Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Does the Support Magistrate have discretion in determining whether to approve a downward modification in child support......

Q:  requested three years after the divorce?

A:  David's Answer:  Yes, a statute was passed in 2010 stating that all judgments/orders entered after the effective date are subject to automatic modification after 3 years (upon a petition being filed). So if that's your case, then you can petition for a modification. If your order/judgment was entered prior to October, 2010, then the old standard applies (substantial change of circumstances). Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What does being the custodial parent mean

Q:  after going to court for child support i found out that i am the custodial parent and my child father is the non custodial parent what is the difference and could he file for joint custody if we dont get along and if he lives in a different state he lives in north carolina i in newyork

A:  David's Answer:  If you don't have a court order of custody, then the Magistrate was merely stating that, for child support purposes, you're the custodial parent simply because the child resides with you 51% or more of the time. That said, it may behoove you to actually file for custody, if you don't already have an order. The father merely living in another state does not, in itself, preclude him from getting joint custody. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Child support is being revisited in my case due to the 3 year rule, and I'm asking for a downward modification. While the 15%..

Q:  rule -- which does not apply in this case -- seems to have rules around downward modifications being tied to lower income, the 3 year rule does not. Does this give the Support Magistrate more discretion to lower child support as he or she sees fit, since the modification is based on the 3 year rule only?

A:  David's Answer:  Your understanding is correct, in that the phrasing of the statute is an "either/or." Thus, either there is a substantial change, OR a 15% change of incomes, OR 3 years has passed. If 3 years has passed, then theoretically a 1% change of incomes would still qualify for a changed order. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Can my daughter, who has been separated for more than a year, move anywhere in NY state with the children ?

Q:  Can my daughter, who has been separated for more than a year, move anywhere in NY state with the children ?

A:  David's Answer:  No - if the father objects, she must file for custody/relocation with the Family Court. Whether she'll be allowed will depend on a number of factors, including how involved the father is with the child (including school & extracurricular activities), the age of the child (& if old enough, his/her preferences) & if finances are the reason for the move, how well-documented are her efforts to find work & better her financial circumstances. She should schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in her area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How do I get a no contact order of protection changed if I never wanted it in the 1st place.

Q:  The original order was filed in march 2013. I asked for a non offensive order and a no contact was put in place instead. The local judge is upset with me and my husband so in Feb 2014 extended the no contact order until 2017. I don't want this how do I change it. I am not in fear for my life and would like to make my marriage work . What rights do I have?

A:  David's Answer:  This depends on what court you're in - family court or criminal court. If you're in criminal court, it's not technically your order (though it's in your favor), so you're constrained to merely making a request to the DA. If you're in family court, then it is your order, and you should be able to change it. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

My ex is always late on paying child support and maintenance. What can I do?

Q:  My ex husband is continually late on child support and maintenance. According to our divorce agreement he is to pay me by direct deposit by the 1st of every month. However, it is always sent via bank auto pay, sent out around the 5th and I get it usually around the 10th-12th or so, which means that by the time I deposit it and it clears, it is closer to the 16th. We had a collaborative agreement and I am wondering what I can do to have him pay me by the 1st which is what he agreed to? I have asked him to pay me on time this month especially because I am going away and want to deposit the funds before I go and he has refused. Thanks.

A:  David's Answer:  First, suggest that he set-up an automatic bill pay with his bank. If he refuses such a reasonable request, file a modification petition & either ask that the support order by paid via Support Collection Unit or that he post an undertaking to "spot you" for the few days that he's late (such that you can then dip into those funds if you need to pay bills before you receive his late payment). Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

In a divorce am I entitled to keep paying for her health care. I live in ny

Q:  he ask for life health and dental insurance do I have provide this

A:  David's Answer:  Generally you must maintain insurance coverage while the divorce is pending. After that, however, usually whether you pay for your spouse's coverage will depend on whether the court grants maintenance (i.e., alimony) to your spouse. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What can i do if i suspect the father of my son is making him hate me?

Q:  me and the father have joint custody i live in FL and the father and child lives in NY. we have a joint custody order in place and he has physical residence of our son due to the fact i moved without going to court. ever since i have not been able to contact the father only his GF. and when i do talk to our son he 3 years old and he says he hates me and dont want to talk to me i hear them whispering and my son also whispers back, the father also does drugs but the court did not test him? i dont know where they live they lied to the judge. is there anything i can do hes going against the order??

A:  David's Answer:  It seems like the father is violating the joint custody order. Thus, you're well advised to set him up good. Keep a careful paper-trail by writing him e-mails or letters documenting each & every alleged violation. Document the prior instances as outlined in this posting with the approximate dates they occurred. If the situation isn't rectified - and soon - you should strongly consider filing a violation/modification petition. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in the area where the father resides. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I have a Order of Protecticon against my 20 year old son. How do I get this removed?

Q:  The order was issued yesterday July 10, 2014. He has bi-polar along with other problems and has not been taking his medicine. He is going to counseling but refuses to take his medicine. He has no job (not able to work), and has PTD according to his counselor. He has no place to go and no one but myself to look out for him.

A:  David's Answer:  If it's in Family Court, you'd need to file a motion to modify/vacate the order. If it's in criminal court, you'd need to contact the D.A.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How to request a witness list in ny family court trial?

Q:  We are in trial, but we are coming back at a later day to finish. what form do I request at the clerks office to obtain the respondents witness list? I want to know if they will come back with more witnesses next visit.

A:  David's Answer:  Generally such a demand is considered pre-trial disclosure - in other words something you needed to request prior to the trial beginning. At this stage, you should send the request to the opposing party (copy it to the Attorney for the Child, if any). Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can the kids move with there aunt

Q:  What can happen if there aunt comes to get them from my home

A:  David's Answer:  If you're talking about minor children & you're their parent or legal guardian, then their aunt cannot just "snatch" them from your house without having committed the crime of kidnapping. If she does, call the police. Call a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.    -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Is there a rule / law you can point to stating that a support magistrate has discretion on what constitutes a change in ........

