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 (