Areas of Practice
Adoption is a process where a legal relationship is created between an adult(s) and child who are not related by birth. Upon its finalization, all legal and financial responsibility for the adopted child is transferred to the adoptive parent(s). The non-custodial birth parent, if living, is then released from all further parental rights and responsibilities.
The decision to adopt a child can be both joyous as well as filled with anxiety. Adoption is an exciting time, yet is also involves important legal issues. It is important to seek an Adoption lawyer who understands the magnitude of adoption and its effects on all the parties, handles the issue with sensitivity, and works hard to protect your legal rights.’’
I handle various types of adoption (including Private-Placement, Agency, Step-Parent, Second-Parent and Open Adoptions) and enjoy shepherding clients through the process. I have represented adoptive parents, birth parents and children throughout my career. I have the knowledge and experience to clearly explain the issues and your options concerning adoption.
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
Custody and visitation issues are often the most contentious matters that parents must deal with. I am experienced in all aspects of custody and visitation issues, having represented fathers, mothers and children throughout my career. In every case, I work toward the nest possible outcome for all involved. Whether you have been denied visitation rights, or you wish to extend parenting time to travel with your child, I can help. I can also assist you with modifications to existing custody and visitation agreements and orders.
Family transitions can be extraordinarily difficult for children. It is important that a skilled Family Law attorney is involved to protect their best interests. For over 25 years, I have served as an Attorney for the Child(ren) (formerly called a “Law Guardian”) in the New York courts, advocating for the rights of children.
With the best interests of the child foremost in mind, I represent parents wishing to relocate with the child, as well as parents opposing a relocation who fear losing contact with or missing out on a relationship with the child.
Custody and visitation decisions can be emotionally draining. I work hard to ensure that your existing family relationships are damaged as little as possible
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements can be useful planning tools for couples under certain circumstances. Separation Agreements and Marital Settlement Agreements can be useful tools for resolving divorces equitably and cost-effectively.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements are agreements made prior to a marriage and can include items such as identification of separate property and the resolution of support, financial and property distribution issues in the event of a subsequent divorce. Post-Nuptial Agreements have a similar purpose, but are executed after the parties are already married.
Separation Agreements are usually entered into by couples who are separating. They provide for an immediate separation and a settlement of property, support, custody and visitation issues prior to a divorce. Marital Settlement Agreements are made during the divorce process. They usually resolve support matters, property distribution issues as well as child custody and visitation issues.
I can assist you in the negotiation, preparation and execution of all such agreements to make sure that they meet all legal requirements to be enforceable in the future.
Divorce can be emotionally and financially complex. Your concerns are great, and may include finances, your children and the future of all involved. With over 40 years of experience in all aspects of marital dissolution, I seek to make your divorce process as painless as possible. I have represented husbands, wives and children in divorce proceedings during my career. While it is always preferable to resolve cases amicably, my many years of courtroom experience enable me to take your case to trial when circumstances call for it. I can also assist you in post-judgment modification and enforcement proceedings.
In today’s mobile society, people are constantly on the move. It is advisable, however, to have a local attorney (familiar with local practice customs) representing your interests. I represent many out-of-state clients whose Family Law problems remain here in New York State, even though the client has long since relocated to another state or country.
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Both for the accused and for the victim, an accusation of child abuse or child neglect is serious. A finding of either can have far-reaching consequences on many aspects of a person’s life for many years to come even if no Family Court or Criminal Court case is ever filed. It is imperative that a person accused of child abuse or neglect consult with a competent lawyer capable of handling such matters with sensitivity and foresight. For much of my career I have provided counsel to or represented persons accused of such acts. I have also represented child victims, with a genuine concern for their welfare. Additionally, my many years of criminal defense experience uniquely qualifies me to properly assess a client’s exposure in both the Family Court as well as (possibly) the Criminal Court.
If you are unfortunate enough to be the subject of an “indicated report of child abuse or neglect, there can be serious long-term consequences, even if there is no subsequent court adjudication and even if no criminal charges are ever filed. The existence of an “indicated” report can prevent one from becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent. It can also virtually preclude employment in certain fields involving children. All is not lost, however. Even though the threshold of proof for an “indicated” report is low, persons investigating these claims still make mistakes. The law allows a person to have his case reviewed and, where warranted, have such findings reversed. For this reason, it is important to consult an attorney who not only knows the law, but also understands the administrative process of getting such reports corrected.
PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
In facing our own family situations we realize that society is aging and death is unavoidable. Even the beneficiary(ies) of a person who dies domiciled in another state may need to deal with our courts and taxing authorities, if the deceased owned property in New York State at the time of his death. Seek an experienced attorney who can properly assist you with Probate (the process of getting a Will declared valid by a court of competent jurisdiction) and Administration (the same process for someone who died without leaving a valid Will) matters. I can also assist you with Estate Administration (distributing the property of a deceased), Asset Protection (protecting the assets of a deceased from the creditors of a beneficiary), Property Disputes (among heirs) and Ancillary Probate/Ancillary Estate Administration (distribution of New York-based property owned by non-residents). In order to simplify matters in advance of death, I can also be of assistance to you in preparing proper Wills, Trust Agreements, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney forms.
SPOUSAL AND CHILD SUPPORT
Spousal maintenance (formerly called “alimony”)and child support are critical issues to divorcing spouses and their children. Child support issues also affect parties who have children outside of marriage. To ensure that a spouse or child is properly supported, such rights can be enforced, depending on the particular case, in either Family Court or the New York State Supreme Court. While both spousal maintenance and child support are both formula-driven, in appropriate cases, our legal system allows parties and the courts to deviate from the statutory formulas. Laws also exist which allow support orders to be enhanced to provide for items such as college education expenses or extraordinary medical or educational needs. People’s circumstances can change over time. Therefore, modifications to court orders or support agreements may become necessary.
Since many factors go into an award of support, it is all the more critical to retain an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to achieve your best end results.