Q:  .....circumstances for revisiting child support? I'm asking to reduce child support to the $141K cap for Westchester, rather than basing it on my full adjusted gross income. My ex drained our home equity account during the divorce and siphoned off upwards of $1K/mo in cash for years. I'm struggling to support our 22 year old daughter through her last year of college -- she needs a 5th year to graduate due to PTSD from his abuse. I'm paying my ex about 3K/mo for child support, medical, etc. for our 15 year old -- when it should really be 1K since her monthly expenses are 2K. He's taking her on vacations to London, China, etc. and I can't even afford a weekend at the beach. I've turned in private eye findings showing that he has a lot more money than on his financial affidavit.

A:  David's Answer:  Was the original support based on a divorce agreement, or mere order/judgment? If based on an agreement, what (if anything) did it say about the standard for modification? And how long ago was it done? The answers to these questions make a difference in the reply given to you. Otherwise, statutorily the Magistrate has discretion on whether the $141,000 cap applies or now - factors considered are captured in the seminal case of Cassano v. Cassano (& its progeny). You're best advised to schedule a consult with a White Plains Family Law attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My daughter wants to make me, her MOM, a guardian of her baby. How do we do this?

Q:  My 24 year old daughter, who suffers from emotional issues, gave birth to a baby about a month ago. Thank God they are doing well. My daughter is not married and so far the father has no interest in the baby. My daughter wants me to become co-guardian with her for the baby. Do you I need to get a court order for this? How do I do this? (And please don't tell me to get a lawyer, as I will, but right now I want come overall advice on this. Thank you.

A:  David's Answer:  You're best advised to file for guardianship - you can always have it phrased as joint guardianship with primary physical residence to you. File the petition with the Rockland Family Court. Schedule a consult with a Rockland/Westchester Family Law attorney for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I am a US citizen and recently got married in France. What steps do I need to take to legally change my last name in the US?

Q:  My marriage certificate was issued in France.

A:  David's Answer:  You can apply for a marriage certificate here.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Does an order signed by a judge that was opposed on the record have to be served? Or can it be emailed?

Q:  We went to family court in May. The opposing party represented by a lawyer (we don't have one) wanted a forensic psych eval done on our family. There is an appointment for friday this week but we have not been sent anything in the mail and the attorney for the opposite party is stating they emailed one and we don't have to be served anything by mail. We objected to the forensic eval on the record since we already had a psychologist come in on the stand and the judge didn't listen to a word she said. The judge didnt even agree to order the psych eval he simply granted the opposite party to the right to one. Is it legal for the judge to order something and us not be served or even get a paper copy? Thanks!

A:  David's Answer:  You are certainly entitled to be served with the actual order. If they served you via e-mail, that's technically not good service, but if the actual order was attached, then you would appear to be only delaying the inevitable by rejecting service on those grounds. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Orders of protection and eviction

Q:  I own my home and boyfriend moved in October of 2013. I found him cheating and there were some incidents of domestic violence so I kicked him out. He returned two weeks later to "reconcile". I found out he was cheating again with strangers from Craigslist and when I confronted him he assaulted me. I have a full stay away for myself, home and children (300 feet) obtained June 14, 2014. He has a garage full of stuff and is playing games getting it out. What rights do I have and how long do I have to keep his belongings? My children are scared and I want to move on.

A:  David's Answer:  You can write him a letter stating that he has up to 30 days to remove his belongings or else you will consider them abandoned & will discard them. Make sure to note that he'll need to arrange for the police to accompany him when he comes out. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do I need a lawyer to resolve further problems with my baby father and how soon I can start getting all ready?

Q:  I'm 16 weeks pregnant and father of my baby walked out , blocked all contact, is not interested in pregnancy and he is telling me he wants to wait till DNA gets done. I have no reasons to be afraid of DNA testing as he was the one that cheated that's why we separated. We been together for few years now he is acting like he wants nothing to do with me or his baby. What I would like to know what he will do once the baby is born. What kind of rights he will have and if he is responsible of any out of packet costs while I'm pregnant. I will put him as a father on birth certificate but since he most likely won't be present at the child birth I will give this baby my last name . I want child support and hoping we can work our issues out and give him share custody.

A:  David's Answer:  You can file for paternity & child support when the child is born. He'd generally be obligated to pay 17% of his adjusted gross income for basic support, as well as reimbursement of his pro rata share of maternity & medical costs. He can file for visitation right as well as potentially contest custody (though as a practical matter, fathers rarely win primary custody). Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can my half-sister's father legally adopt me?

Q:  Both of my biological parents want nothing to do with me and because of this I cannot go to school. I want to go to school to finish my degree in criminal justice, but because of federal regulations I cannot get any help paying for it. I also want to feel like I am part of a family where everyone cares about me. My sister's father actually raised me as a child and I feel like I have a connection with this family, and would like to be a part of it, legally. I would like to know if this is possible and how long it would take to complete this process if it is.

A:  David's Answer:  How old are you? You mentioned a degree, so I'm assuming you're over 18 & attending college. If so, an adoption cannot be done in Family Court. Since you are (presumably) legally an adult, your school likely has forms to declare yourself emancipated so as to qualify for financial assistance based on your own finances.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How do I go about legally changing/adding a middle name in New York State?

Q:  I am 28 and have used a middle name/initial (Elizabeth, but I am sure that doesn't matter) my whole life. I always wondered why it wasn't on my SS card or driver's license & recently looked at my birth certificate, to see that I don't actually have one listed. I would really like to legally add a middle name. I found some papers on filing for a name change in NY, but is this something I can do, or do I need a lawyer? Is there any way I could apply to have the filing fee waived? I have a very similar question regarding my 2 year old daughter- she has a middle name, but we would like to change it to honor my mother-in-law who recently passed. We called the town hall where she was born & there is no form to change the birth certificate like that & they had no idea how to do it. Thank you!

