FAMILY LAW

Family attorney in Nassau county and new york city

Family law is an area of law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations adjudicated in New York Supreme and Family Courts. Our family law practice includes representation of clients in matters involving family offenses (usually followed by an order of protection), divorce, separation, child custody and visitation, child support, child abuse or neglect, spousal maintenance, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and juvenile delinquency proceedings.

Below is a brief description of the above-referenced family matters handled by our firm:

• Family Offense – this type of Family Court petition is asking for the issuance of an Order of Protection in cases of domestic violence where members of the same family or household are involved. The litigants may include spouses, parents, and children, people who are or were involved in an intimate relationship, people having a child in common. Family Court has concurrent jurisdiction over family offenses with the Criminal Court. Even if the person is arrested for the act of domestic violence, the complaining witness is allowed to also proceed with a Family Offense petition in Family Court in the county where the Petitioner resides, and potentially have two Orders of Protection – one from Criminal Court and another from a Family Court.

Divorce – a judicial process in New York State Supreme Court that dissolves the marriage. Divorces can be contested or non-contested. In case of a non-contested divorce, both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce prior to the filing of the action, and the work of attorney involves preparing documents for execution and filing in Court, filing the documents in Court (which can be done electronically), obtaining Judgment of Divorce for the Client, serving another party with that Judgment and filing a Notice of Entry and Affidavit of Service with the Court. Divorce proceeding or agreement must resolve the issues of equitable distribution of property, child support, child custody and visitation, and spousal maintenance if any. There are certain jurisdictional requirements for the parties in order to file for divorce in the State of New York.

• Separation, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements – in certain cases when there is a great disparity in assets and incomes of the parties, some people decide to execute a prenuptial agreement that will spell out what exactly is the separate property of the future spouses, what would constitute the marital property, how such property will be divided in case of a separation event (e.g. divorce or separation). Such agreement may also include a certain waiver of inheritance rights, such as spousal elective share. It also may waive other statutory rights, such as certain rights to spousal retirement funds. Prenuptial agreement is drafted, negotiated, and executed in contemplation of the marriage. It becomes operational only after parties get married. This agreement will be used in any future divorce proceeding, and, if legal and not against public policy, will be enforced by the matrimonial Court.


In case the married couple never had a prenuptial agreement or wants to modify the conditions of the existing prenuptial agreement, they may execute a postnuptial agreement, which is similar to a prenuptial agreement in nature but is done after the marriage. Sometimes, a married couple decides to live separately for a while, when they are not ready yet to file for divorce. In this case, a separation agreement may be negotiated and executed between the parties. Such an agreement will determine the rights and obligations of each spouse as to child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, maintaining the family budget. It may also include clauses regarding what happens in case of divorce, similar to the content of the postnuptial agreement.

Child custody and visitation – this type of petition asks the Court for an Order of child custody and/or a visitation. Child custody involves legal and physical (residential) custody. Residential custody determines with which parent the child resides permanently. In certain cases, it could be joint residential custody, when the child spends an equal amount of time living with each of the parents at different times. Legal custody is a determination in which the parent has the final say in the major decision regarding the child, including education, medical, religion. Sometimes, the Court orders or the parties agree upon joint legal custody. Visitation is an Order determining when and where a non-custodial parent can see his child.

Child support – this type of petition asks the Court for an Order of support demanding that a non-custodial parent of a child pays to the custodial parent (the one the child lives with). Default determination for the amount of child support is based on the Child Support Guidelines. The judge has the discretion to deviate from the Child support guidelines based on the specific family circumstances (e.g. support obligations for children whose parent is a person other than a petitioner).

Child Abuse and Neglect – when there is an allegation of child abuse or neglect, a certain type of agencies and professionals must report the allegation to Child Protective Service (“CPS”) or in New York City - to Administration for Children Services (“ACS”). Examples of such mandatory reporters are doctors, teachers, police. Usually, such a report is made when children are present during arrest and police believe that they may have been in danger. CPS has 60 days to complete their investigation into the allegation of child abuse and neglect, but if they believe the matter is serious enough for the Court’s intervention, they will file a Child Neglect or Abuse petition in Family Court. The petitioner in such type of cases is ACS (or CPS) and the Respondent is an offensive parent or even both parents. Family Court will appoint an Attorney for the Child to represent the child’s interests. Family Court has the power to issue an Order of Protection in favor of the child and against the parent and to direct the parent to submit to ACS supervision, drug, and alcohol random testing, and participate in various educational programs. In more severe cases, the Court may order the removal of the child from the family home and a temporary placement with a foster parent. The final outcome of such type of cases is either Court’s finding of Neglect or Abuse, suspended judgment for up to one year with certain conditions, or ACOD – adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.


If you want more detailed information regarding family law matters, please click the question on the left side of the screen.