articles as an opportunity to explain some of the laws which may be relevant to my clients. This sometimes involves offering an introduction to meaningful changes in certain legal guidelines.

Today, we’ll be looking at the “Gender Recognition Act”, a legal act which was signed into law officially on the 24th of June in 2021. This new Act has a significant impact on the legal processes surrounding the changing of a person’s name and gender marker. Continue reading ›

Law is an ever dynamic and changing field, which responds to evolutions in our society and the way we live. When changes occur to laws which may influence my clients, I attempt to offer an overview in the form of these blogs and articles, to assist in developing a deeper understanding.

Recently, changes occurred within the standards used to “indicate” a case in Social Services law. These changes were introduced within “Part R” of chapter 56 of the laws of 2020 – sometimes referred to as the “SCR reform legislation”. Among other alterations, the new law changes the standard of evidence which must be implemented when determining whether to indicate a report of child abuse or maltreatment.

The new standard adapts the rule from providing “some credible evidence” to providing “a fair preponderance” for evidence. Let’s take a closer look at the changes. Continue reading ›

Kitchenfeeding-300x200It’s no secret that cases involving children are among the most emotional and complex in family law. There are many different things parents need to think about when not living with the other parent or beginning a divorce, from how they’re going to split the family home, to how they can manage parenting and custody time.

One element which can become confusing in some cases is how the “residential custodial” parent is determined in a case when there is equal parenting time distributed between both parties.  In the custody context, the residential parent would be the one that the child lives with most (residential custody being separate and independent from “legal custody” which refers to decision making authority for the child).  Notably, in the family law world, to count as a day living with one parent or another is counted according to the place the child sleeps and then wakes up the following morning on a given occasion.  In other words, it is measured by overnights with the child.  If both parents receive the same number of overnights with the child, and the parents both look after the child in their own properties, it can be difficult to determine which is the “residential custodial” care provider.  Although I have blogged about this topic before, it is worth looking at again, as shared residential custody seems to come up in more and more of my mediations, negotiated cases and even litigated matters. Continue reading ›

Arms-Crossed-200x300There are various complicated concepts which apply to legal cases in matrimonial law. Courts must consider the various components of each case on an individual basis, as the situation surrounding those involved can make a huge difference to the order made.

One possible consideration which may emerge in some postnuptial, prenuptial, separation, and stipulation of settlement cases is the choice of law clause. This is a clause in the legal world which can influence decisions of which state laws should be applied to certain cases.

Here, we’ll be exploring the concept of the choice-of-law clause, and how various factors can make a difference to which state’s laws are applied to particular family law cases. Continue reading ›

Kissing-Parents-300x200In a previous blog, we began discussing the basics of “Maltreatment” in cases involving children. The term “maltreatment” can be somewhat complex, as it often refers to a number of different acts which might put the child in the case in danger. Maltreatment might be identified as “negligence” or direct endangerment of the child. It could also apply to situations wherein a care provider has failed to properly look after a child in their charge.

Child maltreatment cases can emerge in everything from personal injury law, where parents or officials may make a claim against an individual for maltreatment, to family law, where a party may use a finding of child maltreatment to reduce a spouse’s exposure to a child.

To further define what “maltreatment” may entail in the legal landscape, particularly the world of family law and Child Protective Services investigations, let’s look at some cases wherein the courts of New York explored the issue in greater depth. Continue reading ›

Young-Parents-1-300x207Since I began my focus in matrimonial and family law in 2004 and working as a child custody attorney, divorce lawyer, and mediator throughout New York and Long Island, I’ve discovered some cases are always more complex than others. Cases involving children, for instance, are often the most emotional for everyone involved. This is particularly true when the safety of the child is brought into question.

The duty of ACS, Child Protective Services or a court when dealing with cases involving children is to make sure the child in question remains safe and protected with the order provided.  For CPS investigations this might mean “indicating” someone for child maltreatment or filing a neglect case in family court. In a child custody and parenting time case this means when making orders around custody and visitation, the courts will consider all of the details of the situation surrounding the case carefully, to determine what outcome is in the “best interests” of the child.

A number of factors can contribute to a determination of a child’s best interests, including any evidence presented by an individual or party in the case, and the accusations made by plaintiffs during a child custody or divorce case. One particularly worrisome concept is when an individual is accused of “maltreatment” of a child. Continue reading ›

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