Legal matters concerning the dissolution of your marriage and how it affects your children and your assets are often complicated and emotional. With 35 years of experience in Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Rockland County Supreme and Family Courts, our Westchester County family law attorneys at the Catalina Law Firm can offer vigorous representation during this difficult period as we protect your interests. We understand that the circumstances of each family’s situation are unique, and we listen carefully to your goals before we, together, build a personalized strategy that is right for you. We have assisted people in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Orange Counties who are facing these challenges, whether it is division of assets, custody, modification or enforcement proceedings, contempt, or uncontested matters. We also can advise people who need a real estate lawyer or representation in facing criminal or DUI charges.Protecting Your Rights During a Family Law Proceeding
Family law covers a range of legal matters associated with domestic relationships, such as prenuptial agreements, divorce and separation, child custody and visitation, paternity, spousal and child support, adoption, and more. In New York, a person may file for a divorce by showing residency or a sufficient physical connection to the state, providing a statutory ground for the divorce, and serving the other spouse. Under New York’s “No-Fault” divorce law, spouses no longer have to allege one or more of the six fault-based grounds before a divorce can be granted. All that is required is simply alleging that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for six months or more, without any explanation or determination of fault.
A divorce case can be straightforward if it is uncontested, meaning that both spouses want to divorce and have reached an agreement as to all of the issues concerning their finances and children. In such cases, the paperwork is prepared, signed, and filed with the Court without Court appearances. In a contested divorce case, one or more of these issues cannot be resolved by the spouses and must be litigated in court. For example, if the divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide their property or debt, support amounts, custody, visitation, or any other issue, the court will decide the issue. This decision can be made informally at a Court Conference with the assistance of Court Referees or by the Judge if the case proceeds through trial. The court will then divide marital property between the spouses equitably and fairly, although not necessarily equally. A family law lawyer at our Westchester County firm can represent you during these proceedings as well as in out-of-court mediation or settlement negotiations.Legal Considerations Regarding Children
Matters concerning children, including child support and custody arrangements, may be resolved by the parents or by the court. In New York, parents have an obligation to support their children until they reach 21 years of age, unless an exception applies. In most cases, the parent with whom the child lives most of the time will receive child support from the other parent. Child support obligations can be defined by completing a written agreement between the parties or by filing a petition in Family Court for a court order. The court will calculate child support under statutory guidelines that base the amount of support on the parent’s income and the number of children.
Negotiating child custody arrangements can be an emotionally charged process. If the determination of custody is left to the court, the court will consider a number of factors to decide what is in the best interests of the child. A parent may file a motion to modify a custody order if a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the entry of the previous custody order. We can explain the potential outcomes of a settlement agreement or trial and argue in support of your desired custody arrangement.Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Westchester County or Beyond
You should ALWAYS obtain legal representation during a divorce or custody battle, or you may lose valuable rights. Whether or not you retain our firm, there are questions that you should ask, and you should interview any attorney about his experience and the approach that he may take with cases in general and in your case specifically. This will allow you to take control of your future.
At the Catalina Law Firm, we bring sensitivity to the legal process while advocating fiercely on behalf of our clients. We provide trusted advice to divorcing spouses in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Orange Counties. Check out the ECourt site and see the over 1,300 contested and litigated cases in which we have represented clients, which document our court and trial experience. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs with a skilled Westchester County family law lawyer by calling (914) 736-0087 or contacting us online. We are also ready to assist people who are seeking a criminal defense attorney or guidance in real estate or business matters.