Friday, June 27, 2014

Hi! I filed a petition for full custody for my 2 kids. I am still currently married to their dad. I have a hearing on the 27th

Q:  He just went & filed for joint custody.(I just got served on Saturday) Hearing is on the same day. He claims he has no job & hes on disability. Was in court on Friday he was ordered to pay $25 monthly.( for 2 kids).which i heard he has gone back 2 work.we are due back in court on 7-11-14. (1)-Question is if he has no job & no stable home would he be granted joint custody? He's had 4 different homes(living with other people) since December. (2)When we go back to court in July will it count since he went back to work? Or the date of July?

A:  David's Answer:  Joint custody more relates to decision-making - as such whether he has a stable job or home doesn't impact that issue as much as how amicable the two of you have been (at least when it comes to the kids). As for your other question, I'm unsure of what "it" is in the clause "will it count." Call a NYC Child Custody lawyer to schedule a consult.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can you obtain a GAL's report?

Q:  A GAL in a custody/visitation proceeding had to make reports upon the interviews of both parties. It is understood that nothing between the GAL and the parties involved are confidential. Can that report be obtained?

A:  David's Answer:  Usuaully a GAL's "report" is not a written report but instead an oral report given in court - assuming you are using the correct terminology. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, June 13, 2014

How much will a Contested Custody or Divorce case cost me?

 David Ivan Bliven

Written by David Bliven
Family Law Attorney - Bronx, NY
  • Attorney Fee
  • Child Custody
  • Cost
  • Divorce
  • Family Law

I get this question a lot & of course the answer depends on how extensive the litigation gets. The more I have to do, the more the client gets billed. But some guidelines on the expected costs are provided below.

1 - Contested Custody Costs

Because Family Court custody cases in NYC & Westchester can last 1-2 years, attorney's fees may be as little as a few thousand, and as much as $25,000 or more over that period. Thus, broken down, it means an average of about $1-2,000+ per month over the life of the case. Be forwarned, however, that in some cases, there is alot more billing towards the front-end of the case (e.g., when trying to establish interim orders of access, etc.) and towards the back-end of the case (i.e., when the trial starts). Thus, while $1-2,000 per month may be an average, some cases may see billing of $5,000 or more in a month, and then other months have only a few hundred dollars billed to the account.

2 - Contested Divorce Costs

Contested divorce cases often cost even more than contested custody cases, simply because all the potential issues between the parties are handled in 1 case. Thus, issues of custody & visitation, child support, maintenance (i.e., alimony) and equitable distribution fo marital assets & debts are all done in one case. Moreover, depositions are routinely done in contested divorce cases; they are rarely done in contested Family Court custody cases. A a result, the expected fees on a contested divorce case are roughly double what one could expect to pay for a "mere" Family Court custody case. As such, one may expect to pay as little as a few thousand and as much as $50,000 or more. Indeed, I've handled contested cases with counsel fees as high as $100,000 or more. If the client gets in over their head financially, a number of options are available, including borrowing against assets or retirement (though this may take court permission), payment plans and/or legal financing. It should be noted that, while I do offer payment plans in some cases, I do not offer payment plans to all clients & in all cases. In sum, in a highly contested case, the client should be forewarned about expected costs and should raise any payment concerns with their lawyer as early in the process as possible.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Should I deviate from the court order?

Q:  My wife is the NCP with court ordered supervised visits using her friend as supervisor. This friend is also responsible for transporting the children to and from visits. I was informed via text by the supervisor that she had surgery on her foot and cannot drive to pick up the kids and that I should bring the kids to and from visits. What is the best practice in tis situation since we have begun custody hearings?

A:  David's Answer:  It depends on the reasons for the supervision & whether there is a mutually-acceptable substitute available at least until you can get back into court. If I were you, I'd inquire as to whether someone else is available to do the pick-up/drop-off. If no one else is available & you're unable/unwilling to do the pick-up/drop-off, then file an order to show cause & allow the Judge to rectify the issue. Call a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for more info.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (