Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I have joint custody with primary decision making and physical granted to me- what are grounds for sole custody?

Q:  I am the custodial parent. The father continues to argue with me on a daily basis, complaining that he does not see our child enough. The babysitter has offered for him to stop by during the week- he has not taken her up on this offer. I live with the non-custodial's mother- he argues with me via text to have me kicked out. He also argues with her which makes him not welcome there for visitation outside of our court order- which he gets every other weekend. For the past 3 weeks- he has not "been able to pick him up" on his Fridays at 6pm which is court ordered because he has work. I have not been able to speak with him about anything that pertains to our child in months. He also plans on introducing his new girlfriend that he met on an internet app 3 months agoto our son on his time.

A:  David's Answer:  You're best advised to keep a paper-trail, confirming with the father when he misses visits & what his reasons, if any, are. You may consider filing a petition to modify & at the least have a provision stating that if he cancels with short notice, he forfeits his next visit as well. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Could I use my court awarded make-up time (overnight stays) to extend my summer vacation (I get 7 days) with my kids?

Q:  I only have to give 7 days notice of when I want to take my make-up time, but I would like to take an extended vacation with it. Will it matter if the make-up time is out of state?

A:  David's Answer:  Possibly - though this depends on the wording of the order. You're best advised to write the other parent an e-mail/letter well in advance to state your intentions. Schedule a consult with a Bronx child custody lawyer for more info.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Custodial parent threatened to take children and run! What can I do?

Q:  Said they will go on the run, so I can't find them because she's mad at me for getting a lawyer.

A:  David's Answer:  You are best advised to file an order to show cause to request a court order preventing a relocation without court permission.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can request mandatory anger management for everyone around my daughter?

Q:  My ex and i had a bad breakup. She has anger issues, her older sister she lives with has anger issues, both my parents have serious anger issues, (my father just told me told f*** off and started yelling at me for no reason) my mother has a long history of emotional and verbal abuse with me. I cannot see my kid on my own at the moment, since my apt is too small and far away from the mothers house. I have to have my time at my parents. I have one day per week custody. Sister has a incident 5 years ago choking the childs mother and my mother nearly broke my nose 15 years ago. Childs mother physically threatened to punch me last may and instead flipped me off while i was holding child. I was verbally abusive towards childs mother after breakup. I love my daughter so much what can i do

A:  David's Answer:  No, unfortunately - the court does not generally have jurisdiction over people who are not parties to the case. The Judge thus would only have authority to order the mother into counseling or anger management - but even this is very unlikely unless you're petitioning for a change of custody. Schedule a consult with a NYC Family Law attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

CPS investigation open against NCP; alcohol abuse; supervised visitation suggested - what affect on child support?

Q:  Lengthy GAL involvement and custody eval brought out of court custody agreement. Comprehensive alcohol addiction assessment determined NCP not fit for physical custody due to alcoholism. Custody agreement stipulates no use of substances in presence of or while in care of children. NCP now has opened CPS case for potential neglect related to police incident involving alcohol consumption and the children. CPS recommends supervised visitation for NCP and a return to court for modification of custody order.
1. Will this effect current joint legal custody agreement? Is this grounds to seek sole legal? 2. Will this effect child support as custodial parent will be taking charge of children during NCP visitation days (3 days to NCP prior to incident).

A:  David's Answer:  Potentially is would affect joint custody, depending on the results of the investigation. At the least, one would think you should file an order to show cause for supervised visitation in accordance with CPS' recommendation. As for support, it depends on the wording of the agreement - if a factor for the reduced support was the significant time the HCP would be spending with the children, then I would think much reduced time would create a substantial change of circumstances providing grounds for modification. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, February 21, 2014

I need to know if I need a lawyer for child visitation modifcation? If so, what is the estimate cost and how long it takes?

Q:  My son father is violating the court visitation order by denying to let me see my son when he is upset. I need reinforcement.

A:  David's Answer:  You are almost always better off having an attorney than not having one. Lawyers cannot directly solicit clients on this forum, so you can use the "Find a Lawyer" tab on this site to find one. Shop around because lawyers vary with their prices & experience levels. Moreover, lawyers who may have their office in the outer boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens) still do cases in Manhattan.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Shared Custody in NYS

Q:  In a true shared custody situation where parents split the week alternating every other weekend including fridays, Which parent is considered to have primary residential custody? (for school enrollment/doctors forms, etc.)

