Articles Posted in Child Support

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A man and a woman had a turbulent romantic relationship that was marked by frequent disagreements. The disagreements resulted in a pattern of a parting of ways, a reconciliation; a revival of love only to end back in disagreements and a parting of ways.

In April 2000 when the man and the woman were living together in New York, the woman gave birth to their common child, a daughter. A New York Family Lawyer said a year later, the woman booted out the man from their shared apartment. That same month, the man filed a petition in the Family Court of New York asking for visitation rights with her natural daughter. Days after the man filed the petition the woman filed her own petition for sole custody of her daughter and permission to relocate to Virginia where, she said she was a permanent resident prior to the birth of her child and that she came to New York only three months before she gave birth. She also claimed that the man was verbally abusive and that he threatened her. The family court issued a temporary order of protection.

Initially, the family court held a hearing to find out if during the pendency of the actions for custody and visitation, the father can be given the privilege of supervised visitation with his daughter. The woman vigorously opposed the granting of supervised visitation rights to the man stating that the man was emotionally unfit as he suffered from depression and that his apartment was too small for her child to visit with her father. The Family Court nevertheless granted the father’s request for temporary visitation rights.

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The parties met in New York, while the defendant (husband) was on a vacation from his employment as a diplomat with the United Nation particularly, a Deputy Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip. At that time, the plaintiff (wife), was newly admitted to the New York bar and employed as an attorney with a law firm.

A New York Family Lawyer said that the defendant transferred to Jerusalem as Director of UNRWA operations. A New York Divorce Lawyer said that the parties maintained a long-distance relationship for a year until the plaintiff terminated her employment in New York and joined the defendant in Jerusalem, where she became a Lecturer and Program Supervisor. For over a year of living together, they married each other at the British Consulate in Jerusalem.

Thereafter, defendant was transferred to Lebanon while the plaintiff had been a working with the United Nations Development program in Jerusalem and continued for a few months more before joining defendant in Lebanon. The parties’ child was born in Beirut, Lebanon.

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The Facts:

Respondent is the biological mother (herein the respondent-mother) of six-year old boy (the subject child or the child) conceived through artificial insemination and born in December 2003. A New York Family Lawyer said the respondent-mother and petitioner met in 2002 and entered into a civil union in the State of Vermont in November 2003, the month before the subject child’s birth. The respondent-mother repeatedly rebuffed petitioner’s requests to become the child’s second parent by means of adoption.

Sometime in the spring of 2006, the relationship between the respondent-mother and petitioner soured and they separated. Thereafter, respondent-mother allowed petitioner to have supervised visits with the child each week on a Sunday, Wednesday and Friday for specified periods of time, as well as daily contact by telephone. However, sometime in the spring of 2008, respondent-mother began scaling back the visits. By early May of 2008, she had cut off all communication between petitioner and the child.

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The Facts:

On 16 January 1981, plaintiff and defendant were married in New York. On 10 September 1983, their daughter was born.

A New York Family Lawyer said the defendant claims that she, plaintiff, and their daughter moved to Israel in about 1987, with the intention of living there permanently. On the other hand, although they purchased an apartment in Israel, plaintiff claims that he had no intention of permanently relocating there and had applied for permanent residency in that country only to obtain government benefits for defendant and their daughter.

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This case arose from a divorce proceeding which was commenced in Massachusetts. Respondent’s physical custody of the two minor children was initially pursuant to the parties’ May 21, 1993 separation agreement. A New York Family Lawyer said that agreement provided for joint custody, with primary physical residence with respondent and liberal visitation with petitioner. It further provided that petitioner would pay child support to respondent in accordance with the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, and that “[t]his Agreement shall be construed and governed according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

A judgment of divorce incorporating the separation agreement was entered in Massachusetts on April 13, 1994.

In 1995, Respondent relocated to Buffalo, New York with the parties’ two children in accordance with an agreement entered in by the parties in a Massachusetts Proceeding which sought the court’s authorization to relocate the children to Buffalo, New York. The said agreement further provided that “Massachusetts will retain jurisdiction over the children and the parties to the extent otherwise consistent with law and for so long as petitioner remains a resident in the Commonwealth.”

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In a contested child protective and child custody proceeding, the administration for children’s services sought an order directing the removal of the child from the home of the paternal grandmother who resides in Virginia. The motion is supported by the law guardian and opposed by the parents of the child.