A:  David's Answer:  You can find forms & instructions here: You generally do not need an attorney for name change applications.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Aunt has guardianship of my daughter, Do I need to petition the court for my daughter to reside with me if my sister agrees?

Q:  There is a child support order and a full restraining order against my daughter's father.

A:  David's Answer:  Yes - the only way to change a court order is to file a modification petition. The petition will still need to be served on both the aunt & the father. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I have a signed agreement by a Judge that the father agrees to be responsible for college tuition, how can it be enforced?

Q:  On May 26, 2012 a Dismissal By Consent of a Child Support Order was entered with the Father Agreeing and written in the order that he would be soley responsible for college tuition for both children. One daughter is 21, the other daughter is 19, both attend out of state schools, tuition is 12,000 for the 19 yr old, the father has income in excess of $100k. I went to court to seek child support for the 19 yr old who I have completely supported financially tuition and room and board with a Parent Plus Loan, recently I was denied a second parent plus loan for the $12,000, do I have any recourse, can anything be done I do not have court date until 11/26/2014, school starts in August. Also I have secured a loan for the 21 yr old for her tuition

A:  David's Answer:   Unfortunately, if the earliest date the court has is the 11/26/14 date, then there may not be anything you can do to speed that up. You can always try sending a default notice letter to the father - otherwise your daughter may need to take out private student loans & seek reimbursement of same from the father thru the support enforcement case. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What happens when you don't show for family court due to short notice/timing?

Q:  I received a summons on 7/2 to appear in court on 7/8. My ex is wanting visitation of our son who he has not had contact with in 13 years. Problem is, he filed in the state of SC and our family relocated to NY 6 months ago. For obvious reasons I couldn't show up to court on such short notice 900 miles away. I sent an overnight letter to the clerk of court explaining due to scheduled travel with family for the 4th of July, work, distance and child care needs I could not attend court. I also sent my response to his request for visitation separately. A copy of both responses were sent to him as well- certified.

A:  David's Answer:  If your case is pending in S.C., then you'd need to re-post your question in the S.C. Family Law forum. That said, you may wish to consult with a NY Family Law attorney in your area on the question of jurisdiction, as NY may arguably be the "home state" for jurisdiction purposes.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Am I eligible to any money from my husband for completely abandoning me ,forced to live on the streets for almost 4 years now???

Q:  We were legally married in 2004 by a  judge. I haven't been able to find him. When I went to his last known residence, his sister said he didn't live there anymore and tried to have me arrested for trespassing and harassment.

Additional information
The e mail address I submitted was wrong. I didn't know the caps lock was on.

A:  David's Answer:  You'd need to file for divorce & include a claim for maintenance (i.e., alimony). You'd ultimately need to serve him with the divorce summons, so you may need to hire a private investigator to track him down. Whether you would qualify for maintenance depends on a number of factors - particularly the disparity of income & whether your husband makes more than enough to both support his basic needs as well as contribute towards yours. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Monday, July 14, 2014

My son is turning 21 in a few months. about a year ago he stopped returning my calls and stopped returning my calls.

Q: anyway in all the 20 years i never missed a payment. my ex is now bringing me to court for the back pay and right now i just want to pay it i am not interested in any issue but when i go to court can i just bring the cash to show in good faith that i want to pay it so that there is no issue? he stopped returning my texts and emails so a few months back i stopped paying but i just want to pay but my court date is in a few days and she wont take my payment and says she wants to go to court. cant i just pay it.

A: Yes, the Magistrate should just allow you to pay the arrears in court. The Court is unlikely to impose any other penalty so long as any alleged arrears are paid in full.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can I file for custody of my grandson together with my daughter who is developmentally delayed?

Q: The "father" just filed paternity and also has his challenges. I have been caring for him with my daughter since he was born, he is a year old and also has medical issues. Both my daughter and grandson have always lived with me.

A: If your daughter (presumably the mother of the child) lives with you, why wouldn't the mother file for custody? She would more be the proper party to file, though you can always file together to receive joint custody if you wish. As a grandparent, you'd need to prove the father persistently abused or neglected the child, or legally abandoned the child, before having a right to custody.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

In New York State what happens if the CSU takes more then what you actually owe?My ex lied when she went to the CSU

Q: She told them I owed 523 more then I actually did. now i have it all worked out. I even went to court and got my current order lowered a little bit effective as of a week ago. But CSU is telling me its going to take a month for my adjustment of support amount. Is that true? and what happens if they take more then I owe? Will they give it back? because by the looks of it they are going to take more then i owe for sure for at least 2-4 weeks.

A: I cannot understand why it takes a month to adjust your account, unless that's their backlog. And if they take the money & distribute it to her, then you cannot get a refund - you can only seek a credit from the Magistrate against future add-on expenses.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What happens if I (DEFENDANT) do not show up to a TRO to show cause? Will i be arrested?

Q: I do not want to go because I only had 2 days notice to find a lawyer. I got papers monday and court date is weds. Obviously I do not have a lawyer and really want one present and do not want to go alone. Is there a chance of jail? Can i request a continuation?

A: Yes, it's possible a warrant can be put out for your arrest. Please do specify whether your case is in criminal court or Family Court as it makes a big difference in the answer provided.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Will judge drug test me at TRO order to show cause? i have history of drug use. It is an order to show cause hearing.

Q: wife has order of protection against me seeing my daughter, i have stopped using drugs for a couple weeks now but will still show up in system for a urine test. Her attorney has a statement that basically says that my wife still believes i have continued the use of drugs. what are the odds of the judge testing me at the order to show cause hearing.

