New York City New York Family Law Blog

Can grandparents seek visitation in New York City?

Grandparents are in a difficult position when their children get divorced. They want to be able to see their grandchildren, but depending on the way that the divorce goes and how custody is arranged, that might be difficult.

There are some cases where grandparents may be able to get custody appointed to them, like when one parent no longer has custody or has passed away. It may also be possible if the grandparent has a significant past role in the child's life or has been a guardian at some point.

Are mothers presumed to be better caregivers?

Fathers, in most senses, are the same as mothers. They care for their children, support them financially and protect them when they can. The only real difference between a father and mother is that the mother is the one who has to give birth to a biological child. Even then, fathers are a part of that process, too.

That's why it's so strange that mothers were favored in custody cases for so long. Despite the fact that both men and women can be strong caregivers, many men were left with limited time to see their children.

Yes, hiring an appraiser is important during divorce

When you're going to get a divorce, one of the things that you should do is have your assets assessed for their values. While you know what you purchased certain items for, their values may have changed over time.

Certain assets must be appraised, including homes, rental properties and businesses. Other items, like artwork or antiques, may also be worth more than you expect, so seeking an appraisal is a good idea.

Proving paternity is essential for unwed fathers

Fathers should not be forced out of their children's lives as a result of a mother's wishes. Sadly, many unmarried men face struggles when trying to obtain custody or visitation time with their children.

One of the things that unmarried men should remember is that women will retain custody of their children when they're unmarried. Unless there is proof of your paternity and you exercise your right to visitation, there will be no way for you to obtain access to your child. If the woman who had your child refuses to allow a DNA test, you will need to go to court to get one ordered.

The adoption home study doesn't have to be stressful

Whether you are a first-time father or just want to expand your family, adoption can be a rewarding way to become a parent. Unlike typical child custody matters in which you are a biological parent, people outside your family and the court must approve your becoming a parent to a child currently without one.

For this reason, one may conduct a home study in order to help ensure that the child you want to adopt is going into a safe, loving and healthy home. This often represents a particularly stressful part of the adoption process since no one wants someone judging how he or she lives; however, knowing what to expect could help relieve at least some of that stress.

Can you find your spouses’ hidden offshore accounts?

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce, it is understandable to feel frustrated. Decades ago, people tried any number of tricks to hide their money. One was to open a secret offshore account when they felt trouble in their relationship.

Changes to tax laws impact divorce settlements

In 2019, tax changes have significantly impacted divorce settlements. In 2018, it was announced that alimony would be taxed, and that meant that anyone who finalized a divorce in 2019 would face new tax liabilities. The spouses who pay alimony can't deduct alimony on their taxes any longer, and those who receive it don't have to claim it as income.

Unfortunately, taking away the tax break has impacted people's alimony payments and made it harder to arrange alimony during a divorce. Of course, not having this tax break does slow down negotiations, since it can have a significant impact on how much the payer earns (and pays in taxes) for the year.

Consider a second-parent adoption if you're not married

There are some people who decide they don't ever want to get married, but they're committed to their partners. While that's completely up to that couple, it can be more complicated if they choose to adopt.

Single people can adopt, and so can married couples. What about unmarried couples, though? While they're allowed to adopt, there are some additional hoops they may have to jump through. In your case, if you'd like to adopt but are not married, you should consider a co-parent or second-parent adoption.

What do you do if you need to change a parenting plan?

When parents set up a parenting plan, it's normal to see the occasional change needing to be made. A child might get sick, or an event may come up that only happens once a year.

If there are changes that have to be made, both parents should talk to one another and discuss how the visitation schedule can be altered. For example, the parent who normally has the child on a Wednesday may trade days with the other parent to give the child time to go to a special event. If a child is sick, one parent may take over custody while the other goes to work or rearranges their schedule to assist.

A DNA test is the only guaranteed way to show paternity

Fathers have every right to be part of their children's lives, just as mothers do. The fact that a woman gives birth should not overshadow the reality that the father also shares half of the child's DNA.

As a father, one of the most important things you can do is take a DNA test if there is any question of your relationship to your child. Legally, you want to be able to prove paternity to gain the rights of a biological father. While paternity is assumed if you are married to the mother, it is not assumed if you are not. Therefore, a paternity test is your best choice for proving that you have a right to care for and raise this child.

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