Saturday, July 19, 2014

What's the best way to give the non-custodial parent the least amount of visitation rights? Brooklyn, NY

Q:  The non-custodial parent doesn't have a relationship with the child. The child is scared of the father. The father has 3 temp. order of protections from the mother and two 5 yr. order of protections for physically hitting/chocking the mother. The father has been in and out of rehab since 2011 and still has an alcohol issue. The last time he got arrested, the police found coke cocaine in his possession.

A:  David's Answer:  Ask for his visitation to be supervised. Obtain copies of the criminal complaints and any certificates of disposition from criminal court. Subpoena records from any alcohol treatment program he's been in. Ask that he be alcohol & drug-tested. Ask that he be required to complete anger management as a component of any visitation order. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What information do I need to provide, to justify our moving to a different state other than what was in our custody agreement?

Q:  I live in New York, but signed a lease and gave a security for a house in NJ. Moving end of the month. My custody agreement states: Parties agree to reside within the states of New York, five boros, Nassau, Suffolk,Westchester&Rockland that are within a typical commuting distance of Manhattan by car or railroad. Outside this area need approval of court. The girls father wants to take me to court because I broke this agreement says I am cutting him off from his 2 daughters. The NJ house is 1 hour to Brooklyn by car where he lives and less than an hour to the City by train. Great NEighborhood and school system in NJ. Also 10 minute walk to school. 12 minute walk to train. Yet the other areas like westchester, Rockland are further away but he is ok with that. Please Advise. Thank you.

Additional information
We live in the Bronx and just wanted the best for our girls, a better place for for them to live and go to school. My older daughter hates the school she is in. Education is not great. Next year and the year to follow they will both be going to high school. The school I like them to go to, ranks 176 of the best 500 schools in the country. The school they are in now is no where in the radar, no where near that. I searched for months to find a place that was reasonable commute for the father so he can pick girls up, but he is being very unreasonable saying I want to take them away from him, when it just 1 hour away compare to Connecticut which is hours away. What are my rights? Do I have a case or do I try to get my deposit back if I can and look for a new place? Thanks I appreciate your help.

A:  David's Answer:  If that's the agreement, then you cannot move until you've filed a petition seeking relocation. Since the prior agreement was very specific, you'd need a very good reason to move outside of those areas - and merely moving to a "great neighborhood and school" will not generally suffice. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What can I do if child mother is secretly moving.she ismoving away to the point visitation affected.

Q:  my childs mother is moving very soon.found that out thru a source. im not "supposed to know".not the first time that she withheld information regarding my daughter.what do I do first.the move is not out of state but the travel time will affect the current visitation order. wanted more time .but now this.

A:  David's Answer:  You should sent an immediate communication out to the mother stating your knowledge & objecting to the move. Ask that she confirm back to you that she's not moving. If she fails to within a week, file an order to show cause in Family Court asking that she be restrained from moving until a Judge can determine whether the move is in the child's best interests. Schedule a consult with a NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

I have a 15 year old little brother who lives in Mississippi with my mom, can I bring him to NY legally if I get him in school?

Q:  My mother pulled him out of school about 4 to 5 years ago, saying she was going to home school him, which isn't the case, he works with my step father in construction. he's a very bright young man and I hate to see his potential being wasted. I want to bring him to NY to live with me and help him get into a school that will let him take his GED / college, he's more than capable.

A:  David's Answer:  You would need to file for custody in that state as MI is his home state for jurisdictional purposes. Thus, call a MI child custody lawyer to schedule a consult.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Can my childs father get visitations without paternity established?

Q:  I was in a 12 year abusive relationship with the father of my last two children(unmarried). On feb. 7, 2014 I returned home to find that All 4 of my children had been adsconded by him and never made it to school that day(he resided there). Same day he took the children he also went to family court and filed a petition gor custody and ODP then took the kids right away. I also filed the same shortly after and reporting my missing children and abuse. After a week of the children were returned with help from nypd. Since then hes made false complaimts against me and I was jailed twice, put a gun to my head in front of my home(was arrested), been to my kids dchools against ODP, Been to my moms against ODP, filed in court under my address and has averted givin his location, coerced the children

A:  David's Answer:  The short answer to your question is no, usually the court will require him to establish paternity prior to granting him visitation rights. That said, is his name on the birth certificate? If yes, then most likely he signed an acknowledgment of paternity which is generally legally sufficient to establish paternity. Your focus may be better served by fighting the custody case itself. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

What to do if my wife who gets supervised visits says the order has been amended but won't show proof? I can't get my Attorney.

Q:  On Friday attorneys in my custody case (my attorney, my wife's attorney, and the attorney for the children) conferenced with the court attorney to change the supervisor for my wife's visitation.I was told I need not be present so I didn't attend.Friday afternoon I sent a text asking my 18B for info on the conference.No response.Upon speaking to the supervisor Friday night I found out she is still the supervisor.So on Saturday when I took the children for the visit, my wife comes alone and says that the court stipulated that I can exchange the children with her.I asked her to produce the order and show proof.She then grabbed the kids got on the elevator and said I should call my lawyer.I considered calling NYPD but I didn't want to make a scene in front of the kids. She has a visit tomorrow

A:  David's Answer:  You're certainly in a pickle! The problem is that no attorney on this forum can responsibly tell you what to do, simply because we weren't at the conference & thus don't know what was said. You'll simply need to continue in your efforts to reach your lawyer - try e-mail or calling the cell instead of texting. Also try calling the attorney for the child. Call a Bronx Child Custody lawyer to schedule a consult for a 2d opinion.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Can a father who's wealthier pay the child's mother's counsel fees in child custody/visitation hearing?

