Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Question: Do I need write approval from father to leave the state? He has never asked for rights or visitation nor has he signed the birth certificate. . DNA has proven him to be the father and he does have a court order for child support.

David's Answer: It is extremely bad advice that you may leave simply because there is not custody order in place. While that may be the law in some states (such as MA), it's not the law here in NY. Even if the father is relatively uninvolved, you nevertheless need his written, notarized permission or court permission. Indeed, you're best advised to get a custody order which makes it clear you're permitted to relocate.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Custody Related

Question: While we were in the middle of the divorce we had a stip for shared 50/50 physical custody share, now we do not agree on anything there is a lot of differences between us and we are in the trial can the judge make this shared custody permanant if there is no domestic violence issues involved

David's Answer: Shared custody is certainly still a possibility, though unlikely if the two of you cannot cooperate. You should make sure to keep a careful paper-trail to ensure you prove you're being "the reasonable one." -- David Bliven, Child Custody Law attorney (

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I have sole legal custody of my child with his father having visitation if I agree to it I want to move out of state can I do so

Question: His father has not seen him in almost a year and Im looking to move out of state to give my son a better life and to take care of a sick family member

David's Answer: The best advice is that you need either the father's express written (& notarized) consent to the relocation, or you need to file a petition for court permission to relocate. I'd advice against relocating without doing 1 of these two as there's too much risk at stake (such as the Judge ordering you to return at your expense). -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody attorney (

My boyfriend has joint custody of his son that lives with the mother. If there is violent abuse can he get Custody?

Question: the mother has another child who is 10 years old who is on medication and has a history of violent behavior. Last week he got very violent and now the child has been hospitalized for attacking the mother and my boyfriend's 5 year old son with a knife. The mother resides in New Jersey and my boyfriend and I reside in New York.

David's Answer: The issue in part is whether the mother was at fault in the incident, such as negligently failing to keep proper supervision or failing to get proper treatment for the child. Many other factors would need to be assessed as to whether your boyfriend will be successful in switching custody. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hello. We are married, w 2 little children in NY. My husband is literally NEVER home and we are pretty much basically divorced,,

Question: (legally, totally married, but realistically, we are not functioning as a family at all for years) He NEVER takes care of our kids,, he has never even stayed home for weekends for a past year. I am a stay at home mom, who does everything at home and for kids,, I am super dedicated mother, 24/7/365. 

Now, he says he wants to move to CT,, near his parents' house in 6 months.. I do not want to,, as we are not even functioning as a family,, and we are (he is) totally broke w 20+ credit cards,, ,, and I have no support network in CT.. 

Legally,, if he wants to move,, and I do not want to,, there is nothing that I can do, and he can force us to move if he wants to? (He controls 100% of our finance,, and has NO involvement in kids' life, except for paying for the rent.) 

Thank u so much.

David's Answer: There is certainly something you can do, which is to file for divorce. Within the divorce, you can file for sole custody, as well as alimony & child support. There are strategic issues which you should start planning now, so it's best to meet with an attorney. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What are the main factors regarding a decision in custody?

Q: My husband and I have a 3 yr old. I have custody of a child from prior relationship and my husband has 2 kids from his 1st & 2nd marriage but the do not live with him. 
What are the most important factors that a judge will decide upon when making a custody decision? Our child has been living with me but he is only 2 1/2. My husband sees him tonight's a week and every other weekend Saturday overnight to Sunday.

