Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Recently in Family Court I made a motion to have the Law Guardian removed. It wasn't successful but it was a way to let the...

Question: ...judge know what had transpired in the divorce 3 years earlier and it did help. Now, close to a year later, I'm considering filing for a change of custody via Supreme Court. Can I file another motion to have the Law Guardian removed? I know it's controversial, but at the very least it will let this other judge know all that transpired -- he's going to be in complete disbelief. My daughter is turning 16 in a few weeks and she should be able to select her own Law Guardian, but I hear it's up to the judge. Again, my question is this: Can I file another motion to have the Law Guardian removed -- this time in Supreme?

David's Answer: While certainly possible, the questions is whether you feel it's going to get you anywhere. If you're filing for a change of custody of a 16yo, whether you'll prevail will be largely dependent on her preference as to where she wants to reside.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can a county family court mandate an individual to take a course only offered outside of that county?

Question: If an individual is mandated into anger management but the specific course is located outside of that county court jurisdiction (ie a different county) what are the remedies if any?

David's Answer: The Court can certainly mandate the program itself - and if the only approved program is outside of the county you reside in, then you would indeed need to comply. Your alternative is to look for an approved course in the county where you reside. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Is there any mechanism for getting a money judgment in Family Court for an order issued in Supreme Court?

Question: Family Court Act 460 permits a Family Court to issue a money judgment on a Family Court order, but I see no corollary for Supreme Court orders. My ex- has filed a proceeding in Family Court alleging I owe her $$$, and if I try to get a money judgment in Supreme Court for the money she owes me $$$, I'm concerned my motion will be dismissed because of the action pending in Family Court. I also don't want to pay the filing fee if I can avoid it.

David's Answer: Family Court can only grant money judgments in favor of the recipient of child support. If that's not you, you'll need to file your application in Supreme Court. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

My mom wants to take me to court for grandparents rights....what am I up against and what rights would she be entitled to?

Question: My mom does not like my husband and has caused a lot of trouble in our marriage and now she wants to take me to court for grandparents rights cause she feels that I should take my 3yr old baby to see her when only she wants.....what could really come out of this is she takes me to court?

David's Answer: Typically grandparents - IF they're granted visitation - get 1 visit every month or two. The Court must, however, give preferential consideration to the parents' objections to the visitation. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Monday, December 15, 2014

Petitioner & Attorney didn't show for a final conference on their petition. Should Judge have dismissed?

Question: I am appearing in a family court proceeding regarding modifying a visitation order. The Petitioner and his Attorney did not show up for a "final conference", yet I (respondent) and the Attorney for the child did show. We were all made aware of the conference date and time and had been given deadlines to submit documents prior to the final conference. All were submitted. The Judge did not dismiss the Petition and instead said he will be scheduling a hearing. Why was this Petition not dismissed when he and his attorney did not show for the conference on their own petition? Thank you.

David's Answer: Not sure, as only Judge would know for sure. If I had to guess, it's possible that either the Judge felt the petition had enough merit that a 1-time "no-show" should result in dismissal, and/or because petitioner otherwise had a good attendance record. Sometimes Judges don't wish to face the inevitable "motion to vacate a default" and thus give a non-appearing party 1 final opportunity to appear. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How to Authenticate & Lay a Foundation for Emails to be admitted as evidence?

Question: Hello. I am a Pro Se Petitioner in a child support violation trial (can't afford attorney). I have many emails that I would like to have admitted as evidence, from the NCP to me, the CP, regarding his outright refusal in writing to pay for child care, which goes to willfullness. They are also emails of my demands for payment of child care and past due child support, including the contracts with the school and proof of payments made. I know his attorney will object, so what specific questions and words do I need to use to get the emails admitted? Please help. Thank you.

David's Answer: The better approach would be to serve them with a "notice to admit." The form for same can be obtained from the Supreme Court's Law Library (just look up the form in "McKinney's Forms" book under CPLR 3123). You may also seek to confront the respondent with the e-mails when cross-examining him. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

I am in Rockland County NY and I need free legal help/representation. I need to stop my ex husband from psychological abuse

Question: I am a divorced Mom with 4 children, my ex husband has custody of the kids with his new wife and baby. I'm constantly being harassed and excluded from the children's lives. I have visitation including every other weekend. I am consistently being harassed and degraded by them via email and I can't take it anymore. I do not have a lot of money and I need legal representation to stop the harassment. Then I need to go back to family court because they continuously are in breach of contract regarding the children. Is there anyway I can get help?