Q:  I am the custodial parent (NYC)of a one year old child and was recently contacted by the father's attorney. We were never married or lived together. He has always lived out of state. I'm now in the position to respond to the attorney and I'm concerned as the father is significantly wealthier than I am. It has been an ongoing issue with him wanting to take the baby out of state for visits. Will I be responsible for attorney fees if I am the less monied parent. I'm concerned about being inadequately represented.

A:  David's Answer:  If your question is whether you have the ability to request that the father pay a portion of, or all of, the fees your lawyer would otherwise charge to you, the answer is yes. Any representation that you cannot file a counsel fee motion in a Family Court custody case is simply dead wrong on the law, as there are numerous appellate decisions confirming the ability to do so. Schedule a consult with an experienced NYC Child Custody lawyer for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Difference between a judge and a referee for full custody/joint custody?

Q:  I am from Manhattan,NY. I am due in court on 5-27-14. I had filed a petition for full custody for my 2 kids.(currently still married). Which in turn he filed a petition against me last week for joint custody. (1)- what's the difference between a judge and a referee.? (2)- And under what circumstances would he be granted joint custody? If him& I don't speak at all. & I am the one who will be making all the decisions with the kids.

A:  David's Answer:  A Referee is the rough equivalent of a junior Judge. They are appointed to hear custody & visitation cases by consent of the parties - if the parties do not consent, then either the case will be heard by an actual Judge or the Judge will just review the transcripts & report from the Referee at the end of the case & issue an order based on same. As for joint custody, if you can otherwise communicate (even if via e-mail or text) regarding the children, then joint custody is usually encouraged by the courts. Rarely is it ordered over the custodial parent's legitimate objection. Call a NYC Child Custody lawyer to schedule a consult.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

My husband wants 50/50 custody. Do I have any real chance of getting primary physical custody?

Q:  My husband wants 50/50 custody of our infant son. We both have jobs and are financially secure, and we are equally involved in caregiving responsibilities. My husband is a loving and devoted father, but he is also conniving and manipulative, with a long criminal history. I do not believe he will be a consistent, positive influence on our son. I also have two children from a previous marriage, but their father is not in the picture. I want to fight for primary physical custody of my son, but do not want to spend the time and money on a nasty custody battle unless there is at least some reasonable chance that I will win. Is it worth it for me to pursue primary physical custody?

A:  David's Answer:  His criminal record will be a factor, but how big a factor depends on what he was actually convicted of. There are many other factors the court will consider, including (regarding shared custody) how close you live to one another. Call a NYC Child Custody lawyer for more info.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Can I deny visitation?

Q:  I have full legal and physical custody of my daughter. My ex has visitation. This coming weekend is his and I said it was fine but then he told me he's taking her camping. My daughter has very bad allergies, even her doctor is against it. I told him this and he claims he won't go camping but its still his weekend. He's lied about not going places before and does exactly the opposite. I don't want to risk it and have my daughter get an asthma attack. He doesn't seem genuinely concerned about her health. What can I do?

A:  David's Answer:  No responsible attorney can advise you to violate a court order over a forum like this. If you feel there's a basis to do so, then you'll need to file an order to show cause & petition for modification of the order. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

Friday, July 4, 2014

Does More Nights matter in having more time in Child Custody or does days count?

Q: I asked question earlier about who will claim child on taxes. If we have 50-50 custody, does both parents make decisions on child? If child stays with one parent 4 nights and other parent 3 nights, but child overall spends more hours with one particular parent, lets say the one with whom he/she is with for 3 nights, is that parent considered primary caregiver in his case, or is the parent with whom the child spends more number of nights in a year considered primary caregiver and considered having more than 50/50 custody?

A: It's not a matter of days or nights - it's a matter of non-school hours. Ultimately, this would need to be reduced to a court order making it clear who has primary residential custody. As for the deduction, this ultimately needs to be hashed out in child support court, but it seems fair to alternate the deduction if you share custody (or even something close to it).  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody lawyer (

How many times can a child custody trial be postponed/adjourned? This is getting ridiculous.

Q: My ex and I have been fighting for custody of our child in family court for over a year. My ex keeps coming up with excuses to delay the trial (has done it multiple times already) and I am wasting so much money on legal fees because of it (wasted appearances, etc.). At what point will a judge stop adjourning the trial? Is there a limit to how long this can go on? And is there a way to ask for legal fees at some point (not a divorce - just custody...we never got married). Thanks!

A: If your case has already been going on for a year, then you're getting to that point where the Judge should have a "put up or shut up" moment with her. Generally custody cases have about 3-5 pre-trial hearing dates before a trial begins. That said, counsel fees are usually only awarded if the opposing party has far greater income than you.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody lawyer (