Child custody and support

Custody/visitation 

Custody in New York State is pretty complex, having various options for “joint” versus “sole” custody, the designation of a “primary custodian” or “primary residential parent”, as well as a scheduled for visitation (most commonly referred to as “access” or “parenting time”). 

Custody applications are usually made between parents, however, in the rare occasion that a third-party requests or is seeking to request custody or visitation of a child(ren), Ms. Monte can also represent a party who is looking to file, or who has a petition filed against them. This most frequently takes place in the form of an application made by a grandparent, however, is not limited to grandparents. It’s important to know that there are very specific elements of proof required to file such a petition, which Ms. Monte will discuss with you in your initial consultation in our office. 

Modifications to Previous Orders of Custody/Visitation

When there is a change in circumstances from the last time a Court orders Custody and/or Visitation of a child(ren), a petition may be filed with the Family Court seeking a new order that “modifies” (AKA: makes changes or additions) to an existing order. There are legal standards for when a party can seek to file a Modification Petition with the Family Court, which will be explained to you in detail by Ms. Monte during your consultation. 

In order to file the petition, you must provide Ms. Monte with old Orders/Judgements, as they are required to be attached to your petition prior to the Court accepting it for filing. 

Child Support/Spousal Support

Applications for support can include spousal support (if parties are married and a divorce action is not pending), child support (usually calculated using percentages based on the number of children which is dictated by the “Child Support Standards Act”), as well as contribution to “add-on” expenses including childcare, the cost of maintaining health insurance, the cost of health-related expenses not covered by health insurance, and (where available), the cost of education and extracurricular expenses.

This matter is heard before a “Support Magistrate”, not a Judge. You will be required to provide Ms. Monte with a copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity and/or the child(ren)’s Birth Certificate, as they are required to be attached to your petition prior to the Court accepting your petition for filing. 

Support can be requested to be paid through “Support Collection Unit” in the County hearing the case. Sometimes, support is paid directly. 

Applications for support of a child(ren) are not limited to between parents. Should a non-parent have custody of a child, that party may be entitled to make a request for the financial support of a child(ren). 

Modifications to Previous Orders of Support

When there is a change in circumstances from the last time a Court orders Support for a spouse and/or child(ren), a petition may be filed with the Family Court seeking a new order that “modifies” (AKA: makes changes or additions) to an existing order. 

There are legal standards for when a party can seek to file a Modification Petition with the Family Court, which will be explained to you in detail by Ms. Monte during your consultation. In order to file the petition, you must provide Ms. Monte with old Orders/Judgements, as they are required to be attached to your petition prior to the Court accepting it for filing

Family offense petitions

Sometimes, a person is seeking to receive an “Order of Protection” against a third party, be it a spouse, family member, previous significant other, and sometimes even their child. Orders of Protection can include many provisions, including but not limited to “staying away” from a party, “refraining from communication” with a party, and the surrendering of weapons. Sometimes, a “Temporary Order of Protection” is issued with an expiration date set by the Court; sometimes they are not.

Seeking an Order of Protection through the Family Court is an alternative to seeking an Order of Protection through the filing of criminal charges. However, proof that a violation of a “companion criminal statute” is required. There are legal standards required to justify the receipt of an Order of Protection through the Family Court. Ms. Monte will discuss this with you during your consultation. If you are seeking an Order of Protection against the other party, you “bear the burden” of providing proof that it is justified. 

Violations

A party can seek that someone has violated an existing order of the Supreme or Family Court (custody/visitation, support, and orders of protection), and a “Violation” or “Enforcement” petition can be filed. 

In order to file the petition, you must provide Ms. Monte with old Orders/Judgements, as they are required to be attached to your petition prior to the Court accepting it for filing. 

The filing party may seek relief in the form of incarceration, financial sanctions (AKA: monetary compensation), or sometimes a modification to an existing order through a companion modification petition. 

Process

The process begins with the filing of a petition, which in most cases is drafted by Ms. Monte and verified by the client’s signature. Once the petition is filed and accepted by the Court, a court date will be given, and parties will be notified via mail that the petition has been filed and when to appear in Court. Sometimes, if a party doesn’t appear, a “Summons” is required, and the other party must be personally served with the papers. If this is the case, Ms. Monte will arrange for the service through a member of her staff or local law enforcement, with assistance from the client in locating the other parent. 

Schedule a free 1-hour initial consultation. During the consultation, we will discuss your case, the process, and costs.

If you are in possession of emails, text messages, audio recordings, video recordings, written correspondence, photos, social media posts/messages, or any other evidence that may assist you in proving your case, these should be provided to Ms. Monte as soon as possible.