Saturday, March 30, 2013

If the natural parent passes away, and the 17 YO wishes to remain with the step-parent, does the stepparent have any rights?

Q:  The 17 YO has lived with the step-parent for 15 years and wishes to remain in the only home he has known. The father is demanding the minor live with him. Does the step-parent have any legal standing. PS, the custodial parent did not designate a guardian before she passed away.

A:  David's Answer:  The step-parent would generally need to establish his/her rights - i.e., that the father has neglected or abandoned the child. Unfortunately, in New York, step-parents have very few "automatic" rights versus biological parents. That said, it behooves you to schedule a consultation with a Westchester Co. Child Custody attorney.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody lawyer (

Why do I have to go back to court to find out the DNA results. Can't they mail them to me?

Q:  I'm not sure who the father is. But one of the might be dads took me to court for a paternity proceeding. We did the DNA tests right there. They then schedule another court date to find results. Why can't they mail me the results if he is then go to court again. If not why should I waste my time going to find out.

A:  David's Answer:  Because legally speaking, the Father still has a right to a trial on the paternity issue, even with the test result. Moreover, if he then admits to being the father, the court must "allocate" him & enter on the record an "order of filiation" declaring him to be the legal father. Then the Court must ask you whether you want an order of support for the child - if you do, the Court must then proceed with the child support hearing.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (

Can my wife and I adopt an illegal adult immigrant ?

Q:  She is 42 years old and is from Guatemala and has been here for seven years.

A:  David's Answer:  Usually adoption cases are for children. Thus, if your reasons for adopting her is to "legalize her status," most likely the Judge will not approve it. Moreover, as the other poster alluded to, this will not actually legalize her status in any event, as she'd still need to apply for a visa via USCIS.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Adoptions attorney (

Need Advice!Kids Witnessing Domestic Violence!What steps will I need to take ?Kids never told law G, they were threaten not to!

Q:  My husbands ex has been involved with her first cousin on and off for the past 8 years. The boyfriends moves out for months at a time and then comes back. Last year we went for custody of the children because there schooling along with them wanted to live with us, No change is Circumstance ! So our trial end in 09-2012 and in 11-2012 the boyfriend was thrown out of the house because he had throw the ex against the wall and begun choking her in front of the kids, also he had flipped the dinner table on her while kids were there. We knew there was alot of verbal abuse but the kids neglacted to tell us about the 8 years of physical . The ex started dating cousin again kids are afraid for him to move back in and if he does they want to live with dad. Kids are 17 & 12

A:  David's Answer:  If you don't have independent corroboration of the d.v. event, then the issue will ultimately be whether the children report the events to their assigned attorney. If they do not & there were no police reports of the incident - and the mother denies the incident - then it may go nowhere.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Domestic Violence attorney (

Motion to modify child support denied - NY

Q:  I just had a family court DENY a motion to have my child support raised. The decision was DENIED, NOT denied without prejudice. My question - How long before my ex starts harassing me again with more petitions. She never stops... ive been in and out of court almost non-stop since 2011 and i want the brakes put on this lunatic so i dont have to miss more work...there has to be SOME limit since she was just denied.... but i have no idea what that limit is...

A:  David's Answer:  I agree with the other poser - if she files again for the same exact relief, you should file a cross-motion for sanctions both in the form of a fine as well as in the form of attorney's fees. You can also ask the Judge to direct that she only file future petitions in the form of an order to show cause, which then would require the Judge's review of the petition first before directing it be served on you.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support attorney (

My ex filed custody and visitation orders in CA and the children and I live in NY (17 mos). How do I change jurisdiction?

Q:  My kids and I moved to NY almost 18 months ago. My ex just filed custody and visitation orders in court in CA although the kids and I haven't lived there for almost a year and a half. We have no orders now but I had won a moveaway case in LA almost 2 years ago. How do I proceed to move the case to NY?

A:  David's Answer:  When you say you won a "move away case," does this mean there was a prior custody/visitation proceeding in LA? If so, does the order say anything about which state would have jurisdiction over modification cases? That said, you will assuredly need the services of a CA lawyer to challenge that court's jurisdiction. You will also need to (at the least) consult a Dutchess/Westchester Co. Child Custody attorney on the issue of either registering the CA order in NY and/or filing for custody in NY.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody attorney (

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I have 2 kids. I pay child support 500 bi weekly. My gross pay is 2181.74. Can I get it lowered if I pay for Master school.

Q:  Child Support lowered since I am paying for my masters School.

A:  David's Answer:  Preliminarily, I would add that (per the other posting) NYC tax does not count as a deduction in Mount Vernon (& assuming you're talking about a Westchester order), as you're most likely not incurring that tax. That said, merely attending school is not a basis to lower the order. I would, nevertheless, highly suggest that you cut a deal with the mother. It's in her (& the child's) interest to have you finish & presumably get a much better job as you could then afford to pay even more.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is there anydivorce lawyer in the area of westchester county that i could file an uncontested divorcefor as low as 1,000 dollars

Q:  i need to file as soon as possible.

A:  David's Answer:  First, attorneys are not supposed to directly solicit clients on this website. Second, to answer your question, yes, there are plenty of attorneys who have a sliding scale in Westchester. I encourage you to shop around - a few such attorneys are listed on Avvo but there are many other sources as well. -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce attorney (

Revisiting college funds / payment for 2 daughters in divorce agreement.

Q:  I divorced in 2006 with stipulations in our agreement to set aside funds from the sale of our house. Both my ex husband and I created 4 accounts of equal value with proceeds from the sale of our home. He managed 2 and I managed 2. We agreed to use these funds first and then split the cost of the girls' college expenses. His 2 UGMA accounts have lost 50% of their value since 2007, while mine have depreciated a much smaller percentage due to prudent management. As it stands now, I am on the hook to cover over $20,000 he lost before we split costs. Taking into account the market crash and economy over the past 5 years, he has made no efforts to reinvest or recoup the lost funds in these accounts. Our agreement stated our intent to equally share all college costs. Can I revisit this?

A:  David's Answer:  I would strongly prefer to see the agreement before rendering a definitive opinion. Generally, the legal standard to modify an agreement is "unforeseen or unanticipated change of circumstances." If your sole basis of moving to modify the agreement is because the market went down, then I think it's very unlikely a Judge would find this to be "unanticipated." As such, having an attorney analyze the agreement along side your particular factual stiaution is prudent.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (  

Up to what age is a parent financially responsible for their child in NY if he is a part time student taking only 1 class?

Q:  My child will be 23 on April 1st. He is working part time. He is under the impression that we have a legal obligation to support him until he is 24 since he is taking 1 course in college. He is currently failing the class which is a basic English course.

A:  David's Answer:  I also agree. Child support statutorily cuts off at age 21, unless there is a valid, written agreement to the contrary (which in turn was incorporated into an order/judgment). As such, I suggest that if there was such an agreement, you take the time to have it reviewed by an Orange/Westchester Co. Child Support lawyer.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support attorney (

Should there be paper work when Cps places a child in your care or removes a child from your care without the courts?

Q:  Cps placed child in grandparents home after mother was arrested ( but out of jail) child neglect case against both parents court date nothing said in court about child being returned to parent but then mother came to retrive child on words of her laywer without cps being aware. Cps talked to someone and then changed what he said and child was placed back with mother. should there be paper work of any kind that for the grandparents

A:  David's Answer:  If there is a neglect case in court, then there would indeed be a court order of some sort. That said, there may/may not be a court order specifically designating you (as the grandparent) as the temporary custodian. You should also be aware of your rights as a possible kinship foster parent and the right to receive subsidies for caring for the child. In any event, I encourage you to contact a Westchester Co. Family Law attorney to discuss the situation further.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can I file a prepared Fidelity QDRO from my ex's attorney to NY court by myself?

Q:  TheQDRO form @ Fidelity looks simple to me, I followed their online instruction , I think it is easy to finish forms by myself, but after this how do I file in court?

A:  David's Answer:  You then have identified the problem - you may be able to draft the initial form, but do you know how to draft a notice of settlement? Do you know the Court's requirements for submitting a QDRO? Does your ex's attorney already have a QDRO-hold on the account (meaning you'll need their consent/cooperation in any regard)? Going thru an attorney and/or court-appointed QDRO preparation service may ultimately save you time & aggravation.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce lawyer (

How soon restraining orders can be lifted in NY

Q:  My wife has filed a restraining order in family court against me and we are also going through a divorce,there are chances that we can have a reconciliation . we have a 3 year old son. My wife birthday and my son birthday is in this wk. how much time it takes to lift a order , if she approach a court??I really want to be with my family on special days. what is the earliest time frame in which orders can be lifted in the state of NY. ThNKS

A:  David's Answer:  I'd suggest that you both go into Court together & that she filed an order to show cause & petition to modify (or vacate) the order of protection. This MAY allow to to change the order the same day you go in. That said, should you have follow-up questions and/or need representation, then I encourage you to call a White Plains Domestic Violence lawyer to schedule a consultation.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Domestic Violence attorney (

Westchester NY court website states pendente lite relief motion are decided in 30 days. Im at day 67 and still nothing. Anything

Q:  I've been a stay at home mom for 12 years and have not received any financial support during process. It's been beyond difficult because now my children want to live with their father because I can't support them and he spoils them. He also took my car. (Also in my motion) I'm desperate but afraid to ruffle judges feathers ( as my atty advised)

A:  David's Answer:  The very general rule is that the Judge has up to 60 days to render a decision from when the motion is marked "full submitted." That said, often Judges take more than 60 days, and sometimes several months, to decide motions in a Divorce case. Hindsight being 20-20, you would have been best advised to file an application in Family Court seeking at least temporary orders of spousal & child support. In any event, if you're looking for a 2d opinion and/or are in need of counsel, then I encourage you to consult a White Plains Divorce lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce attorney (

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm nervous,he will try to make me look bad anyone know anygood domestic violence lawyers

Q:  In trying to get my kids back and because i gave my kids father physical custody its even harder now to try to get my kids back even with an order of protection against him for domestic violence....

A:  David's Answer:  Attorneys on this website may not directly solicit clients. That said, you may get listings of attorneys on ther Avvo website, or you may consult, or Shop around as lawyers vary with experience, price & diligence.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Domestic Violence attorney (

Domestic violence

Q:  On friday i was involved in a domestic violence dispute i pressed charges on him we have 2 kids together,there is now a warrant out for his arrested,after the incident i guess he took the kids to his moms house, he had custody in the sense that they stay with him,i.tried to get my children back and i went to.the police station and they told me that i can't get my kids bekuz he left them with his mom.i need answers.I'm scared for my children would perfer to be with me..please help

A:  David's Answer:  You should immediately goto Yonkers Family Court first thing in the morning & file an order to show cause & petition requesting custody. If he is believed to still be in jail tomorrow, you may ask the Judge to issue an order requiring the grandmother to turn the children over to you. You may then go there with a police escort. I'd also suggest to file your own petition for an order of protection in Family Court. You should also call a Westchester Co. Domestic Violence/Child Custody lawyer to schedule a follow-up consultation.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Domestic Violence/Child Custody attorney (

Hello my boyfriends and I would like to get joint custody

Q:  his mom passed away and we want to get joint custody of him .but his legal mothers side and her family don't get along with my boyfriend his legal mother is in a faculty for the unfortanite. he still don't know his grandmother passed away and they were close

A:  David's Answer:  It is unclear from this posting just who you are trying to get "joint custody" of. Family Court only has jurisdiction over children up to (but not over) 18 years of age. As such, I suggest that you schedule a consultation with a Dutchess/Westchester Co. Child Custody lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody attorney (

My husband and I lived in MA and due to his infidelity, I was forced to leave and move to NY. In which state should I file?

Q:  7 year marriage. I will like to ask for alimony because his verbal abuse and mistreatment have left me mentally ill.

A:  David's Answer:  Most likely MA as NY would not have jurisdiction over him, unless he consented to NY having jurisdiction or you were able to serve him with the papers in NY. For a definitive opinion, however, I suggest that you schedule consultations with both a MA attorney as well as a Westchester Co. Divorce lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce attorney (

After my cps case is closed, do I need to continue my group alcohol abuse class (mostly for DWi cases)?

Q:  My fiance is bipolar and got angry with me for drinking when she was manic and reported it to the police. After the court case was dropped, I went to cps for an evaluation where I tested positive for alcohol. Then they referred me to an outpatient group once a week for 6 weeks (dwi class). After a few weeks of proof that I was attending, they closed my case. I have gone 5 weeks but one class was canceled due to snow and now I have to go abroad for a business trip. Do I still need to finish that one class even though the case is closed?

A:  David's Answer:  If you have a written letter from CPS closing the case, then apparently they aren't monitoring you anymore. There's then 2 questions: (1) why not finish the program, and (2) if you don't finish the program & for whatever reason the CPS case gets re-opened, don't you think not finishing the prior class will be an issue?   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Welfare defense attorney (

If I'm 16 and i have a baby , and the father is my age can i still get child support if he doesn't want to be the day ?

Q:  I'm not having a baby , but this refers to my friend and i wanted to know

A:  David's Answer:  Yes - she can file a petition for paternity & support with the Family Court. I agree with the other poster - it's unlikely she'll get anything more than $25 or $50 per month, but this can be revised after he graduates. In any event should you or your friend have additional follow-up questions, I encourage you to schedule a consultation with a Dutchess/Westchester Co. Child Support lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support attorney (

How can I get my ex wife to change her name from my last name back to her maiden name ?

Q:  My divorce is being finalized by the New York Courts at this time. We used a Mediator for the document.

A:  If you already signed the settlement agreement in mediation, then you can't at this point. If you haven't yet signed the agreement, then make that inquiry of the mediator & see whether it can be incorporated into the agreement.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce lawyer (

Will I have a problem moving with my child upstate away from biological dad

Q:  I live with my parents and I'm not married to my sons dad. However I am going to have to move with to upstate ny. I live in Westchester county but moving around oneonta. I can't afford to live on my own and my parents are helping me with my son. Will I have a problem moving since the sons dad lives in Westchester county

A:  David's Answer:  I respectfully disagree with the strategy of "move first & see what happens." I have a case pending in court right now where the mother did just that - moved from Westchester to Buffalo with her children. She didn't have a prior order nor did she have the father's permission. At this point, it appears likely the Judge will order her to move back - at her expense - with the children, or give up custody of the children. As such, I highly advise if there are no prior order to file both a child custody & child support petition.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody attorney (

NYS , my son ( 16 ) and I would like to request a new law guardian in his PINS case . How can we do this ?

Q:  I am the PINS filer against my son . Despite that , I agree that he should request a new Law Guardian . Our 1st court date , he was a no show . Another attorney stood in for him . In between the 1st and 2nd court dates , I made several calls to his office to setup a meeting with him or talk over the phone . I always had to leave a message , with no reply . They office suggested scheduling an appt , about 1 / 2 hour away . We have lost lots of time from work and school . I had been informed they would accommodate the child's schedule . So I requested they meet at his school . They never got back to me about that . At the 2nd date , he approached us with less than 5 min before we were called in . How can he serve my son's best interests if he doesn't know my son ?

A:  David's Answer:  Since he is your son's attorney, your son would need to make that request on the next court date of the Judge. That said, it is rare such attorneys would come to the child's home or school in order to interview the child - usually such interviews are done in the attorney's office.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Want to know if I have good case to win a motion for upward modification of child support.

Q:  I have a divorce decree entered by the court approving a settlement agreement . In the settlement amt , it states that I agreed to a below the minimum child support amount due to the liberal visitation agreed upon with my son's father . 3 years later , he has never exercised his right to see his son two week nights a week and further , currently he only sees him for one overnight twice a month . . . not even for the 2 night weekends as originally agreed upon too . I would like to move the court for an upward modification of child support to the minimum allowable in NY . If this isn't a strong case , I would like to seek to be allowed to claim my son my my taxes each year instead of every other year as it stands now . Are these strong grounds for an upward mod ?

A:  David's Answer:  How many years ago was the agreement done? For long has he only exercised 1 weekend per month? Does the agreement have a default notification provision - and if so, did you provide him with written notice of his default? Answers to these & other questions will help determine your chances.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (

What can I do about my fiancé's baby mother?

Q:  My fiancé has a sketchy past which was before me and I was not there for but we are together now. The problem is the mother of his child has repeatedly lied on him and has put him in jail for false accusations twice now (I was their for the second) she was caught for the second one not the first and is facing jail time or 2 months in jail with 3 years probation but is fighting it but the problem is she also had an order of protection placed on him but she still contacts him repeatedly, yes for the child but to talk or even say she wants him back. My question is can he place an Order of protection against her and also prove that she is harassing him but still have the court give him better visitation with his daughter without the mother being there

A:  David's Answer:  In terms of filing an order of protection himself, more facts would be necessary to determine whether what she's doing constitutes "harassment." Furthermore, to determine whether he can make a successful claim for increased visitation, one would need to know what his current visitation is, whether it's pursuant to an order (& if so, when the order was made), and what his basis is for asking for an increase.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody lawyer (

Monday, March 11, 2013

Does CPS need to go through a lawyer or courts to ask me for paperwork?

Q:  My ex got into trouble in her county and had her children taken away and was arrested for abusing her 8 year old son . I have primary custody of our son whom was not involved . CPS contacted me and asked me for some paperwork pertaining to our current custody order so I gave them what they asked for . Ex is stating she is going to sue me for giving out her information IE ~ the order . She claims CPS cannot request information from me while they are involved with a criminal and removal court case with her . She claims they need to go through lawyers to get any paperwork or information . Do they have the right to request information ? Part of our custody order stipulates her boyfriend not to drink around my son and that's what CPS wanted . Drinking was also a factor in her kids being removed .

A:  David's Answer:  She is dead wrong. The order is just as much "yours" as it is "hers." Besides, if CPS wanted the order, they could have easily obtained a subpoena from the Judge to obtain the order & the Judge would have granted it. As such, there was no "prejudice" in handing over a copy of the order.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Abuse defense lawyer (

Need pro - bono services for immediate spousal and child support

Q:  Stay at home mom of one toddler with a husband who has not financially supported us since a month ago . Been using my own CC and reached my max for the month . In need of immediate assistance for basic necessities . Husband isn't willing to help or resolve this issue and has been MIA . Cannot afford an attorney . Where to find a pro - bono lawyer ? Search engines are of no help .

A:  David's Answer:  There are many websites which can connect you with a lawyer, not only Avvo, but also, or You should also check with the Westchester Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (914-761-3707). Shop around - some lawyers will indeed accept the case with no fee or a small fee if they anticipate your Husband will pay all or most of their fees.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (

Child support Payments

Q:  I cannot find the receipt of an extra curricular activity. My support papers state that I must present a bill/receipt to my ex to receive payment. Can a check showing payment be enough or do I need to still present the bill/receipt?

A: David's Answer:  Why not call the activity & see if they can fax or e-mail a copy to you? The cancelled check is better than nothing, but usually the Magistrate's want to see both the bill plus proof of payment. -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Support lawyer (

My school filed a PINS Diversion against my child for lateness/cutting classes. I refused to sign personal document release

Q:  forms(5 total) Are we entitled to a lawyer? to protect our rights. Can we just go through the pins case with the school documents and no personal information disclosed? i.e.; medical records,mental health,etc.What can I do to make sure our rights are not violated? we have a few days to decide if were going to comply with their requests.

A:  David's Answer:  You have a right to object at the stage you're at, but if you object they will likely file a petition & then Probation can simply subpoena the records anyway. If your concern is limting the release to attendance records only, then you have a right to specify same in the authorization.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Co. Family Law attorney (

Is it illegal in New York for someone without authorization to covertly affix a GPS electronic monitoring device on a vehicle?

Q:  I'm in the early stages of a divorce action. Found a google search document on my spouses dresser of the device. Clearly for travel monitoring.

A:  David's Answer: Yes, it could arguably be a form of stalking. More details would be needed, such as whether title to the vehicle is also in your spouse's name, whether s/he was still residing with you at the time of monitoring, what his/her purported reason for using the GPS was, etc.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Divorce lawyer (