A: David's Answer: The Judge will generally consider the stability of the child's current arrangement, each parent's home environment and financial ability to meet the child's needs, any arrangements to care for the child when the parent is unavailable, who has been the primary caretaker for the child in the years (or months) leading up to the custody filing, any drug/alcohol use by either parent, the mental & physical health of the parties, adverse sexual misconduct of either parent, domestic violence, as well as the child's preferences. The court will also assess each parent's willingness to foster a relationship between the other parent and the child, any denial of access to the child, as well as any abuse or neglect of the child. Finally, the Judge will assess the parties conduct as the case is proceeding, including conduct both in and out of the courtroom. -- David Bliven, Child Custody attorney (

Can I modify a child custody order

Q:  I gave custody of my then 16.5 years old son to my sister in Dec. 2012. At the time she was financially stable. Now she's on welfare, my son's grades are declining, he's suppose to apply for college a couple of months ago. .she's helped him with nothing. I'm paying $730 monthly in child support. She's only getting $100 monthly, and doesn't have money to help support my son. He couldn't come home for thanksgiving because she didn't have carefare and her tires are not equipped for the snow, and she has no money to get new ones. There's no supervision, she leaves for 4 days at a time, my son eats fast food everyday. He needs glasses for months now. He will be 18 in 3 weeks, he wants to stay with her because there's no structure. Do I have grounds to modify the custody order?

A:  David's Answer:  No, because by the time the case has a scheduled court date, he'll be 18 & the court loses jurisdiction over custody issues at age 18. For more info, schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody attorney.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

My daughte's mother is refusing to tell me where my daughter resides (address)

Q:  my daughter's mother took physical custody of my daughter from our home and now is refusing to tell me the address where my daughter is now living

A:  David's Answer:  Don't let this go - file a petition & look to get her served. Visitation rights are like muscles - if you don't exercise them, they disappear over time. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can I prevent my sons father from taking him unsafe places during a visit?

Q:  My sons father has 6 hour visits. He brings our son to his fathers trailer where the roof is collapsing, they chain smoke inside, and they are hoarders. It's really very gross. My son comes home smelling awful and beyond that it has to be unsafe. Is there anything I can do or is it a lost cause?

A:  David's Answer:  The answer depends on more facts: is there an order in place? If yes, when it was done, was the father living in the same place? If not, then circumstances have changed & you should file a petition & request a CPS home study. What's the age of the child? You're also best advised to schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

My ex nickle and diming visitation and making his own interpretations where it's ambiguous

Q:  I wanted to move to NYC from the suburbs, where my ex still lived. While I was given residential custody because the psych eval said he would not be able to handle daily upkeep of a child) he was given two out of three weekends. Plus a dinner visit every week plus a sleepover before my week. If I travel for work, which I have to do, he gets her. This has resulted in a lot of commuting for my daughter and he still fights with me for hours even when I want to take my daughter to visit her dying grandfather out of state on her time off from school. I dont think it's balanced. What are the chances of getting it remodified?

A:  David's Answer:  One would need to know many more facts to properly assess the case, for instance from what to what are you trying to modify the prior order, how old is the prior order, was it done pursuant to a written agreement or "mere" order of the court, how old is the child, etc. You're best advised to schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

There are so many divorce lawyers in NYC. How to choose?When I made a few calls, some declined to take my case just after

Q:  hearing that I am a house wife. (stay at home mom for 2 small kids) saying that I would not be able to afford her. She said I need at least XXXX amount of money,, which I have. But that is close to my entire saving,, In a case like this, is it stupid of me to go for a divorce, using all my money, not knowing the outcome? although I'm confident I'd get kids, which is the most important for me,, ( but if it was a bad idea to use all my money, then do I have no way of getting a divorce? or should I go for a lawyer who charges less?) Is it a myth that we can only win a divorce w the highest charged lawyers in NYC? 
(I believe my husband has no money to hire any lawyer, and would have to represent himself like he did for his first divorce,, but it was much simpler case w/o kids.
Additional information
I meant I called one so far to talk in details @ my case,, and she declined due to my "stay at home mom" status.. The others, I only called and didn't get to speak much yet at all.

