Custody/Visitation:

We know that, as parents, your children are your number one priority. That is why it’s so important to develop a custody arrangement that provides your children with the support they need and every opportunity to excel. Every child is different, and, luckily, this area of the law allows for flexibility and creativity in developing unique custody arrangements that fit each child’s particular circumstances.

Family Court typically hears custody cases, but Supreme Court can also hear custody cases if a divorce between the parents is pending, or the parents can negotiate and agree to a custody arrangement through the collaborative process. A custody arrangement can be agreed on by the parents or ordered by a Judge. A custody arrangement involves two main components: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. Legal Custody involves the ability to participate in decision-making in all important aspects of the child’s life, including but not limited to educational, medical, religious, and disciplinary decisions. Legal Custody can be granted to both parents jointly or to one parent solely. Physical Custody refers to where the child lives. Physical Custody can be shared equally by both parents, granted to one parent primarily with the other parent having Parenting Time with the child, or granted to one parent solely.

We provide services in Family and Supreme Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today, and let us help you come up with the custody arrangement that is right for your child.

Child Support:

It is no easy task to raise a child without the presence of the other parent. We want to make sure that you get the support you deserve to help ease the financial strain. Family Court hears child support cases. In New York, the parent with whom the children primarily reside is typically entitled to a percentage of the other parent’s total gross income, minus FICA and Medicare, as child support. The percentages are as follows:

  • One Child – 17%
  • Two Children – 25%
  • Three Children – 29%
  • Four Children – 31%
  • Five + Children – no less than 35%

We provide services in Family Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today, and let us ensure that you receive the maximum support you are entitled to.

Paternity:

Paternity cases involve legally establishing a child’s father. If a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. If a child is not born to a married couple and the father did not sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity at the birth hospital, however, paternity must be established. In this situation, either parent may want to establish paternity. The mother, for example, cannot seek child support from the potential father until paternity is established. The potential father, for another example, cannot seek custody or visitation until paternity is established.

Family Court hears paternity cases. The potential father can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity. If the potential father will not sign an Acknowledgment, the Court can order the mother, potential father and child to submit to DNA testing. If the test shows at least a 99% probability of paternity, the Court can declare that paternity has been established.

We provide services in Family Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today so we can discuss whether establishing paternity is necessary to meet your Family Court objectives.

Adoption:

Perhaps you cannot physically have a child of your own. Maybe you want to help a child less fortunate than your own to have a better life. Or, maybe you want to adopt your stepchild so that you are legally considered his or her parent. Whatever your reason, the decision to adopt is an admirable one.

There are different types of adoptions. Private placement adoptions often involve someone close to the child as the adoptive parent. In a stepparent or second parent adoption, for example, the spouse of one of the child’s biological parents adopts the child. Foster parents or relatives also often adopt a child after the child’s biological parents have had their parental rights terminated or have died. In contrast to a private placement, you can also adopt through private adoption agencies, which are licensed by the state but privately funded, and public adoption agencies, which are both licensed and run by the state.

An adoptive parent can file for adoption in Family Court or Surrogate’s Court in the county where he or she or the child lives. Unfortunately, adoptions involve a lot of paperwork and take, on average, from six months to one year to complete. We provide services in Family and Surrogate’s Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today, and let us guide you through what can be a long, but very rewarding, process.

Abuse & Neglect:

We realize that there is little, if anything, more frightening than the prospect of having your children taken away from you.

Child abuse and neglect cases most often begin with a phone call to the Child Protective Services hotline. CPS then has sixty days to conduct an investigation and find that the allegations of child abuse or neglect are “indicated” (credible) or “unfounded” (not credible). If the report is “indicated,” in addition to facing potential criminal charges, the Department of Social Services in the county you live in can also begin a case in Family Court to remove and/or protect the child. If the Court finds that you abused or neglected your child, the Court can place you under supervision and have services put in place in your home or, if the Court does not believe you can properly care for the child, place the child in foster care.

Absent certain circumstances, if your child is removed from your care at any point during the case, the Department of Social Services has a duty to make reasonable efforts to return the child to you. We provide services in Family Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington. Contact us today, and let us lead your fight to keep your children or have them returned home.

Domestic Violence/Orders of Protection:

If you have suffered abuse at the hands of someone in or closely connected to your family, you can seek an Order of Protection through Family Court, in addition to pursuing criminal charges. Family Court can issue an Order of Protection against a person who you are related to by blood or marriage, you are married or were formerly married to, you have a child with, or you are in or have had an intimate relationship with. Additionally, the person must have behaved in a way that constitutes one of the followings offenses: Disorderly Conduct, Harassment, Aggravated Harassment, Sexual Misconduct Offenses, Stalking, Criminal Mischief, Menacing, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, Strangulation, or Assault.

A Family Court Order of Protection, unlike a criminal charge, is aimed at combating family violence rather than prosecuting the offender. In furtherance of this goal, the Court can refer the parties to counseling and provide other services, in addition to issuing an Order of Protection.

We provide services in Family Courts in the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington.

We know that the decision to leave a violent partner is a hard decision to make and an even harder decision to see through. When you think you may be ready to take that step, let us help you get back on your feet.

Attorney for the Child:

In New York, children, too, are entitled to legal representation in many family-related cases, including Juvenile Delinquency cases, Persons in Need of Supervision cases, Child Protective cases, and custody/visitation cases. We believe that effectively communicating the child’s point of view to the Court is vital to reach a conclusion that all parties involved will respect and uphold. Suzanne L. Latimer and Nancy E. Stroud currently serve on the Attorneys for Children panel in Albany, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties.