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 (