Articles Posted in Manhattan

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The issue before this Court is whether a finding of neglect as to a newborn and the newborn’s older sibling may be based solely on the newborn’s positive toxicology for a controlled substance. We conclude that more than a positive toxicology is generally required for a neglect determination. We affirm in this case because, as the Appellate Division concluded, there is additional evidence in the record supporting the Family Court’s findings of neglect.

The appellant gave birth to her son in November 1990. Both mother and son tested positive for cocaine. After learning of the positive toxicologies, the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS) brought a petition pursuant to section 1022 of the Family Court Act to temporarily remove Dante from appellant’s care. Family Court conducted a hearing on the removal petition on November 21, 1990.

At the hearing, DSS presented evidence that the son was born with a positive toxicology for cocaine and a low birth weight. DSS also presented evidence that appellant had a history of cocaine abuse, had been admitted to several drug rehabilitation centers, and that appellant’s mother had custody of two of appellant’s children because appellant’s drug use rendered her incapable of caring for them. Appellant’s mother informed DSS that she had observed appellant high on cocaine in the last weeks of appellant’s pregnancy with the son. Appellant told DSS that she smoked a cigarette at a Halloween party at the end of her pregnancy which may have contained cocaine.

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A New York Family Lawyer said in this paternity proceeding, the Court is faced with a fascinating issue of statutory construction of apparent first impression. At issue is whether results of a blood genetic marker test administered to a putative father prior to his death in a paternity proceeding relating to a prior child of the same parties sufficiently supports petitioner’s standing under Family Court Act § 519(c) to commence a new paternity proceeding involving another child of the same parties. Consistent with principles of statutory construction and in furtherance of the child’s welfare and public policy, this Court answers the question in the affirmative.

In 1991, assignor (“Mother”) gave birth out-of-wedlock to a baby boy in East Meadow, Nassau County, New York. Shortly after the birth, she and the child began receiving public financial assistance from the Nassau County Department of Social Services. Petitioner herein, Commissioner of Social Services, subsequently instituted a paternity proceeding on behalf of Mother against respondent to declare him the child’s father and to obtain indemnification for child support payments. Mother alleged in the petition that she had had sexual intercourse with respondent on several occasions from 1983 to 1991, during the time including the critical period of conception. Petitioner was looking for child support apparently based on the fact that respondent was the owner of a gas station in Massapequa, New York.

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said that on the appearance date, Hearing Examiner (“H.E.”) ordered the parties to submit to blood genetic marker tests to determine whether respondent could be excluded as being the child’s father. Following the administering and analysis of the blood genetic marker tests in the form of Human Leukocyte Antigen (“HLA”) tests or blood grouping tests, respondent could not be excluded as child’s father due to a 99.83% probability of paternity as compared to an untested random man of similar ethnic background. Based on those results and respondent’s voluntarily and intelligently made admission of paternity, an Order of Filiation was enteredby H.E., declaring respondent as child’s father and ordering him to temporarily pay a monthly child support. The temporary order of support was made final in June 1992. Respondent apparently complied with that support order for several years, while continuing having a relationship with Mother.

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A New York Family Lawyer said in an action for a divorce and ancillary relief, the defendant husband appeals, as limited by his brief, from stated portions of a judgment of the Nassau County Supreme Court which, upon a decision of the same court made after a nonjury trial, adjudicated him in contempt of court, distributed the marital property, and awarded the complainant wife with maintenance and counsel fees. The notice of appeal from the decision is deemed a notice of appeal from the judgment.

A New York Custody Lawyer said it is ordered that the judgment is modified, on the law, by deleting the provision thereof directing the defendant husband to transfer the title of certain commercial property to the wife; as so modified, the judgment is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs to the wife, and the matter is remitted to the Nassau County Supreme Court for the entry of an appropriate amended judgment in accordance herewith.

A Manhattan Family Lawyer said in order to sustain a finding of civil contempt under Judiciary Law based on a violation of a court order, it is necessary to establish by clear and convincing evidence that a lawful court order clearly expressing an unequivocal mandate was in effect, that the person alleged to have violated the order had actual knowledge of its terms, and that the violation has defeated, impaired, impeded, or prejudiced the rights of a party. Here, the evidence was sufficient to establish that the defendant husband knowingly disobeyed the Supreme Court’s order directing him to pay an expert to ascertain the value of his business and also failed to comply with the pendente lite (awaiting the litigation) support order. Consequently, the Supreme Court properly adjudicated the defendant husband in contempt of court.