The administration for children’s services filed a neglect petitions against the parents of the child alleging that they neglected the child by inflicting excessive corporal punishment causing numerous marks and bruises on the child’s body. A New York Family Lawyer said the petitions allege that the child was beaten by the mother with an extension cord and punched by both parents. In addition, the petitions allege that the father is a person legally responsible for the child because of the fact that he is married to the child’s mother. Lastly, the petitions allege that the other two children of the parents are derivatively neglected children.

On the day the petitions were filed, a hearing was conducted and granted the application for the remand, directing that the child will be placed with the maternal great-grandfather and that the two younger children be placed together with kinship resources. During the months that followed the initial removal, the two younger children were moved several times and are currently in their second non-kinship foster home.

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On a motion for a change of child custody by a father whose former wife has breached the restrictive residence provision of a non-merged separation agreement by surreptitiously removing the children of the marriage to California, two equally strong policies are contra posed to each other. A New York Family Lawyer said the policy of courts to jealously protect the visitation rights of a non-custodial parent, and on the other, the policy of deferring jurisdiction of custody disputes to that jurisdiction best able to hear all relevant evidence concerning the children’s past, present and future circumstances.

The court determines that it is in the children’s best interests that the matter be heard in California, where nearly all the relevant evidence can be found. The case involves neither child snatching nor forum shopping. Moreover, the papers before the court strongly suggest that the father is not, at present, a fit custodian of the children whereas the mother has made a strong showing that the children’s welfare has substantially improved in California. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that since the court is confident that the California courts will be sensitive to the father’s visitation rights, the court declines to exercise its jurisdiction on the condition that appropriate proceedings should be promptly commenced in the California courts.

In a separation agreement dated June 22, 1982, the complainant mother and the father agreed that the mother would have the child custody and the father would have reasonable rights of visitation upon 48 hours notice. It was further agreed that the mother would not remove with the children more than 200 miles from New York without the father’s consent.

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The court is called upon to make certain decisions based upon a dispute involving allegations that a mother, through her actions, actively and passively alienated and influenced a child to the point that the child may no longer have any inclination or desire to see her father again. A New York Family Lawyer said as equally important, the court must also determine the credibility of claims of egregious domestic violence during a long-term marriage of 31 years alleged to have been perpetrated against the mother, herself an advocate for the rights of women in divorce actions.

One of the most difficult decisions a Judge has to make is that which impacts upon the life of a child. The law has long recognized the special place and role of the court in deciding issues relating to children and the long term impact that our courts have on the life of a child.

The parties were married in August 1973. The wife is 52 years of age and the husband is 56 years of age. On the date of their marriage, the husband was 22 years of age and a college graduate while the wife was then 18 years of age and a high school graduate. During the course of the marriage, four children were born to the parties, the eldest daughter, age 32; the eldest son, age 26; the youngest son, age 20; and the youngest daughter, age 13. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the two youngest children, the youngest son (presently age 20) and the youngest daughter (presently age 13), remain un-emancipated. During the course of the litigation the youngest son resided in Israel or was a resident student at a university. It appears the youngest son is fully and voluntarily supported by the father and does not permanently reside with either party, although he does reside with the mother during the summer recess from school.

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An Italian-born American woman married another American in the United States in August 1992. They went to Italy where their only son was born in July 2001. The child has Italian and American citizenship.

A New York Family Lawyer said the couple divorced in April 2004 in New York but the divorce decree did not rule on the custody or visitation issue because New York was not the home state of their son as he has lived only nine months in New York prior to his parents’ divorce.

The mother returned to Italy with her son to apply with the Italian courts for a determination of the custody and visitation issue. The Italian court awarded the mother sole custody of their son and gave visitation rights to the father. The Italian court went further and allowed the mother to decide whether she wants to reside in Italy or the United States as long as the father is not deprived of his right to visitation.

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Petitioner mother and respondent father were married in Colorado in 1979. They had a child born in Wyoming. Thereafter the mother filed for divorce in Wyoming. A New York Family Lawyer said at about that time, the mother moved with the child to New York, where they have resided since. During the divorce action, the parties entered into an agreement resolving the issues of child custody, visitation, and support.

The mother was granted custody of the child in New York and the father was awarded liberal visitation, including extended summer visitation with the child in Wyoming. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that settlement agreement was incorporated into the divorce decree rendered by the Wyoming District Court. In 1991, the father brought an application in Wyoming to enforce his visitation rights and prevent the mother from interfering with visitation. The parties reached a stipulation. The Wyoming District Court issued an amended divorce decree incorporating the terms of that stipulation.

The mother petitioned Chautauqua County Family Court for an order modifying visitation.

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