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What Does a Family Attorney Do and How We Can Help You

family attorney

When disputes within the family begin, the need for a family attorney arises. Family issues are one of the most stressful problems because the home is supposed to be a sanctuary.

When disputes arise, a family attorney can guide you through a divorce, property division, child custody, visitation, abuse or neglect, and spousal and child support.

If you are looking for a family attorney, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. You can send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.

Divorce and property division

When contemplating divorce, sometimes, a spouse begins to transfer property to hide it from the other spouse prior to even asking for the divorce. A family attorney, together with a forensic accountant, can help you track marital property.

At times, the spouses also don’t agree on which property is separate and which property is conjugal. What if one spouse purchased the property with a downpayment prior to marriage but during the marriage, both spouses were paying for the mortgage together?

Fortunately, case law already provides for rules on how to determine which property is separate and which is conjugal. A family attorney like us can help you determine property division in a divorce.

Child custody

Custody over children is one of the most contentious issues when couples separate.

In New York, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal custody is the ability to make important decisions regarding the welfare of the child.

Physical custody refers to a parent’s responsibility for the physical well-being of the child.

Both legal and physical custody can be complicated, especially when parents live in different states or far away from each other.

Today, it doesn’t matter whether you have more money to be awarded physical custody. What matters is that you are a more fit parent to physically care for the child. At times, you might also like to modify a current custody order to allow you to move to another state or to acquire physical custody over the child when you have proof that you are a more fit parent than the other.

A family attorney like us can represent you in all the different issues regarding custody to ensure the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Child support

Child support is a major issue among couples. Generally, the parent who is awarded physical custody is the one who receives child support from the other parent. Even if that parent only has the child 51% of the time, such parent still receives child support from the parent who has the child for less time.

The parent who is not awarded child support also does not get any reimbursement for any expenses made while the child is with such parent. Thus, custody and child support issues go hand in hand. The amount of child support can be determined by agreement of the parents or by court order if the parents don’t agree.

The court generally uses the child support guidelines provided under the New York Family Court Act §§ 413 and 413-a. Under the guidelines, the court determines the income of the parent based on their income tax returns. The court will subtract child support for other children and taxes from the income, and then add both parents’ income to arrive at the combined income. From the combined income, the court multiplies it by a percentage depending on the number of children shared: 17% for one child; 25% for two children; 29% for three children; 31% for four children; and 35% for five or more children. Thereafter, the court divides the amount based on the proportion of the individual income of the parent over the combined parental income.

For example, if you have two children, and your income after deductions for purposes of child support is $50,000 yearly, while the other parent’s income is $30,000, your combined parental income is then $80,000. Since you have two children, child support is 25% of the combined parental income of $80,000, which is $20,000 annually. Since your proportion of the combined parental income is 62.5% (50,000/80,000), your share of the child support is $12,500 annually. The other parent’s share is 37.5% (30,000/80,000), equivalent to $7,500 annually. Thus, you are required to pay $1,041.67 monthly of child support to the other parent, if the other parent has physical custody. If you have physical custody, then the other parent has to pay you $7,500 annually or $625 monthly for child support.

A family attorney like us can help you navigate issues of child custody and support, including representation in negotiations with the other party for a settlement agreement in relation to divorce, property division, child custody, and support, among others.

Alimony

In New York, alimony or spousal support is called maintenance. Maintenance is always given by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse, regardless of gender, to assist the lower-earning spouse to become financially independent.

There are three types of maintenance:

  1. Spousal support which is given prior to a divorce filing (such as during a trial separation)
  2. Pendente lite maintenance or support during the pendency of divorce proceedings
  3. Post-divorce maintenance, which is given after the divorce decree is issued

The amount of maintenance depends on the income and property of the spouses, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of both spouses, the present and future income of both spouses, and the ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting.

The court generally applies a formula, depending on whether you have minor children or not. Issues arise regarding the amount of income one is earning, especially when someone is running their own business or one spouse is not working up to their earning capacity.

A family attorney like us can help you compute the appropriate amount of spousal support to give to or to ask from your spouse.

Family disputes are of the most stressful problems one can encounter in life. Getting a good family attorney like us can help relieve this stress. We have experience in handling family cases ranging from divorce, child custody, and support.

If you are looking for a family attorney, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.