Family Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. Although both Family and Supreme Courts handle many of the same issues, you cannot get divorced in Family Court. However, Family Court offers an array of services that may be quite useful to you. For example, Family Court is available for all married or unmarried persons that have a child in common to resolve custody, visitation, child support and spousal support issues. In addition, Family Court is also used to handle Orders of Protection, as well as abuse and neglect cases filed by Child Protective Services.
Very often, we will utilize Family Court before or instead of Supreme Court, for a multitude of reasons — even for married persons. Some of these reasons can include the speed of handling cases in Family Court, the cost as a factor, the services provided by Family Court which are not otherwise available in other courts, or have jurisdictional limitations.
Our office will sit with you and strategize if Family Court is best for you. This is a decision reached by both of us. Since each case is inherently unique, only by coming in for a consultation can the best advice be reached for you if Family Court is best suited to deal with your situation. Perhaps you are the subject of a Family Court action, being forced to appear. Have no fear, we have the experience necessary since we have handled thousands of Family Court matters and can best advise you of your rights when you come in for your consultation.
We offer dedicated legal representation across a full range of contentious issues. When a family issue arises that requires a legal remedy, your first instinct is probably that you want the matter handled delicately. At Ronald S. Zimmer & Associates, we listen patiently and treat our clients with the utmost sensitivity and respect. But when you get into court and find yourself opposed by a no-holds-barred attorney representing your bitter spouse or an impersonal bureaucracy like Child Protective Services, your priorities change. At this point, your chief concern is winning. And you'll be happy you selected a law firm with the skill and tenacity needed to protect your rights.
You can count on Ronald S. Zimmer & Associates to be aggressive and act with a sense of urgency in this matter. We are personally commitment to your success in this matter. We will litigate your case skillfully with the care and dedication you deserve. You can be sure of the authoritative advice we provide at Ronald S. Zimmer & Associates.
The experienced family law attorneys at Ronald S. Zimmer & Associates do everything necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your child custody or support battle, domestic dispute or other family law matter. We have the knowledge to find a winning strategy and the resources to implement that strategy effectively. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients in cases involving:
All financial issues
All guardianship issues
Seizure of assets
Hearings and trials
Violence/orders of protection
Abduction of children
Child Protective Services claims
Department of Social Services complaints
Enforcement of orders
At Ronald S. Zimmer & Associates, we realize that a law firm with our experience and knowledge could demand significantly higher fees. However, we are committed to delivering outstanding legal services at a cost that is reasonable to you.
If you are the parent of a child born out of wedlock, the first step is to establish paternity. This must be done prior to the Court being able to address issues of child support, custody or visitation. This process is generally handled in the Family Court.
Whether you have been served with a paternity petition, or seeking to establish paternity, you will need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent your interests from the start. There may be critical legal arguments that must be made early in your case that can affect the outcome. We have the experience and knowledge to guide you throughout every aspect of your case from filing the necessary petitions, to handling court appearances and a hearing, if necessary.
When parents divorce, fathers sometimes have a difficult time getting visitation or custody. In New York State, fathers have the right to an ongoing relationship with their children. In addition, non-custodial fathers have the right to reasonable child support obligations and putative fathers have the right to establish a relationship with their children despite not being married to the mother.
As of 2010, New York does not have a law regarding the rights of putative fathers –– fathers who are not married to the mother of their children. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that putative fathers have parental rights if they have a substantial relationship with their offspring. Parental rights in this case include the right to object if the mother puts the child up for adoption and the right to visitation. Any father who is not married to his children's mother should have a paternity test to prove that he is the biological parent to avoid confusion regarding this issue.
Child and spousal support are critical issues that are frequently handled in Family Court. Regardless of whether you are married or unmarried with a child in common, the Family Court has jurisdiction to handle your child support matter. For married persons, the Family Court has the jurisdiction to hear your spousal support issue as well. As these are sensitive financial matters that will dramatically impact your life, you will need an aggressive attorney that knows the system. Zimmer & Associates are those attorneys that can handle your case with the attention and dedication to your interests that is deserved.
For more than 14 years, our firm has built a reputation for aggressive advocacy that yields positive results in support cases. Clients trust our firm because we consistently achieve results for our clients. We have handled thousands of maintenance and child support cases. Our experience and know-how to work with both sides of these issues, advocating for payers and recipients of support will make you confident that you have made the right choice.
In addition, you can be confident in knowing that our firm has won child support reductions and alimony terminations for people who have lost income because of disabilities, layoffs or downturns in their business. We have a successful record of winning increases in child support and spousal maintenance where a party had falsely reported a low income. We use aggressive legal tactics by investigating undisclosed business income or unreported cash earnings. We have contacts throughout the investigative community to find the truth no matter how diligently someone has tried to hide their tracks.
As a member of Suffolk County's Modest Means Panel, we have won numerous cases for poor and indigent spouses living below the poverty line who have been oppressed by the moneyed spouse.
Child support through Family Court is a relatively fast and streamlined process. Same as Supreme Court (sometimes referred to as Divorce Court), the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) provides strict guidelines for calculating child support based on percentages of the non-custodial parent's income. Income is defined by New York law and can include monies from a number of categories. Once income is deduced, child support is determined by calculating the combined gross income of the parents, after deducting from each parent's income the amounts he or she actually paid for Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. The child support percentages are:
7% for one child.
25% for two children.
29% for three children.
31% for four children.
No less than 35% for five or more children.
For those with an income exceeding $136,000 annually, the Court will decide whether or not to use the guidelines and may consider additional factors in calculating child support. The goal of the Court is to ensure that the child's basic necessities are being provided for.
It is essential to have an attorney who can properly advocate for the proper amount of child support. In some cases, it is harder to determine the actual income of a parent, especially in situations in which the non-custodial parent owns a business or works "off the books." We have the knowledge and the experience necessary to ensure you obtain the proper amount of support.
The law assumes that basic child support payments cover your child's needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, the non-custodial parent is not entitled to an accounting nor do they have any authority to tell the receiving parent how to spend the money.
In addition to basic child support, child support does not include other expenses such as daycare/child care expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, or the cost of health insurance premiums and in some cases educational expenses.
Child abuse includes such things as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Neglect involves the failure to provide a minimum standard of care for a child's physical and emotional needs. Child abuse is seldom a single event. There is not just on group involved in child abuse. Rather, it occurs with regularity, often increasing in violence. It crosses all boundaries of income, race, ethnicity, and religious faith. A child abuser is usually closely related to the child, such as a parent, step-parent or other caregiver.In homes where child abuse occurs, fear, instability and confusion replace the love, comfort and nurturing that children need. Abused children live in constant fear of physical harm from a person who is supposed to care for and protect them. They may feel guilt at loving the abuser or blame themselves for causing the violence.
Victims of child abuse may feel that they are bad and deserve the abuse. This often comes as a result of a child having poor self-esteem. In addition to physical injuries that may be the result of abuse, child victims may develop all types of secondary reactions. For example, eating disorders or sleep disturbances, including nightmares are often an outcome of child abuse. Children may also develop speech disorders or developmental lags in their motor skills. Many child victims demonstrate some form of self-destructive behavior. They may develop physical illness such as asthma, ulcers, allergies, or recurring headaches. Moreover, children often experience irrational and persistent fears or hatreds and demonstrate either passive or aggressive behavioral extremes.
These sad descriptions do not come on immediately. Trauma in children can take years to manifest; therefore, it is important that victims of child abuse receive counseling as soon as possible after the abuse is disclosed.
Charges of child abuse and neglect are often raised within the context of a custody dispute. Sometimes, such proceedings are initiated in Family Court when no divorce action is pending. Frequently these allegations are serious and have merit. On occasion, they are falsified by one spouse in an effort to gain an advantage in a custody proceeding. Zimmer and Associates can help you address these matters whether your spouse is harming your child, or whether unfounded allegations of abuse or neglect have been brought against you.