A: There is certainly the possibility of being drug tested - in NYC & Westchester courts, they having testing facilities at the Family Court. Thus, be prepared for this possibility - and diluting will be considered the equivalent of a "positive test."  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Whom is responsible for paying for kids clothing and basic essentials when they are away from both parents for summer or college

Q: Custody is split. Each parent provides for child when they are with that parent. What is the definition of child support when a child is away from both parents?  Where can I find in writing that the parent receiving support is responsible for the child's basic essentials, inclusive of clothing, hygiene products etc, while they are away at summer camp or college. It states in stipulation about college that set aside accounts or for College tuition, room & board along with needed computer supplies.  Person paying support is responsible for summer camp tuition room, board as well.

A: Basic child support is meant to cover expenses such as housing, food & clothing. If the children are away at summer camp, then the parents are generally obligated to pay pro-rata for the summer camp, which in turn provides the children's housing & food.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How do I have my children placed in foster care?

Q: I can't handle being a single Mom anymore and their father is incarcerated. We have joint custody. They are 14 & 16 years of age.

A: You may contact your local DSS and discuss doing a voluntary placement. I'd advise to check with relatives to see if any can take the kids temporarily, as once you do a voluntary placement, it may be hard to get them out of foster care after they've been in for more than a few months.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What is the process for a legal name change other than marriage or divorce?

Q: I got divorced about 6 months ago and could have changed my name then but was so overwhelmed with the process name change was the least of my issues. Also my professional credentials are in my married name. Now however I see benefit in doing so. How does the process work? Would I be responsible for contacting each and every agency and creditor or is there a mechanism that takes care of that? What would I need to do? And what is the cost?

A: In all likelihood, your divorce judgment allowed for you to resume use of your maiden name - take a second look at it (it's usually one of the last lines just before the Judge's signature).  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Step parent adoption

Q: My daughters bio dad lives in virgina and we live here in New York and are starting the step parent adoption can her dad just put it in writing that he gives consent and have it notaries and mail it to me ??? Because he won't make the trip up here.

A: He can execute an extrajudicial surrender, but because there's a proper process associated with same, I wouldn't advise to handle the adoption case without retaining a lawyer - or at least formally consulting one.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What forms do I need for an adoption?

Q: My daughters father wants to relinquish his rights and my boyfriend of 7 years wants to adopt her. My boyfriend has taken on the father role physically, mentally and emotionally. Can someone please help me with what forms I would need?

A: There are forms available on the court's website: That said, I highly advise you to retain an attorney - or at the very least consult with one.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York State Latches

Q:  My ex-husband and I were legally separated in 1997 and divorced in 2006. The separation agreement stated that we have joint custody with myself having primary physical placement and that my ex pay me $200 weekly for our children. The separation agreement was incorporated into our divorce. He has been receiving disability SSDI for approximately 20 years. He did not pay me the amount stated, giving me $300-$400 per month. I did not know until recently that he had been receiving SSDI benefits for each of our children until they reached the age of 18 which meant that he was actually able to pay his child support obligation in full. My ex always claimed that he was on the verge of poverty and was paying me as much as he could. Now we are in Court and he is trying to use latches as his defense. I didn't go after the money before because I didn't think I could get blood from a stone. Can he use latches to get out of this?

A:  David's Answer:  While he can claim laches, since you can only enforce an order/judgment (not an agreement in itself, at least not in a matrimonial action), it doesn't seem to me a fair & just result to apply same after delaying the filing for 8 years. It may turn, in part, on whether you made any demands that he pay what he owes in the intervening years. You should schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can a single parent send her 17 year old teen back home to live with his grandparents without his wish. His Father past away.

Q:  Can I sent or take my 17 year old son without his wish to my home country to live with my parents another state won't be an optIon. He need to be around family. If he refused can I still be able to take him? With legal help.? I live in NY. He was honor student until 8 now not doing good in school hangout with wrong crowd and smokes marijuana. I am thinking changing environment might change him too. What are my options beside going to family court. It would be better for him to leave the wrong crowd. maybe when he is little mature he can come back. I'm scared because he was arrested twice because of his friends actions and he was present with them. I cant see him in jail or in the system. I worked hard to raised him he is good and smart but now he follows his friends. No family around.

A:  David's Answer:   If both parents agree, then there seems no legal reason why you can't do it. That said, the practical result may be that if the child adamantly objects, he may runaway - which then may create more problems than the one you're trying to solve. It may be advisable to sit down with a Family Law attorney before taking any action.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I am the custodial grandparent of my college senior grandson. Both of his parents are living, and paying child support to me.

Q:  The court magistrate in Putnam County awarded my grandson child support and college expense. My daughter is taking me to court to have this order abandoned as my grandson is now 21. He has one more year of college left and now no support. What can I do, what laws will help him. I have had to use the P C 111 G attorney. He tells me to have my grandson increase his loans. He lives with me and I have had physical custody since 2007. My daughter was in a hurry to divorce, and did not do a separation agreement to protect my grandson all of his young life, now this. Is there any recourse for him. The magistrate awarded separate child support and seprate college expense both parents are under court ordered support.

A:  David's Answer:  If there is no valid, written agreement signed by the parents extending support beyond the age of 21, then the Magistrate does not have the authority to extend support beyond the age of 21. Age 21 is the statutory age of emancipation in NY. For a full assessment, schedule a consult with a Putnum/Westchester Family Law attorney.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

In plain English what is section 1113 of the family court act? Does it mean I can appeal the summons received? art 4,5,6,8 10

Q:  or does it mean I can appeal the judge's decision..?

A:  David's Answer:  You cannot appeal a summons. You also cannot appeal a decision. You can only appeal an order of the court - and FCA 1113 says your notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of the order. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Divorce/custody: My Ex hates my family and said he will get a restraining order barring my family from seeing the children. What

Q:  divorce/custody: My Ex hates my family and said he will get a restraining order barring my family from seeing the children. What are the necessary grounds to get such a restraining order?