A:  David's Answer:  I have written several Legal Guides on the subject, which I'll link you to: and It is indeed a myth that the higher-priced lawyer always wins - though a lawyer who charges more is generally more experienced, and experience does matter. That said, some lawyers charge a sliding scale, so I encourage you to shop around. You can use the "Find-a-Lawyer" tab on this site - with the proviso that many lawyers having offices in the outer boroughs often do cases in Manhattan as well.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can I loose custody bc I have an "indicated" cps case?

Q:  My children are 4 years old & 1 year old. They have different fathers. We have joint custody since they were born, but I have residential custody. My 1 year old bumped his head & I took him to the doctor to check it out. No medical treatment was needed, he is ok, he is still in my custody... But cps indicated me for not supervising him properly!! Now both fathers are taking me ro court for custody.. Will they get custody? How much is the indicated cps report looked at in deciding custody?

A:  David's Answer:  An indicated case, in itself, will not generally be a basis for a switch of custody. The reason is that's it's only "some" credible proof of neglect, but also at a lower standard of proof than what's used in Family Court. That said, you should consider challenging the indicated finding by filing for a fair hearing. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

What can I do?

Q:  My ex and I were married for 4 years, 1 daughter now 5 years old. He started being verbally abusive and then started being physically abusive (which he denies). We agreed on divorce but I was still living in the house, he abused me and I was able to call the cops but nothing was done due to un-visible bruises. I decided to leave NY, I had no one there to help me, they couldn't take him out the house because it is owned by family. I live in Hawaii now and he is threatening me with court so he can see her. Divorce is not final, he has a union lawyer. I need some encouraging words please.

A:  David's Answer:  You didn't say whether the child is living with you - or if not, who she's living with. You also didn't say whether you had express agreement of the father to relocate with the child (assuming you did so) or court permission. You're best advised to schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can a noncustodial parent take the child out of their home state if the custodial parent is not comfortable with it.

Q:  I live in the state of new york, and when i pregnant the father of my child left and moved to New Jersey. He has no permanent address of his own and i have never been to his house. And i dont think where he lives is safe but he keeps trying to take her with him. Can i legally stop him from leaveing the state with her?

A: David's Answer:  Unless you have a court order of visitation, then what visitation takes place is upon consent of both parties. In other words, if you don't agree to visits at his NJ residence, then there's no agreement & he'd need to enforce his visitation rights by filing a petition. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Living in NY 15yrs, but moved to FL for 11 mos. We are back. Can my wife take my son to FL if she files divorce in FL?

Q:  Married in Boca Raton, FL. We lived in NY (15 yrs). I am the breadwinner in the family, and my wife runs a bakery in the city, which brings little income. We moved to FL temporarily (11 mos), because I was laid off. She has been threatening me with divorce and taking my son away. Also recently we moved back to NY temporarily because of her shop (been here for 5mos). While in NY, I found a good job in NY. I am a banker, hence no jobs for me in Boca. My wife doesn't want to stay in NY. We have a 2 yr old child (no school) and I am scared that if she goes to Florida and waits for 6 months, she could file a divorce there and even if I get some custody, I will have to fly back and forth. If she doesn't stay in NY I want to file divorce. Will I lose my child?

A:  David's Answer:  Certainly if you allow her to go to Florida, that state will likely be the home state of the child. Thus, you should make clear now (and in writing) that you don't consent to her moving. As to whether you would ultimately prevail in the relocation case would depend on an assessment of numerous factors, such as the age of the child, who's been the primary caretaker, etc. Thus, you're best advised to schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What can I do if my kids keep missing school when they're with their mother?

Q: We have joint custody/physical. This is the third week in a row where the school calls to say they're absent. So they've been absent one day a week now for the past three weeks!

A: David's Answer: I'd advise to attempt to communicate with the mother as to the reason(s) why they're missing school. Confirm any such conversation in writing. If they're sick, you should be notified of their illness & any doctor's appointments. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, November 7, 2014

If my son's father is on supervised visitation, and he isn't in the suggested program, how likely is it he will get overnights?

Q: We had worked out a shared custody situation for 2 years (no court or lawyers). Dad passed out on street while with 8 year old. I went to court for custody and to limit his visitation. I got temporary custody and agency supervised visits. Dad has not gone to suggested program but is paying for supervised visits. I don't think much has changed. How likely is it that he will get overnights reinstated?

A: David's Answer: If by "passed out on the street" you mean because of alcohol or drugs, and by "suggested program" you mean a drug or alcohol rehab program, then I see it as very unlikely he'll get unsupervised visits. Most likely, the Judge will say that if he hasn't remedied his problem, he can't get restoration of unsupervised visits. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

What happens when one parent does not abide to a court ordered agreement?

Q: Both parents have joint custody and physical. The mother refuses to drop off the children on the day she is supposed to.

A: David's Answer: You should first send a default notice letter to her, via certified mail, stating you alleged violation and ask that you both strictly follow the order from now on. If there are repeated violations, then file a violation petition. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Father blocking phone call access to child from other parent

Q: I have a joint custody settlement created outside of court and signed by a judge in NYC family court. (We are regular folks with no legal issues, nor abuse against our son.) My child's father continually blocks my phone access to my 7yr old by turning his phone, his wife's phone, and my child's phone off on days he decides not to allow me access. (Days I drop my son at school and he is picked up by his father are days he thinks I should not "need" to talk to my son.) Nothing in our agreement specifies that I should not be allowed a short call with my son to say goodnight on these days. Also, my son and I enjoy speaking every day when he is at Dads, nothing excessive just one call. What are my options to enforce allowing my son and I to speak on these days which occur once or twice per wk?

A: David's Answer:  You'll need to file a modification petition asking for a provision allowing 1 call per day to each parent who does not have the child. Prescribe a time & have the provision state that the other parent is require to facilitate the call. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Monday, November 3, 2014

How do I go about filing for sole physical custody for my son ?

Q: My name is Jazmine. I would like to know how to go about filing for sole physical custody? My son is 7 his father comes to visit twice a week Monday and Thursday's in my home and other days if I call and ask him to watch our son. My sons father lives in home with his friend sleeps in the living room and he smokes marijuana everyday. I spoke to him about hanging out with our son on Saturday sundays every other weekend for a few hours before he goes to his second job at a tattoo shop. I told him hanging out in my house will eventually change. I no longer want him in my home during the week. My son is with me the majority of the time I usually am the one to make decisions for the child. I always include his father sometimes the father doesn't call on the weekends I also receive financial help.

A: David's Answer: You can just file a petition for custody in the Bronx Family Court. You're best advised to keep a paper-trail of e-mails with the father confirming the days/times he does visit, when he cancels, and and concerns you have about more extended time with the child. -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How will two family court cases affect each?

Q:  the first case is visitation and custody with my children, and the second case is against my girlfriend (no children involved) for violence against me. How will the second case affecr the first in, if it does? What should i expect? Would the judge think i make bad choices in selecting mates? Etc.

Additional information
With police intervention, I was able to retrieve my personal property from my girlfriend and prior to departing, the police informs me not contact her and I asked he gave same instructions to her, He replied he had given the same instructions. Later than evening, I received a message from her friend to trying to reach out to me, who also received the same instruction of no contact. Does this trigger the mandatory arrest for DV in NYC? Where do I report in Manhattan?

A:  David's Answer:  Not necessarily - assuming your girlfriend is a different person than the mother in your custody case. Moreover, it's unclear whether the mother in the custody case would even find out about the family offense case against your girlfriend. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

How long will a visitation schedule change procedings take

Q:  the child's father has typically joint legal custody and gets the child every alternate weekend the father has filed for visitation schedule modification based on the fact he is moving different state if i object to himm having the legal custody . does it need a trial?

