What factors affect child custody?

The laws relating to custody emphasize the best interest of the children. Both natural and adoptive parents may not ordinarily be denied custody unless there is gross parental unfitness. 

There are numerous factors considered by the court in making custody and visitation determinations. Such factors include age, physical, mental and emotional health of the child or parent, and the quality of the home environment, including continuity, stability and security in the child’s home. Other factors that are considered include the primary caretaker status of a parent (which may not necessarily override other factors), whether a parent has made unfounded allegations of abuse, and the recognition (or lack thereof) of the importance that a child have a relationship with the non-custodial parent (alienation). Custody is not awarded after a child has attained the age of eighteen. (Note, however, that the statutory “cut-off” for child support, absent other agreement of the parents, is twenty-one years of age). When custody is contested, the court may appoint an “attorney for the child” (formerly called a “law guardian”) to represent the child(ren). This person is a lawyer who will interview the children (if age appropriate) and represent the child(ren)’s wishes to the court. If the child is of a young age this person is required to make a recommendation to the court concerning the custody arrangement. 

What are the forms of child custody?

The most common forms of custody are sole custody, which gives one parent authority to make all decisions, and joint custody, which often refers to parental sharing of major decisions concerning child rearing. Legal custody refers to the authority of one or both parents to make decisions as to the child’s health, education, welfare and other interests. Physical custody describes the physical residence of the child. For example, one parent may have sole physical custody while the parents have joint legal custody. Regardless of the custody label, parents have great latitude to determine a custody arrangement by entering into a written custody 

What is divorce mediation? How does it work?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which an impartial party helps spouses to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The general idea behind mediation is that the traditional adversarial approach to marital dissolution can be costly, counterproductive and emotionally punishing. Mediation may provide a way to resolve the various issues surrounding the dissolution of a marriage in a relatively amicable way. However, be aware that the mediation setting may also become just another forum for a wife and husband to vent their anger, frustration and other emotions in a counterproductive manner. 

Your spouse cannot force you to participate in mediation, nor can you force your spouse to cooperate. To be successful, mediation requires that both parties to the divorce be committed to the mediation process and be prepared to openly discuss financial and other issues. Mediation is not recommended if there is domestic abuse, the threat of abuse or if one spouse is likely to “overpower” the other spouse in the mediation process. To commence the mediation process, a mediator mutually acceptable to both spouses is selected. Some mediators have professional backgrounds in the field of social work. A mediator may or may not be a lawyer but should not provide legal advice in his or her capacity as mediator. Unlike an arbitrator, a mediator cannot impose settlement terms on the parties. 

New York Eviction Laws On Holdover Cases

Holdover Summary Proceeding – generally used to refer to any summary proceeding brought to evict on some basis other than for non-payment. 

Expiration or Termination of Lease – RPAPL §711(1) provides the fundamental authority for a holdover proceeding, and authorizes the maintenance of a summary eviction proceeding against a tenant who “continues in possession … after the expiration of his term without the permission of the landlord”. This applies to the tenant whose lease has expired by operation of law or because the lease has been terminated by operation of a conditional limitation in the lease. The terms of the lease control. The lease cannot be terminated for reasons other than those allowed under the lease (ie. No termination for “objectionable conduct” unless there is a provision in the lease authorizing such termination. See Perrotta, 98 AD2d 1, 469 NYS2d 504; Levesque, 106 Misc2d 432, 430 NYS2d 482). 

Rent / Use and Occupancy – Petitioner may seek rent for a period prior to the end of the tenancy and U&O for the period respondent “holds over”. The amount of U&O is set by the Court, but is generally set at the amount of the rent. 

New York Eviction Laws on Non Payment Cases

Three Day Notice – RPAPL 711(2) requires petitioner to make a demand for rent prior to commencement of the eviction proceeding. The demand can be oral or written. If written, it must provide respondent with 3 days to pay the rent. The 3 day Notice must be served on the respondent and filed with the Court. The 3-day notice must state the amount of rent due and the period of time covered by that amount, together with a demand that the total amount be paid within 3 business days after service of the notice or tenant must give up possession. The date of service is excluded, as are Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Petition must seek rent and not other charges – While petitioner can seek attorney’s fees (if agreed to in the lease) and Court costs, generally, respondent cannot be evicted for the failure to pay these costs, especially in a rent-regulated situation.

Calculation Of Spousal Support, What You Need To Know

While your divorce case is going on, if your spouse earns more than you, you may also ask the Judge to award you temporary financial support, which your spouse will pay to you until the divorce becomes finalized. This type of support is called “temporary” or “pendente lite” maintenance. 

Even if your spouse earns more than you, the Judge will not order your spouse to pay temporary maintenance if they would not be able to support themselves while making payments. 

If you are seeking temporary maintenance and child support, the amount you receive in temporary maintenance gets subtracted from your spouse’s income and added to your income before child support is calculated. 

Burden Of Proof And What it Means.

Whenever a party brings an allegation in any type of case, that party must prove those allegations. The standard or burden of proof varies depending on the type of case involved. In civil cases, for example, the burden of proof is usually preponderance of the evidence. This standard requires the plaintiff to prove that the allegations in the complaint are more likely true than not. Many commentators have described it as the plaintiff ’s burden to tip the scales of proof in the plaintiff ’s direction. Others have attempted to quantify it by saying that if the plaintiff can establish the facts to 51%, then the plaintiff has satisfied preponderance of the evidence. There are different burdens of proof in different types of actions. For instance, in criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. If preponderance of the evidence is considered to be a slight tipping of the scale in the plaintiff’s favor, proof beyond a reasonable doubt would require the government to swing the scale entirely to its side. Although preponderance of the evidence is the most com- monly seen burden of proof, there are situations in which a civil litigant might have to prove his or her case by clear and convincing evidence. The standard of “clear and convincing evidence” is higher than preponderance of the evidence and less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It falls somewhere between these two burdens. Clear and convincing evidence requires the fact finder to determine with substantial certainty that the party’s allegations are true. 

How Does Civil Law Differ from Other Areas of Law?

There are dozens of other branches of law. Administrative law deals with the rules and regula- tions that govern governmental agencies. Admiralty law governs the law of the sea. Bankruptcy law is concerned with discharging debts through court proceedings. Criminal law focuses on punishing lawbreakers. Domestic law involves divorces, alimony, and child custody issues. Civil law is different than these other areas of law in several important respects. For instance, civil cases differ from the previously mentioned types of cases in all of the following ways: 

What Is Civil Law?

Civil law refers to the large body of cases brought by individuals against other individuals. When a person sues someone for defamation or a corporation seeks to enforce an employment contract against an employee, these are both civil cases. What makes civil litigation so interesting is that there are an almost infinite variety of cases that fall under the general heading of civil law. Unlike criminal law or other specialized areas, legal professionals who work in civil litigation must be prepared for a wide assortment of cases. Fortunately, the rules that govern civil cases are uniform and relatively straightforward, even if they do apply to a myriad of case types. 

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What is the Child Support Standards Act?

The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) is the name given to a set of laws that contain a formula for calculating child support. The laws can be found in section 240 of the Domestic Relations Law and section 413 of the Family Court Act.

The CSSA establishes child support amounts that allow children to have an appropriate standard of living, based on the income of their parents. Both parents’ incomes are considered in the formula even if they have joint custody, because both parents have the duty to support their children. It applies equally to children whose parents have been married and to those whose parents have not married, and to children up to the age of 21 unless they are emancipated sooner.

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