Few areas of law involve more distress than that of family and divorce law. Family law can involve parting from someone you may still love but no longer trust or wish to be with. It can involve extreme anxiety regarding your relationship with your minor children. It can involve the possibility of losing half of everything you owned and worked hard for.
I am Brooklyn, New York, family law attorney George M. Gilmer, Esq., and I believe that, when divorce, custody, property and support disputes arise, the stress they can bring should not be made worse by high legal fees. For that reason I have not only charged low fees since entering law in 2002. I have also reduced my family law fees in order to provide a better legal experience for my family law clients.
I have over eleven years of extensive litigation experience. I have successfully represented parents in custody, visitation, family offense and abuse/neglect matters. Please see my blog for my many articles on Family Law. I have a great deal of trial experience. I represent parents that are dealing with parental alienation, drug and alcohol abuse problems, mental illness of a parent, domestic violence etc. All of these issues will have an effect on the Judge's Custody and Visitation determination. If you are dealing with any of these issues, please contact me immediately.
JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY AND JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY
There are two general categories of Custody, Physical and Legal Custody.
The parent granted physical custody is the parent that the child shall live with. The parent is granted legal custody is the one that makes all of the major decisions on behalf of the child. Parents that are granted Joint legal custody by the Court are expected to agree on the major decisions concerning the child and make these decisions together. This is a shared responsibility regardless of which parent the child lives with. A parent that has legal custody over a minor gives that parent the right to make all decisions concerning the upbringing of that child. If parent's are awarded joint legal custody, this means that both parents have an equal right to make decisions concerning the child. If you share joint legal custody, then you will have to take into consideration that parent's opinion concerning upbringing of the child
What is Joint Physical Custody?
A Court, in most cases, will not grant joint physical custody. The parent that spends the most time with the child shall have physical custody and the other parent shall have Visitation (or “Parenting Time”). A decision regarding joint custody is best remedied by both parents signing an agreement in Court that carefully details the terms of joint physical custody.
Do I need to file for Custody in Court?
The decision to open a case in Family Court (or maybe in Supreme Court if Mom and Dad are married) is one that should really be thought about. Working out issues of Custody and or Visitation without court intervention is always a good idea if possible. The Court process can be very uncertain and having a “Stranger in a Black Robe” deciding the fate of your child can be scary for most parents. The Judge will look at many things to make the determination of who will get Custody of the child. The decision should not be based on who has more money or the sex of the mother or father. The Judge will look at what he or she believes, after reviewing or hearing all of the relevant facts, what is in the Best Interests of the child in determining which party will get custody. The Judge may Order a Court Ordered Investigation where a Caseworker will visit the homes of both parents and write a report for the Judge. This report describes what the homes of the parents were like and records responses to questions answered by the parents and perhaps other individuals that may live in the home. If there are possible mental health issues involved the Court might order a forensic evaluation. Here both parties will be evaluated by a forensic psychologist, and this psychologist will provide a report to the Court as well. Finally, in a case where the child is able to express herself, the Court may appoint a Law Guardian to represent the child in a Custody proceeding. The law guardian’s job is to tell the Court what the child wants. Older children’s opinions in Custody cases are taken very seriously.
Thus, with so many variables, the outcome of a Custody case may be hard to predict. Even though you think you may love your child more than the other parent this does not mean you are going to get Custody. You should, however, file for Custody when you and the other parent cannot agree on what’s best for the child, or when you believe your children are being harmed or in danger of being harmed by the other parent. Finally, a custody or visitation petition can be filed when you want to find out what your rights are or at least get an official document from the Court establishing your rights.
What happens when the other parent does not pay attention to a court order?
You can bring a legal proceeding for violation of a Court Order and that violating parent could potentially be found in contempt of Court. For example in a custody matter, the violating parent could potentially be incarcerated for violation of a court order. Repeated violations of Court Orders by a custodial parent could lead to a temporary or permanent change of custody.
Should I file a Family Offense petition to get an Order of Protection against my spouse?
My office takes domestic violence very seriously and I have successfully represented abused women and men in Family Offense proceedings. Furthermore and unfortunately, there are times when someone is falsely accused of abuse and they are forced to go to court to fight their Order of Protection case. I have won cases of this type and would be happy to help.
I can answer all other questions by a free phone consultation. Please call me at 718 864 2011.
I also specialize in divorce actions and have great rates for simple divorces.
My divorce fees are currently:
- Only $399 (plus the court fees you’d pay even if you were handling your divorce on your own) for an uncontested divorce involving no children and no property
- Only $599 (plus court fees) for an uncontested divorce involving minor children and only $650 (plus court fees) for an uncontested divorce involving property
Though my fees are lower, my legal services come with the legal knowledge I’ve gained from 11 years of family law experience. Since 2002 I have assisted hundreds of clients affordably and efficiently complete their divorce, retain custody of their children, obtain needed spousal and child support and hold onto their homes, savings and family businesses. Do you have questions regarding:
- Divorce? My services cost less than “document filers” yet, when you hire me, you get your questions answered and receive guidance and assistance at every step of the divorce process.
- Prenuptial and cohabitation agreements? I work with straight and GLBT couples to create documents that protect both parties’ interests and are enforceable in the event of separation or death.
- Property distribution? Be careful when you “buy peace” or “keep it simple” by agreeing to your spouse’s ideas and demands. I can work effectively and affordably to protect your rights to property, health insurance and ongoing support.
- An alimony or child support modification? Support agreements are meant to reflect current needs. For this reason, courts are amenable to modifications that best serve the current interests and rights of both payers and payees.
- Complex property? Though I have handled hundreds of uncontested divorces, I am also knowledgeable and skilled regarding the protection and division of businesses, investments and complex debt.
- Child custody, including cases involving the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)? I can facilitate negotiations and litigate disputes regarding child custody and have handled and appealed dozens of cases in which the ACS has been involved.
My legal services combine low fees with the seasoned, experienced representation needed to obtain the results you and your family need. To begin the process of affordably and fully achieving your family law goals, contact my Brooklyn, New York, office at 718-864-2011. Phone and in-office initial meetings are free. Or if you prefer, start by completing my short online divorce intake form.