~   How to minimize emotional and financial costs ~

“ . . . accidents will occur in the best-regulated families . . .” – Charles DickensAlla Roytberg of www.goodlawfirm.com discusses supreme court versus family court and which to choose when you have limited resources.

THE PROBLEM: WE NEED TO CHANGE CUSTODY AND CHILD SUPPORT

Life happens.

When John and Mary divorced Jason was three years old and they wanted to do what is best for him. At that time, both of them worked on Wall Street. They agreed to rent comparable apartments on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, share custody and a babysitter and make sure that their son would attend a good zoned public elementary school.  They mediated their parenting and financial issues and signed an agreement that was painlessly incorporated into a divorce 4 years ago.

However, the situation has changed dramatically.  Jason is now 7 and has been diagnosed with ADHD.  John has remarried, has 2 more small children with a new wife at home and works around the clock.  He generally sees Jason once a week on Sundays.  Mary’s life has been focused entirely on Jason, and because of his special needs, she no longer works full time. 4 years ago, John and Mary agreed to equal parenting time.  They were earning similar incomes and chose to equally share Jason’s expenses with no need to pay child support to each other. When they divorced, John and Mary were on equal footing both in their parenting realities and in their finances.  This is no longer the case.  Is it anyone’s fault?  Hardly.  Things change and families need to adjust.

THE SOLUTION: CUSTODY AND CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION

What can be done to fix this?

  1. Modify provisions of the Custody Section of the Divorce Agreement to reflect the reality of parenting time;
  2. Negotiate and calculate Child Support that John will pay Mary and modify provisions of the Child Support section of the Divorce Agreement.
  3. File a Petition in Family Court to obtain a Court Order modifying Custody based on the Custody Modification Agreement. Appear in Court and confirm that both parties agree to the Custody Modification. Obtain a Custody Modification Court Order ;
  4. File a Petition in Family Court to obtain a Court Order modifying Child Support based on the Modification Agreement. Appear in Court and confirm that both parties agree to the Child Support Modification. Obtain a Child Support Modification Court Order.

CHOICE OF PROCESS:  MEDIATION, REPRESENTATION, DOING IT YOURSELF

  1. John and Mary can hire separate attorneys to negotiate and draft Modification Agreements. The lawyers can then represent each side in court during steps #3 and #4 above.
  2. John and Mary can utilize a neutral attorney-mediator to negotiate and draft Modification Agreements and to explain how to file Petitions in Family Court. John and Mary can then proceed with items #3 and #4 without the need to hire attorneys.

Our firm can help you with representation of one of the parties (item A above) or by acting as a neutral mediator (item B).  If you would like to obtain more information, please contact us and we will be glad to help.Contact Us

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The Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C.

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