The Law Offices of John Ferrara

What Family Law Research Resources Should I Review To Prepare For My Case?


You will see attached to my website answers to many family court problems that will probably give you a good start. I outline the most common questions about custody and support. To get a quick estimate on child support, try http://www.alllaw.com/calculators/childsupport/new_york.

What Documents And Files Should I Have In Order Prior To Seeing A Family Law Attorney?

If the court has issued prior orders, we will need these. If there are current petitions pending, we certainly need those. You may not have prior mental health or substance abuse reports, but if you do, we need those. If you or your adversary have criminal convictions, certificates of disposition from the court of conviction will be helpful. As each case is decided on its own facts, it is difficult to generalize further. But certainly, if there is an expert or investigative report, bring this.

If the case is about support, we will need income information. The tax returns from the previous year, along with all W-2s and 1099s is a must. We also need recent pay stubs. If one is in his or her own business, it will get more complex, but we certainly need a profit and loss statement from year to date.

Does Mediation Save Me Money And Time In A Family Law Case? When Is This A Viable Option?

When the parties have general agreements, perhaps not on every detail, but they are close on fundamental points, mediation makes sense. The parties need to be on speaking terms for this to work. But it is difficult to see how much this will save. Because if the parties are generally close and communicate with one another reasonably well, they will probably settle their case quickly. The truth is the cases that will settle quickly and inexpensively in mediation will probably settle quickly and inexpensively in litigation.

At least in my view, the cases of great contention will probably be expensive and exhausting no matter what forum one seeks to employ. The cases of communication and cooperation will be far less expensive and less exhausting despite the forum as well.

It is not whether the credentials of the professional you see are in mediation or litigation that determine whether a case will settle. In my view, it is how close or distant the parties are at the start of the process, whether the parties (or just one party) are intractable, and the nature of the issues. Sadly, some issues just cannot be compromised. For example, if one parent must move to a distant corner of the globe, it is going to be very hard to compromise custody.

Why Should I Avoid Paralegals And / Or Document Preparers To Handle My New York Family Law Case?

As it is unlawful to practice law in New York unless one is a licensed attorney, (See Judiciary Law § 476-a), such persons cannot practice law. If such persons work under the direct supervision of a duly licensed attorney, and the attorney complies with Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3, this division of tasks is lawful.

My firm does not employ non-lawyers to prepare documents. The papers frame the debate. And in my view, I want that debate framed by the lawyer who will litigate the case. It is important to consider early in the process what one will intend to do later so that a coherent presentation can be made throughout the entire case. We can persuade judges more effectively if we allege and prove a single theory than if we make allegations that we must ultimately withdraw and then start adding new allegations halfway through the litigation.

While often new facts will develop that may cause us to add new allegations, to put allegations in the initial papers that we cannot prove (and that we should know we cannot prove at the outset) causes the judge to question our credibility and competence. This can never be an effective method of persuading the judge to adopt our proposal.

Since the lawyer will have a better idea of what he or she can prove on the facts alleged than the paralegal who drafts papers but never tries a case, the lawyer will be less willing to include allegations that he knows will fail. To maintain credibility with the judge, you are better to leave those fantastic yet unprovable allegations out of the papers.

For more information on Family Law Research Resources In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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