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The parents of a child born of the marriage have equal powers, rights, and duties with respect to the guardianship of the children. The issue of custody is usually a very difficult component of a divorce. However, “in the context of matrimonial litigation, the courts may intervene to determine custodial and visitation rights as between the parents of minor children.”
The unmarried parents of a child have identical rights, which are usually determined in the Family Court, rather than Supreme Court.
Child support is a sum of money paid by either or both parents for the care, maintenance, and education of any unemancipated child under the age of twenty-one. Parents may enter into child support agreements, so long as they are in writing and comply with the requirements stated in Domestic Relations Law § 240(1-b)(h); otherwise, the court will award child support by order or decree. The court has limited discretion in awarding child support, and must follow the provisions of the Child Support Standards Act (embodied in Domestic Relations Law § 240).
There are three components to child support: “(a) a regular periodic payment, or ‘basic support;’ (b) contribution towards ‘add-on’ expenses, which are additional items not encompassed in the regular, basic child support payment; and (c) a contribution towards the expense of the child’s health plan coverage.”
A parent may also seek a determination with respect to college expenses. The Court shall only decide that issue when the child is enrolled, or in the year immediately prior to the enrollment. However, parents may at any time, inter into a written agreement concerning college expenses.
Child relocation occurs when the parent with residential custody of his/her child seeks to move the child outside the noncustodial parent’s locale, which would then affect parental access.
When reviewing a custodial parent’s request to relocate, the court’s primary focus will be on the best interests of the child. The custodial parent has the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed move is in the child’s best interests. The factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:
(1) Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move;
(2) The quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and noncustodial parents;
(3) The impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent;
(4) The degree to which the custodial parent’s and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally by the move; and
(5) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements.
Parental alienation occurs where a child freely and persistently expresses unreasonable negative feelings toward one parent that are drastically different than the child’s actual experience with the parent. Typically, alienation is a combination of the other parent’s effort to brainwash the child and the child’s own negative feelings towards the other parent.
For custody proceedings it is important to recognize parental alienation. In order to determine custody, the court looks to the best interest of the child. Notably, one of the factors the court considers when awarding custody is the preference of the child. Therefore, parental alienation may negatively impact the final decision of the court.
The grandparent or grandparents of a minor child have a right to petition the court for custody rights by demonstrating, to the satisfaction of the court, the existence of extraordinary circumstances.
The grandparent or grandparents of a minor child also have a right to petition the court for visitation rights after the death of either or both parents of a minor child or under circumstances where it would seem fit for the grandparent or grandparents to intervene.
What is CPS and ACS?
In New York, the health and safety of our children is of utmost importance. Child Protective Services (CPS) is a division of the Department of Family and Protective Services. CPS investigates reports of abused and neglected children. The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) advocates for children who have been either abused or neglected.
What constitutes child neglect?
A neglected child is defined as a child less than eighteen years of age (i) whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of the parent to exercise a minimum degree of care; or (ii) who has been abandoned by his or her parents.
What constitutes child abuse?
An abused child is defined as a child less than eighteen years of age whose parent inflicts or allows another person to inflict physical injury upon the said child, by other than accidental means, which could cause or create a substantial risk of death.
What is negligence?
Negligence is “[t]he failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation.”
Each person owes a duty to others to refrain from conduct that creates a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of injury. When a person fails to act with reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries to others, that person has breached his or her duty of care.
What are the elements of a claim for negligence?
In order for a plaintiff to make out a successful negligence claim, he or she must demonstrate the following:
(1) That defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care;
(2) That defendant breached the duty of care owed to plaintiff;
(3) That defendant’s breach of duty was the actual and proximate cause of injury to plaintiff (the breach of duty by defendant must be closely connected to plaintiff’s injury so as to justify imposing liability); and
(4) That plaintiff suffered damages to his/her person or property.
Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and/or disposition of one’s estate in the event of incapacity or death. Planning ahead by arranging for the disposal of your assets now can have many benefits, which include:
(1) Ensuring that loved ones are provided for after your death;
(2) Ensuring that your assets go to your intended beneficiaries; and
(3) Maximizing the value of your estate by avoiding, where possible, certain taxes and legal expenses.
Family Court proceedings should be commenced in the county where you live. File a petition on any of the following matters:
(a) Custody (Must be brought via an Order to Show Cause);
(b) Visitation (Must be brought via an Order to Show Cause ;
(c) support; or
(d) orders of protection.
Fill out the petition, and submit it to the Clerk. The Clerk will timestamp the Petition.