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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brooklyn Child Custody and Abuse Claims: Proving Your Case

The damaging consequences of child abuse and neglect serve not only to reshape a child's brain, but can in fact last a lifetime.

That's according to research from the national Academy of Sciences in the first major study on child abuse and neglect to be conducted in the last two decades.

Our Brooklyn family law attorneys know there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children. We are dedicated to fighting aggressively for their placement with a safe guardian, as well as shielding them from maliciously false claims from those seeking vengeance on adult parties to the case.

We know that in many of these cases, parent who are fighting to protect their children from abuse have also been victims of the abuser. Some may continue to suffer that to an extent, even as they are trying to break free. Children are sometimes used by an abuser as a pawn in these situations, making a clean break difficult.

Though the cycle of abuse is complex, it is not impossible to break. Ending it is critical for your own safety, as well as that of your children.

According to the NAS research, the untreated effects of child abuse and neglect can have a profound influence on both the physical and mental health of a child in the long-term. He or she may suffer an inability to control their impulses and emotions. Their academic achievements tend to be sub-par and the relationships they form as adults tend to be quite troubled.

The authors say estimate that the national cost of child abuse and neglect is roughly $80 billion annually, encompassing costs for hospitalization, law enforcement, social services, juvenile and adult criminal justice and lost work productivity.

That's not to say that these effects are inevitable or that some can't be reversed. However, the longer the abuse is allowed to go unabated, the more likely that these ill effects will plague the child in the future.

Once you have decided to act to gain sole custody, you will want to consult with a lawyer as well as social service professionals to determine whether there are immediate safety concerns that must be addressed before you can move forward. Once you and your child are in a safe and secure location, we will help you put in motion proceedings that will help ensure your continued protection.

In almost every case of suspected abuse or neglect, either the state's Administration for Child Services or the Child Protection Services will launch an investigation. All abuse and neglect cases are heard by a family court judge. There won't be any trial-by-jury, except in cases where concurrent criminal charges have been filed against the abuser. That action will occur separate from the family court case, though the outcome may influence the family law judge's ultimate determination.

If either the ACS or CPS determines the child is in imminent risk of danger, the social workers have the authority to remove the child from that risk, even without a court order. The alleged abuser will be entitled to an emergency hearing at that point, if he or she wishes to fight to keep the child in the home.

That emergency hearing must be held within three days. At that point, it will be up to ACS or CPS to prove that the child is at risk of harm. Evidence that might be considered would include reports from law enforcement, health care professionals, school officials and relatives and/or other witnesses.

Whatever determination is made from there, the accused will have a number of other opportunities with which to fight the child's removal, though the process may be arduous and extensive. Again, we are committed to ensuring that your child is in a safe, loving environment, surrounded by people who will allow them to heal and successfully move past their ordeal.

To speak with a Brooklyn family law attorney, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

New Report: effects of child abuse and neglect, if untreated, can last a lifetime, Sept. 13, 2013, Staff Report, The Washington Post

More Blog Entries:

New York City Divorce Lessons From a Billionaire's Split, Sept. 6, 2013, Brooklyn Family Law Attorney Blog

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brooklyn Divorce Lawyers Know Uncontested Divorce Not "Nasty," "Expensive"

A recent article published by the Staten Island Advance proclaimed that however long, arduous and costly you are anticipating your divorce might be, go ahead and assume that it will be much worse.

Our Brooklyn uncontested divorce lawyers know that, of course, few would consider the process enjoyable. After all, very few expected this is where they would be when they made their vows. However, that is no reason that the entire experience has to be miserable or crazy expensive - particularly if you are seeking an uncontested split.

Uncontested divorces are those in which couples agree to all the terms, including child custody and division of assets. Therapists indicated that this was more the exception than the rule, but we would disagree. Most couples don't want a long, drawn out affair. They know when it's over. They want to move on. 

The system of divorce litigation in New York, as it is set up, is an adversarial one. However, there are ways that couples who are for the most part amicably parting ways can avoid a messy case. 

There is first of all mediation. This is where couples work through a single mediator outside the courtroom to help them sort through any outstanding issues before formalizing their split.

Alternatively, there is the option of a collaborative law divorce. This is a process whereby each party in the divorce is represented by a specially-trained attorney. Both parties sit down together, face-to-face, to identify which issued need to be addressed and resolved so that they can move forward with a divorce. If at any point, one party decides he or she wishes to litigate, the collaborative process ends and the case goes to court.