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A New York Family Lawyer said that, in a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 4, the father appeals from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County, dated March 30, 2009, which denied his objections to so much of an order of the same court, dated October 14, 2008, as granted that branch of the mother’s motion which was to preclude evidence of the father’s finances and, in effect, granted the mother’s petition to enforce the provisions of a judgment of divorce dated July 9, 1996, and the parties’ separation agreement which was incorporated but not merged into the judgment of divorce, obligating the father to pay the college expenses of the parties’ child.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the issue in this case is whether the court erred in granting to enforce the provisions of a judgment of divorce dated July 9, 1996.

A New York City Family Lawyer said the court in deciding the case said that, contrary to the father’s contention, there is no requirement that a movant identify a specific statute or rule in the notice of motion, only that the notice “specify the relief demanded and the grounds therefor” (CPLR 2214 [a]). Even though the mother’s notice of motion and supporting affirmation did not formally and specifically request relief pursuant to CPLR 3126, where, as here, there is no misunderstanding or prejudice, “a court may grant relief that is warranted by the facts plainly appearing on the papers on both sides”. Here, the mother’s notice of motion clearly seeks the relief of preclusion based upon the father’s alleged willful failure to respond to her discovery demands. Accordingly, because the father was adequately apprised of the relief sought and the grounds therefor, there was no prejudice, and the Child Support Magistrate did not err in treating the motion as one made pursuant to CPLR 3126.

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This is a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act, article 4, wherein the mother appeals from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County dated 18 June 2007 which denied her objections to an order of the same court dated 15 December 2006, granting the father’s petition for downward modification of his child support obligation as set forth in a judgment of divorce entered 19 April 2005, to the extent of reducing his child support obligation from the sum of $2,400 per month to the sum of $1,448.12 per month.

A New York Family Lawyer said the court modifies, on the law, the order dated 18 June 2007 by deleting the provision thereof denying the mother’s objection to so much of the order dated 15 December 2006 as granted the father’s petition for downward modification of his child support obligation to the extent of reducing his child support obligation from the sum of $2,400 per month to the sum of $1,448.12 per month, and substituting therefor a provision sustaining that objection, and vacating the provision of the order dated 15 December 2006 granting the father’s petition for downward modification of his child support obligation to the extent of reducing his child support obligation from the sum of $2,400 per month to the sum of $1,448.12 per month; as so modified, the order dated 18 June 2007 is affirmed, without costs or disbursements, and the matter is remitted to the Family Court, Nassau County, for a new determination of the father’s child support obligation.

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said the long- term marriage of the parties produced three children. In 2003, the parties entered into a stipulation of settlement which was incorporated but not merged in the parties’ judgment of divorce, entered 19 April 2005. In relevant part, the stipulation of settlement provided that the parties would each pay one half of the children’s college expenses. The settlement further states that at such time as a child attends college, the amount of Child Support shall be readjusted based on Reinisch v Reinisch.

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A New York Family Lawyer said that, this is an appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, entered April 28, 2009 in Ulster County, which, among other things, awarded plaintiff custody of the parties’ child. Plaintiff (hereinafter the father) and defendant (hereinafter the mother) were married in 2004 and are the parents of a daughter (born in 2005). Within weeks of her birth, the couple began experiencing marital difficulties, stemming from the father’s growing concern about the mother’s mental health. In January 2006, when the child was just five weeks old, the mother vacated the couple’s marital residence in Ulster County and traveled to Nassau County with the child. The father immediately initiated a proceeding in Ulster county Family Court requesting joint custody of the child and an order prohibiting the mother from removing the child from the County. Family Court issued an interim order restricting the mother from leaving the state with the child and set a prompt return date.

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said that, a flurry of litigation between the parties ensued. As relevant to this appeal, within days of the mother’s departure, each party commenced an action for divorce in Supreme Court, the father in Ulster County and the mother in Nassau County, each moving, by order to show cause, for an award of full custody of the child. The actions were consolidated and venue was placed in Ulster County. The mother was initially granted temporary custody of the child, with supervised visitation to the father, and remained in Nassau County during the pendency of the action. Throughout the course of the litigation, the father sought and was awarded increased visitation with the child. By September 2007, when the child was 21 months old, the parties had stipulated to a temporary custody and visitation schedule which provided generous unsupervised and overnight visitation to the father. The parties agreed to proceed to trial on the issues of shared custody and visitation only. Following a 29-day trial, Supreme Court awarded the father sole custody of the child, with liberal visitation to the mother on a set schedule to continue at least until the child began pre-kindergarten. The mother appealed.

A Manhattan Family Lawyer said the issue in this case is whether the court erred in awarding the father sole custody of the child, with liberal visitation to the mother.