David's Answer: If you're looking for free representation, the Court can usually assign you a lawyer if you financially qualify. Most private lawyers work on a retainer basis, though there's the possibility of asking for counsel fees against the other party if you are the less-monied parent & you prevail in your application. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I just received a phone call from Child Protective Services that an allegation came back to be unfounded.

Q:  about 2 months ago, I took my ex wife back to court for child support reduction. The next day she was in the child protective services office is making a claim which now comes back to be unfounded. can I take action against my ex wife for making an allegation, and putting myself as well as the children through stress.

A:  David's Answer: You could conceivably sue her for abuse of process and/or report her to the police for filing a false charge. As a practical matter - and assuming its an isolated incident - it's extremely unlikely to result in a criminal prosecution and your civil case is unlikely to render you a high amount of damages unless your access time with your child was restricted due to the investigation. Schedule a consult with a Dutchess/Westchester Family Law attorney for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Downward Modification. I filed a downward modification & I was asked to supply my husbands tax return to prove I was a dependent

Q:  I filed a downward modification. I provided all the required documents; financial affidavit, current paystubs. I didn't provide my husbands 2013 tax return where I am listed as a dependent- I made no money that year, I was unemployed. The judge stated that I must provide that tax return so she can see I didn't make any money. I fully understand that, but, I do not feel that my husbands salary (income), assets or any other tax info should be provided to my ex-spouse. I am fearful that it would be misused in those hands. How can I comply when I do not want to provide my husbands personal info? I have since became employed this year. Should I withdraw my petition and re-file next year when I have a tax return for 2014 solely of my own to provide to the court and opposing side (my ex-spouse)?

A:  David's Answer:  The tax return is mandatory disclosure, so you have no choice but to produce it. If you do not want to, then you'll indeed need to withdraw & re-file next year - with the proviso that you'll need to continue paying whatever the current order is. Schedule a consult with a White Plains Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I believe my wife is ready to divorce me. I found a family lawyer biz card between her papers. What should I do on my end?

Q: I`m a permanent resident card holder and we have 2 kids, a family home and 2 cars. Apparently she has all ducks in a row since I have evidence that she already went to at least 2 lawyers for consultation.

A: David's Answer: The thing to do on your end would be to start meeting with divorce lawyers to know your rights. For example, there may be custody/visitation issues, property/asset distribution issues, etc. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Divorce/ Child custody in Westchester Supreme court.

Q:  I have a situation and i don't know what do. I am approaching trial for Divorce/ Child custody. My attorney just merged with a firm and they want a huge retainer to go to trial that i don't have. The kids are with me 4 days 3 nights a week and after child support and taxes i am being left with $290 a week to take care of the kids and live on. While my ex makes over $100 k a year and only showed $68k as income.(I do have proof) I am currently doing well with getting full custody. The children's attorney already recommended it to the courts. But i need to finish this. I need help How can i get financial help or a lawyer i can work out payments with. he courts have already awarded me 1/2 my ex's pension and some legal fees. and we were going to ask for more when the income was exposed at

A:  David's Answer:  First, if you have a signed retainer with the attorney already, then s/he is attorney of record & cannot require a new retainer mid-stream. Second, you can make another application for additional counsel fees, assuming through the course of disclosure your attorney was able to uncover the hidden income. Finally, some lawyers offer a sliding scale, so you should shop around. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What does "with investment gains and losses at the time of division" mean

Q:  this has to do with divorce and a deferred comp plan. specifically looking for the meaning of division 
is that at time of commencement or time that the divorce is signed?

A:  David's Answer:  The answer depends on where your pulling that language from - if it's quoting a judgment or agreement, then it appears that the value in the plan at the time it is divided in the time provided for by the judgment or agreement is what's entitled to be divided. That said, one would need to see the document you're quoting from to render a definitive opinion. Thus, you should call a Rockland/Westchester Family Law attorney to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What form would it be? And whats the process For termination of parental rights based on abandonement?