A:  David's Answer:  He would generally need to prove your family has either abused or neglect the children, or poses a risk of such harm. Other grounds for such a restriction may be their (alleged) attempt to alienate the children from him. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can my mother throw me out?

Q:  I am a 20 year old student and my mother is throwing me out. We were in the middle of moving to a new house and an argument started so she has packed my things in bags and told me to leave. Half my things are already at the new house. Is she legally able to do this? I have broken curfew about eight times in the past three months, but there were only three times when I did not notify her. These were all because I stay out to complete homework assignments as I don't have proper working space at home, or accidentally fell asleep somewhere (I have medical sleep troubles). She plans on leaving my things here and told me that I will have to pay the landlord the rent if I stay here past the deadline to move out , but I physically cannot move these things out, especially on such short notice.

Additional information
I do not pay rent.
A:  David's Answer:  Your mother has a duty to financially support you until you're 21 (unless you're otherwise found to be emancipated), so if she's kicking you out, consider filing a petition for child support against her. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do i have to sell my house as opposed to refinancing?

Q:  i had a 17 year marriage end. the house was brought and paid for with my money only, while married. i understand the 50% split (law really needs to change when 1 party refuses to help financially and admits it). the divorce decree stated i have 2 options:: 1) sell and split or 2) refinance and buy out spouse. I have had 3 refinance deals wash out because other side refuses to sign documents as required by refinance companies. we are on our 5th judge (5 years after divorce has been finalized), who stated he cannot force other party to sign papers, so he is making me list the house. with 2 years left on current mtge, i do not want to sell. This does not make sense that courts are forcing me to take option 1 , when the decree clearly states i can go with option 2. my attorney is dumfounded

A:  David's Answer:  The answer to your question depends on the Judge's interpretation of the divorce settlement. If the Judge determines that its consistent with the settlement that the ex-wife cooperate with the refi process, then the Judge can order her (under threat of contempt) to sign the necessary documents. If the Judge then refuses to do so, file an appeal. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a 2d opinion.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Harrasment 2nd

Q:  Ok so this to make a long story short i went to go get my son from the baby sitters and a girl that has neglect charges was watching him when she aint the one that is suppost to watch my kid she got all 5 of her kids taken and she is 24 pregnat with her next and said i pushed her and threatened to have her come up missing i had 2 wittnesses there to see i didnt and i gotta go to court for it. And they also mailed my court papers to the wrong address what can i do if any lawyer is near lockport ny i would like to hire asap for this please respond i am20 with 2 kids and am a electrician and do not wanna go to jail for something i never did and lose everything

A:  David's Answer:   Is your case pending in criminal court? If so, use the "Find a Lawyer" tab to schedule a consult with a criminal defense attorney. If it's in Family Court, use the same tab to contact a Family Law attorney.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Does being neighbors with the judge who resides over family court case qualify for change of venue

Q:  there is a 3 1/2 year history in Sullivan county family court where the mother has always been favored. Petitions have been ignored and the mother continues to keep child from father at supervised visitations. When mother moved to Ulster county dad was granted week on week off where he only had every other weekend in Sullivan county. Ulster county judge said mother was playing games. Now back in Sullivan the father has been made to go to supervised visitation. We just bought a house and later found out the next door neighbor who our back yard meets up to is the judge who resides in sullivan county. does this qualify as conflict of interest o move to another court.

A:  David's Answer:  No, not that in itself. Moreover, venue is usually placed in the county where the child primarily resides. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do I need a Family Law attorney to be present for a hearing in regards to article 4,5,6,8 and 10?

Q:  Can I ask the judge for legal representation at the first preliminary proceeding? Can I ask for family counseling and/or mediation? What kind of fees am I expected to pay if I contest the summon?

A:  David's Answer:  Of the articles you've named, you're entitled to appointment of counsel in Art. 6 custody/visitation proceedings, Art. 8 family offense proceedings and Art. 10 child protective proceedings. You're not entitled to assignment of counsel in Art. 4 support proceedings, and only entitled to counsel in an Art. 5 paternity proceeding if it's contested. The are no court fees associated with Family Court proceedings & attorney's fees vary. You're best advised to call a Family Law attorney in your area to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I want to move in with my fiance but i am very concerned?

Q:  i am 18 years old and my fiance is 33. My grandfather is convinced that he can do something legally to my fiance. I want to move out as soon as possible because i can not stand the constant drama with it. He says he has notes that i wrote because he went through my belongings when i was 17 and i have found them but i dont know if he has made any copies. There are no names or dates in these notes. He is also putting a gps on my car and looks and calculates my milege. When i was 16/17 there was a CPS case opened and closed because there was zero information found because nothing was going on. I am concerned because i want to move out very badly but i have a feeling that my grandfather is up to something.

A:  David's Answer:   The age of consent for sexual relations is 17 in NY. At 18, you can move you, but with the possible consequence that you'll forfeit financial support. Call a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How can my ex go for visitation if in the divorce papers he stated there was no child born of the marriage

Q:  We were married and I got pregnant when we were separated. he stated that he did not know the child's birth date but he did enroll the child into DEERS and kept the BAH. We eventually became friends and we all hung out together and my son played with his kids. We got divorced 2 years ago after I waited for 12 years for it and a year later he pulls the demand of visitation. He is the legal father because my son was born on a military instillation and I had no choice but to list him but his biological father who has been there since the child's birth and by advice of my attorney challenged parental rights, we have been together for almost 14 years now. I want to know how to stop this craziness of going to court.

A:  David's Answer:  I'm confused by your posting - you say the "biological father ... challenged parental rights" - so did he win? Did a court thus rule that the true biological father is the legal father, or your ex? If so, then you can file a motion to dismiss the visitation case. If not, then you may need to file a paternity proceeding so as to challenge who is truly the legal father of the child. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I want to marry this man whom I love in pakistan but we can't afford to travel so we wanted to do by skype. I am hoping obam and

Q:  I have a son who medically can not travel. My fiance works but money very tight there. He love me to and we can tell someone about each other and know the answer. I love him and want to be with him. So please let me know about the skype wedding

A:  David's Answer:  Sorry - but parties must be present at the weeding ceremony for a marriage to be legal in NY.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

CP vs. NCP Health Insurance Responsibility

Q:  I have decent health insurance, for which there is very little out of pocket expense to me. Will NCP still be responsible for providing medical for our daughter? The more helath insurance the better, right?