Thank you.

A:  David's Answer:  If you have a court order to that effect, then the child should be able to be enrolled in either school district. To the extent there is any dispute, you can get that clarified by the court on a modification petition. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Can my child's father take me to court if I live in another state ?

Q:  I'm having a big issue my child's father is not on my sons birth certificate it's been about five years and he's stating that he has rights is this true he's never helped fanatically or has never really been part of my child's life we live in another state what rights dose he have can he even take me to court ?

A:  David's Answer:   So what state do you live in? If in New York, then he could possibly file petitions to establish paternity as well as visitation rights. If you live in another state, then you should consult an attorney in the state where you reside, as generally he'd need to file where you live. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Asking a Judge For Temporary Custody In NY

Q:  I’m in a custody battle with my son’s mother, Our First Court date is this week and I Plan on asking the Judge for Temporary Custody until our case is finished. Is this even an option in NY courts? I have my son 4-5 days a week already, I recently placed him in pre-school and I’m the Parent who takes him to school and picks him up and would like to keep this routine until things are settled between us. I’m scared once we start the case his mother will try to keep him from me as much as possible and disrupt his routine.

A:  David's Answer:  First, it is possible to ask for temporary custody. Second, you should definitely not handle a contested custody case on your own. You should immediately schedule a consultation with a Bronx Child Custody attorney.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Temporary Custody/ Enrolling Child in School

Q:  I have Temporary Custody of my 3 year old son, he is eligible to enter Pre-K in Sept. His mother is determined to have him attend school down the block from her. Whereas I want him to attend school closer to me, the difference is 1 hour in travel time for me. Since I have temporary residential custody, do I go about as I have perm custody and place him in a school closer to me?? . I’ve tried to negotiate with mother on placing him in a school equally distanced from both, but she denied and wants him down the block from her.

A:  David's Answer: If you have an order giving you temporary custody, then such decisions are yours to make, unless the order also provides for the two of you to have joint custody. If you're unsure, it's best to consult a Family Law attorney. Either way, given that you have a contested custody case, you're best advised to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody attorney.    -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Thursday, February 13, 2014

If ACS takes your newborn from the time of birth due to an open case involving your other children,can you get the baby back?

Q:  My neighbor has an open acs case in which her 2 kids were removed from the home temporarily. She has just given birth to a baby and it seems like acs will likely take this baby away as well...does the baby get put up for adoption or will she have time to fight for this child back also?

A:  David's Answer:  It is likely ACS will also do a removal of the newborn, especially if the circumstances leading to the removal of her other children have not been rectified. That said, she would generally have 15 months to rectify her issues regarding the newborn before ACS can file to terminate her parental rights & put the baby up for adoption. She should be highly encouraged to schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do I need a family court lawyer

Q:  I have 2 kids ages 9 and 5. Neither the father or myself have legal custody of our children
Their father and I came to an agreement that kids would stay with him for a year so that I can get on my feet and work night shift at a new job since I have no other family that can help care for mi children and recently moved in a new neighborhood where I don't know anyone I can trust my kids with. I see my kids on every other wknd and provide the smaller necessities since my salary is very minimal I also help with picking up kids from school during the weak without hesitating. The father wants to demand I pay child support if not he will fight custody. I have offered to bring groceries to help with food supply and he rejects it because evidently he la interested on the $$$ ...
What should I do.

A:  David's Answer:  Unfortunately, so many people work out these "informal arrangements" without consulting an attorney first. The problem you may face is that the courts do not generally recognize such "informal arrangements" & many times the fathers then deny there was any such arrangement in the first place. It then becomes very difficult for the mother to win back custody. And yes, while the children are in his custody, he is entitled to 25% of your adjusted gross income - or roughly 40-45% of your net. I'd advise you to consult a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

How often is sole legal custody and sole physical custody split between parents after a trial in NYS?

Q:  How often will a court award one parent sole LEGAL custody and the other parent sole PHYSICAL custody when the forensics recommends one parent gets both sole legal and physical custody?

A:  David's Answer:  Perhaps a definition on terms is warranted to answer your query. From my end, "legal" custody and "primary physical custody" mean the same thing. Thus, a Judge would not award 1 parent legal custody & the other parent physical custody as it would be contradictory. If "legal" custody is otherwise defined to mean "decision-making authority," however, I can say it would be very rare indeed for a Judge to award primary physical custody to one parent, while vesting decision-making authority to the non-custodial parent. Schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, February 8, 2014

We are co-parenting in NYC and my child's father wants to move to NJ.

Q:  We have a custody hearing coming up in a few weeks. What should I expect in terms of custody agreement? He is moving 11 miles away from where I reside and where my son goes to school. He has him less time than I do, on average 5 days less every month.

Additional information
I am not consenting to the move. He is five years old. His father plans to drive him to school and back to NJ on his days/nights during the week.

A:  David's Answer:  It really depends - are you consenting to the move? How old is the child? If the child is school-age, what's the father's plan for getting the child to school (assuming he wants access time on weekdays)? You are best advised to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

When you are being investigated for child neglect or abuse, is the ACS worker allowed to question your child in private?

Q:  Someone made a report to ACS for domestic violence in my home and a social worker came to my house to investigate to see if the violence was taking place in front of the kids and he said he had to speak to each child separately by their self with me present but I thought you aren't allowed to speak to a child without an adult until the child is 17 years old.

A:  David's Answer:  You can object, and the process would then be for ACS to file a motion for a Judge to direct that the interview can take place over your objection. About 99.99% of the time, the Judge will issue that order. The rationale is that if the child is being abused or neglected by that same parent, they don't want that parent sitting next to them staring at them when the worker asks whether they're being abused or neglected. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Therapy and Custody Case

Q:  my ex did not tell me that he has been bringing our daughter to a threapist for almost a year now. My visits with my daughter have been going well and suddenly, my daughter is now refusing to visit. I've tried to communicate with my ex about getting therapy for our child for over a year but my ex refuses to communicate even though our order granted us joint legal custody. My ex wouldn't event tell me who the therapist is. My ex petitioned for my visitation to be suspended since the doctor is recommending all visits stop. The doctor also wants to stop visitation because she claims my daughter has said she doesn't want to go. My daughter is 11 years old. Also, the attorney for child is now siding with my ex even though the attorney has spoken very little to me. Can I lose visitation?

A:  David's Answer:  It is possible, but the Judge would probably want to know why the therapist is recommending that visitation be halted. Ultimately the Judge would probably also order a forensic psychological evaluation of the parties & child - and indeed may conduct a trial before making a final determination. Schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can my son father give up his rights to his mom

Q:  My son father is going to jail for a while and his mother wants visitation with my son , so she told me that my son father told her when he goes to jail he is going to sigh over his rights to her so she can have visitations. Is that even possible if I disagree with it. Can he give up his rights/sign them over to his mother.he has been in jail all my son life can out a year ago on parole and got caught with credit card fraud AGAIN now he is on trail.

A:  David's Answer:  He cannot "sign over his rights" to her, but that said, all she needs to do is petition the court for an order of grandparent visitation. If she has been relatively involved with the child the court will consider giving her 1 visit every month or two. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Why do I lost custody if my daughter goes to live with her father we have joined custody I have last say?

Q:  When my daughter was 15 I heard her say f her going to live with my dad when im 17 keep the child support buy a car I was crushed she told me that my ex and grandmother was trying to turn her against me she wouldn't do it , I gave her everything over and beyond big sweet sixteen party , car , trips she wanted for nothing .my 2 son step in as her father help to raise bc her father left . On dec4 my daughter leaves my home made up a lie had acs case against me which I was cleared now my ex want full custody and support plus medical . Plz tell me how for 17 yrs we love her shes tells me I m only 1 that stood by her side was there for her my ex made threats to my sons stay away from their sister he bullied my son s we are so sick and lost speech less dont want to lose my

A:  David's Answer:  If your child is 17yo, she can pretty much choose to live with either parent. The reality is that even if the Court allows the case to proceed to trial, it usually takes several months (if not over a year) to get a custody case to trial in NYC anyway (i.e., by then she'll be 18 or close to it). Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for more info.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (