Criminal Law
Divorce / Family
General Practice

Divorce - In New York, parties can obtain a divorce after living apart, pursuant to a separation agreement or judgment of separation for one year in New York. Thereafter either one of the parties may file for divorce. The divorce will be granted on a "no fault" basis provided all the formalities have been observed.  In other cases, New York requires one of the grounds for divorce to be present such as:  cruel and inhuman treatment; abandonment for one or more years; imprisonment for three or more years; or adultery.  Equitable distribution of marital property, maintenance (f/k/a alimony), support, custody, and visitation are all issues that can be agreed upon or litigated in the divorce action.  This law office fights hard to obtain the best result under the circumstances for each of its clients.  Until 7/31/10 - $175 per hour rate is available for divorce, separation, and annulment representation.  Call for a free initial phone consultation with a lawyer about separation or divorce.    

Support, custody, visitation - Spousal and child support, custody, and visitation proceedings can be started, enforced, or modified in a New York Supreme Court as a result of or after a divorce action.  Spousal and child support, custody and visitation cases may also be started, enforced, or modified in Family Court.  There is no precise formula for what is appropriate for spousal support or maintenance, rather a court determines what is fair and reasonable on a case by case basis.  There are many factors which your lawyer can argue are appropriate to be considered for a court to award or deny maintenance.  The amount of child support, on the other hand, is usually determined by a formula set forth by law and is usually fixed as an obligation of the "non-custodial" parent.  The formula is usually followed by the court, but your lawyer may persuade the court that the calculation is unjust or inappropriate based on a variety of factors.  An application for a downward or upward modification of a support order can be made based on changed circumstances.  The changed circumstances could be loss of employment, increased income, decreased income, family changes or other situations.  Jail time is a possiblity in cases of willful violations of support orders. The best interests of children is the most important consideration to a court in deciding custody and visitation matters.  Until 7/31/10 - $150 per hour rate is available for family court representation regarding support, custody, visitation, family offense, order of protection proceedings.  This office fights hard for its clients.  

Family Court Act proceedings - the family court and the criminal courts both have jurisdiction over proceedings concerning acts which would constitute disorderly conduct, harassment, stalking, menacing, reckless endangerment, assault, attempted assault between spouses, former spouses, between parent and child or between members of the same family or household.  The family court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases when the alleged offender is an infant according to the law.  If you are the victim of domestic violence you have the right to seek legal counsel of your own choosing.  If you proceed in family court and it is determined that you cannot afford an attorney, one must be appointed to represent you without cost to you.  Victims may also ask the district attorney or a law enforcement officer to file a criminal complaint.  If you or your loved ones have legal issues involving juvenile delinquency, paternity, abuse, neglect, termination of parental rights, child protective proceedings, orders of protection, or family offense matters, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to help ensure that your rights are protected.  This office can help.   

Reasonable fees are available for Long Island ( Nassau and Suffolk ), Queens, New York City and the surrounding areas.   The initial phone consultation is free.  Leave a message for a prompt return call.   

                      LAW OFFICE OF DARREN M. SHAPIRO 

             99 Jericho Turnpike Suite 300-K, Jericho, NY 11753           

                   (516) 333-6555

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