A:  David's Answer:  The general rule is that the Court needs to hold a trial before changing an order. Sometimes however, the court conducts enough pre-trial hearings that the Judge no longer feels there are facts left to be tried. The process could take several months. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Child custody/visitation

Q:  my son's father has visitation every alternate weekend.He lives in a room with shared kitchen and bath.what are my chances of getting the visitstions limited to day visits

A:  David's Answer:  What were the father's housing accommodations at the time the order was done? Generally you must prove a "change of circumstances" & if he lives in the same place he did previously, then there's no change. If he downgraded his housing, however, then the Court would likely order a home study to ensure its safe for the child. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

The non custodial parent lied when filing a visitation petition. How does the judge look at the situation?

Q:  I denied visitation (out of state) based on the fact that the nc parent physically abused the child when I did let the child go away (out of state). now the nc parent filed for petition (after many years) and lied and said that it is always a problem when it is time for the nc parent to see the child (LIE). Would a judge grant visitation in my home state or would the judge force me to let my child go out of state? I will go see a lawyer soon but was just curious. Currently there is no visitation order.

A:  David's Answer:   Generally if the noncustodial parent lives out-of-state the Judge will permit visits in the noncustodial parent's state. There are many exceptions to this, however, and more facts would be needed on: age of child, child's preferences (if old enough), the circumstances & ability to prove the past abuse as well as the length of time the other parent has gone without seeing the child. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Q:  When I go to pickup my daughter from her mother's house I can see through the door that there are electrical wires hanging and small Christmas lights hanging. I am worried about my daughter grabbing it and getting hurt. Can I report it to cps? Would they consider this as a case unless and until something happens or how to go about this.

A:  David's Answer:  I'd first advise to communicate your concerns to the mother. Give her a chance first to correct the problem. As to whether you report this to CPS and/or file a modification petition should be fully assessed by a lawyer. Thus, schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (


Q:  Is it responsibility of the custodial parent to provide clothes diapers food etc for non custodial parents for their over night visitation? If nothing about the above is mentioned in our decree.

A:  David's Answer:  Generally the non-custodial parent must provide items likes clothes & food when caring for the child. If s/he is paying full support, they can always argue for a small reduction on same if the have nearly equal time to the custodial parent, however. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

In New York there is a law punishing parents who fraudulently accuse the other parent of abuse of the child. What is the law?

Q:  I have read that there is a law in New York that punishes parents who knowingly and fraudulently accuse the other parent of abuse to get custody of the children. I would like to be able to read the law and, hopefully, contact the individual who authored the law. Can anyone cite the law for me and provide the name of the author of the law?

A:  David's Answer:  Yes, filing a false report of child abuse is a misdemeanor (NYS Penal Law Sec. 240.50(4)). Furthermore, if proven, it may also be a strong factor against awarding the false accuser custody. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

My child lives in anothers state how can I file for shared custody

Q:  I live in nyc and they lives in p.A

A:  David's Answer:  You'd most likely need to file for custody in PA if the child's been there for more than 6 months & if there's no prior NY order. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, October 17, 2014

Will my trip with a 3yo for 10 days affect custody decision?

Q:  My wife filed for order of protection against me for herself and 3yo dayughter. A few days later she filed for divorce asking for full custody of 3yo. After I won the order of protection and it was dismissed, i returned home. She changed her mind on exclusive occupancy (requested in her divorce complaint) and did not object to living together again. A month after order of protection was dismissed and children services investigation found her report unfounded, she allowed me to travel for 10 with 3yo to florida to see grandparents. Is her recent consent to my return home and travel with 3 yo contradictory to her original allegations. Will her contradictoy behavior affect custody?

A:  David's Answer:  Not necessarily as it depends on what those allegations were. If, for instance, she alleged she feared for her safety - then that may have been true at the time she completed her petition, but not necessarily true any longer. Thus, you should schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

How does it affect custody if one parent moves out of state?

Q:  My wife filed for divorce and sole custody of our daughter; she has no job, no place to stay in NY but she still lives at our marital residence I am paying for. If I move to FL where my family lives, how will it affect the custody determination? Thank you.

A:  David's Answer:  If you move & leave the child with her, then it won't affect custody at all. You moving, in itself, doesn't change anything regarding custody. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for more info.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can i visitation of my kids, even if i have a domestic violence case against me?

Q:  3 years back i had been charged with domestic violence. I just want to know if i go to courts for as petition, would they grant me rights of child visitation? or would they deny me, because of my violent history?

A:  David's Answer:  You can absolutely have visitation with your children, even with the domestic violence charge. As to whether your visits will be supervised or otherwise restricted will depend on other factors, such as whether you were actually convicted & the seriousness of the charge. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

In a pendete lite motion (supreme court), what kind of schedule will the judge order for visitation?

Q:  I am trying to understand if I ask for relief will I get more than 1 overnight every two weeks?

Additional information
I am seeking more than this. Have residence and let's assume no to claims. What is the schedule the judge typically order?

A:  David's Answer:  Generally a non-custodial parent will get alternate weekend visitation, which is usually Friday evening thru Sunday evening. That said, there's many exceptions to the general rule, including historical visitation patterns, existence of negative factors (d.v., criminal, abuse/neglect, etc.), inadequate housing and/or unsuitable roommates (i.e., ones with a criminal history). Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, October 10, 2014

What to do when a parent is abusing her sole legal custody on the other parent? Can you manage to reverse or modify the order?

Q: My ex-wife obtained full legal custody after a long trial last June. Since then her lawyer and her told me now she has full custody she can do whatever she wants. I am French and she is American. She called the French embassy saying that they shouldn't see me if I was presenting there with my daughter, she called every French school to tell them that she was refusing that I take my daughter to some activities there sending them the custody agreements. She is sending me tons of emails telling me that her daughter doesn't want to be with me, she is constantly sending me emails ordering me to do things during my time and how I should do things, she is harassing me, talk on behalf of her daughter and abusing me psychologically. I can't sleep, I am followed by a doctor. I have to stop that.

A: David's Answer: You can certainly file a motion/petition to modify the last order. Whether you should do so would depend on an assessment of many more factors than what you've presented, including a review of the trial decision. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

My ex has the residential custody and we have joint legal custody

Q: If I were to move to California because of my new spouse in this state and get the visitation schedule will I lose the joint custody ?

A: David's Answer: The move in itself wouldn't necessarily be a basis to vacate the joint custody, as same relates to decision-making - which you can presumably do from anywhere. That said, your ex may be able to argue certain decisions warrant closer involvement, such as actually attending PT conferences and/or doctor's appointments. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can I lose custody of my children because I am pregnant to a man who is not my husband?

Q: NYC Husband agreed to go into mediation and file no fault divorce with joint physical joint legal in 3 months. I have just found out I am pregnant by another man. Husband and I have not had sexual relations in 2 years. I have been the primary care taker for my kids.

A: David's Answer: While its a factor the court may consider, in my mind it would be a relatively small factor in itself. There are many other custody factors which will likely play a bigger role.  - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (


Q: If awarded sole residential custody then does it mean the person was awarded sole legal custody as well?

A: David's Answer: Not necessarily. One can be awarded sole residential custody, but have joint custody as to decision-making. One would need to see the actual order to see what it says.  - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody Law attorney (

What are the responsibilities of a legal aid?

Q: I am in a custody battle with my abusive ex. I recently had to request a new legal aid because my previous attorney did not speak to me for a year, except for five minute visits before court. She offered me no support or guidance, and my visitations were suspended due to her negligence. 

I am wondering exactly what services are legal aides supposed to provide, their responsibilities to their clients, their responsibilities to their edict, their profession. 

My children's lawyer asked for two lawyers to be assigned to the children, one for each child, but she was denied her request. Was it in the best interests of the children for her to continue representing both children after expressing overwhelm? What responsibility is she overlooking? Is it in the child's best interest for her to avoid communications with parents, and completely disregard the father's reluctance to provide reports about their homeschooling?

A: David's Answer: There are indeed guidelines governing the representation of indigent person by assigned counsel in Family Court. They may be found here: If you believe your lawyer provided inadequate representation, you can request assignment of a new lawyer and/or file a grievance with the Bar Association.  - David Bliven, Bronx Family Law attorney (

I want to relocate with my husband, I have a 10 year from another relationship and I have full custody of him.

Q: I currently reside in New York but want to relocate to Rhode island, on the court papers it states nothing about not being able to relocate, his father doesn’t call him look for him or even take me to court for visitations so I assume he doesn’t really care. The reason for relocating is I’m about to have another baby with my husband and spouse of 9 years, he has family in Rhode island is better for the kids so my husband and I think it’s the best move for our growing family. My son wants to move so badly. Now I’m in court with the fathers parents they want visitation but as for the father I don’t even know where he lives nor do I have a number to contact him at. Can I just move or do I have to go to court first to request permission for relocation.

A: David's Answer: If the father is not expressly consenting to the move, then you'll need to file a petition asking the court for permission to move. I have seen horror stories where the mother just moves in these circumstances, and then the Judge orders her to return the child to the jurisdiction (at her expense) pending a full trial.  - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Sole custody

Q: If my ex has sole custody can I get to claim my daughter on taxes alternate year or should we have joint legal custody for that to happen?

A: David's Answer: Neither would help you. IRS regulations provide that whoever is the primary residential parent gets to claim the deduction for the child. If you want to claim any aspect of the deduction, you'd need to bring this up in the child support end of the case. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (


Q: What does "Sole residential custody" means?

A: David's Answer: It means the parent in whose home the child resides 51% or more of the time. It is to be distinguished from the terms "sole custody" & "joint custody." - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Should I obtain a lawyer

Q: I changed the court order from supervised visits for drug allegations against my daughter father and now I notice I made a mistake and want to by allowing him to have my daughter unsupervised on multiple occasions because I was being nice. Now I want to change the court order and make it supervised because he called her a mean name by saying she's a punk and letting her watch pg13 stuff when she's only 6 years old... My daughter said daddy called her a mean word and she does not want to go back. I told her she doesn't have to but my daughter father is saying that's against the law and I was already negligent by changing the court order. If I want to enforce supervise visitations now or stop the visirations because my daughter said daddy hurt her feelings can I do so without any issues?

A: David's Answer: Preliminarily, I doubt - in itself - the facts you're presenting would serve as the basis for supervised visits. Perhaps it would serve as the basis for a more specific order, one which prohibits either parent from having the child view PG-13 or higher rated movies, for example. That said, you're almost always better off retaining a lawyer for Custody cases. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Custody and travel related

Q: The custodial parent is on temporary visa and wants to travel with the child out of country to their homeland, though cp provides the itenary the intentions of cp to return back and the law enforcement in the homeland is not competent and there is no treaty between US and the homeland. In this case as an NCP what can I do to prevent this travel?

A: David's Answer: Do you already have a custody order? Does it specifically permit the travel abroad? You may be able to do a further stipulation (which should be "so-ordered") having the CP purchase a surety bond to secure her return, which would otherwise then cover your legal expenses if the CP reneges on returning the child. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

I was served a notice of motion but can't make it to the hearing, what do I do?

Q: I was granted full custody some months back and then I was granted relocation to Florida (I live in NY for now) a couple of months ago with visitation to be discussed among the parties. I am the mother and the father has filed a notice of motion to be heard. He was late to the last hearing and missed his opportunity. I was served Sept 27 and the hearing is Oct. 6. I am leaving NY to go to Florida this weekend since I have work lined up for next week. What do I have to do?