A:  David's Answer:  Why have the family pay more as a unit for health insurance than necessary? if you have the better plan, the child can simply be covered by the one plan - just give a copy of the insurance card to the NCP. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I need to know if i can file a restraining order on my ex-girlfriends husband, because i believe he is mentally abusing my son?

Q:  Its not the first time this has happened and he has already been arrested in the past due to physical and mental abuse towards my sons mother and i don't want my son in the same situation she is in.

A:  David's Answer:  Usually "mental abuse" is not grounds for calling CPS, so before you do so, I'd highly advise to sit down with an attorney first. There is potential for blow-back if you file a false report. You should strive to communicate your concerns to your ex and then possibly consider filing a modification petition. Call a Family Law attorney in your area for a consult.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can a subpoena be served on a Sunday?

Q:  I dropped my daughter off today at my x/wives house and while taking my daughters clothes out of trunk a man placed paperwork on my seat of car it was a subpoena

A:  David's Answer: Not generally, as service is usually ineffective in NY on Sundays. That said, was it a subpoena or a summons? Also, if the "server" just placed it in your car as opposed to handing it to you, this was also ineffective. Call a Family Law attorney in your area to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Adoption overturn question

Q:  If a judicial consent form with signed by the biological father and his child was adopted 5 years ago, how can he contest now? All paperwork was filed through an attorney and the adoption was processed in westchester county family court. Should I be worried if he's fighting it now? My daughter is 14 now, doesn't she have a say in this? I am in search of the best lawyer possible/familiar with these types of cases to work with. Please advise.

A:  David's Answer:  If the judicial consent was done in court, it depends one whether the father was properly allocuted by the Judge as well as his purported basis to vacate the consent. One cannot render a definitive opinion over o forum like this, which is why you should bring your paperwork - as well as the transcript of the allocution - to a Westchester Family Law attorney at a consultation.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do I have the right to a copy of my termination papers in new york

Q:  was terminated signed no papers

A:  David's Answer:  If your parental rights were terminated, the order should have been served upon your attorney. You can also pick up a copy of any orders in the case by going to the Record Room of the Family Court (bring photo ID with you).   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do my marriage legal?

Q:  I had married woman, about 2 month later I found out, she is legally married in her country. When she applied for US visa she wrote on her application married&showed marriage certificate.
Before ceremony at city clerks office I ask her few times if she married in her country, she said" No". At clerks office she also said No and signed form confirming that.
My question is: "According to US law my marriage legal or not? Do I need to report that to city clerks office and nullify my marriage? Do I need to file for divorce( cause we split already).

A:  David's Answer:  If your wife was legally married when she married you, then you may file for annulment. You should get proof from her country that she is in fact still married prior to filing for the annulment. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can an adoption be overturned after 5 years?

Q:  Since birth, my daughters biological father was not involved in my daughters life, didn't see her, support her, ect. He owes $83,000 in back support. He signed away his rights and allowed my husband to adopt her 5 years ago. I just received a notice to appear in court because he's trying to overturn the adoption. Is this possible?

David's Answer:  It's certainly possible, but one would need to know how he "signed away his rights" & whether it was done properly. For instance, if he did an extrajudicial surrender, was it properly executed (where witnesses present, was he advised of his right to counsel, etc.)? You're best advised to schedule a consult with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In Rochester ny what is the legal age to leave without parent consent

Q:  I had a throw away in my home I told her she has to go home but she doesn't want to and left I'm concern she will be 17 June 13 2014

A:  David's Answer:  If you have a runway, you must immediately notify her parents where she is. If the parents consent, then she can stay with you. Otherwise, you'd need to file a custody petition with the Family Court. Call a Family Law attorney in your area to schedule a consult.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Do we need to notify the biological father of the adoption? How difficult does this sound otherwise?

Q:   He has seen her once in 8 yrs (she was approx 2 yrs old)
His name is not on the birth certificate.
Her last name is her mothers maiden name.
She has no knowledge of his existence, he's never tried to contact her.
He lives out of state, unknown where, but we could find him if we had to.
He pays no support, and has never attempted to.

A:  David's Answer:  In this circumstance, whether formal notice of the proceeding is given to the father is discretionary with the court. That said, most of the time the court will end up requiring that notice be given. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What are the chances of a grandmother getting visitation rights to visit grandchildren in NYS.

Q:  I have not seen my grandchildren since last year of June. There was a argument between my son, and the mother of my grandchildren concerning her boyfriend being disrespectful to me, and the argument became very heated to the point I had to call 911, the conversation took place over the telephone between my son and her boyfriend. My son called CPS , apparently there was also some allegations against her boyfriend involving her oldest daughter ,that isn't my sons biological child, it was after all this she stop bringing my children around, and would not answer my calls when i called to speak to my grandchildren.

A:  David's Answer:  You can certainly petition for visitation. How likely you would be to get an order depends on an assessment of many factors, such as the extent of your prior relationship with the children, their ages & preferences (if old enough) & whether you were at fault in the breakdown of the relationship. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

My husband and I have been living together for 4 years. Over the years, his ex-wife has made two allegations that suggest that

Q:  My husband and I have been living together for 4 years. Over the years, his ex-wife has made two allegations that suggest that I beat my step son. She has full custody of him, because she asked and my husband agreed to this. My husband picks him up from school every evening, around 6:30pm, we both help him with his homework and ensure he has his dinner. Most times I am not there, because I work late. He basically spends about 1 hour and a half to two hours a day. He spends some weekends with us, most of these weekends are when we attend family functions, so we're basically not at home a lone alot. This last week, started calling and texting my husband saying that she is going to take me to court, she says that I beat her our son everytime he is over at our home. what can I do?

