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Family law, divorce, and the custody and visitation hearing

In New York, it is always preferable for the participants in a child custody case to agree on how custody and visitation will be allocated. However, with family law and divorce, it is rarely simple to reach an agreement. Oftentimes, individuals will have their own reasons for wanting custody or seeking certain concessions with visitation rights. This is true whether the dissolution is amicable or contentious. Having legal assistance can be critical toward understanding the various aspects of a child custody and visitation hearing, and ensuring that your and your child's best interests are protected.

At a child custody hearing, there will naturally be a judge. The judge decides on custody and visitation with a focus on the child's best interests. Witnesses, who are called by the parents, can testify about information that may be pertinent to determining what sort of arrangement will support the child's best interests. Relatives and others who know the situation can also provide input as witnesses. If it is necessary, the child might have a caseworker or some other official or medical professional provide a report to the court about the parents.

New York State business law and forming an LLC

One of the main reasons that New York residents avoid starting businesses even if they have a good product or service to sell is a failure to understand the legal details about how a business must be structured. Business law can be a key part of success. Failing to adhere to the law might result in many problems down the road. Lack of proper structure can even hinder a business from getting off the ground in the first place. The appropriate business form depends on the business at hand. There are many options available. One that is commonly used is a limited liability company (LLC). Before using this form, it is important to know what it is and how it can be formed.

When there is a business that is run by one or more people, is unincorporated, and they have limited liability, it is an LLC. By utilizing this structure, a limit is placed on the responsibility the owners have toward contractual obligations and different liabilities. Provided the business is lawful, it is possible to form an LLC. The idea behind the LLC is to use a combination of different types of corporation options and maintain the flexibility that is inherent in a partnership.

Family law and divorce often features disputes over property

When a New York couple concludes that their marriage is not working and they decide to move forward with a divorce, there are many issues that will need to be addressed throughout the process. If there are children, for example, child custody and visitation may become a major issue that leads to extensive disagreement. Other matters that are often problematic in family law and divorce are child support and property division. No matter where a couple resides in New York, the property they own can have extensive financial and sentimental value. This can lead a couple to argue over very specific items. For this reason, it is often imperative to have the assistance of legal counsel before proceeding with the property division process.

The importance of legal counsel can be seen in one ongoing case involving a couple who lives in a wealthy area and has significant assets. They are in the middle of a contentious divorce. One of the assets at the heart of their disagreement is their mansion. The divorce is anything but amicable, and they are in an ongoing dispute regarding other assets. The husband is said to be falling behind on paying bills for the tuition of their children's school, too. The wife says that he is spending the money to finance a lavish lifestyle. For his part, the husband's representative says that the claims are inaccurate and are being made for the sake of drama.

Singer with no will shows failure in estate planning and probate

New Yorkers who are debating whether or not they need a comprehensive or even a basic estate plan should pay attention to the news and stories of prominent people who choose not to formulate these documents. It is frighteningly common for people of significant means to fail in estate planning and leave many questions for family members and potential heirs after they have died. One recent case in which estate planning and probate has come to the forefront is with the death of singer Aretha Franklin.

According to reports, Ms. Franklin did not create any documents to detail how her estate was to be handled at the time of her death. There was no will, nor was there a trust. She had four sons and they have filed to be labeled as interested parties to her estate. When she died in mid-August at 76, this information came to light. Her niece filed to be appointed as her personal representative. Since she died intestate - without a will - state law in Michigan, where she resided, says the estate will be divided among her children.

Avoid these common mistakes when starting a new business

The number of responsibilities new business owners take on when launching a new venture may seem immeasurable. Business owners in New York make many decisions – big, small and in between – during the formation process that can have long-lasting effects on the business down the line.

There’s no definitive guide for starting a new business and finding success in that endeavor. Every business and owner varies from the others, but there are a few key missteps to be wary of in the beginning of your company’s development.

Estate planning and probate and the fiduciary's role

When a loved one dies in New York State, there will be many issues to navigate. Different people will have different roles in handling the probate and administration of the estate. It is important for people who have been entrusted with certain duties to know what they are supposed to do and how they can best fulfill their responsibilities. One issue that will come up is the role of the fiduciary of the estate.

The person's estate will be divided after they have died. There are different terms for people who will serve different functions. This depends on the structure of the estate. When there is probate, the fiduciary is referred to as the executor and is general named in the decedent's will. With a small estate, the fiduciary is the voluntary administrator. Should a person die intestate -- without a will -- the Surrogate's Court will name the fiduciary who is called an administrator and it is often the closest relative, if there is one. 

What are different types of custody with family law and divorce?

One of the most complicated issues related to family law and divorce in New York State is child custody. Not only is this difficult in a legal sense, but it can be an emotional roller coaster as well. As the decision is made to end a marriage, child custody will come to the forefront. Knowing the basics such as the difference between legal custody and physical custody is important when trying to sift through the options, come to an agreement, or choose to go to court. As with any family law matter, legal help is always beneficial.

When there is a custody order, the child's care will be decided upon. There are two separate parts to child custody. They are legal custody and physical custody. The best interests of the child are paramount regardless of the decision that is made. Without a court order, the parents will each share an equal level of rights with physical and legal custody.

Serving the child's best interests in family law and divorce

When a couple in New York divorces, children often end up getting caught in the middle. There can be disagreements about custody, visitation rights, child support and more. The court is intent on ensuring the child is cared for appropriately and will focus on the best interest of the child when making its determinations. Understanding what is considered within that context is important for the parents, so they can be prepared for their case.

With regards to the phrase, "best interest," there is no established standard as to what it entails. However, the judge will consider numerous factors, so the child's health and safety are addressed. With the best interest of the child in mind, there will not be any favoritism of one parent over the other. Custody and visitation hinge on how the child's interests are served. Before moving forward with the case, parents should have a grasp on what will be assessed.

Claiming fault in your New York divorce

Divorce may prove difficult for all parties involved, and many couples do not make the decision to divorce quickly or lightly. Yet for others, the decision to separate turned out to be a matter of safety or necessity.

New York law, although not required, allows for a party to claim fault in a divorce case. Claiming fault may give you a better chance of obtaining custody of your children or receiving more assets after separation. If your marriage ended directly due to an action of your spouse, you may wish to cite a fault in your divorce proceedings.

Family law and divorce and collecting past due child support

A major issue that often arises between New York parents who are no longer together is child support payments and making certain they are paid on time and in full. While it is ideal if the parents are on good terms and the payments are made as they should be, for a variety of reasons this does not always happen. The custodial parent who is supposed to be getting child support from the noncustodial parent should be aware of the tactics that can be used for child support enforcement and getting what is owed.

When the child support is overdue -- also knows as arrears -- the supporting parent can be compelled to pay through a variety of means. These can be done without the need to go to court. However, before any administrative procedure starts, the noncustodial parent will receive a notice. It details the procedures that will be used, a deadline will be given and instructions to comply with the order to avoid penalties will be listed.

Cohen & Lombardo, P.C.

4140 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, NY 14221

Phone: 716-262-8428
Fax: 716-881-2755

343 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222

Phone: 716-262-8428
Fax: 716-881-2755
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