A: David's Answer: First, you're required to answer the motion in writing. Irrespective of your physical appearance, if you do not submit a written opposition, the motion could be granted on your default. Assuming you submit written opposition, then you can submit proof of your airline itinerary along with a letter to the Judge requesting an adjournment (be sure to copy same to the other party). - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

As a NCP if I had visitation if I am moving out of state

Q: Do I still get visitation? and if so how much...

A: David's Answer: Yes, you would still receive visitation. How much depends primarily on: (a) how much you're receiving now, and (b) how far away you're moving to. As a practical matter, there may also be consideration of the cost of such visitation. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, September 26, 2014


Q: Custody was decided during divorce after trial ended. How soon can I reapply for change of custody. What is the probability of winning it the second time?

A: David's Answer: There's no real time limit, because what matters most is whether you're able to establish a "change in circumstances" sufficient to warrant a change of custody. Whether you would be able to establish same - as well as the probability of success - would need to be full assessed on the facts of your individual case. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

If appeal a custody decision if I lose it again will I be responsible for the other party's attorney fee.

Q: Also the attorney that I am hiring is stating that he has to first file a order to show cause and then obtain the transcripts and then file a appeal, is the procedure correct? 
Why does the appeal procedure takes a lot of time, does he have to go to court back and forth just like family/supreme court appearances or just submitting brief for review? I am just getting worried about his hourly charges.

A: David's Answer: If there's a disparity of income, it's possible the non-monied party can make an application for counsel fees in the trial court if you do not prevail on appeal. Generally, if one is "seeking permission to appeal," one files the notice of appeal along with the order to show cause seeking permission to appeal. Transcripts can be ordered simultaneously with the filing. Finally, there generally are no court appearances on an appeal (if that's what you mean), other than possible oral argument (which is optional). - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody Law attorney (

I am a non custodial parent, i have been paying the child support, however I am not excersing the current visitation schedule as

Q: I have moved to different state , one day if I find out that the child is taken out of country without my knowledge will I be able to file for a custody modification and kidnap, my ex has the sole custody.

A: David's Answer: If by "taken out of the country," you mean just for vacation, then no. If you mean the mother permanently relocates the residence of the child to another country, then yes, you can certainly file a petition requesting that she return the child. However, you must do so in a timely manner as if you wait too long, the original issuing state may find it no longer has jurisdiction to enforce. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody Law attorney (

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What lawyer do I need?

Q: I'm a divorced female with 2 year old child. My ex and I share join legal custody. Side note, he is never around, and he is in national guards. I am trying to join the army myself, but my recruiter said I can't join, since I'm a single parent. I need to talk to a lawyer about signing away my legal rights to my mother for the time of my basic training and potential deployment. But I have no idea what kind of lawyer I need to talk to? Please give me some advice of what lawyer I need? Thank you.

A: David's Answer: You'd need to file for joint custody with primary physical residence to the grandmother. You'll need to specify that this would only be for the period of active deployment. However, you'll ultimately need to serve the father with the papers. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

How do I obtain an attorney for custody? I can't afford one.

Q: I was served a summons on the 16, I'm scheduled to appear to BKLYN NY on the 23 of September for my first appearance. I reside in the Bx NY.

A: David's Answer: Preliminarily, you should be aware that this was insufficient notice, as you're entitled to 8 days advance notice of a court appearance (unless it was served via an order to show cause). That said, if you're looking for court-assigned counsel, you can ask the Judge at the appearance date. Be prepared to document your income & execute a financial disclosure affidavit listing your expenses & assets. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Can a parent who has signed over parental rights have visitation rights ?

Q: The father of my child wants visitation rights after singing over his parental rights over to me 8 yrs ago and does not pay any child support can he get visitation rights ?

A: David's Answer: Did he "sign over his rights" by doing a "surrender" in the context of a step-parent adoption proceeding? If yes, then he'd be extremely unlikely to be able to legally impose visitation rights. If not, however, then merely because he executed a document between the two of you doesn't mean that document is legally-enforceable. - David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (