Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Can the attorney general in NY handle paternity, child custody, and child support? If so, how long does it take, and the cost?

Q:  The father of my child lives in NYC (We used to live there together), but I am now out of state (in TX with my family - they are helping me raise the child). Texas lawyers tell me that they can serve the father with paternity, custody, and support papers, but that if he does not reply, the TX courts have no jurisdiction over him. So, they have advised me to file with the attorney general in NY, and they say it is free. Is that true? How long would it take? What if he does not respond to the papers in NY? Would a warrant be issued for his arrest, or would I have to hire a lawyer for that to happen?

A:  David's Answer:  It's a good piece of advise never to solicit legal advise on NY law from an attorney not licensed to practice here - chance are they are guessing. In your case, their guess is wrong. The Attorney General plays no role in Family Court proceedings. You would thus need to file petitions with the Family Court in the county where he resides. Here's a link for more info: That said, if you've been living in TX for more than 6 months, it's arguably TX is now the "home state" of the child for custody purposes. Moreover, additional facts are needed to assess the jurisdictional issue to determine whether NY v. TX would have jurisdiction on the support issue. The jurisdictional issues are governed by interstate statutes applicable in all 50 states. Schedule a phone consult with a NYC Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

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