A:  David's Answer:   There's little you can do to prevent someone from filing a report or petition against you, but you certainly can marshal a defense. The defense will depend on the nature of the allegations when made. I'd also suggest to communicate back (via your husband) and in a business-like fashion ask to sit down as a family & discuss the issues and also ask for specifics of her accusations (dates/times, etc.). Call a Family Law attorney in your area to schedule a consult.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can you sue for a false report against your family (child abuse, lack of supervision)

Q:  A report was filed against a 16 year old for "molestation" by a parent that has it out for her "ex" and his whole family. In HER report to the police, MOLESTATION was stated, when the child that it allegedly happened to was interview, she scoffed at it and said he kissed me once (they are brother and sister kisses are normal) due to the investigation that came after, the family was ripped apart, the dad is having his children kept from him and he is being indicated for lack of supervision along with the GF who lives in the house but isnt reponsible for HIS kids. Perhaps Slander? Emotional damage because of the roller coaster ride the family has been on, along with lawyer fees. Every year she attacks this family with something new

A:  David's Answer:  If the report was indicated, then this most likely vacates any ability to sue for a false report. The reason is that to be successful in alleging it was a false report, the father must prove there was NO basis to the report - the indicated report would directly contradict this. As such, the father should first challenge the indicated report by asking for a fair hearing. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

My childrens mother kicked my eighteen year old daughter out of the house and dropped my son off on the sidewalk and moved

Q:  Last week my son was abandoned in front of my home i go to get custody and find out custody had been given to his grandmother as of 2003 without my knowledge i was given a court date for next month but already had court date for support in july what are my options

A:  David's Answer:  You should merely amend your petition to include the grandmother as a respondent & serve her with the summons/petition in addition to the mother. Call a Family Law attorney in your area for more info.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Friday, July 4, 2014

Whats the law about this

Q: my fiancé who has been in my sons life sense before he was born signed the birth certificate and now i am hearing just cause his name is on it does not make him the father to my son i need to know if it does make him the father to my son. my fiancé did sign an acknowledgment of paternity.

A: Merely having one's name on the birth certificate isn't what matters - signing an acknowledgement of paternity is. In most instances, however, one's name appears on the birth certificate BECAUSE one has executed the acknowledgment of paternity.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

What can I do if I feel like cps is harassing me?

Q: First let me start off by saying I have been sick to my stomach for a month now because of CPS. Long story short I left my daughters father and with out thinking he called acs he even tried to take t back but as we know you can't do that . I went out of fear and got an op on him because I felt that was harassment . Everything was fine until I mentioned to my case worker I wanted to drop the op. She ht me with domestic violence and has been threatening me to go to counseling . Can I get my own counselor . And can I reduce the op to a limited op?

A: If you didn't allege a history of physical domestic violence, then I don't see the utility in CPS' suggestion. If they haven't filed a neglect proceeding against you, then the caseworker is likely bluffing & you should kindly tell her you don't feel you need counseling. Whether you reduce the OP or not takes an assessment of those allegations. Before you make any moves, you're well-advised to consult a Family Law attorney in your area.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can a father stop an adoption? I have a family to adopt my baby and fell its for the best. can he stop the adoption?

Q: I feel its for the best. He is so immature and doesn't even take care of himself. He is in college living at home with mommy. He still acts like a little kid even has issues with personal hygiene. Their house is gross and about 4 people smoke there. He refuses to think of whats best for the baby. He wont be able to support her let alone or even help me if I have the baby. Can he keep the adoption from happening?

A: He is generally entitled to notice of the adoption proceeding. If he has maintained "substantial contact" with the child and has not otherwise abused or neglected the child, then his consent will most likely be required to the adoption (although he'd need to appear in the action & contest). If he does, then file a petition for child support & aggressively pursue that case.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Am I responsible for my sons medical bills

Q: I live in new York state, my son is 21, and he is on my medical insurance, these bills are for balances not covered by insurance.

A: Unless you have a valid, written agreement (such as a divorce settlement) to the contrary, the your son is an adult & is responsible for his own bills at this point. Send the bills to him & if he doesn't pay, then kindly inform him he'll need to provide for his own coverage.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Motion for Comtempt

Q: My daughters father and I have never been married we have one child he lives in TX and I live in NY. I just found out today at the dentist office that her insurance was cancelled back in Dec 2013. Its on our original order which is from San Diego, CA but I'm in the process of moving the case here to NY. Her father never informed me. I emailed and asked for the information to be sent to me, but he is refusing and being very harsh with words. Can I file this motion, and if so how do I do it with out an attorney. I live on pay check to paycheck and its very difficult for me to hire an attorney.

A: Merely because you move to NY doesn't mean a NY court will have jurisdiction over him. You would first need to register the order for modification/enforcement purposes in NY. Only if it's accepted for registration may you then file an enforcement action against him here. Otherwise you'd need to file an enforcement action against him in TX.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Too rich to get a free lawyer too poor to pay for one. What happened to "middle class"

Q: Any advice for finding a Divorce lawyer.

A: Your answer - shop around. With the proviso that one generally gets what one pays for, there are many websites (including Avvo using the "Find-a-Lawyer" tab), such as, & which allow you to find a lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Can I consent to an order of protection without agreeing to what I have been accused of? Do I have to be there to do so?

Q: I have gone through this process with the same person before and the order was dismissed after wasted time and money. I can't afford to lose another 8 months as well as the money that was spent just to have the same outcome. It is clear this person won't stop until they get what they want which is to hurt me. I am willing to have the OP as long as I don't have to say I did the things I was accused of. Also, I would like to avoid seeing this person at all costs. Is there any way to consent to the order without me being at court for the date scheduled?