Q:  I am trying to figure out what court forms i need to terminate my childrens fathers rights based on abandonment i have 4 children in common the ages are 15,14 and 12yr old twins he has had no contact with them for 11 years no child support no phone calls nothing my address and phone number has never changed.

A:  David's Answer:  There are no court forms to do so simply because it cannot be done outside of the context of an adoption proceeding. NY has a strong public policy against bastardizing children. To the degree adoption is a possibly, then I'd encourage you to call a Westchester Family Law attorney to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What are the rights of the Joint residential custodial parent?

Q: We have joint residential custody and are selling the house. I want to move closer to work and he says he will not agree to moving the children to another daycare no matter where I move because it is closer to him. Can this happen? In the divorce agreement we agreed to sell the house and I could move to a surrounding county (all listed). What happens in this instance and what decisions can I make with out his approval? He is making everything difficult because he is mad at me.

A: David's Answer: I'd suggest to first attempt mediation. If that fails - or if your agreement doesn't suggest utilizing same - then file a petition for permission to relocate. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Does it count as medical neglect?

Q: My 13yr old is in temporary care of department of social services til feb 2015 she was injured in residential care while being left unattended and hurt her ankle the emergancy room doctor directed staff to have her on bed rest and stay off the foot for 3 days but the staff didnt follow medical attention and still sent her to school the very next day and had her walking around on it.

A: David's Answer: Possibly - but it depends in part on the reason why they did this & also whether they received subsequent medical advise. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Do you still receive child support for a 18 year old that is no longer in school and isn't working?

Q: I know New York state you have to pay child support until the child is 21, but what if the child is no longer in school and in not currently employed. If the child does get a part time job will child support for that child stop ?

A: David's Answer: Yes, support is paid in NY until age 21 unless sooner emancipated. If the child isn't going to school & only employed part-time, then it's very unlikely the child would be considered emancipated. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Monday, November 10, 2014

My x husband hasn't paid child support in over 10 yrs. makes no effort to be in her life can i terminate his rights?

Q: We divorced when she was 4. and he makes no effort to be in her life . he hasn't paid child support in 10 years. it seems he falls through the cracks and paperwork gets lost by the courts all of the time . i show up at every court date he doesn't. there was a bench warrant for him but it expired . he gets in no trouble for non payment. he doesn't care about her neither does his family. they have no relationship at all. could i terminate his rights and change her name(she requested the name change) . i have done it this long on my own without his support. so just ending it wold be fine. what do i need to do? do i go back to the state it originated in or can i do it from the state i live in now?

A: David's Answer: You can only terminate his parental rights in the context of a step-parent adoption proceeding. Public policy in NY forbids the bastardization of children. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Monday, November 3, 2014

My ex is currently trying to increase the amount of child support. A decision came back in my favor, however, I noticed on the

Q: bottom of the decision/order, the first cc is: "Westchester County Office of Child Support Enforcement, Interested Party." Should that concern me? My ex is very, very sneaky -- and I can definitely see him trying to tell inaccurate stories to people in the court system who he thinks may be able to help him behind the scenes without their knowing the full story. He recently objected to the court's decision and I sent in a rebuttal. In the meantime I noticed this odd cc. Do I need to worry and/or should I be seeking similar support from someone in that department?

A: David's Answer: I don't see this as a problem, assuming SCU is collecting the order. If they are not involved in any way, then I'd advise to bring in a copy of the order - and findings of fact - to a lawyer for an assessment. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Friday, October 24, 2014

Landlord filed false family offense petition to evict

Q:  My 67 yo female landlord filed a false family offense petition against me in court. She is claiming that I am her ex-boyfriend who has been living with her for years. She says that when we "broke up" I moved to the basement and converted it into an illegal apt. She is also alleging that I threatened her live-in boyfriend's life. She tried to have me arrested by filing a false police report stating same. I am a 49 yo male. I do not nor have I ever had a personal relationship with this person. Her son recommended the apt to me. She is retaliating because of the apt situation. What do I do? Thank you.

A:  David's Answer:  If she filed it in Family Court, then you should retain a lawyer to file a motion to dismiss the petition. There is precedent that a mere landlord-tenant relationship is not an "intimate relationship" such that Family Court would have jurisdiction to issue an order of protection under such circumstances. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can my daughters attorney in a pins case file a neglect petition against me?

Q:  My stepdaughters attorney representing her in a pins hearing used statements made by her to file a neglect petition against me isn't this some kind of conflict.

A:  David's Answer:  Yes, she can file a motion for permission to file a neglect case against you. And no, it is not a conflict, as her allegiance is to the child, not to the parent. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NY Family court - calling petitioner as witness for defense after petitioner's case in chief rests

Q:  Hi all, 

On the last court date the petitioner testified and was cross examined by respondents (my) council. 

I am now Pro se, whereas on that last trial date, I was represented by that council. Next court date is continuation of that trial. 

My council did not ask questions needed on cross examination. I would like to call the petitioner as witness for the defense, and requesting the court for the petitioner to be kept as hostile, on the day of the trial. 

Can the Pro-se party (respondent) ask any range of questions (for evidences sake) relevant to the case without objection from opposing council of the witness? I am thinking their attorney can object claiming this material has been covered already, as per the transcripts. 

I appreciate any help in advance.

A:  David's Answer:   You can ask to call the opposing party, but expect an objection if the issues were already covered. It remains in the discretion of the Judgment whether - and to what extent - to allow another examination of petitioner to take place. And even if your initial attorney was poor, I wouldn't advise to go through the process unrepresented - "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is there a form i can fill out to put a hold on my NYS child support payments until the judge reaches a decision?

Q:  Its been over 4 months and ive over payed thousands at this point.

A:  David's Answer:  You'd need to file an order to show cause requesting a stay of the order pending a decision. Bear in mind these are rarely granted. Schedule a consult with an Orange/Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What can I do in reguards to the situation with my child?

Q:  I placed my teen on PINS about a yr and a half ago and the judge decided to place her in placement non-secure detention center for 12 months in temporary care of social services due to her non compliance she was a saftey issue. Recently,I have had an issue with the agency where she is residing at the supervisor told verbally me my child cannot come for home visits and i cant see her because legally i am married but not living with my spouse at this time (hes not the bilogical parent of my child but raised my child for well over a decade) because he has an old case convicted as a Jo/Yo which requires him to register but there are no stipulations. I dont know what to do

A:  David's Answer:  You'd need to file a petition for visitation & serve it on the Facility/agency. The Judge would then need to decide whether this is an issue or not. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

NY Family court defending against an order of protection from Ex wife.

Q:  I am now pro se - removed former attorney after incompetence across 8 months. No funds for a new attorney, and make enough to not warrant public defender. We are mid trial with next date in three weeks. Her side has not rested. During the last session, cross examination of Ex wife regarding her petition items, my (now removed) lawyer failed to ask the questions that would greatly help my case (many inconsistancies in her filings that were not addressed by him). Being Pro se now, I would like another opportunity to raise these questions. Can I call her back on the stand for cross examination? What is the formal procedure for this? Can I call her as my witness when I present my defense? If so, do I need to notify the court in advance of her as a witness, or is her presence enough? Thx

A:  David's Answer:  You can possibly call her as a witness on your case, but unless you're well-versed in how to properly conduct a cross-examination, don't expect the Judge to cut you slack merely because you're not a lawyer. You may wish to look into credit sources and/or legal financing to afford a lawyer. At the least, it may behoove you to at least schedule a consult with a White Plains Family Law attorney.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How do i file for custody?

Q:  I live in VA and my 13 yr old son and ex wife live in Yonkers NY. My son wants to come live with me, He feels he is old enough to make his own decision but mom will not allow this, Do i need a laywer or can i file for petition for custody myself. What form do i need?

A:  David's Answer:  You can certainly file a custody petition - the forms are on the court's website: That said, I'd advise you to at least consult a lawyer, if not hire one. Merely having the child say he wants to live with you doesn't mean you automatically get custody. Call a Westchester Family Law attorney to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pending CPS case. My husband is not named and yet they keep contacting him. I am living in nyc, not orange county but case here.

Q:  Charge is "neglect." Nothing specific as the charge is bogus. Children are beyond well cared for, nutrition, school, medical dental etc. Call was made from probation, fact not speculation. I have already written to Albany and hearing on November 12. Legal Aid advice is comply for one year. Basically accept terms as if I was guilty but I will not be charged. Is this the best advice?

A:  David's Answer:   By "pending CPS case," do you mean they just have an investigation pending, but nothing's been filed in court? If your Husband isn't being charged, does this imply that you are the one who's being charged? What are the exact charges - i.e., in what way do they say you neglected the children? As for whether you should "accept service for 1 year," this advise can really only be given after a full assessment of the case. Thus, schedule a consultation with an Orange/Westchester Family Law attorney.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is filing a petition in family court a violation of a criminal court restraining order ?

Q: My ex and I share a common child. She moved with the baby to north Carolina without my knowledge in the midst of an active restraining order against me. I have to stay away from her not our child. Does filing a petition against the mom constitute a violation of the restraining order? And do I have 90 days or 6 months before the child's home state loses jurisdiction?

A: David's Answer: Filing a violation petition constitutes only your allegations - it does not prove your case as she's entitled to a trial on the issue. Moreover, if there were no prior orders of custody or visitation in NY, then 6 months is the rule for home state jurisdiction. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

If after 3 years the court determines that I only have a 1% increase in income, and my ex waives the right to a 1% bump in

Q: child care, does that allow him to take me to court again next year to try to get a bigger increase -- or does he have to wait 3 more years (or for a 15% change in income or an unanticipated change in circumstances)?

A: David's Answer: As the order was not modified in any way (presumably), then yes, your ex can file a motion next year based on either a "substantial change of circumstances" and/or a "15% increase of income." - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Judgment of Divorce (JOD) is stapled to another document called Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Is that considered

Q: ...part of the JOD? And if not, Is it more important or less important than the JOD?

A: David's Answer: Yes, it's considered part of the Judgment, as the "Findings" provide the rationale for the orders made within the Judgment. That said, for most non-court purposes (such as changing your name with DMV), you only need the Judgment itself.  - David Bliven, Westchseter Family Law attorney (

A parent coordinator and a forensic psychologist was assigned to my case. Most recently, there is an order of protection.

Q: In place for me and our toddler. What advice can you please give me since now there are extra people involved? I just had my pre-trial and instead of trial the judge wants to have another conference again. I am in Supreme Court in white plains.

A: David's Answer: You should definitely consult a Divorce attorney - and I strongly urge you to retain one. What advise is then given to you depends on the individual facts of your case - particular what issues are being contested. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Friday, September 26, 2014

I have no support order from the past to pay such money,now they want it and back dated for the past two years.can they?

Q:haven't had her in two years,me and my wife went are own ways and we all said it would be best for her to live ex mother in law due to we could not take care of her,and they said no money is excepted from me or my wife that they will pay for all and anything she will need.they are doing this due to the fact that i'm taking my wife to court for visitation of our son,and that came to me in a text message.they want it back dated for the past two years.can they go that far back?

A: David's Answer: If there is no child support order or enforceable agreement, then support is generally only retroactive to the date of the application. That said, you should figure out what you may owe & start making payments now. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's been well over 90days since my trial to have my CS order terminated,the judge still hasn't made a decision.What can i do

Q: I've overpayed thousands of dollars at this point .Does she have a legal time frame to make a decision and if so what can i do to enforce this .At this point i'd rather her rule against me so i can appeal.

A: David's Answer: The very general rule is that the Judge has 60 days from when the case is fully submitted to render a decision. That said, this deadline can be extended due to backlog and/or waiting for transcripts to come in. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I am five months pregnant with my fiancés child and I am not quite sure that things are going to work out

Q: My fiancé is recently divorced with two children and is already working a ridiculous amount just to be able to pay his ex wife what she is getting for child support. I know that he will have no time to take care of a new born due to his work schedule. Is there any way that I can obtain soul custody of my child and does the fact that we aren't married help my case?

A: David's Answer: Once the child is born & you have separated form your fiancé, then you can file for custody in Family Court. Whether you are married or not doesn't affect the analysis regarding custody, however. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Ex called the police for harassment last year

Q: I called her and her sister because she was using marijuana while she had custody. She did not press charges. I now wan to file for phone time and more visitation. Do I need to worry about the report?

A: David's Answer: I'm not sure I understand - you called in a report on her for using drugs, or she called in a report against you? That said, it you called in a report against her but did so in good faith, I don't see it hurting you. Of course, one would need to assess the full history here to render a definitive opinion. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I am getting remarried and want to protect my self this time.

Q: My fiancé and I are expecting a child together and live in my apartment. We want to buy a home. She has been a student and has minimal credit. So, we will both contribute to a down payment. I have been approved for a mortgage. I would like to know, if the home is purchased before we get married and I am the only one able to get a mortgage, in the uneventful case of a divorce, will she have rights to the home aside from a portion of down payment.

A: David's Answer: Generally the house would remain your separate property. However, she MAY be able to claim a share of the principal paid down during the marriage with marital funds and/or capital improvements made to the house with marital funds. You're best advised to do a prenup. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Sunday, September 7, 2014

If my ex goes back to his home country the Caribbean islands does he still have to pay child support and can I remove his rights

Q: we have gotten a divorce and things are not working for him he has visitation but I don't want my kids to deal with him. he has not paid me in four months and I have him on collection for back payments I believe he is goin to try an just go back home. if he does can I still fight for child support or can I have his rights removed when he is gone.

A: David's Answer: Yes, most countries will honor U.S. support orders, but you'll need to verify this by consulting a Family Law attorney in that country. For instance, you may need to register the order for enforcement purposes in that country. You would not, however, be able to "terminate his rights" outside of the context of an adoption proceeding. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Grounds for abandonment? Can I have his rights revoked? My daughter turned 14 in June and wants nothing to do with him at all

Q: My ex has a drug/alcohol addiction. He is currently going to court for his 3rd DWI within the last 10 years that he recv'd in Apr. The judge at family court ruled in Jan 2014 that he is not to have any visitation with my daughter, unless in a therapeutic session and only until the counselor deems it necessary to cancel sessions. My ex recently canceled all further sessions and told my daughter that he would walk away and leave her alone. He has had no contact with her since July, and does not pay child support regularly. The child support collection unit, filed a violation.

A: David's Answer: There is no such thing in NY has having parental rights terminated outside of the context of an adoption proceeding. You can, however, file a motion/petition to have visitation terminated (as that's apparently what he wants anyway). His obligation to pay support will continue, however. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Child Support. My children are in college. Am I legally required to pay for their college education?

Q: I pay child support for my children. They will be 20yrs old this December and in their third year of college. Am I legally responsible for paying for their college education? Our divorce decree/or separation never stated anything pertaining to such. Why can't they pay for their college, as I have paid for mine. I am sure I am not first to ask this nor will I be the last.

A: David's Answer: First, I'd advise against taking legal advise from a lawyer not licensed to practice law in NY. Even if your divorce decree was silent on the question, you may still be liable for college expenses. The custodial parent would need to file a modification petition to include the college expenses as an add-on to the basic level of support. The primary issue then is whether based on the support you're already paying as well as your basic living expenses you can afford the additional amount for college. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How much time before a court appearance does a response to a petition need to be delivered to opposing attorney for a family cou

Q: How much time before a court appearance does a response to a petition need to be delivered to opposing attorney for a family court matter? This pertains to responding to a petition seeking to modify an existing visitation order.

A: David's Answer: If the petition was served on you via personal service more than 8 days before the court date, then you should have your reply to the opposing attorney 2 days before the court date. For a full assessment, schedule a consult with a Rockland/Westchester Family Law attorney.- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can you cite a webpage in a court response

Q: If i file a response to a petition in Family court, can i cite in my papers a webaddress link that illustrates or proves my point or is that not an acceptable thing to do in courtpapers?

A: David's Answer: If it's important enough, you may wish to print out the webpage & attach it as an exhibit. The Judge isn't necessarily obligated to look up the cite. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can she modify custody to full?

Q: My girlfriend recently agreed to joint custody with primary placement of her three children. She utilized a mediator and her and their dad were able to avoid court. Since then he has made multiple threats to keep the kids and/or take them away from her. He has also since moved to a two bedroom apartment which means when he does have the kids... They don't each have their own bed. There are several other concerns that individually seem like nothing but feel like a pattern we our concerned with. She would simply like to have the mind games, threats and stress gone.

A: David's Answer: The question becomes whether the mediation agreement was ever reduced to a court order. If it wasn't, then can can always be easily changed by going into court. If it was, then she'll need to file a modification petition, itemizing all the factors upon which she feels there's a basis to change the order. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can I make a motion about my ex's refusal to split dental expenses although it's in our divorce agreement ---even though......

Q: Even though it goes back a couple of years? I just found the clause in our agreement that confirms my ex should split that with me. If it's not too late to pursue this, what would the motion be called?

A: David's Answer: I'd first advise to send a default notice letter, attaching the bills & proof of any payment, to him via certified mail, return receipt (indeed, you agreement, perhaps in a later section, probably requires same). Then you can either file a contempt motion in Supreme or a violation petition in Family Court. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Saturday, September 6, 2014

What is intergrated domestic violence court

Q: Confused on what idv court is

A: David's Answer: IDV means the criminal case and any related custody, visitation and/or divorce case is combined & heard before the same Judge. Whether this is done is in the sole discretion of the Administrative Judge. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My ex withholds notice required by decree ie, notice of dr. visits, then lies and claims she left message. Gmail solution?

Q: Ex refuses to provide advanced notice required by decree. She later says "I left message, not sure why you did not get it" - eg, notice of Dr. visits. Could I hire escrow service to set up gmail account with google voice number, transferring email and calls to my personal email/phone, and - HERE IS THE KEY - contract with escrow service to keep the password secret and not delete any calls/emails. That way the Gmail account can be used to prove the negative - that no call or email was in fact made? Escrow agent could provide affidavits as needed along with print-out of call log/in-box for proof no call/message was made. If so, would a certified ltter to ex stating "this is the sole email and phone you should use to contact me" be effective in teeing up persuasive violation petition?

A: David's Answer: I'm not sure I understand the part about keeping the password secret, but I otherwise agree with your strategy. Or you could just have the order read that confirmations should be sent via e-mail in the first place. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

If a parent that has visitation rights for his children & does not return them can I file kidnapping charges after 24 hrs?

Q: I have custody and he has visits every other weekend from Fri. @ 4pm to Sun. @ 4pm only.

A: David's Answer: You may call the police & allege "custodial interference." You should also go to Family Court the next day (if police are unable to assist in a return) to file for a "writ of habeas corpus." - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can my boyfriend and I get married if we have a stay away order of protection even though the judge has granted us visitation?

Q: My boyfriend and I want to get married Unfortunately the State of NY has issued us an order of protection due to a domestic violence case. However the judge did grant us contact and visitation with us and our kids at the jail while he is encarcerated. What's sad is once he is released they are going to discontinue all contact which makes no sense and will affect our children and relationship.

A: David's Answer: You may need to retain your own lawyer. If the case is pending in IDV, then you can ask the Judge to assign you a lawyer, who then can ask that the restriction be lifted on condition that the two of you seek family counseling. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can CPS put infant in fostercare for parents not being at NICU every day?

Q: Infant in NICU r/t premature birth. Parents live 50 miles from hospital and do not have resources to travel to and from on a daily basis. Can CPS take child away for parents not being up at the hospital enough?

A: David's Answer: That would seem to be a draconian filing indeed. If the Hospital has threatened (or even implied) a call to CPS, you should consult with a lawyer who handles such matters. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do I have to live in New York if I want to get married in New York?

Q: Do I have to live in New York if I want to get married in New York? I live outside Pittsburgh.

A: David's Answer: No, there is no residency requirement in order to get married in NY (unless doing so constitutes fraud). - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Is there a way to request a new law guardian?

Q: My sons law guardian has been EXTREMELY biased towards his mother because he holds a huge grudge against by former lawyer- he admitted it in court and to the judge- and has been ruthless towards me when I have been the better parent. He has done everything to make me seem unfit, when she is the one who has had CPS called on her numerous times by neighbors. He has not attempted to make an in home visit or anything.

I am no longer using him, I could not afford him. I am in a financial tough spot as we speak, but want what is best for my boy.

I am wondering what are the steps to seek a new law guardian in the state of new york.

A: David's Answer: You would need to file a formal motion to recuse the Attorney for Child. That said, rarely do such motions succeed. Moreover, the blowback would be to make the Attorney even more hell-bent against you, possibly anger the Judge (as s/he may feel you're just trying to delay the proceeding) and be out the money paid to your new lawyer (hopefully you have one) for filing the motion. I'd suggest to schedule a "clear the air" meeting with the Attorney for the Child. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can the following be considered a change of circumstances to help justify a downward modification? My abusive ex-spouse.....

Q: ...who convinced my younger daughter to go with him is now 15-1/2 years old and starting to experience his true personality. Due to her age, he doesn't want to piss her off too much, so when she insists on spending time with myself and her older sister, now over 21, he usually lets her. The result is that she's at my house almost as much as she's at his house, yet I'm paying quite a bit in child support. But she's not allowed to sleep over due to the manipulations of his 'well-connected' attorney. We were supposed to work toward sleepovers, but when he left threatening voicemails on the therapist's phone, that intimidated her and we gave up. Anyway, my question is -- can all these daytime visits help to justify a downward modification, or do only overnights count?

A: David's Answer: If you're going to argue that your access time is so great that it should affect child support, both waking & asleep hours count in this analysis. Thus, if you don't have something close to 45% of the total hours, then it'd be extremely rare for you to get a deviation on this basis. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Points awarded Other ways to earn If Grandparents raising children, go on a grant, do the parents also have to pay the Government or the Grandparents?

Q: Points awarded Other ways to earn If Grandparents raising children, go on a grant, do the parents also have to pay the Government or the Grandparents?

A: David's Answer: If the grandparents have custody of the children, then the parents have a duty to pay child support to the grandparents. They'd only have an obligation to pay the government if sued for support. The grandparents may have a duty to report to the government any receipt of funds from the parents. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Confused , Have 2 kids Child support , Tax Time ? Ex claims one I claim 1, Custody Change !

Q: When we got divorce we had agreed that each of us would claim 1 child each on taxes, she agreed because I paid 1000.00 a month in support . Now I have custody of both children, she is suppose to pay 100.00 a week in support for 2 kids. But I am accepting 50 a week because she refused to allow my sons to live with me if I would take the full amount she would be responsible for. How does taxes work ? Can I claim both kids now e ? She is only paying $50.00 a week in support for 2 kids don't think it's fair if she receive the extra 1000.00 tax credit and able to claim one child. That would mean she only really has to spend 1600 a year two support 2 kids.

A: David's Answer: If the agreement to split the deductions was just informal, then you can just send her a notice via certified mail stating henceforth (& in light of both children now residing with you) you'll be taking the deduction for both kids. If the prior agreement was incorporated into a court order/judgment, then you'll need to file a petition for modification. Schedule a consult with an Orange/Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

I recently found out my birth cert has my mothers maiden name on it. I have always had my father lastname. How do I change it

Q: David's Answer: I need to get help from social services but am having a hard time bc my birth cert is wrong. What do I do?

A: David's Answer: Assuming you're 18+, you can file for an amended birth certificate in the county where the original certificate is filed. Contact the clerk's office of that county for instructions. - David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

Monday, August 11, 2014

What can I do if my ex wife's family member is threatening me?

Q: My ex wife texted a statement, stating that "if her brother sees me I'd better run" regards to an issue about our son. She is clearly making a threatening statement and what can I do about it. I'm tired of her antics.

A: David's Answer: Technically, it's your ex who's threatening you. In this instance, you can file for an order of protection in Family Court and/or may report her to the police. Call a Dutchess/Westchester Family Law attorney for more info. - David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (