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Family law in the State of New York is handled through the Family Court system. It can include virtually any area pertaining to the dissolution of marriages, paternity, child support, child custody and a whole host of other domestic-related issues. Although the name Family Court sounds relatively benign, the court has enormous power to impose life-changing decisions, both for the benefit of and to the detriment to parties to cases brought before it.
If you are facing hearings, actions or trials with the New York Family Courts, the first and most important thing you can do is to get an experienced attorney on your side who specializes in family law. A good family law / criminal attorney can make all of the difference, giving you the possible chances to prevail in the Family Courts.
While there are a large number of versatile law practices that represent clients across all different categories of cases, family law in the state of New York is unique enough that you should always seek to hire an attorney that specializes in this area of jurisprudence.
The Family Courts, unlike criminal and civil proceedings, are largely built around the framework of existing case law. Although there are areas of statutory law that apply to the Family Courts, such as New York’s Domestic Relations Laws, most of the relevant law in this area of practice come from cases that have been tried and interpreted by appellate courts or the New York Supreme Court. This patchwork of disparate cases makes fully understanding this area of the law a difficult, time-consuming task. It is left to the professionals who have made a practice that solely focuses on this area.
One of the greatest mistakes that we see clients make regarding the Family Courts is not taking the process seriously. This often results in personal catastrophe, up to and including the parent in question landing in jail multiple times for extended periods.
In New York, all court orders regarding custody are binding on the parties until the child turns 18 years old. All orders regarding child support payments are binding on the parties until the child reaches the age of 21. However, even these do not illustrate the full effect that Family Court orders may have on the parents bound by them.
For example, child support payments, including all related fines and fees, cannot be discharged other than by settlement in full. This means that, even if the child has reached the age of 21, any outstanding balances from child support owed will continue to be treated as currently owed child support. The implications of this can be dire, since in the state of New York, non-payment of child support is considered a criminal matter once it surpasses a certain level.
This means that we see clients who end up doing jail time for child support payments that were never received, and their child is now in their late 20s or 30s. In fact, because non-payment of child support often results in jail time for the non-custodial parent, this aspect of the Family Courts is one of the more seriously consequential types of hearing that any citizen of the state can go through. It is not uncommon for parents who cannot pay their child support to end up doing jail time that totals more than what many serious felons end up serving.
If you are facing actions against you through the state’s Family Courts, call our law offices today, and let us give you the edge you need to come out ahead.