New York Family and Matrimonial Law: Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga Region, and the entire Capital District

Family and matrimonial law matters should be handled with the utmost degree of sensitivity and compassion. Filing for divorce, negotiating a Separation Agreement, or working out the logistics of a child custody arrangement can be overwhelming as a family deals with the emotional fallout of such serious decisions. One of the best resources that a spouse or parent can fall back on during these times is a dependable, experienced attorney to guide him or her through the complex landscape of the New York legal system.

Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, handles family and matrimonial law in Upstate New York. Our attorneys have many years of trial and appellate experience in both the New York Supreme Courts and the New York Family Courts. We invite you to learn more about our areas of expertise, and to contact our Albany-area office for a confidential consultation to discuss your family or matrimonial law claim.

Cases We Handle:

Divorce
Legal Separation
Child Custody and Parenting Schedules (Visitation)
Child Support
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
Adoption
Guardianship
Paternity
Appeals
Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection
Juvenile Delinquency
Child Abuse and Neglect: Child Protective Proceedings
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

Divorce

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. New York law has long required proof of marital misconduct to grant a divorce order. Grounds for divorce include cruel and inhuman treatment, infidelity, actual or constructive abandonment, and living apart for one year pursuant to a written and filed Separation Agreement. Effective for actions commenced on or after October 12, 2010, a no-fault divorce now can be granted where the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months.

A couple can legally separate in the State of New York prior to - or instead of - divorcing. It's advised that the separating couple negotiate a Separation Agreement that establishes:

  • How their property / assets / debts will be split
  • Their child custody, parenting schedule, and child support arrangements
  • Whether spousal maintenance (alimony) will be provided

Child Custody and Parenting Schedules (Visitation)

Custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of caring for a child. After a hearing, the court will make custody arrangements based on what is in the child's best interests. This may include shared legal and/or physical custody, or sole custody. If one parent is granted sole or primary custody, the other parent is encouraged to schedule regular contact with the child, which can be outlined in a parenting schedule.

Contact Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, if you would like to schedule a confidential consultation with a family or matrimonial law attorney. Our Glenville, New York office serves Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, the Capital District, and all surrounding areas. Please fill out the form on the right side of this page, and a member of our staff will reply promptly.

Child Support

Parents are required to financially support their children until the age of 21 even after a divorce or separation (unless the child is emancipated, marries, or joins the military). Based on custodial arrangements and the finances of each parent, the court will decide whether the non-custodial parent is responsible for making child support payments to the other parent.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

If the court grants spousal maintenance after a divorce or separation, the spouse who makes more money may be required to make support payments to the other spouse. Spousal maintenance, formerly referred to as alimony, is typically paid on a monthly or periodic basis for varying periods of time.

Adoption

Adoption is the process of assuming the parental rights and responsibilities of a non-biological child. Couples or an individual may choose to adopt through an agency or a private adoption. When a child is adopted, the biological parent(s)' legal rights are either surrendered or terminated. A stepparent may also adopt a child under certain circumstances.

Guardianship

A guardian takes on the legal responsibilities of caring for a child who is not biologically his or hers. To become a guardian, an individual must prove that certain circumstances exist which prevent the child's biological parents from providing adequate care (e.g., child abuse / neglect, drug addiction, mental illness). Unlike adoption, the biological parents retain some of their legal parental rights, although the guardian is typically considered the primary caretaker and decision maker.

Paternity

It is assumed that if a woman is married at the time of her child’s birth, her husband is the child’s father. When a mother is unmarried and gives birth, she may bring a paternity proceeding to determine the child’s biological father. Likewise, a man may initiate a paternity proceeding to prove that he is the biological father of a child.

Whether you are a parent trying to secure custody and visitation rights to your child or a parent seeking financial child support from the other parent, our law firm can provide experienced legal counsel in your paternity case.

Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection

New York law offers several types of protection for individuals who are threatened or endangered by a member of their family or household. This includes a former or current spouse, someone with whom the petitioner has a child, or someone with whom he or she shares an intimate relationship.

One of these options is obtaining an order of protection, which can be granted in either Family or Supreme Court. Courts which handle criminal matters can also award orders of protection. The order of protection can be used in situations involving the following behavior:

  • Aggravated harassment
  • Harassment - physical, sexual, emotional, mental
  • Assault
  • Attempted assault
  • Menacing
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Stalking
  • Criminal mischief
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Sexual abuse

If you or your children feel threatened by another member of your family or household, or by someone with whom you have had an intimate relationship, please contact the Albany-area family law practice of Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, to learn more about obtaining an order of protection. You may email us using the form on this page.

Child Abuse and Neglect: Child Protective Proceedings

Few things are more disheartening than an account of child abuse or neglect. It is imperative that the legal system protect the most innocent members of society; therefore, venues such as Child Protective Services exist to be advocates of children who are abused or neglected.

Conversely, the legal system has a duty to protect the rights of parents who have been accused of abuse or neglect. In these delicate situations, legal representation is essential in obtaining a fair trial, hearing, and decision in a child’s best interests. Contact Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, for a confidential child protective proceedings consultation.

Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)

A person in need of supervision (PINS) is a child under the age of 18 whose behavior is delinquent, dangerous, or out of the control of his or her parent. The child's parent, legal guardian, or school may file a PINS petition, as well as a police officer or any other institution or authority which claims the child caused injury or harm.

Once the petition is filed in family court, the court will set up one or more hearings. During some of these hearings:

  • Each side will be entitled to present the facts of the case.
  • The court will determine whether the child is a person in need of supervision, and if so:
  • The court will prescribe a legal plan of action (living arrangements, household rules, curfews, etc.).

During PINS proceedings, the child and the complainant are entitled to legal representation. If you need a lawyer in a PINS case, please contact Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey today.

Contact a New York Family / Matrimonial Law Attorney in Glenville

To schedule a consultation to discuss New York family or matrimonial law, contact Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP. Our Glenville office serves the Capital District including Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Rensselaer counties, and surrounding areas.