Articles Posted in Child Custody

When a couple with children decides to end their marriage, their primary concern is often determining an arrangement that best suits their children’s needs. In many cases, this will involve an agreement to live in a certain geographical area. The courts will typically adopt such an agreement if they find it to be in a child’s best interest. As demonstrated in a recent New York case, if a parent unilaterally decides to violate a geographical order or agreement and relocate a child, it may negatively impact the parent’s custody rights. If you have concerns about safeguarding your parental rights, it is advisable to speak to a New York child custody lawyer.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the mother and the father, parents of three children, entered into a separation agreement in June 2019, which was modified by an addendum in November 2019. They agreed to share joint legal custody, with the mother having primary physical custody and the father having specific parenting time. They also agreed not to move more than 50 miles from their current residence without court consent or written consent from the other parent. A final judgment of divorce in March 2020 incorporated this agreement and addendum.

Reportedly, in May 2022, the mother filed a petition seeking sole legal custody, claiming a breakdown in communication. In August 2022, the father filed a petition for modification, arguing that the mother had moved beyond the agreed 50-mile limit to enroll the children in a new school and sought primary physical custody. The trial court dismissed the mother’s petition, finding no breakdown in communication, but granted the father’s petition for the oldest child, allowing him to continue attending his former school. The younger children’s custodial arrangement remained unchanged, and the court set a parenting time schedule for all three children. The mother appealed the trial court’s decision. Continue reading

New York law demands that parents support their children financially, and in many shared custody cases, the courts will order one parent to pay the other child support, subject to the terms of a support order. The law also recognizes that circumstances can change over time and allows parties to seek modifications of support orders. The courts will only grant such requests if the moving party offers sufficient evidence demonstrating an amendment is warranted, though, as discussed in a recent New York ruling. If you have questions about child support, it is advisable to speak with a New York child support lawyer.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the mother and the father, who were divorced, shared joint custody of their minor child, born in 2004. In March 2020, the father filed a request for a modification of the support order due to termination of his employment. Subsequently, in September 2021, both parties agreed to reduce the father’s child support obligations. In May 2022, after being laid off from another job, the father sought modification of the September 2021 order, citing a “substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances.” He requested suspension of his support payments until he found new employment and that the mother be required to pay him child support. The father amended his petition in July 2022 to include a claim that a “temporary medical emergency” prevented him from working for an extended period.

Allegedly, the Support Magistrate dismissed the petitions, concluding that the father had not demonstrated sufficient efforts to obtain employment or provided competent medical evidence to prove his inability to work. The father subsequently objected to this decision, arguing that the Support Magistrate did not adequately consider his involuntary job loss, job-seeking efforts, and the impact of his injury on his ability to work. The trial court denied these objections, and the father appealed. Continue reading

When tasked with determining parental rights, the New York courts generally aim to maintain the parent-child relationship, but the health and welfare of the child is their paramount concern. As such, in some cases, they will find it to be in a child’s best interests to limit a parent’s access to a child or order the parent to undergo certain steps before they award them custody rights. In such instances, the affected parent typically cannot obtain a modification of the order absent a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, as discussed in an opinion recently issued by a New York court. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is in your best interest to speak with a New York child custody attorney to determine your options.

Case Background

It is reported that the mother and the father, who had children together, divorced. The court issued a divorce judgment incorporating a settlement agreement suspending the father’s parental access to the younger child pending recommendations from a therapeutic parental access facilitator. Subsequently, the father filed numerous motions, which ultimately resulted in the issuance of two family court orders, which he appealed.

It is alleged that the first order, issued in March 2023, denied the father’s motion to vacate a prior order and enforce parental access provisions in the parties’ divorce judgment. It also granted the mother’s cross-motion to enjoin the father from filing further petitions related to custody or parental access without court permission and awarded counsel fees to the mother. The second order, issued one week later, further enjoined the father from filing petitions to modify custody or parental access without court permission. The case stemmed from a history of disputes between the parties regarding parental access, culminating in the father’s repeated attempts to modify court orders. Continue reading

New York law states that parents have an obligation to provide for their children financially. In cases in which parents share custody of a child, this often means that one parent will be required to pay child support to the other. In matters in which parents have equal custody rights, the courts will often impose the child support obligation on the parent who earns a higher income, as demonstrated in a recent New York case. If you are dealing with a child support dispute, it is prudent to talk to a New York child support attorney about your options.

Case Setting

It is reported that the father and mother were married and had two children, who were born in 2006 and 2010; they divorced in 2017. The divorce judgment initially ordered the father to pay $641.86 per week in child support. Following a hearing, a Support Magistrate modified the child support obligations, ordering the mother to pay the father $150 weekly, deeming him the custodial parent.

Allegedly, the mother objected, arguing that, despite equal custody, the father, as the monied spouse, should be the noncustodial parent. The father also objected, contending that the Support Magistrate erred by not imputing income to the mother. The court denied both objections, and both parties appealed. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for a party to move to a new location after divorce. When a person who shares a child with their former spouse decides to relocate, though, it may complicate their custody rights. As demonstrated in a recent New York custody ruling, the court’s principal concern in any custody action is what is in the child’s best interests, and any order that does not benefit the child will not be upheld. If you need assistance with a dispute over parental rights, it is smart to confer with a New York child custody lawyer.

Case Setting

Reportedly, the mother and father married in 2013 and had a child in 2015. In 2020, the father initiated divorce proceedings. The mother then relocated to another county, approximately one hour and 45 minutes away from the county where the marital residence was located. In March 2021, the trial court issued a temporary order granting joint legal custody with primary physical custody to the father and allowing the mother parenting time every weekend.

It is alleged that the parties reached a settlement stipulation in May 2021, addressing various divorce issues except for child custody and support. A trial ensued, and the court issued an order awarding primary physical custody to the mother, conditional on her residing in the county where the marital home was located. Both parties appealed. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for a divorcing couple to enter into a settlement agreement establishing their rights and obligations. If they have children, such agreements may include provisions regarding child support. While any agreement pertaining to children must be in the children’s best interests, if the courts incorporate a stipulation of settlement into a divorce judgment, they will typically be enforced as written. When determining whether a stipulation of settlement is enforceable, the courts will assess, in part, whether the language is clear and unambiguous, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a New York case in which the parties disputed whether child support for add-on expenses was warranted. If you want to learn more about your rights with regard to child support, it is wise to meet with a New York child support lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married and subsequently divorced through a judgment entered in June 2015. The judgment incorporated a stipulation of settlement but did not merge the stipulation into the settlement. The wife later moved for child support add-on expenses in excess of $30,000, as well as attorneys’ fees. At the same time, the husband moved to end his child support obligation for the couple’s older child. He also sought to compel the wife to provide proof of child support add-on expenses going forward and to hold the wife in contempt for failing to comply with the stipulation of settlement. The trial court granted the wife’s motion and denied the husband’s, after which the husband appealed.

Interpretation of Stipulations Regarding Child Support

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling with regard to the child support for add-on expenses.  In doing so, the court emphasized that a stipulation of settlement, when incorporated but not merged into a divorce judgment, is a contract subject to contract construction and interpretation principles. Continue reading

Most divorces in New York are resolved through a settlement agreement.  Written Settlement Agreements set forth the terms of the parties’ division of property and support obligations. Generally, the courts will incorporate such settlement agreements into the final divorce decree and enforce them as they would other contracts. This means, as discussed in a recent New York ruling, that any modifications of such agreements must be in writing. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is smart to meet with a New York divorce attorney to assess your options.

Case Background

It is reported that the parties were married in 1998 and divorced in 2013, with a judgment that incorporated a separation agreement. The judgment stipulated maintenance payments of $400 per month while the wife resided in the marital residence or until its sale, and $900 per month afterward. The separation agreement allowed both parties to continue living in the marital residence and listed it for sale in 2013. The agreement specified that it could only be modified in writing with formal signatures. The husband moved out in March 2013, no maintenance was paid, and the residence was not sold.

Allegedly, in 2019, the wife moved to hold the husband in contempt and sought maintenance arrears, sale of the residence, return of personal property, and counsel fees. The husband presented a written modification agreement dated February 2013 stating that maintenance would end when the wife resided with another person. The husband argued this agreement modified the maintenance terms to allow postponement until their child’s graduation. The trial found the modification valid and enforceable, awarding counsel fees to the husband, and denied the wife’s claims. The wife appealed. Continue reading

In New York divorce actions, the lesser-earning party will often seek spousal or child support from their spouse. The courts typically rely on income-based guidelines when evaluating such requests. In cases in which the higher-earning spouse’s income exceeds the income cap, the courts have the discretion to include income above the cap when making their decision. In doing so, however, they must consider certain factors, as discussed in a recent New York ruling. If you are interested in learning more about the economic consequences of ending your marriage, you should speak with a New York divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural and Factual History

It is reported that in February 2018, the husband initiated an action for divorce. In August 2018, the court issued a temporary order that mandated the husband to cover all marriage-related expenses except for cell phone bills for the wife and their three children. The order also obliged him to pay $300 weekly as “unallocated support.” Subsequently, a parenting agreement was established in May 2019, leading to a financial hearing that month. Although the parties initially agreed on financial matters in July 2019, the wife never ratified this stipulation; as such, the financial hearing resumed in May 2021.

It is alleged that during this hearing, the parties settled on numerous issues, including maintenance and child support. The referee issued a memorandum decision post-hearing, which the court partially adopted and modified, culminating in the final judgment. The parties both appealed, asking the court to modify the awards for child support and maintenance. Continue reading

In New York divorce actions involving children, the courts’ driving concern is what is in the best interest of the children, and they will issue custody orders accordingly. As such, a parent that wants to modify an existing custody order must meet a significant evidentiary burden, not only to demonstrate that a change is necessary but also to be granted a hearing on the issue. In a recent New York ruling, the court discussed what a party needs to demonstrate to obtain a hearing on a request for a custody modification.  If you are involved in a dispute over custody of your child, it is advisable to meet with a New York child custody attorney as soon as possible.

Factual Background

It is reported that the mother and the father were married and had two children together. They subsequently divorced. In the divorce judgment issued in November 2019, the court granted joint legal and residential custody of the children to both parents. The order specified, however, that the mother would be the custodial parent for child support purposes only. In May 2022, the father filed a motion to modify the custody provisions and secure sole legal and residential custody of the children. The trial court denied the motion without holding a hearing; the father appealed.

Grounds for Modifying Child Custody Orders

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained that in order to modify an existing custody agreement, the moving party must present evidence of a subsequent change in circumstances that necessitates modification in the best interests of the child. Further, the petitioning parent must make a threshold evidentiary showing of such a change in circumstances to be entitled to a hearing on a modification petition. Continue reading

The cost of raising a child increases each year, and few people can afford it alone. As such, in cases in which parents split custody of a child, the courts will often order one parent to pay the other child support. If a parent refuses to pay child support, they can be held in contempt and may be incarcerated. As discussed in a recent New York ruling, however, the courts may be reluctant to both sentence a parent to serve time in prison and order them to pay child support arrears. If you have questions about your rights pertaining to child support, it is wise to confer with a New York child support attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the husband filed a motion requesting the court to find the wife in contempt of court for deliberately failing to comply with court orders to pay monthly child support and maintenance. The amount in arrears exceeded $48,000. The court ordered the wife to pay half of the arrears by a certain date in order to avoid further sanctions.

Allegedly, the wife failed to fully pay the purge amount. Consequently, the court issued an Order of Commitment, resulting in the wife’s imprisonment for a maximum term of three weeks. After the wife was released from custody, the court addressed the issue of whether the wife’s incarceration satisfied the purge amount. Continue reading

Contact Information