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A New York Family Lawyer said in this case, petitioners appeal from so much of a judgment, as denied their request for class action treatment and dismissed so much of their consolidated proceedings as challenged the respondents’ 22-hour per day lock-in policy with respect to certain pretrial detainees.

A New York Custody lawyer said that initially the respondents argue that because none of the named appellants is at the present time incarcerated at the Correctional Center, this matter should be deemed academic and the appeal dismissed.

The Court disagreed inasmuch as the lock-in of pretrial detainees will doubtless recur and because the questions presented on this appeal are of substantial importance and general interest.

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A New York Family Lawyer said that, this proceeding was commenced by Petitioner, pro se, by Order to Show Cause dated January 29, 2009, pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”) Article 78 to vacate a Child Support Judgment of Arrears issued in favor of respondent, Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, Division of Child Support Enforcement (“OTDA”), on the grounds that “it has been determined by law to be uncollectible.”

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said that, before responding to the merits of the Petition, OTDA cross moved to dismiss the petition on three grounds, viz: 1. The Petition failed to state a cause of action. 2. That pursuant to General Obligations Law § 17-101, the Statute of Limitations is inapplicable, and 3. Delgado has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. OTDA further seeks dismissal claiming that OTDA is not the proper respondent entity in a proceeding of this nature.

A New York City Family Lawyer said that, on August 23, 1983, Family Court, Bronx County, ordered petitioner to pay the new York City Department of Social Services (“DSS”) $90.00 per month or about or about $5,280 per year, commencing August 29, 1983, to reimburse DSS with respect to support for his two sons, Gabriel, born February 3, 1981 and Alexander born March 5, 1983 (the “children”). DSS was to receive the funds because the children and their mother were on public assistance. By reason of petitioner’s failure to make the required payments, DSS took petitioner to Bronx Family Court, which, on November 6, 1996, entered an order fixing the arrears due to DSS at $28,801.35 and modified the 1983 order to terminate is prospectively, thereby terminating petitioner’s obligation to provide further support for his children after such date.

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A New York Family Lawyer said this is a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 4 where the father appeals from the order of the Family Court of Kings County dated 7 October 2009 granting the mother’s objection to an order of the same court dated 12 December 2008 dismissing her petition for an upward modification of child support for lack of subject matter jurisdiction to the extent of vacating the order dated 12 December 2008 and remitting the matter to the Support Magistrate to issue supplemental written findings of fact and a new determination on the issue of subject matter jurisdiction; and, the mother cross-appeals from the order dated 7 October 2009 granting her objection to the order dated 12 December 2008 only to the extent of vacating that order and remitting the matter to the Support Magistrate to issue supplemental written findings of fact and a new determination on the issue of subject matter jurisdiction.

The order dated 7 October 2009 was affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements; and, the order dated 7 October 2009 was reversed insofar as cross-appealed from, on the law, without costs or disbursements, the mother’s objection was granted in its entirety, the order dated 12 December 2008 was vacated, and the matter was remitted to the Family Court of Kings County for further proceedings on the merits of the mother’s petition for an upward modification of child support.

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said the specific events that took place are as follows:

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A New York Family Lawyer said that, in a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 4, the father appeals, as limited by his brief, from so much of an order of the Family Court, Westchester County, entered October 31, 2008, as denied his objections to an order of the same court, dated February 13, 2008, which, after a hearing, inter alia, granted the mother’s petition for a modification of her child support obligation, vacated a prior order of child support nunc pro tunc to September 9, 2005, vacated the mother’s child support arrears, and directed the Support Collection Unit to stop charging or collecting child support against the mother.

The issue in this case is whether the court erred in modifying the child support obligation of the mother.

A New York Child Custody Lawyer said The Child Support Standards Act (hereinafter CSSA) (Family Ct Act § 413; Domestic Relations Law § 240) imposes a “basic child support obligation” upon a parent based upon numerical guidelines, and a rebuttable presumption exists that the amount of child support calculated under the statutory guidelines is correct. However, this presumption may be rebutted, and the support obligation adjusted, if the court finds that the noncustodial parent’s support obligation is “unjust or inappropriate” based upon its consideration of statutory factors set forth in Family Court Act § 413(1)(f). Such factors include, inter alia, the financial resources of each parent (Family Ct Act § 413[1][f][1]), the relative gross income of each parent (Family Ct Act § 413[1][f][7]), and “any other factors the court determines are relevant in each case” (Family Ct Act § 413[1][f][10]; see Domestic Relations Law § 240[1-b][f][1], [7], [10] [setting forth the same factors]). Where, after considering the statutory factors, “the court finds that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the basic child support obligation is unjust or inappropriate, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay such amount of child support as the court finds just and appropriate” and shall set forth its reasons therefor in a written order.

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