We tend to recommend the collaborative law approach because while it still represents cooperation, both sides are fully represented by a legal professional who is committed to ensuring each spouse's rights and interests are protected.

There are cases in which litigation may be the preferred route, for a number of reasons. However, bear in mind that while some parties who pursue this path are doing so because they are dedicated to the cause of justice, others are righting some perceived transgression or are just out to have their day in court.

But only about 5 percent of divorce cases are actually going to end up in trial. In the meantime, those who are waging a bitter war might expect it to last for months or possibly even years. The national average cost for a contested divorce is about $15,000.

You must consider what you are gaining by fighting. In some cases, the battle is worth it. In others, it may be best to simply cut your losses, tie up the loose ends and move one.

Keep in mind that once you are separated, the Institute for American Values estimates that your family income would need to expand by about 30 percent in order to maintain your current standard of living. For most people, expanding their income by a third simply isn't an option, unless they are remarrying right away. That means most former spouses are going to have to make some tough budgetary decisions in order to avoid severe debt. Opting for an uncontested divorce is one way you can start on good financial footing.

If you are contemplating an uncontested divorce in Brooklyn, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

Divorce experts brace Staten Islanders for a nasty, expensive process, Sept. 3, 2013, By Elise G. McIntosh, Staten Island Advance

More Blog Entries:

Divorcing But Still in Business Together: Our Brooklyn Divorce Lawyers Weigh In, Sept. 13, 2013, Brooklyn Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Blog

Friday, September 13, 2013

Divorcing But Still in Business Together: Our Brooklyn Divorce Lawyers Weigh In

So the joint business is thriving, but the marriage? Not so much.

Our Brooklyn uncontested divorce lawyers know that just because one element of your relationship has proven impossible to maintain doesn't mean you have to scrap all of it.

If you have a business with your soon-to-be-ex, it's important that each of you carefully weigh whether this is something that you can both handle. Realize that it's going to be a learning curve that will include developing new ways of relating to one another. But it's by no means impossible.

Think of it like this: Many people who divorce with children go on to continue providing stability and love in the form of cooperative, effective co-parenting that often requires day-to-day interaction. It can in some ways be the same with business.

However, just as you wouldn't leave custody arrangements and support payments to chance, neither do you want to enter into this new phase of your business relationship without careful legal review that will help you draw clear boundaries and contingencies.

An example of making it work was recently given by Bloomberg: The co-owners of a Boston bakery had grown their firm into a 30-employee, $2.5-million-a-yeear operation with four locations. Although it seems light years ago, the pair actually started as husband and wife, back in 1979. That union lasted just two years. The business, however, is now going on 35 years. It's a testament to what is possible. 

Scenarios like this are more common than you think. Some 65 percent of all U.S. businesses are family-owned, with about half of those owned by husband-and-wife teams. When you consider that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, according to the National Center for Health Statistics - we begin to see that this type of situation is quite common.

While many spouse-owned firms may be sold or fold in the wake of a split, those aren't the only options. In some cases, the couple may decide that one will buy out the other and continue to run the enterprise while the other moves on.

And then increasingly, we are seeing cases where couples are choosing to continue working together as business partners. They may decide that while they can't get along at home, they have a good business model, a profitable operation and employees that rely on them. They may also not have the resources to buy one another out or they recognize they don't want to split the property.

These kinds of arrangements tend to require that couples quickly get on the same page. When a divorce is contested, it might easily fray the good will required to maintain the business. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be assertive in asking for what is rightfully yours, but having an attorney who can help you maintain the peace is going to be especially important in these cases. Having a joint financial stake in a thriving company can be a powerful incentive to keep working toward an amicable resolution. We are committed to helping you reach it.

If you are contemplating an uncontested divorce in Brooklyn call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

Divorced, but Still in Business Together, Feb. 26, 2013, By Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Businessweek

More Blog Entries:

How Do I Get an Uncontested Divorce in Brooklyn? Oct. 31, 2011, Brooklyn Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Blog


Friday, September 6, 2013

New York City Divorce Lessons From A Billionaire's Split

On the surface, it may seem as if your New York City divorce has little in common with that of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, aside perhaps from the court in which it is being handled.

He owns a media empire. You probably don't. You may be on your first or second divorce, while he's on his third. And it's likely that issues of custody, child support, alimony and asset division will be slightly more complex in his case than it is for yours.

However, there is probably much that is similar, as well as much you might be able to learn from this case. While your bank account may not boast the same balance, chances are you are likely to be faced with a lot of the same issues as Murdoch.

To begin with, there is the aspect of agreements, both prenuptial and postnuptial. There was a time when a scant few, like Murdoch, would ever be considering such an agreement. (It is said that the Murdochs had one prenuptial agreement and two postnuptial agreements.) However, we are finding today that more and more couples made this consideration before tying the knot.

For the most part in New York, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are routinely enforced, even if it appears one party got the short end of the stick. Still, there have been a rising number of cases wherein an agreement is successfully challenged on the basis of inadequate legal representation of one party at the time the agreement. In addition to fundamental unfairness, the older the document is, the tougher it might be to enforce. (That's why postnuptial agreements can be quite valuable.)

Another aspect of the Murdoch's divorce that you're likely to see crop up in your own is that of asset division. New York is an equitable distribution state. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that assets will be divided 50-50 or even 60-40.

Prior to the passage of equitable distribution laws, New York was a common law property state, meaning that property went to the spouse whose name appeared on the title. So if the house, the business and retirement accounts were in your name, they were yours. However, in equitable distribution, the court will divide marital property in a way that is deemed to be fair.

Generally, what the courts will consider are things like:

  • The amount of each spouse's income and property at the time they married versus at the time they filed for divorce;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age and health of each spouse;
  • The needs of the custodial parent, relative to the care of the children (i.e., home, furniture, vehicle, etc.);
  • The potential losses of inheritance rights, health insurance pension and other benefits to each spouse;
  • Alimony payments;
  • Probable financial future of each spouse;
  • Tax consequences to each spouse;
  • Any wasteful dissipation of marital assets by either spouse.

Making a strong case for retention of each asset in a contested New York divorce is going to require the help of a strong legal advocate.

And lastly, there will be the issue of children. Typically, the younger the children, the more contentious this issue can become. In Murdoch's case, his twin girls with his third wife are now 7-years-old, the youngest of his six children, the others from previous marriages. Blended families being increasingly common these days, issues like child custody, child support and alimony often now have the added consideration of children from previous marriages.

In some ways, the more money one has, the easier such decisions can be as there is simply more to go around. Still, the spouse with less is going to want to make sure that their children are provided for and receive equal treatment relative to children from previous and potentially future marriages.

Here again, having an experienced New York City divorce lawyer will be key.

If you are contemplating a divorce in New York City, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

From a Prominent Divorce in the Affluent Class, Lessons for All, Aug. 9, 2013, By Paul Sullivan, The New York Times

More Blog Entries:

Can I relocate with my children? Oct. 26, 2011, New York City Contested Divorce Lawyer Blog

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Temporary orders of visitation in a Custody or Visitation Proceeding—How do I get a temporary Order of Visitation in my Family Court Case?

My name is George M. Gilmer, Esq.  I am a Custody and Visitation Attorney who represents parents in Family Court.  My office is in Brooklyn Heights.  I offer free phone consultations at 718-864-2011. I am an experienced Family Court Lawyer with an Law Office in New York City. I have successfully represented clients in Family Law matters for the past ten years and have made thousands of court appearance.  I charge reasonable fees for my services and offer flexible payment plans.

Read more . . .

Saturday, August 17, 2013

ACS cases and the removal of children under Article 10 of the Family Court Act

I am a  New York City ACS Attorney that defends the rights of parents in New York City that have been accused of Abuse or Neglect by the Administration of Children’s Services (hereinafter referred as ACS). I have done so over the past ten years. I represent people in ACS Administrative proceedings (where court is not involved) and in Court. I am a privately retained counsel. This article describes the process in which a child can temporarily be removed from their home pursuant to Article 10 of the Family Court Act. If you are currently being investigated by ACS and if you believe that there is a possibility that ACS will remove your child from your home, give me a call immediately, 24 hours a day, at 718 864 2011.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Blended Families and Divorce Agreement Quandary

The Law Office if George M. Gilmer, Esq. has been providing low cost Divorce solutions for his Clients for over ten years.  His $399 divorce special (now Mr. Gilmer charges $499) has often been imitated but never duplciated. Give Mr. Gilmer a call if you have any questions about his services. 

Read more . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How do I get my bank account released after it has been frozen by a creditor? 718 864 2011 By Brooklyn, New York City Credit Repair Attorney

My name is George M. Gilmer, Esq. and I have my Law Office at 26 Court Street, Brooklyn. Is your bank account currently frozen?  Do you have a legal judgment against you by default?  Are your wages  being garnished?  Do you want to legally and legitimately  clean your credit  (known as “credit repair) because of an improperly obtained judgment? I am a Brooklyn Credit Repair Lawyer.  My office is a Debt Relief Agency under Federal Law.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Same sex marriage equality and Defense of Marriage, Matrimonial Attorney, Brooklyn, NY

I am a Brooklyn, New York City Matrimonial Lawyer.  1-718-864-2011.  A number of my  LGBT clients currently in  same sex relationships ask me this question, now that I can get married in New York, will I have equal protection under the law?

Read more . . .

Monday, October 31, 2011

How do I get an uncontested Divorce? Brooklyn, New York City Uncontested Divorce Attorney. Low Fees. No Fault. .1-718-864-2011

I am a Brooklyn, New York City based lawyer that provides low cost divorce solutions for those who are ellgible to file for divorce in New York State.  My low fee from $499 plus filing fees for an uncontested no fault divorce is one of the lowest rates in the legal community. This is the true cheap fast divorce!  Please contact me at 718 864 2011.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can I relocate with my children? Brooklyn Family Court Attorney and Matrimonial Lawyer. 1-718-864-2011

As a Custodial Parent can I relocate with my children out of state?

Imagine this scenario.  You are living with your child, have very poor economic circumstances and are offered a job out of state. The parent of your child(ren) is a good one, he or she visits with them quite frequently and plays a big role.  You want to move because of the opportunity that is offered to you and your family.  What will the court do?

In  Tropea v. Tropea, a New York decision, the Court decided that five factors must be determined before a person is granted that ability to relocate with their child. 


The Court will first look at the parent’s reasons for seeking the move. Let’s assume here that you have hired a  lawyer. Your lawyer will argue that you have a new job and thus the move is necessary.   The non-custodial parent’s lawyer will question whether the type of job (i.e. pay scale)  you are moving to is one that cannot be obtained here in New York. 


Secondly the court will consider the quality of the relationship between the custodial and the non custodial parents.  If there is a poor relationship between the parents and it appears that the custodial parent would not make an effort to maintain the relationship between the child (or  alienate the child) and the non custodial parent after relocation, then the family court might may not allow the  relocation.  The attorney representing the non custodial parent would argue that the move would harm the child(ren) because parenting time with the child and the non custodial parent will decrease and in the custodial parent will not make best efforts to maintain your relationship with the child because of this poor relationship.


 Thirdly, the court would look at the impact of the move on the quantity and quality if the child’s future visits with the non custodial parent. Here the custodial parent’s attorney might advise his or her client to offer to the non custodial father expansive visitation rights during times (this mainly involves school age children) that the child is on vacation, i.e. winter, spring and summer breaks. The attorney for the non custodial parent might say that this type of arrangement might be harmful to the child because the visits need to be more frequent and consistent.  I think that the court would agree with this opinion. 


Fourthly the court is also required to look at the degree to which the custodial parent’s and child’s life will be enhanced, economically, emotionally and educationally by the move.  Here, let’s assume that there was  domestic violence in the home that the custodial parent and the child witnessed, perpetrated by the non custodial parent, that the job would give the custodial parent a significant pay increase and that the family is moving to a better school district.  Here the custodial parent’s attorney would argue that the move is justified because economically the family benefits from the pay increase, emotionally because they are away from an abusive household and educationally because they live in a better school district.


Finally the fifth and final factor is the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the custodial and non custodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements.  Here let’s assume that the custodial parent moved wants to move from New York to   Hawaii. Let’s also assume that the non- custodial parent works a minimum wage job and could hardly afford rent let alone plane tickets to Hawaii. Here, the non custodial parent’s attorney would agree that visitation between the child and he or she would be virtually impossible and thus it is very unfeasible that any suitable visitation arrangements can be made.


The attorney for the child represents the child and thus weighs in with the child’s opinion concerning the move. It is the attorney for the child’s job to consult and advise the child consistent with the child’s capacities and have thorough knowledge of the child’s circumstances. If child is able to be a knowing, voluntary and considered decision about relocation,  then child’s lawyer is supposed to advocate for this position even if she does not agree with the child.  If the child can’t make such a decision then the child’s lawyer can argue a position he or she believes is in the best interest of the child.


One final note. Relocation is a very complicated issue and courts do not look kindly on parents that just pick up and leave without either getting the other parent’s permission or court permission.


 If you have any further questions about relocation, please contact me, George M. Gilmer, Esq. a Brooklyn, New York City Family Court attorney.

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