Custody &


Custody falls into one of two types: physical custody and legal custody. Within these two custody types, parents can either share custody, which is also referred to as having “joint custody,” or one parent may have primary custody, which is called “sole custody.” A parent may have sole physical custody and joint legal custody. Other times parents may share both physical and legal custody. Or one parent can have sole legal and sole physical custody.


When one parent has sole physical custody of a child, the other parent will typically have visitation rights. The parent with physical custody is called the “custodial parent” and the other parent is the “noncustodial parent”. Parents are free to work out their own visitation agreements, but when parents can’t agree, a court will issue a visitation order.

Most visitation schedules give the noncustodial parent visitation one weeknight per week and every other weekend. Visitation can be increased as the parents agree or the court allows. A noncustodial parent is also entitled to time during a child’s summer break and on certain holidays.


A court may order supervised visitation in cases where one parent poses a danger or has never developed a relationship with the child. A parent with supervised visits can spend time with the child at a licensed facility or in the presence of a designated third-party. Parents can agree to supervised visitation or a judge may order supervised visits to protect a child.


In certain cases a court may award visitation to a child’s grandparents. The general rule is that grandparent visitation can’t interfere with the parent-child relationship. Also, a grandparent seeking visitation rights must show that visitation would serve the child’s best interests.

Family Offense


Family Offenses are most often adjudicated in Family Court. Some people chose to file a criminal complaint. Occasionally the matters are in both the Family Court and Criminal Court.

For a matter to be heard in Family Court there needs to be what is known as an intimate relationship or family relationship. There is a vast array of relationships that qualify. Usually a casual relationship - such as a friend - will not be sufficient - but these assessments are based on the unique facts of each case. 

A Family Offense petition is filed when a family member claims that another family member committed one of the following acts against another family member:

  • Disorderly conduct

  • Harassment

  • Aggravated harassment

  • Menacing

  • Reckless endangerment

  • Assault or attempted assault

  • Stalking

  • Criminal mischief

On the day you file a Family Offense petition, you have the right to an immediate court appearance. If there is "good cause", the judge may issue a temporary order of protection and/or a temporary order of child support. The temporary order of protection lasts until the date the respondent or alleged abuser is scheduled to appear in court.

If someone files a Family Offense petition against you, immediately contact a lawyer. You will need to understand your rights and obligations while the petition is pending. Any error in judgment can result in your incarceration. If you are served with a Temporary Order of Protection follow each and every directive carefully. Even if the allegations are not true - if you violate the Temporary Order of Protection - you will be punished even though the underlying petition is dismissed.

Call today for a free consultation: (845) 474-7144.

Child Abuse & Neglect


Child Protective Proceedings

Child abuse and neglect petitions may charge that the parent, guardian or a person legally responsible for a child has neglected or abuse the child. Neglect and abuse may include causing emotional or physical harm or risk of harm to the child. It may also include failing to protect a child from harm caused by other people. 


Often in these type cases the local Department of Community and Family Services seeks to remove the child from the parent's home. Very important things are addressed in the first hours of the case - you have a right to counsel for each of those steps. Make sure you call an attorney immediately. 

If these cases are not handled properly it could lead to a request to the Court by the County to terminate your parental rights so the child or children can be freed for adoption by others.


Don't allow yourself to navigate this tricky situation alone.

Call today for a free consultation: (845) 474-7144.

Child Support

Child Support


In this very expensive world every penny counts. If your child support payment is not right, this affects your finances and your life. Call today to discuss your unique situation. You may be pleasantly surprised at all of the little known and seldom addressed issues affecting an award of child support.

Many times a careful examination of the situation with an eye on the new and developing law can result in a more appropriate child support payment.


Make sure your child support payment is the right amount!

Call today for a free consultation: (845) 474-7144.