A: You can have a consent order of protection with no finding of wrongdoing, but must generally be present in court to enter your consent.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

I am planing on moving back to my home country in Europe

Q: My daughter is 19 months old and saw his father for the first time this january. he never want to see her until i filed for child support. As a right now there in no visitations/custody order from the court we only have child support agreement signed. My ex boyfriend has visitation every saturday 2 hours and we agreed also on one week day but he is visiting only on saturdays. since i am not american citizen i am planing to move back to my home country with my daughter of course with court permission. My question is will my ex boyfriend still pay child support if we move?

A: The father should continue paying the child support, as the child is over the age of majority for visitation purposes. That said, the father MAY file a petition saying that he's been deprived of a relationship without justification with the child & thereby the child's been emancipated. If he does, you may need to litigate that issue.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Need advice now - got CPS abusing me and my son

Q: i have full custody and cps is coming here 5 times already and states theres a coi along with a complaint of abuse against me. dont i have the right under the law to see what accusations are against me/ im not asking for persons name . and i was told by a friend i had the right to see charges (copy for my records).

A: Yes, absolutely - you have a right to a letter from CPS notifying you of the existence of the report. On that letter will be an address for OCFS where you can obtain a copy of the report. You should immediately send a letter via certified mail, return receipt to them requesting a copy of the report.  -- Westchester Family Law attorney (

I think my spouse is bi-polar/mentally unstable. How can I legally protect myself to keep son with me if I have to move out?

Q: I believe my spouse is mentally ill. We have 7 yr old. If I have to move out w/son. Can I apply for physical custody to protect son from being taken from me by husband. I have been keeping emails to myself documenting "events" that happen and sending to myself as a journal of sorts. Any other advice? I want to be realistic for outcome. I have begun to create a support network of family/friends. His Siblings /friends are aware he has a "problem" just by knowing him. I just started seeing a psychologist w/hopes of making decisions & coping skills for myself and son. I don't want to divorce but don't think its healthy for our son to live in current circumstances. Bad mood swings/rage/belittling.

A: The issue is whether you anticipate your spouse contesting custody. If this is your anticipation, then you may wish to consider filing for divorce along with an order to show cause for interim custody. If you leave without a court order, he may run into court & obtain an order requiring you to return the child to the marital residence.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Grounds for emancipation or change of guardian

Q: My aunt (Guardian)was drunk the other night and the cops were called. we live in a bad area of town(shootings everywhere) and she is a heavy smoker and i dont want to be around any of that as i grew up with that traumatic experiences. I have another adult who would love to have me and support me. is this grounds for emancipation or at least will i be able to get a different guardianship.

A: Assuming you're under 18, the "other adult" would need to file for custody or guardianship of you. Have that "other adult" call a Family Law attorney in your area.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Separated (not legally) from husband 6 years. am i liable for his medical bills?

Q: Hello. My husband and I have been separated for 6 years. Nothing legal in place, we simply split up over 6 years ago. He is still a dependent on my GHI medical insurance. a year ago he sustained an injury and has to undergo a few surgical procedures. My question is, am I liable for any outstanding medical bills? And does he have to remain on my insurance until we actually get divorced? According to my plan, there has to be a "qualifying event" such as a divorce or a birth or a marriage to add/drop dependents, but is this even after one has been separated this long?

A: Generally any debt, including medical debt, which accrues during a marriage is considered marital dent such that each of you would be liable on same. And generally, one must continue coverage until divorced - all the more reason to file for divorce sooner rather than later.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

How is the order of protection in a CPS case in which one is prohibited from home/school of child interpreted? Worth an appeal?

Q: Parent with an otherwise pristine social and parenting record was wrongfully indicated in a CPS case of a 5 year old who is reported to be "credible," though the child omitted many details of the accidental components of his bruising. Parent also admitted to spanking. The court extended the order of protection beyond the normal limits of a CPS case totally so far 80 days. Devastated parent is to stay away from home and school as per OOP. However, the OOP does not state anything about "sleeping under the same roof," though this is how it is verbally put forth by the CPS case worker.

A: If the order of protection states that you're to stay away from the child's home, then you cannot "sleep under the same roof," unless that roof isn't the child's home. As for your chances on appeal, you generally need to file an appeal within 30 days, so if the order's been in place for 80 days, you may have missed your deadline.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

Child Support and medical bills

Q: My ex just presented me with the medical co-pay bills for our daughter. The bills date back to 2013. If she had presented the payments to me as each month, it would have been more manageable. Is there a time frame she should be presenting these to me? Should I petition in court for this change? The bill is nearly $2000 total over the last year. For the first half of the year, I didn't even know y daughter was getting out patient treatment.

A: You should write your ex & ask that she provide the bills on a monthly or bimonthly basis. And yes, if she doesn't agree to do so, you can file a modification petition asking that such provision be worked into the order (though some Magistrates may find that to be "micro-managing").  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law lawyer (

My ex enrolled our child in a specialty summer camp instead of the local town camp.

Q: The specialty camp cost $300 more than the town camp! I only found out the day before that he was going to camp even though we are supposed to decide together per the visitation and custody order. Can I fight the difference in court and ask to pay what it would have been if he had gone to the town camp? Our order only states I pay a portion of summer camp.

A: This depends in large part on whether you have joint custody requiring the CP to consult you before making such decisions. If not, then I don't see the cost of the camp as so substantial over-and-above the town camp that a Magistrate will find same to be an unreasonable choice.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

If my ex and I come up to an agreement on custody will the judge just make change?

Q: If my ex is agreeing to let my 13 year old son come live with me will they change custody on the first day of court ? And will my son still have to talk to a law guardian.

A: It's extremely likely that the Judge would approve whatever change you're agreeing to in terms of the change of custody. While possible, I see it as unlikely the Judge would assign an Attorney to represent the child, unless relatively recently the case had been in court.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (