New York Family Law Guide

New York Family Law Guide - Rochester Divorce Attorney - The Cimino Law Firm

Family law issues are often stressful for all parties involved. Whether you are going through a divorce, fighting for child support, or trying to get custody of your kids, you can’t help but worry about the outcome.

We understand how stressful this is, and we have the compassion and experience necessary to make the process much easier for you. The Cimino Law Firm will help you with the emotional aspects of your case while fighting for your rights. We created our New York family law guide to help residents find out more about divorce, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and other family law matters.

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If you or someone you love is dealing with a family law matter, please contact The Cimino Law Firm today to arrange a confidential consultation with dedicated Rochester family lawyer Michelle Cimino.


With 9.19 divorces for every 1,000 married individuals, New York’s divorce rate is among the lowest in the country. However, most people still know someone going through a divorce and may have gone through the process themselves. This is a contentious aspect of family law since there is so much at stake.

Our Rochester family law firm helps clients navigate through even the most difficult divorce proceedings. We help with no-fault and at-fault divorces, including contested and uncontested cases. If you don’t want to go to court, we can provide a mediator for the proceedings. Mediation allows you to work with the other party to resolve the issues related to dissolving the marriage. The mediator will work as a neutral party, attempting to create a win-win situation.

Mediation works in many cases, but each couple is unique. If there is too much contention in your divorce or you simply cannot settle the case, we can take it to court.

Marital Property Division

You have likely acquired properties during your marriage, and you wonder what will happen to them. New York follows the law of equitable distribution in family law cases. This means that all properties and debt acquired while married are marital assets. However, properties and debt do not have to be divided 50/50. The court does not use an exact formula for marital property division. It’s critical to have an experienced family law attorney representing you if there is marital property involved. Without a family law attorney, you could be on the losing end of the property division process.

Child Custody

New York uses the guideline of “the child’s best interest” when determining child custody. Many of our clients get joint physical and legal custody. That means the children split time between both parents, and both parents make decisions regarding their kids.

However, we understand that joint custody isn’t always in the best interest of the child. If you believe the child’s other parent is a danger to him or her, we will work to increase your custody. Depending on the degree of danger, supervised visitation might be an option. That way, your child will not be left alone with the other parent.

Child Support

Divorce can be difficult for children. Many have to split time between their parents, and often, one parent has more money than the other. That means that the child lives one lifestyle in one home and another in the other home. Fortunately, the courts have found a way to remedy this. Child support ensures that the child is properly cared for in each home. It also alleviates some of the stress from the parent who makes less money.

The noncustodial parent is normally ordered to pay child support. However, in cases with 50/50 shared custody, one parent might still have to pay support. This occurs when one parent makes considerably more than the other parent.

The family law court uses a calculator to determine child support payments. The formula includes the income of both parties and the number of children involved. Parents are not always pleased with the formula determined in court. We can help you reach a more desirable amount through mediation.


The state of New York can grant temporary or permanent alimony to a spouse during and after the divorce. The court looks at various factors when determining if alimony should be awarded. Factors include the length of the marriage, the income of both parties, and the loss of earning capacity due to the marriage. We understand that alimony is a stressful issue for our clients. Those who need maintenance payments are worried they won’t get enough to make it in New York. Those who have to pay are concerned about how it will affect their financial futures. We have worked on both sides of the issue and pride ourselves in helping our clients come to fair agreements. If the court must decide, we will present all the relevant information.

Grandparents’ Rights

Many of our clients are surprised to learn that New York grants grandparents’ rights. This is another form of family law that allows grandparents to petition for visitation rights to see their grandchildren. They can also petition the court to take custody in cases of abandonment or severe neglect. Research has shown that the grandchild-grandparent relationship is beneficial to children’s emotional health and behavior. When you use The Cimino Law Firm, we will file all the paperwork and help you prove your case. The burden of proof rests with the grandparents in grandparents’ rights cases, and we will conduct an investigation to help you prove your case.

How the Legal Process Works in Family Law Cases

If you’ve never had a legal issue before, you’re likely confused about the family law process. What do you do? What should you say? Is there anything you need to avoid? Learn more about the process at The Cimino Law Firm.

Step 1 – Set up a Confidential Phone Consultation

We understand that you are weighing your options and aren’t ready to spend money on attorney’s fees. We offer a confidential phone consultation, so you can get the legal advice you need. During the consultation, you will receive advice as well as information regarding the legal strategy necessary for your case. 

Step 2 – Come to Our Office

Once you decide to move forward, you can come to one of our conveniently located offices. We have offices in Webster and Rochester, New York, to serve you. You can sign the paperwork, and we will further discuss strategies. If you have any evidence, bring it with you to this appointment.

Along with discussing legal strategies, we will help you with the emotional toll these cases take. No one expects to see a family law attorney in their lifetime, and it can be stressful. We alleviate the stress by providing compassionate counsel during this difficult time.

Step 3 – Communicate Through Your Attorney

Relationships make family law issues complicated. It’s not unusual for divorcing spouses to make unofficial deals or go out of their way to make the other person happy. Unfortunately, every action you take can be used in court. Consider all of your actions as potential evidence. You might think you are doing the right thing, but it could hurt you. Have all communications go through your lawyer. That way, you will not have to worry about your words or actions being used against you.

Step 4 – Go Through Mediation or File a Claim

Your family law attorney will work with you to determine the best path forward. In many cases, mediation is an excellent way to resolve these issues. However, our firm is always prepared to file a claim and litigate these cases when necessary. We understand that each case is different, but we always have the same goal. We want to achieve the best outcome for you.

Contact us today to set up a confidential consultation. With more than 20 years’ experience in family law, we are the right solution to your legal needs.

Going through a divorce is more than a legal procedure. It is emotional for all involved, and the team at The Cimino Law Firm understands that. Along with representing our clients, we are here for each person we serve on an emotional level.

Divorce in New York

While we cannot completely alleviate the stress of a divorce, our Rochester divorce lawyer will provide a combination of sound legal advice and essential emotional support.

Learn more about the divorce process and then contact us for a confidential phone consultation.

Grounds for Divorce in New York

You have seven options for grounds when filing for divorce in New York. Before 2010, all divorces filed were at-fault, which meant that the filing party had to place blame on the other party for the breakdown of the marriage. Fortunately, that changed in 2010. Now, you can file a no-fault or at-fault divorce.

With more than two decades of experience, Rochester divorce lawyer Michelle Cimino can help you choose the appropriate grounds for divorce for your unique situation.

What Is Irretrievable Breakdown – No-fault Divorce?

If your marriage has broken down and no person was at fault, you can file a divorce on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship. You must meet the specific criteria for filing for this divorce. Your divorce must have been broken down beyond the point of repair for a minimum of six months. Before the court grants the divorce, you also need to settle:

  • Property
  • Debts
  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Child support

At The Cimino Law Firm, we can help you negotiate these arraignments before filing for divorce. This is usually the most difficult and important part of divorce proceedings, so having an experienced Rochester divorce lawyer by your side is critical.

What is Cruel and Inhuman Treatment?

Cruel and inhuman treatment refers to physical and emotional abuse that puts the victim at risk. Many of our clients are afraid to air this information to the courts, but if you are a victim of physical or emotional abuse, please understand you are not alone. Intimate partner violence makes up 15 percent of all violent crimes in the United States.  Intimate partner violence puts you at considerable risk, so breaking free of your partner is vital for your survival.

To file for divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, you must prove that your spouse has been emotionally or physically abusive or both in the last five years. We know how difficult this can be, so our divorce lawyer will help you gather the evidence necessary to protect yourself and your family.

What is Abandonment?

When you said, “I do,” you pictured living with the right partner. That person would be there by your side for both the good and the bad. The courts believe in that idea of marriage as well, so if your spouse has abandoned you, you have grounds for an at-fault divorce. Your spouse must have physically left home or refused sex for a minimum of one year to file on these grounds.

What is Imprisonment?

Imprisonment is a form of abandonment. If your spouse was imprisoned for a minimum of three consecutive years after you were married, you could file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment. You have two options for filing for divorce on these grounds. You can file while your spouse is still in prison, or you can file for up to five years after the release. If you wait until five years have passed, you will need to choose another ground for divorce.

What is Adultery?

If your spouse has cheated, you are likely full of emotions. You might wonder what you did to cause your spouse to cheat. Do not blame yourself. You cannot help that your husband or wife betrayed you. Each year, countless spouses commit adultery, and it is no one’s fault but their own. Research shows that 20-40 percent of married men and 20-25 percent of married women break the trust in the relationship by cheating. If your spouse has cheated on you, you have grounds for divorce in Rochester and the rest of New York. Merely saying that your spouse has strayed is not enough. You need evidence, and a dedicated Rochester divorce lawyer at The Cimino Law Firm can help. We can investigate the allegations and provide proof that your spouse has strayed. Then you can move forward with your divorce proceedings.

Divorce After a Legal Separation Agreement

Your marriage might have been a struggle for a long time. Finally, you decided to file a legal separation agreement. You can file for divorce one year after filing a valid contract. You must live apart for a full year before filing. Then the court will grant you a divorce on the grounds of legal separation.

Divorce After a Judgement of Separation

You can get a Judgment of Separation or Decree of Separation from the court in New York. The decree will have conditions that you must follow. After one year, you can file for divorce. While this is an option, few people choose it. You will have to provide proof just as you would for an at-fault divorce to get the decree or judgment. So most of our clients find it is easier to move forward with the divorce.

Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce

Regardless of the grounds you choose, you can have a contested or uncontested divorce in New York.  An uncontested divorce is the easiest. This occurs when the parties agree to move forward with the divorce. A contested divorce occurs when one side disagrees with either the divorce or an aspect of it, such as financial support, division of assets, and child custody.

Contested divorces usually are more emotionally-charged than uncontested divorces. Fortunately, Rochester divorce lawyer Michelle Cimino can help you through the emotional ups and downs while fighting for you. Through proper negotiation, we can help you achieve your desired outcome. We will also provide you with the emotional support you need as you fight through the complicated procedure. It might be difficult, but with our help, you will make it through the circumstances, and then you’ll be ready to start your post-marriage life.

Why Choose A Divorce Lawyer at The Cimino Law Firm?

Choosing the right Rochester divorce lawyer is the most crucial step in filing for divorce. The Cimino Law Firm stands out as a leader in Rochester and the surrounding areas.

First, we understand that you are worried about the cost of divorce. To mitigate the cost, we offer confidential phone consultations. You will speak to an experienced family law attorney during the meeting and get a better idea of how to move forward with your case.

Our experience is also worth noting. While some law firms are just starting, we have worked in family law for more than 20 years.

We also understand how difficult it is to fit trips to the lawyer into your busy schedule. That is why we have two convenient locations. You can visit our office and schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Rochester or Webster, NY.

Going through a divorce is emotionally draining, and it can be financially painful as well if you do not have proper representation. Instead of filing yourself, contact The Cimino Law Firm. Our Rochester divorce lawyer will represent your best interests in the divorce proceedings. With our help, you can finally put this moment in time behind you. Divorce might be painful, but we mitigate the pain with compassionate services and legal expertise.

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High Net-Worth Divorce in New York

Divorce is stressful for all couples, but those with a high net worth face additional obstacles during the process. If you are going through a high net worth divorce, you are worried about various factors, including the division of the marital property, your privacy, and losing control during the proceedings.

Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has worked with high net worth couples for more than 20 years. During that time, she has helped them successfully navigate the process while reaching the desired outcome. From helping with the emotional strain of the proceedings to successfully negotiating on behalf of her clients, going through a high net worth divorce is much easier with The Cimino Law Firm on your side.

Learn more about how The Cimino Law Firm can help you by calling for a confidential consultation for your high net worth divorce.

Marital Property and High Net Worth Divorces – Declaring and Valuing Property

Asset distribution is one of the most complex aspects of a high net worth divorce. Couples with a high net worth often have an abundance of assets, including:

  • Multiple homes
  • Investment in real estate
  • Motor vehicles
  • Private watercraft
  • Businesses
  • Stocks
  • Retirement assets
  • Collectibles

All of the assets must be declared and valued. The marital property is included in the divorce, while separate property goes directly to the person who purchased it.

Investigating Hidden Assets During a High Net Worth Divorce

During the declaration and valuation stage, it’s also essential to investigate to see if the other spouse has hidden assets. This is a common issue in a high net worth divorce. The other party might hide money in offshore accounts or under a relative’s name. Money can even be hidden under a business name. This is quite complex, but a forensic accountant can find all the money. This is necessary for fairly dividing the marital property. Our law firm will investigate to ensure that all property and assets are accounted for during your high net worth divorce.

How Is Property Distributed?

New York follows the law of equitable distribution regarding marital assets. That does not mean that property will be split equally, though. The courts consider various factors when dividing the property, such as length of the marriage, needs of each spouse, the amount each spouse contributed to the property, and the custody arrangement. You can also negotiate with the other party and split the property without the courts intervening. This might seem like an impossible task, but The Cimino Law Firm can handle this for you.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is another high-stress issue in a high net worth divorce. Often, one spouse stays home to raise the children while the other spouse makes money. In other cases, one spouse makes significantly less money than the other spouse and wants to maintain the same lifestyle after the proceedings are over.

The courts look at different factors to determine if one spouse is eligible for alimony. These factors also help the courts determine how much the other party should receive. The factors are:

  • Length of marriage
  • Spousal contributions to homemaking duties
  • Earning potential
  • Reduced earning abilities
  • Mental and physical health

Many high net worth couples are unhappy with the support orders issued by the courts. Couples realize there are other factors to consider when determining the amount of alimony one spouse should receive. The Cimino Law Firm can negotiate on your behalf or mediate the proceedings for you. With our help, you can protect your interests or get the money you need.

How Do I Keep My Divorce Private?

Achieve Privacy by Staying Out of Court

Our law firm has represented countless people during the high net worth divorce process, and most have been concerned about privacy. They realize that people in New York and the rest of the country are interested in people who make lots of money. They want to learn more about their private lives, and a divorce proceeding is a perfect way to get information.

The Cimino Law Firm is discreet, and everything you tell us is confidential. However, if you decide to take the divorce case to court, it will be a public record. Many of our clients choose an alternative to litigation so they can keep their lives private.

Mediation is an excellent way to keep your divorce out of the public arena. The Cimino Law Firm can mediate the proceedings for you. Our mediator will act as a neutral party in the proceedings. Throughout the proceedings, the mediator will help you and your spouse reach an agreement on all issues related to the divorce.

There is a myth that high net worth divorces are too difficult for mediation, but that is not true. There are lots of benefits to mediating these divorces.

First, mediation is discreet. Mediation proceedings do not receive publicity. You do not have to worry about the divorce damaging your reputation or your children reading about you in the newspapers. Anything that goes on in mediation is entirely confidential. Even if mediation does not work and you end up in court, the information shared in mediation cannot be used as evidence.

It is also more affordable. Contested divorces can take a long time to get finalized. The court and legal fees can add up in these divorces. You can end up spending lots more money than you want if you decide to litigate your case in the court system. It is much easier to control the costs by going through mediation during a high net worth divorce.

Mediation proceedings can also help you strengthen the relationship with the other party. This is helpful if you have children. You will have to co-parent the children, and the stronger your relationship is after the proceedings, the easier it will be for all involved.

Also, mediation gives you greater control over the outcome. You are not forced to accept the terms of mediation. You do not have to sign an agreement unless you choose to do so. That gives you more control over every aspect of the divorce, from the division of property to the amount of spousal maintenance you pay or receive.

The Cimino Law Firm Is Here for You

Divorce is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. It is difficult to dissolve a marriage that once brought you so much joy. With more than two decades of experience in family law, Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm is adept at helping clients deal with emotions as they arise.

At the same time, she will help you navigate through the legal process. Whether you decide to go to mediation or litigate the case in court, she will be by your side.

Privacy is of the utmost concern to you, and you don’t even have to leave your home to begin the process. The Cimino Law Firm offers confidential phone consultations, so you can begin by picking up the phone. During the meeting, you will provide information about your divorce. A dedicated Rochester high net worth divorce attorney will help you determine the best strategy for moving forward.

Next, you will need to come to one of our offices to sign the paperwork and begin the legal process. We are located in Rochester, NY, and Webster, NY, making it easy to stop by.

Divorce is stressful on your own, but when you choose The Cimino Law Firm, some of your stress will melt away. Call us today for a confidential phone consultation.

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Military Divorce in New York

Military divorce rates are high for a myriad of reasons. Military couples experience more stress than civilian couples do. The time away, the stress of combat, and lack of routine puts these marriages in peril. If you are one of the many military couples considering divorce, you want to know how to move forward. How can you make it through the proceedings?

The Cimino Law Firm has more than two decades of experience handling military divorces. We understand both federal and New York laws that govern these divorces. Also, due to our experience, we understand the complexity of the emotions that you are going through.

We will be your legal team and your confidant as you make it through this difficult time. Call us today for a confidential phone consultation regarding your divorce.

How Are Divorce Papers Served in a Military Divorce?

Many civilian spouses wonder how they can give divorce papers to an active-duty member of the military. Is it possible to begin the divorce proceedings when the military spouse is serving outside of the state of New York?

The Soldiers and Sailors Civilian Relief Act (SCRA) allows active-duty military members to postpone divorce proceedings while on active duty. That postponement continues for 60 days after the tour of duty ends. Civilians can serve active-duty military personnel with divorce papers, but the military spouse has the right to postpone the proceedings if he or she desires.

In cases of an uncontested divorce, the active-duty member can submit a waiver affidavit. This will allow the divorce to move forward. In all other cases, though, the civilian spouse needs to wait for the active-duty serviced member’s tour to end to begin divorce proceedings.

How Is Child Custody Handled in a Military Divorce?

Child custody is one of the most challenging things our clients deal with during a military divorce. This is a concern for both the civilian and the military spouse. Many people feel better after they understand the laws that govern child custody in military divorces.

An active-duty military member’s legal team can use SCRA to prevent the judge from determining child custody while on duty. While SCRA prevents the judge from making permanent custody orders, he or she can still make a temporary order for child custody. Then, when the active-duty service member’s tour ends, the judge can determine a permanent custody arrangement.

How Is Spousal Maintenance and Child Support Handled in a Military Divorce?

Spousal maintenance and child support are essential facets of any divorce. There are special provisions regarding these payments in military divorce cases, though. The combined payments cannot be more than 60 percent of the military personnel’s pay. Our legal team will help you calculate how much you will have to pay or what you can expect to receive, depending on your situation.

How Are Military Benefits Handled in a Military Divorce?

Military benefits are a complex aspect of military divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) states that the federal government will only divide and distribute military pensions if the couple has been married for at least 10 years while the military personnel was in active-duty.

Many people get confused by this law. They think they are not entitled to any of the military personnel’s pension due to the length of their marriage. However, the law does not prevent people from getting any of the pension. It merely means that the government will not distribute it. If the civilian spouse is entitled to some of the pension, the military spouse will have to pay it directly.

The Cimino Law Firm can help this process go smoothly. From determining the amount owed to arranging the payments, we can take the stress out of this process.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce in a Military Divorce?

Grounds for a military divorce are the same as grounds for a civilian divorce. As with other divorces in New York, you can file for a no-fault or fault divorce.

Many of our clients choose a no-fault military divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. You can file for this if your marriage has been broken beyond repair for at least six months. Before the court grants the divorce, you have to settle all aspects, including the division of property, child custody, and spousal support. The Cimino Laws Firm can help you with this process.

You can file for at-fault divorce on the grounds of:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery

Also, you can file for a divorce after a legal separation agreement or judgment of separation has been in effect for at least one year. Separation agreements were more common before New York allowed no-fault divorces.

Choosing the grounds for divorce can seem overwhelming. When you call The Cimino Law Firm, we will go over the reason for the divorce with you. Then we will help you choose the grounds to use when filing for a military divorce.

Can Mediation Help in a Military Divorce?

Many of our clients going through a military divorce have two concerns. They want the process to go as quickly as possible because one spouse could be deployed at any time, and they also want it to be affordable. Many realize that mediation is the way to accomplish both. The Cimino Law Firm can act as the mediator in the divorce proceedings. We will serve as a neutral party as we help you agree to the terms of the divorce.

Mediation also allows both parties to maintain their privacy during the divorce. Unlike the litigation process where the information presented becomes part of the public record, mediation proceedings are kept private. Anything said in mediation cannot be used in the court and will not become part of the public record. This reduces some of the stress related to military divorce.

Both parties also get to choose the outcome. A court order is binding. If the court decides on issues like property division and child custody, those orders must be followed. However, in mediation, parties choose the agreement. They decide on all matters through compromise. Then, when the parties have agreed, our firm will file the divorce with the courts. Then the decisions will be binding.

Contact Us for a Confidential Consultation

When you decided to file for divorce, you likely felt two emotions. One, you were sad about dissolving your marriage, but two, you felt a little relieved that you have finally found a path forward. At the same time, you seem busier than ever before as you try to make it through the divorce. You didn’t realize how time-consuming a military divorce can be.

We understand that you are juggling lots of things right now, so we make it easy to get started. Begin the process by calling us for a confidential consultation. We will go over your case with you and talk about the strategy to help you settle this quickly. With more than two decades of experience, we are confident we can help you find the best path forward during this difficult time.

We also make it easy to see us in person. We have offices in Rochester and Webster, New York, and you are welcome to visit either one. When you come in, we will take the information we learned in the consultation, gather additional evidence, and move forward.

Pick up the phone and call us today. Then we can schedule an in-person meeting.

Same-Sex Divorce in New York

When you said, “I do,” you thought it would be forever. You put all you could into your marriage, but now, you realize that it is not going to work. You’re nervous about the divorce process and require the best representation for your needs. The Cimino Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience handling divorce cases in New York. That includes same-sex divorce cases since marriage equality became the law of the land in 2011.

Over the years, we have helped our clients navigate the difficult emotions they experience while protecting their interests. From filing for divorce to helping with child custody, child support, and the division of assets, we will be by your side every step of the way.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce in New York?

You can file for a no-fault or fault same-sex divorce in New York. If you are unsure of which option to choose, The Cimino Law Firm can help.

No-fault Divorce

Many of our clients file for a no-fault same-sex divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. With a no-fault divorce, no one has to place or take the blame. The union did not work out, and that is the reason it is ending.

The court will grant a no-fault divorce when two conditions have been met. First, the marriage must have been broken for at least six months. Second, the couple must determine child custody, visitation, spousal and child support, and visitation rights beforehand. The division of debts also must be settled.

If your marriage has broken down, settling the aspects of the divorce can be difficult. Fortunately, The Cimino Law Firm can handle the negotiations on your behalf. We can work with your spouse’s lawyer or mediate the proceedings.

Divorce After Separating – The Earlier Version of the No-fault divorce

New York only started offering the no-fault divorce option in 2010. Before that, it had two options that were similar to no-fault divorces, and both options are still available today. You can get divorced one year after creating a legal separation agreement or one year after a judgment of separation. While both are valid ways to get divorced, few people use these methods any longer now that they can get a no-fault divorce within six months of the marriage breaking down.

Fault Divorces

While no-fault divorce is the easiest on couples, fault divorces are a viable option for many spouses. If one spouse has committed egregious behavior, the other spouse could get more in alimony. It can also help with child custody, the division of assets, and other issues.

The grounds for fault divorces in New York are:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery

Child Custody

Child custody often takes center stage during the same-sex divorce. Children are often brought into these relationships through surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, or adoption. Even if one partner carried the child or donated sperm, New York recognizes both persons as legal parents.

However, sometimes, one partner has a child from a previous relationship and brings that child into the marriage. The other person may have parented that child for years, but will not be viewed as a legal parent unless he or she adopted the child. The person might still be eligible for visitation rights, though.

In all cases of child custody, the court determines the “best interest of the child.” That often means the parents split custody. The Cimino Law Firm can fight for your child custody rights during your same-sex divorce. We can also mediate a settlement between you and your partner. During mediation, you will have the chance to complete a child custody agreement that will please both of you.

How Is Child Support Handled in a Same-sex Divorce Case?

Once child custody is determined, it is time to consider child support. The custodial parent is entitled to child support to help raise the child. In the case when the earnings are similar, and the parents have shared custody, child support will not likely be part of the same-sex divorce process. However, when one parent makes considerably less money or has the child more often, he or she will be entitled to child support.

The courts use a formula to determine child support. It begins by combining the income of both parents. Then the income is multiplied by a percentage based on the number of children the couple share. The salary multiplied by the percentage is the annual cost of raising the children. If the noncustodial parent makes 70 percent of the shared income, he or she will pay 70 percent of the yearly cost of raising the child.

Parents aren’t always pleased with the court’s formula for determining child support. Many choose to go through mediation to create an agreement. The Cimino Law Firm can help in court or with the mediation process.

How is Division of Property and Assets Handled in a Same-sex Divorce Case?

Property and asset division is another factor in the same-sex divorce. New York did not legalize same-sex marriage until June 24, 2011. Many couples lived together before this date. While some couples bought property in both names, others bought property individually while living with their partners. Any property purchased in a single name before the marriage is considered separate. All property and assets gathered after the wedding are considered marital property and will be divided during the divorce.

New York divides property based on the equitable division protocol. Note that fair is not the same as equal. While the court might split the property 50-50, that is not always the case. Various factors are taken into consideration, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Debt obligations
  • Mental and physical health of the spouses
  • Separate property of each spouse
  • Separate income of each spouse

What is Spousal Support?

One spouse might be eligible for alimony. The court looks at the following when determining eligibility and amount for alimony:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Spousal contributions to homemaking duties
  • Earning potential
  • Reduced earning abilities
  • Mental and physical health

Alimony can be temporary or permanent. Some spouses receive alimony before the divorce is final and then get permanent spousal maintenance once it is finalized. Spouses can also be entitled to rehabilitative or restitutional alimony. If you are unsure if you are entitled to alimony, contact The Cimino Law Firm.

The Cimino Law Firm – Your Advocate During a Same-sex Divorce

Going through any divorce is difficult, but a same-sex divorce can be harder than most. Not only are you worried about the aspects of the divorce, such as child custody and the division of property, but you are also concerned about discrimination. You want to choose a lawyer who truly supports you, and you will find that at The Cimino Law Firm.

You will feel welcome as soon as you walk through the doors at our Webster and Rochester, NY offices. Also, you will realize that you have an advocate who will do everything possible to help you through this difficult time.

You also might be concerned about paying money upfront. The Cimino Law Firm offers a confidential phone consultation, so you don’t have to pay any money upfront. Call us today to go over the information related to your divorce. Then we can move forward with mediation, negotiation, or filing for divorce.

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Divorce Mediation in New York

The idea of litigating a divorce causes some people to wake up in a cold sweat each night. Ligation can be expensive and adversarial, and the judge has the final say. The loss of control is too much for some people to bear. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.

Divorce mediation is often more affordable, and instead of being adversarial, the two parties work together to reach an agreement. The divorcing parties have the power in these proceedings instead of a judge.

Choosing the right mediator is critical for the process to be a success. Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has more than two decades of experience handling divorce cases in New York. With her help, you can reach an agreement without the stress of court.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

A divorce mediator is a neutral party. The attorney will not work on behalf of one client while ignoring the needs of the other. Instead, our mediator will help both parties agree to the terms of the divorce.

These issues include:

  • Distribution of property and assets
  • Distribution of debt
  • Child support
  • Custody agreements
  • Spousal maintenance

The mediator will facilitate the discussion for each issue, ensuring that the parties don’t get off-topic. Also, while the mediator cannot provide legal advice, he or she can go over New York’s laws. For instance, the mediator can explain how much spousal support the courts would likely grant or how the assets would be divided. This gives both parties insight into what they could expect if they went to court. It also makes it easier to come to an agreement during the divorce mediation process.

While the mediator provides legal information, the divorcing parties have control regarding their decisions. Mediation is not binding, so no one is forced to make a decision or agree. However, couples typically come to an agreement for all issues related to the divorce.

Couples usually meet at least three times with the mediator to work through the issues. However, some cases take eight or more meetings. Each meeting brings couples closer to the goal of agreeing on their divorce. While the amount of time it will take differs from one client to the next, mediation has four stages.

Information Gathering and Mediation Strategy

The first meeting creates a basic foundation for the mediation proceedings. During this stage, you will provide the mediator will the issues of your divorce. For example, if you have children, you would discuss child custody and child support. If the other spouse is the sole breadwinner, you could also discuss spousal maintenance.

You will also need to bring financial statements such as tax returns with you during this meeting. It is critical to bring all pertinent information. If more time is needed for appraisals, a second information-gathering session will be needed.

After going over the information, the mediator will create a divorce mediation strategy. This strategy will be based on the relationship between the two parties and the issues of the divorce, such as child custody. The mediator will create an agenda based on the strategy and also make a summary of the finances.

Needs and Interests

After gathering the relevant information, the parties will need to go through the needs and interests stage of the divorce mediation process. Both parties will have an idea of what they want out of a divorce settlement. For instance, one person might want the house while the other chooses the bank accounts. Both parties also might want physical custody of the children.

During the needs and interests stage, each party explains what they want in the agreement. The mediator will look for areas where the needs and interests overlap. For example, both parties usually want what is in the best interest of the children. When this happens, it is often easier to find a compromise. However, divorce mediation can work, even when the interests don’t overlap.

After looking at the needs and interests, the mediator can determine the goals of the mediation. The mediator and both parties will work toward those goals during the divorce mediation process.


Mediation is about compromise, so the negotiation stage is very important. The mediator can present options to both parties, but he or she cannot offer legal advice. The spouses look at the various options presented and choose how to move forward.

During the negotiation, the mediator reminds people of their most important needs and interests. In many cases, both parties can get their needs and interests met by comprising on issues that are less important to them. For example, if one person’s most important need is receiving spousal support and the other party’s most important need is to get 50/50 physical custody, both needs can be used for negotiation. One spouse might agree to 50/50 physical custody if the other agrees to spousal support. Trading off acceptable options is the key to a successful mediation. This is critical for making both sides happy during the divorce mediation process.

The Agreement

Once they agree to the terms of the divorce, the mediator prepares a separation agreement or files divorce papers. Both parties can have another lawyer look at the agreement or papers before they are filed, but this is a matter of personal choice. Many people choose to have The Cimino Law Firm handle this process without retaining outside counsel.

The Separation Agreement

The separation agreement includes the issues that have been resolved through mediation. These include child custody and support, if applicable. This agreement signifies the beginning of your separation. You and your spouse can live apart for one year and then convert the agreement into a divorce. If you need help to convert your agreement into a divorce at the end of the separation period, The Cimino Law Firm can handle this for you.

Filing for Divorce

Many people are ready to get divorced immediately following the mediation. They do not want to wait a full year and then covert the separation agreement into a legal divorce.

Your mediator can allow you to skip the separation agreement and move directly to the divorce. After you have agreed upon the terms of the divorce in mediation, the mediator can file a no-fault divorce.

You will not have to appear in court since you have already created an agreement. This is a non-contested divorce and moves through the system quickly.

Confidentiality and Divorce Mediation

It’s important to understand that all issues discussed in divorce mediation are strictly confidential. Even if mediation doesn’t work, the other party cannot use any of the information against you in court. This is one reason why so many people choose to at least begin with mediation. It’s not legally binding, and it’s confidential. If it doesn’t work out, you still have the option of going to court without worrying about providing evidence in mediation.

Choosing The Cimino Law Firm for Mediation

The Cimino Law Firm has been assisting in mediated divorces in New York for more than 20 years. You can begin the process with a confidential phone consultation to learn more about how the divorce mediation process works. Then you can visit our Rochester or Webster, New York, office to begin the process.

We can help you alleviate the stress and minimize the contention during your divorce. Contact us today to learn more about divorce mediation.

Child Support in New York

Child support is one of the most important aspects of any family law case in New York. Child support payments are used to provide for the children when the parents no longer live together. We take support cases very seriously. Just like you, we want what is best for your children, and we are here to help.

The Cimino Law Firm has worked on both sides of child support cases. We have helped custodial and noncustodial parents, and in each case, we fight for what is fair for the children and our clients.

If you need help with a child support case, contact an experienced Rochester child support lawyer at our firm for a confidential phone consultation today.

Who Can Collect Child Support Payments?

The custodial parent is eligible for child support to help raise the child. If the parents have shared custody of the child, one parent still might be entitled to child support if the other parent makes substantially more money.

Some cases involve unmarried parents. If the mother is the custodial parent, the father might deny paternity to avoid paying child support. A paternity test might be needed to establish paternity. The court can order a DNA test to ensure that the man is the father. If he is, he will have to pay child support.

The father can also request a paternity test to establish paternity. This is done to get visitation or custody rights.

How Are Child Support Payments Calculated?

Parents have two options for creating an order for support. First, they can go through mediation and create an agreement. The Cimino Law Firm can act as a neutral mediator in these cases. Once the order is completed, the law firm can submit it to the court to make it official. Then the noncustodial parent will begin making payments.

Second, parents can let the courts decide. The court uses a formula for determining the amount of support. The court combines the income of both parents. When the income falls below $148,000 a year, it multiplies it by a percentage based on the number of children. It is 17 percent for one child, 25 percent for two, 29 percent for three, and 31 percent for four. If the parents have five or more children, the percentage is 35 percent or more. This is considered the yearly cost of raising the children.

Then the court splits the amount between both parents to determine how much each person should pay. If a noncustodial parent makes 30 percent of the combined pay, he or she will be expected to pay 30 percent of the costs. If he or she makes 70 percent of the income, he or she will be expected to pay 70 percent of the costs and so on.

If the combined pay is greater than $148,000, the courts have some leeway determining child support. The court can use the same formula or its own. It can also choose to use the method for income below the income cap. That means the extra income will not be considered for the child support order.

With so many complexities, it’s wise to hire a family law attorney. Even though the state uses a percentage, other factors, such as private school and medical conditions, can be taken into account. Having proper representation is critical during this process.

What Are Temporary Orders?

Parents can also get temporary child support orders when going through a divorce. This order allows the custodial parent to receive payments while the divorce is pending. Judges often use the standard formula when determining temporary orders. The interim order can be made permanent once the divorce is finalized.

However, those with temporary orders still have the right to negotiate child support payments through mediation. If that occurs, the interim order will not become permanent. Instead, once the divorce is finalized, the court will accept the agreed-upon order. Then that will become the final order for child support.

Can You Appeal An Order?

Those who choose to go to court and are unhappy with the order have the chance to appeal it. To do so, the dissatisfied party must file an objection with the court within 30 days of the ruling.

The judge has three options when a parent objects to a support order. He or she can change the ruling, send it back to the court, or leave it as it is. Either party has the right to appeal the judge’s decision to a higher court.

Can You Modify A Child Support Order?

It is possible to modify a child support order if you or the child’s other parent has experienced a significant change in circumstances. Modifications can increase or decrease the amount of support paid, depending on the situation.

Examples of significant changes in circumstances include:

  • Job loss
  • Serious illness
  • Job promotion
  • Loss of housing

The person who wishes to modify the agreement must prove the circumstances require a new order. This could include providing wage statements or medical information to the courts.

How Long Do Child Support Orders Last?

In most cases, child support orders last until the child is 21 years of age. However, if the child is emancipated before reaching 21, the order will be terminated. This occurs if the child joins the military, is married, or self-supporting. Also, if the child is between the ages of 17 and 21 and chooses to leave home and fails to obey the parents, the order is discontinued.

How Do You Collect Unpaid Child Support?

Only 43.5 percent of custodial parents received the full amount of child support due in 2015. While some of the remaining custodial parents received at least some of the payments, some parents don’t receive anything. Failing to pay child support is against the law, and you can take action to receive your money.

Your lawyer can help you collect the money owed through a court order. The court might choose to seize the noncustodial parent’s bank account or garnish his or her wages. The judge also might place a lien on the nonpayer’s home, take his or her tax returns, or suspend the person’s license. Through this route, you can receive back child support payments and current payments as well.

Choosing The Right Rochester Child Support Lawyer

If you aren’t represented during your child support hearing, you will be at the mercy of the court. You might end up paying more than you can afford or not getting the payment you need to raise your child adequately. While the court uses a formula, it considers other factors. Your lawyer can help you pay or receive a fair amount in child support. Also, a lawyer can help with collecting and modifying support payments,

Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has more than 20 years of family law experience. She has helped mothers and fathers with child support over the years and can help you as well.

Our firm makes it easy to get started. We offer a confidential phone consultation so you can discuss your case. You will go over your needs and concerns, and learn the strategy for moving forward. Then we will invite you to visit our office in Rochester or Webster, New York. You can meet with a family law attorney in person, provide evidence, and get started with your case.

Child support is an emotional topic for parents. We understand that you are worried about your financial future and the well-being of your children. Our compassion will put you at ease, and our experience will give you confidence that you have an advocate who will fight for you and your child.

Contact us today to schedule your confidential phone consultation.

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Child Custody in New York

Child custody disputes are among the most contentious and stressful in family law. Going through a divorce is difficult enough, but determining custody makes the entire process much more stressful.

You want what is best for your child, and that means ensuring that he or she has the right custody arrangement. The Cimino Law firm has over 20 years of experience in child custody cases in the state of New York.  Our Rochester law firm can help you get a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your child. We understand this is a complicated process, but we will be by your side every step of the way.

What Are The Types of Child Custody?

Many parents are surprised that there are various types of child custody in New York. We will talk with you to determine the type of custody you need for the well-being of your child.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the parent with which the child stays. If a parent receives sole physical custody, the child will live with the parent full time or most of the time. The non-custodial parent might get visitation rights, but the child’s home base will be with the parent who received full physical custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions that impact the child. Examples include selecting a school, choosing (or not choosing) a church, and determining medical care. If a parent has sole legal custody, he or she makes all of these decisions without having to consider the input of the other parent.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is often awarded in New York. Joint custody means that both parents split legal and physical custody. Even with joint custody, it’s not unusual for the child to spend slightly more time with one parent. However, joint physical custody is usually close to 50-50.

Temporary Custody

An order for temporary custody is normally granted during the divorce proceedings. Divorces take time to finalize, so a temporary custody order is put in place to protect the child. Many parents ignore the importance of temporary custody orders. However, temporary custody orders are often used when determining permanent custody. For instance, if one parent gets sole custody during the divorce, he or she is more likely to get permanent custody afterward. The Cimino Law Firm helps our clients during this process as well to ensure they are on a sound footing as they move through the divorce proceedings.

What Is Child Visitation?

When a parent is not granted sole custody, an order for visitation is needed. Parents often agree to a visitation schedule, but if not, the court will decide. If the parent is unstable or a danger to the child, supervised visitation will be ordered. However, if this is not the case, the court will order unsupervised visitation. This will allow the non-custodial parent to have the child for overnight visits.

The courts are more flexible with visitation rights than they were in the past. Years ago, visitation usually meant weekend visits. Now, if the child is safe with the parent, the court is likely to order regular visits.

The Cimino Law Firm understands that parents need to spend meaningful time with their children. They do not just visit them. They parent them. They teach them and raise them, even if they are not the sole physical caregiver. That is why we fight to help parents receive a visitation schedule that will help the child’s growth, development, and well-being.

On the other hand, if your spouse is a danger to your child, we will work to protect him or her. Everything we do is in the best interest of the child.

How Is Custody Determined?

Our legal team can help you mediate a custody agreement. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement or feel that your child will be in danger, we will present evidence to the court. Then the court will determine the custody order.

New York courts determine child custody based on the best interest of the child. To do this, the court analyzes various aspects of the arrangement. These include:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of both parents
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for special needs, if applicable
  • The physical and mental health of both parties
  • Charges of domestic violence, if applicable
  • Work schedules
  • Childcare plans
  • The child’s relationship with other members of the family
  • The relationship between the parents
  • The child’s primary caregiver before the divorce
  • The child’s preference

Child preference is one of the most confusing aspects of child custody law. There is a myth that the child can choose which parent to live with after reaching the age of 13, but this is not true. However, the court does give weight to the child’s preference, as long as the child is old enough to make a decision. The older the child, the more weight the preference is given. Still, the court bases decisions on the best interest of the child, not child preference alone.

We understand that sometimes, the child will want to live with the more lenient parent, but this isn’t always in the best interest of the child. We can help you, even if your child wants to live with the “fun parent” who has pizza for every dinner and doesn’t believe in homework. We will also help you navigate the roller-coaster of emotions that come with fighting for custody.

Can You Modify a Custody Agreement?

It is not unusual for parents to need to modify a custody agreement. When circumstances change, a parent can petition the court to change the arrangement. The parent must present evidence that shows the change is in the best interest of the child. This can be quite complicated, so it’s critical to get legal help.

Can You Move With a Child Custody Agreement in Place?

Parents need to keep their custody agreements in mind if they are considering relocating far enough that it will create a hardship for the parent with visitation rights. The parent has two options. He or she can ask the other parent for permission. Those who go this route need to get it in writing. The parent can also petition for custody modification.

What If My Spouse Refuses to Follow a Custody Order?

Sadly, some parents refuse to follow custody orders. Some parents don’t visit their children, even though they have the right to do so. The parent with physical custody can petition the court to modify the order to limit visitation until the parent follows a schedule. The courts understand that following a program is very important for the children.

The other issue is much more frightening. Sometimes, parents with visitation rights pick up their children and don’t return them. This is one of the scariest aspects of child custody cases, and it happens more than you might think. In 2017, 2,359 non-custodial parents refused to return their children.

Our lawyers will use all legal resources to get your child back into your custody. This can include filing a violation petition in Family Court and contacting the police. Your child’s safety is of our utmost concern, and we will not rest until he or she is safely back home.

Experienced Rochester Child Custody Lawyer

You love your child more than life itself, and you want to spend ample time with him or her. The right child custody agreement will allow for this. The Cimino Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience with child custody cases. We have successfully mediated cases outside of court, just as we have fought for our clients inside the courtroom.

With two convenient locations in Webster and Rochester, NY, we are right around the corner and ready to help you. You don’t even need to stop by for your first appointment. Begin the process with a confidential phone consultation. After we go over your case, we will be ready to help you fight for custody.

Alimony / Spousal Maintenance

Alimony is one of the most important aspects of a divorce proceeding. Whether you pay spousal support or you receive a monthly award, the decision will have a significant impact on your finances.

Getting the proper legal representation is critical during this process. With our help, you can agree with your spouse or provide the courts with the necessary evidence so the judge can make a fair and sound decision.

Schedule a confidential consultation with our firm today to learn more about how we can represent your needs in the proceedings.

What Are The Types of Alimony in New York?

Many of our clients believe that there is only one type of alimony in New York. The lack of understanding causes them to get less than they are entitled to or pay more than they can afford. There are five types of alimony in New York, and our firm has experienced in handling each one.

Pendente Lite (Temporary) Alimony

Pendente lite alimony is temporary spousal maintenance. This alimony is awarded and paid when the divorce is still pending. The money helps the spouse make it through the divorce proceedings. Once the divorce is finalized, the support payments stop. However, the recipient might be entitled to another type of alimony once these payments end.

Post-divorce Maintenance

Post-divorce maintenance is the other type of alimony. The two parties can arrange for the length of the alimony payments, or the courts can decide.

The alimony can also be terminated before the agreed-upon or ordered date in certain circumstances. Post-divorce maintenance payments are terminated if one of the spouses passes away or when the spouse receiving the payments remarries. The court also might stop the payments if the spouse receiving the money lives with a romantic partner, even if the two are not married.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Often, one spouse stays at home during the marriage but wants to enter the working world after the divorce. This is difficult to do if the spouse doesn’t have the necessary training. Rehabilitative alimony makes this much more manageable. The money is paid while the spouse goes to school or embarks on a new career. Once the spouse is back on his or her feet, the payments stop.

Restitutional Alimony

One spouse often supports the other while he or she goes through school or gets the training needed to get into the job force. Restitutional alimony is awarded as repayment to the spouse who supported the other during this time. This is a temporary award.

Permanent Alimony

New York does award permanent alimony in some cases. This means the recipient will receive payments until his or her death. The court awards permanent alimony in instances when the payee is ill or elderly and cannot support himself or herself.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

Temporary, rehabilitative, and restitutional alimony have precise lengths. For example, temporary alimony only lasts until the divorce is finalized, and a new order (if applicable) is in place. Rehabilitation alimony is paid while the husband or wife goes through school or transitions to the working world. Restitutional alimony payments are based on the amount of time and money the partner invested in the other.

Post-divorce maintenance is a little more complicated. If it’s left to the courts to decide, the judge will use a formula to determine the length of post-divorce support. If the couple was married for 15 years, alimony lasts for 15-30 percent of the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted 15-20 years, the receiving spouse could expect to get alimony for 30-40 percent of the length of the marriage. For marriages that lasted over 20 years, payments are typically ordered to continue for 35-50 percent the length of the marriage. Payments are terminated once the date in the order is reached.

How is the Amount of Pendente Lite Maintenance Determined?

Rochester’s court system uses a formula to calculate pendente lite maintenance payments. For step one, the court subtracts 20 percent of the petitioner’s income from 30 percent of the potential payer’s income.

For step two, the court multiplies each side’s income by 40 percent. Then, the court subtracts the income of the spouse who is petitioning for temporary relief.

Finally, the court looks at the figures from step one and step two. The lower amount will be awarded to the petitioner for temporary maintenance.

How is Eligibility and the Amount of Post-divorce Maintenance Determined?

The court considers several factors when determining eligibility and the amount of alimony for post-divorce maintenance. After examining the elements, the court issues an order with the amount.

Length of Marriage

Courts look at the length of the marriage when coming up with an amount of alimony. Marriages of 10 years or longer are considered long-term marriages. Spouses leaving long-term marriages are more likely to get alimony when compared to those who have only been married a few years. Spouses leaving long marriages also might be eligible for higher payments.

Spousal Contributions

The courts believe that both parties should contribute to homemaking duties. If one spouse fails to contribute, he or she might be ordered to pay alimony. This could also increase the amount of spousal support the divorced spouse must pay.

Earning Potential and Reduced Earning Abilities

Earning potential is also critical when determining alimony. This is especially true when minor children are involved. One spouse often stays home to take care of the minor children. After being away from the job market for years, the spouse no longer has the same earning potential. Factors such as lack of education and job training are also considered when deciding on eligibility and the amount of the payment.

Mental and Physical Health

The court also examines the mental and physical health of both parties. This can lead to an undue financial burden on one of the parties. In these cases, alimony might be awarded.

Alimony for Men and Women – Eliminating Gender Bias

The Cimino Law Firm has negotiated alimony payments for both men and women. In the past, the courts were more likely to award alimony to women, but that has changed. Gender is no longer considered when ordering alimony payments.

Still, many men refuse to ask for alimony. Only 3 percent of all alimony payments go to men, even though women make more than their husbands in 40 percent of the households in the United States. Men often let their pride get in the way of requesting alimony. The Cimino Law Firm understands this can be a complicated process, but we can help you get what deserve. You will not feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when you fight for alimony with our help.

Can You Request a Modification?

Significant changes occur to people over their lifetimes. People lose jobs, get in severe accidents, and lose their earning potentials. People who have experienced significant life changes can petition the court for a spousal support modification.

The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the person requesting the modification. For instance, if the payer loses his or her job, he or she must prove that making the ordered payments causes an undue hardship.

How The Cimino Law Firm Can Help

Even with formulas to calculate the amount, alimony is quite complicated in New York. The alimony calculator often creates undesired results for one of the parties. Legal representation helps the parties come to a resolution outside of a court order when possible. If an agreement is not reached, your lawyer can represent your case to the court. With more than 20 years of experience, our lawyers know how to present evidence that benefits our clients in these proceedings.

Our kind and compassionate legal team will be your emotional support and your legal representation as you go through this challenging time in your life. Make the next chapter of your life the best one yet with our help.

Call us today for a confidential phone consultation. Then you can make an appointment in our Rochester or Webster, NY office.

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Paternity in New York

In the state of New York, paternity must be established when a child is born to unmarried parents. That means if you have a child with your unmarried partner, you will have to establish paternity for the father to be legally recognized. This is important for both mothers and fathers. Mothers need to establish paternity to receive child support, and fathers must establish paternity to get custody or visitation rights. Also, establishing paternity can help the father build a relationship with his child.

This might sound like a confusing process, but The Cimino Law Firm can walk you through it. We have helped mothers and fathers establish paternity for more than 20 years, and we are here to help you as well.

It all begins with a confidential phone consultation. Call us today to find out more about establishing paternity in New York.

What Is Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) ? – When Both Sides Agree

If you and your partner are not married and have a child, you can sign and submit an AOP. This form establishes paternity. The father’s name is then put on the child’s birth certificate.

Unfortunately, some fathers sign AOPs, only to later realize they are not the father. The AOP can be vacated within 60 days of filing. Sometimes, though, the father does not realize the child is not his until the 60 days have passed. The AOP can still be vacated at that point, but it must be on the grounds of duress, a material mistake of fact, or fraud. It is critical to have legal counsel at your side if you need to vacate an AOP. This will help you reach the desired outcome.

How To Petition the Court to Establish Paternity?

When there is not an AOP in place, the parents must go to court to establish paternity. During the case, the mother and father can agree to acknowledge paternity. In most cases, though, the court orders a DNA test to establish paternity. DNA testing is usually done with a cheek swab or a blood test. If the test proves paternity, the court will issue an order of filiation.

While many parents wait until after the child is born, it is also possible to establish paternity beforehand. The court can order a prenatal paternity test, and if it comes back positive, paternity will be established.

What is Equitable Estoppel?

While many men can go to court and get a DNA test, that is not always the case. The other side can invoke equitable estoppel to prevent the father from obtaining a DNA test if a father-child relationship has already been established. This is usually invoked in one of two situations.

First, the other party might invoke equitable estoppel when the man has represented himself as the child’s father, and the child has come to rely on that relationship. A man can portray himself as the father in many different ways. He can:

  • Pay child support
  • Have the child call him “dad”
  • Introduce the minor as his child
  • Regularly call the child

This creates a father-child relationship. Often, the court does not want to break that relationship. It fears that a negative DNA test will harm the child. In this case, it can refuse the DNA test.

Second, the other party can invoke equitable estoppel if a man has allowed another man to act as the child’s father for a prolonged period. For example, if a man believes he is the father but does not have anything to do with the child and another man takes part in raising the child, the court might not allow a DNA test. The court believes that even if the man is the biological father, determining paternity would harm the child. A positive DNA test could ruin the bond the child has already established with the man raising him or her.

The court has the final say if a DNA test will be blocked. If you want to invoke equitable estoppel or you believe the other party will invoke it against you, it is wise to get legal representation. Equitable estoppel is considered on a case by case basis. The court looks at various factors, including the importance of knowing who the biological father is and the potential trauma a DNA test could cause the child. Our legal team can protect your rights during this process.

What Should You Do After Establishing Paternity?

Child custody and visitation can be established once paternity is considered. There are two types of child custody, which are legal and physical. Legal custody refers to making decisions for the child, and physical custody is where the child lives.

Parents often have joint legal and physical custody, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, parents split legal custody, and one parent has primary custody and the other has visitation rights. New York is known for being flexible with visitation arrangements. The courts want the child to see both parents as often as possible if it is in the child’s best interest. That means the non-custodial parent could see the child several days a week, even without having shared custody.

After custody is established, the parents or courts must decide child support. The court uses a formula to determine the cost of raising the child. Then it analyzes the amount of money each parent makes and determines a support order.

Parents also have the option of determining support on their own through negotiation or mediation. The Cimino Law Firm can represent you in court, negotiate on your behalf, or preside over mediation proceedings. We will fight for you and your child during this process.

Why Is Paternity Important for the Child?

Establishing paternity provides benefits for the child. It begins with having the father’s name on the birth certificate. Also, the child will have the power to access his or her father’s medical history. This is critical for your child’s overall health. Your child needs to know if he or she is genetically predisposed to certain diseases.

The child will also benefit financially. He or she can receive health insurance from the father if necessary. Also, the child will have access to child support and enjoy other financial benefits, including inheritance rights.

Seek Legal Counsel From an Experienced Rochester Paternity Lawyer

The Cimino Law Firm is the right choice for your paternity case. Michelle Cimino has worked with both mothers and fathers for more than two decades. She stands out for her grasp of family law and her compassion. She helps people through the legal process while providing much-needed emotional support.

The Cimino Law Firm also understands the financial burden of paternity cases. You are likely worried about spending money to establish paternity, so we offer confidential phone consultations. You do not have to pay money upfront to find out if you have a case. You will provide us with information during your query, and we will develop a strategy on your behalf.

We also understand that it is difficult to drive very far to visit a law firm. With offices in both Rochester and Webster, we make it simple for our clients to see us.

Call us today to set up your confidential phone consultation. These cases are complicated, but with our help, you can reach your desired outcome.

Grandparents Rights in New York

Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has sat across the table from countless grandparents who wanted nothing more than to see their grandchildren. These grandparents were being kept from their grandchildren for a myriad of reasons ranging from obstacles put in place by the parents to the death of a parent. While the circumstances were different, the result was the same. These grandparents were dealing with indescribable pain and wanted to know their rights.

Fortunately, grandparents do have rights in the state of New York. Grandparents can request court-ordered visitations with their grandchildren, and in some cases, they can get custody. The Cimino Law Firm has reunited countless grandparents and grandchildren over the years. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of practicing family law in Rochester. Both the grandparents and the grandchildren win when they are reunited. It is fulfilling to watch their faces light up once the legal process is finished, and they are brought back together.

What Are My Visitation Rights as a Grandparent?

New York is one of the most liberal states regarding grandparents rights. Grandparents can request visitation if certain circumstances are met.

First, they can request visitation if one or both of the parents have passed away, and they have a substantial relationship with the children. When one or both parents die, grandparents often get left out in the cold. The surviving parent might think meeting with the grandparents will be too painful for the children, or in the case of losing both parents, the new caregivers might sever the relationship. Fortunately, the courts can step in and fix this issue.

Second, grandparents can also request court-ordered visitation if the parents are still living but have interfered with the relationship. For instance, if the parents refuse to let the grandparents see or even speak to their grandchildren without a valid reason, the courts can step in. This is true, even if the parents have prevented the grandparents from establishing a relationship with the children. As long as the lack of a relationship is not the grandparents’ fault, the courts might grant visitation.

The court only grants grandparents rights to biological or adoptive grandparents. Great-grandparents cannot take advantage of this law. Also, the court only intervenes when it is in the best interest of the grandchildren.

What If the Child Has Been Adopted?

Many grandparents think they don’t have grounds for visitation if their grandchild has been adopted into another family. They feel hopeless and try to imagine a life without their grandchildren.

Fortunately, grandparents rights don’t disappear just because a child is adopted. Grandparents can still seek court-ordered visitation, even if the grandchild is living in an adopted home.

How Are Grandparents Rights Cases Proven?

The burden of proof to receive visitation rests on the grandparents’ shoulders. They must show that it is in the child’s best interest for the court to order visits. Fortunately, you do not have to prove this on your own. Michelle Cimino has more than 20 years of experience fighting for grandparents rights in New York and can help you establish your case.

The burden of proof begins with the legal grounds for filing the request. Many requests are submitted after one or more parent dies. Death is the legal ground for the application. However, if the parents are living, grandparents must prove that they have an existing relationship with the grandchild or one or more parents has prevented the grandparent from establishing one.

Establishing the legal grounds for the request is the first step. Next, the grandparent must prove that it is in the grandchild’s best interest to spend time with his or her grandparents. Research has shown that children with strong bonds to their grandparents are less likely to suffer from behavioral and emotional problems. And they are also more likely to get along with their peers. However, citing research is not enough. The court will also look at other factors, such as the child’s wishes, the distance the child must travel for the visits, and the physical and mental health of all parties.

The court will also take a close look at the grandparents. The court will analyze the past and present relationship the grandparent has with the parents and grandchildren and the grandparent’s overall attitude toward the parents. This will also impact visitation rights.

This can seem overwhelming for grandparents who want nothing more than to spend time with the grandchildren they love. At The Cimino Law Firm, we understand the emotional toll this takes and will be by your side to provide support. We don’t just fight in the courtroom. We also help our clients navigate this complicated process. We are your legal team, and your support system rolled into one.

What is Kinship Care? – Another Aspect of Grandparents Rights

Grandparents rights can extend beyond receiving court-ordered visitation. In some cases, grandparents will fight for sole custody of their grandchildren. In the state of New York, 165,493 children live in a grandparent-headed household without a parent present. If your grandchild is in harm’s way, this can be a viable option.

Again, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the grandparent. The grandparent must prove that the parent is unfit or has abandoned or surrendered the child. Persistent neglect or extended disruption of custody is also grounds to file for the care of the grandchild.

If you are concerned that your grandchild is not receiving the proper care at home, it is time to step in. Our team will investigate the case for you and determine if you have legal grounds to request custody.

Why Choose The Cimino Law Firm for your Grandparents Rights Case?

Grandparents rights cases are among the most difficult of the family law cases. The burden of proof must be met, and the courts must determine that visiting or living with the grandparent is in the best interest of the child.

With more than two decades of experience trying grandparents rights cases, The Cimino Law Firm is the right choice for your situation. Our firm makes the process as easy as possible for grandparents.

We understand that fighting a grandparents rights case can be exhausting and overwhelming. We make the process much easier by providing potential clients with a confidential phone consultation. You can speak to one of our attorneys, who will let you know if you have a case. If you do, the attorney will explain how he or she will move forward.

You will have to come into the firm to provide an interview and documents, but we even make that easy. We have locations in Rochester and Webster, NY making it easy to stop by. Also, with office hours that run until 6 pm, you can fit the trip into your schedule.

We also have the compassion and experience necessary to try your case. We will be your shoulder to lean on during the process, and we will also tirelessly work for you in court. When you use The Cimino Law Firm, the burden of proof doesn’t rest with you. It is our job to investigate and present your case.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation. The grandparent-grandchild bond is an important one, and we will help you see your grandson or granddaughter again.

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Domestic Violence in New York

Domestic violence is a serious crime, and it is more common than you might think. Approximately 10 million people suffer from domestic violence each year. The state of New York takes these crimes seriously, but victims still need attorneys to protect their rights and their lives. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or been wrongfully accused, contact The Cimino Law Firm for a confidential phone consultation.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in New York?

New York classifies domestic violence as crimes committed by household or family members. This includes people who are legally married, those who share children, and couples who are divorced. People who are in an intimate relationship but not living with their significant other can also commit domestic violence.

Domestic violence includes assault, menacing, stalking, and strangulation. In 2019, the state expanded the domestic violence law to include economic abuse. This includes robbery and identity theft.

These crimes have a lasting impact on victims. From the physical scars to the emotional devastation, it is difficult to recover. The Cimino Law Firm understands that victims need more than legal representation. They need a faithful ally to bring their abusers to justice. We strive to hold abusers accountable for their actions while providing the necessary emotional support to our clients.

Do Both Men and Women Suffer From Domestic Violence?

There is a myth that only women can be victims of domestic violence. However, statistics show that men and women alike suffer from abuse. 33.5 percent of New York men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes, compared to 32.3 percent of New York women.

Sadly, men are less likely to report domestic violence. Many believe they won’t be taken seriously, or there aren’t resources to help them. The Cimino Law Firm helps both men and women who have survived domestic abuse. No one deserves to be assaulted. If you have suffered from abuse, it is time to reach out and get help.

The Cimino Law Firm – Advocates for Abuse Victims

If you are a victim of domestic violence, your safety is our primary concern. We will begin by helping you obtain an order of protection. When we file the paperwork, the court will likely grant you a temporary order of protection. We will go back to court to receive a final order of protection. This order of protection will last from two to five years.

The order of protection will help you stay safe. Under the directive, your abuser must avoid contact with you, including phone calls. The order can also include additional stipulations. For example, it might direct the abuser to stay away from the children and move out of the home. It can also order the person not to have a firearm, pay child support, and follow all custody orders.

If the defendant refuses to follow the order of protection, the police will step in. The abuser will likely be arrested. Our legal team can also gather evidence to show the court that the abuser is a danger to you.

Can I File A Civil Suit for Domestic Violence?

The Cimino Law Firm can also help you file a civil suit to collect damages due to the abuse you have suffered. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years. You might be eligible to recover economic damages include medical bills and lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages related to pain and suffering. If going to court and seeing your abuser is too painful, an out-of-court settlement is also an option. This allows you to recover your damages without sitting in the same room with the person who hurt you.

What Are My Housing Rights As A Victim of Domestic Violence?

You have certain housing rights as a victim of domestic violence. If someone tries to strip you of those rights, seek legal help.

First, you cannot be rejected housing based on your status as a domestic violence survivor. That includes federally subsidized housing. Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time. Since it is illegal, our firm can file a claim on your behalf.

Second, you cannot be evicted from your home because you are a victim of domestic violence. In the past, landlords could evict tenants who called 911 to report domestic abuse. The eviction was based on nuisance ordinances. Fortunately, New York ended this practice in 2019. You can call 911 and get the help you need without fear of retribution.

You also have the right to remove your abuser from your lease without any penalties. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact our firm for a consultation.

You might need to move for your safety after suffering from violence. This is possible without penalty as long as you have an order of protection. Your landlord might allow you to break the lease after you get the order. If not, the courts will grant you the ability to move without any financial penalties.

What Are My Confidentially Rights as a Victim of Domestic Violence?

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you might feel like you’re always looking over your shoulder. You are afraid to run into your abuser. Even the ringing phone frightens you because the abuser could be at the other end of the line. New York has confidentiality laws in place to protect you. The Address Confidentially Program will keep your address confidential. You can also get a confidential phone number and voter registration. Our Rochester domestic violence attorney can help you set this up so you can stay safe after suffering from domestic abuse.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo expanded the confidentially rights to include absentee ballots. Victims who are concerned about seeing their abusers at their polling centers can submit absentee ballots instead of going to the polling center in person.

What are False Accusations?

Unfortunately, false accusations do occur from time to time. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, we can help you prove your case.

Attorneys usually use one of two defenses when dealing with false claims of abuse.

What is an Intentional False Accusation?

Intentional false accusations sometimes occur during divorce or custody disputes. One spouse might claim the other abused him or her to obtain a more desirable outcome with the divorce or child custody arrangement. Generally, persons who make intentionally false claims have holes in their stories. Our Rochester domestic violence attorney will use the discovery process to gather all evidence related to the charge. We will look for inconsistencies in the story to help us prove the accusation was false.

How Is Self-Defense Handled in Domestic Violence Cases?

Sadly, some of our clients have had no choice but to protect themselves. One spouse started hitting them, and they were afraid for their lives, so they fought back. Then they were charged with domestic abuse.

We must prove that you were not the aggressor in this situation. That means you could not have done anything to provoke the attack, including threatening harm. If you did anything to incite t violence, it could be difficult to prove that you are innocent. If we cannot prove your innocence, we can discuss potential plea bargains with you to reduce the charges and the punishment.

Protect Your Roughs With The Cimino Law Firm

The Cimino Law Firm has tirelessly advocated for domestic violence victims and those falsely accused of more than 20 years. We offer compassionate legal counsel while doing everything in our power to bring the other party to justice. Whether you need an order of protection, financial compensation, or to fight fraudulent charges, we are here for you.

You can start the process with a simple phone call. We offer confidential phone consultations to all of our clients. We also have two offices in Rochester and Webster, making it easy to see us in person.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

About The Cimino Law Firm

Attorney Michelle Cimino is the founder and leader of The Cimino Law Firm. She has been serving her clients with excellence since 1997. She specializes in family law and divorce and separation cases. In addition, she is familiar with child custody, child support, and employment and labor disputes.

Attorney Michelle Cimino became licensed to practice law in New York in 1997. She graduated cum laude from Nazareth College in 1991. Next, she received her JD from Syracuse University, where she also graduated cum laude in 1995. She is a member of the New York Bar association. In addition, she is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association. She is also a member of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

She has received accolades from her clients for her fearlessness and grit. Her clients have also praised her determination in the face of opposing attorney and judges. More than one client has said they would call her again for help.

Going through a divorce is never easy. It’s an emotional time where emotions can run high. But the right lawyer can make the process go much more smoothly. Attorney Michelle Cimino has worked in family law for decades and knows what you’re going through. She makes the entire process easy for her clients, from consultation to settlement. Her specialties include division of property, child custody, protection orders, and restoring your restraint order.

If you are in a same-sex marital dispute, Attorney Michelle Cimino has your back. She’s the go-to attorney if you need help taking care of same-sex family law issues. These include child support, grandparents’/father’s rights, child custody, and separation agreements.

Attorney Michelle Cimino also works frequently on employment law cases. Call her first if you’ve been mistreated at work. Her areas of expertise include wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and contract negotiations.

We hope you found our New York family law guide helpful and informative. If you have any questions about divorce, child custody, child support, alimony or spousal support, or any other family law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to arrange a confidential consultation.

At The Cimino Law Firm we strive to provide the legal guidance you need, and the personalized attention you deserve.

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2 thoughts on “New York Family Law Guide

  1. Manuel Diaz says:

    At the center of family law may be a strong moral code and a group of unwavering family values. However, while the target is to uphold and promulgate these values because the case progresses, the method is arduous and fraught with emotional strife for those involved. It’s times like these that the counsel of a fanatical family law attorney can ease your way through the whole process.

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