Making the decision to adopt a child begins a wonderful and exciting time for a family. Though undoubtedly worthwhile, the required legal procedure can be complex and lengthy, so we are here to help ensure as smooth a process as possible.
In New York State, the Family Court and Supreme Court may appoint an Attorney for the Child (“AFC”), to represent the interests of the child/ren in contested custody and/or access proceedings, as well as in neglect and abuse proceedings, juvenile delinquency proceedings and persons in need of supervision (PINS) proceedings. Formerly referred to as Law Guardians, the role of the AFC has evolved over time to the point where the attorney is no longer an adjunct of the Court whose function is to articulate what is best for the child but a zealous advocate, fighting for the child’s position.
Many parents are under the misunderstanding that if they are the custodial parent of a child they can relocate at will and merely have to file documentation alerting the court and other parent of their decision. This is entirely incorrect.
If you are considering adoption as a means to create or add to your family, you may be aware that the United States Internal Revenue Code allows for an Adoption Tax Credit of up to $12,170.00+ for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by adoptive parent taxpayers. Please keep in mind that the Code allows for a taxcredit (a dollar for dollar reduction of federal tax) and this is not a mere deduction against taxable income. This is by far the largest tax credit available to individual taxpayers. The Credit was made refundable by law for 2010 and 2011, but is not refundable in 2012- meaning only families with federal income tax liability will benefit from this Credit in 2012. Also of significance is that the Adoption Tax Credit is available per child. The Adoption Tax Credit not only encourages parents to adopt children in need, but it makes adoption affordable for many that would otherwise be unable to complete their families.
Getting a knock on the door from a CPS caseworker or receiving a “notification letter” in the mail that you’ve been named as a subject in a report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment is a scary experience. Clients who find themselves in that situation usually have many questions: What is a CPS report? Can CPS take my children? What happens when a neglect petition is filed in Family Court? What are my rights?
In October, 2010, the provisions of Section 236 (B)(7)(d) of the Domestic Relations Law, were enacted, granting parties the right to seek a modification of the child support provisions contained in an Agreement as incorporated into an Order or Judgment upon a showing of :
A frequently asked question in cases of divorce is; what has to be divided with my spouse? The general rule is that property acquired after the ceremony and before the filing of a summons is marital property. The general exceptions are property from an inheritance, a gift from someone other than your spouse, or the result of a personal injury recovery.
Countless divorce clients approach me with the same concern: If I move out of the house, will it be considered abandonment? The answer is no! “Abandonment” is one of the most misunderstood concepts in divorce lingo. In New York State, you must have a reason to get a divorce, called a “ground” for divorce. Abandonment is one of seven grounds on which you can commence a divorce action. In order to file for a divorce on the ground of Abandonment, you must show that your spouse abandoned you for a period of one year or more. Moving out of the marital residence after a divorce action is commenced is not considered abandonment. Even if you did abandon your spouse for a year, it merely provides your spouse with a reason to commence a divorce action. It does not in and of itself affect the outcome of the divorce action.
Are you a prospective adoptive parent considering or proceeding with a domestic or private placement adoption? If you are, chances are that you have already experienced a number of conflicting emotions. The adoption process can prove to be one of the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life, while at the same time evoking some fear and angst.