Question #34

Question: My Wife and I are in the process of working out a separation agreement. All seems to be going well except for the wording on higher education. Her lawyer drafted the provision for higher education as follows: Both parties agree to contribute reasonably toward the child’s higher education based upon the respective financial circumstances of the parties at such time as she commences her higher education. The parties’ obligation hereunder shall cease at such time as the minor child becomes emancipated as outlined in paragraph 14. I am concerned about who decided “reasonable.” My lawyer said a judge would decide. Does this language sound fair, and is it normal in a separation agreement? I wanted it to be worded more specific as to how much each would have to contribute to better prepare and budget for when the time comes. Thank you. 

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Question

I have been married for eight years. My wife and I have a baby that turned one in August of this year. On July 4, 2004, I was asked to leave the marital residence and reside in our summer home. There was never any attempt to work things out or reconcile our marriage. Divorce is/was inevitable. My wife currently does not work, based on both of our decisions after the birth of our child. In the meantime, I have fallen in love with my best friend, who has unfortunately made its way around the whole town. We have never been seen in public as affectionate but do spend plenty of time with each other. I go home at least once or twice a day to spend time with my child and have done so ever since July 4, 2004. Since the news of my affair has made its way to my wife, she has now threatened to never let me see my daughter again. I would like to know what my rights are if she can prove adultery. Does she have the right to refuse to allow me to see my child? Does she have the right to tell me who is allowed to be around my child and who is not? And is child/spousal support affected in a case of adultery?

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Question #35

My ex-wife and I are residents of NY State. We divorced in September 2004, and she moved upstate (85 miles) in December 2004. I live in NYC. We have joint custody, and she is the custodial parent. I pay support and after school care for our children 10 and 14. The 14-year-old is failing two classes and testing his limits, especially with his mother. She wants to send him to live with me, and at this point financially, my new wife and I would have difficulty financially to house and feed him. She promises to send money, but has a poor track record of paying anyone – her own rent included. She threatened verbally over the phone that she would put him out onto the street if she had to. I told her to file papers for the custodial change of the 14-year-old, but she insists that I have to do it. Also, throughout the divorce proceedings, she never provided an official after school care receipt. She had created the documents provided with inflated fees. She makes more money than I do ($75,000), and I am sure she will inflate the after school care fees even more if I take custody of the 14-year-old. She will try to make up for losing a portion of the custody support she receives bi-weekly. I am also very concerned about splitting the brothers. I know she will not let go of the youngest child. What are my options? Does one support cancel out the other if I raise one child and the other? How can I be protected from inflated after school care fees?
 

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Question

 I have a 15-year old daughter with a woman to whom I wasn’t married. My daughter spent the first nine years of her life living with her mother, during which time I paid full New York state child support (17%). Six years ago, she came to live with me, my wife, and two other children, based on the mutual consent of her mother and us. During the six years, my daughter has had regular visitation with her mother (other reasons weekends, school holidays, etc.). Her mother has paid no child support other than the costs she incurs when my daughter is with her, and for incidentals like occasional clothing purchases, primarily due to a lack of funds. She has not held a full-time job at any time during the six years for health. Her mother and I have never had a formal custody agreement filed in New York (where we both live), working out our arrangements via mutual consent the best we could. My daughter is now interested in moving back with her mother for a variety of personal reasons, and I have two questions: 1. At 15, what rights does she have in determining who her custodial parent will be? Could I be compelled to let her go back to her mother? 2. If she were to return to her mother, would I be required to resume 17% child support payments, or could I work with her mother on a mutually acceptable support amount that is less than the 17%? Could such an agreement be made binding in court even if it were below 17%? Any assistance would be appreciated.

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Question #31

I have been divorced since 1991. My ex-husband was cheating and wanted a divorce. However, I agreed to take the blame on the divorce decree as the one who abandoned, not knowing at the time the consequences. My daughter is now 17, and he is trying to convince her to move in with him so he won’t have to pay child support. My current salary will not suffice for me to survive. I am currently trying to finish my education and become self-sufficient. However, I owe money from not having sufficient income, even with child support. He is an airline pilot making at least $200,000. /yr. Is there anything I can do? Also, in my divorce decree, it states that the order is subject to change as deemed by the supreme court. Please notify me as to what I may be able to do.answer
 

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Question #28

Hi. My brother is in the process of a divorce. He has served his soon to be ex-wife with papers, and she has sent them back. Currently, the two lawyers are hashing it out. His wife has been a stay at home mom for the past three years, and he has been working in NYC, making a VERY decent income. My brother is filing for joint custody of the kids. The problem is – they are living in the same home since his lawyer told him that if he were to move out of the house, it would be considered abandonment – and this would affect his chances of custody. Although he sleeps in the basement, they share the kitchen, bathroom, and living space. The two are continually arguing – especially over petty things. All of this is causing problems with the children. They are upset, they don’t understand, and it is affecting them. My brother agrees that the best thing would be to move out of the house – this way, his visits with the children would be pleasant, and he and his soon-to-be-ex could start to work out a cordial and friendly relationship for the kids. He is afraid that he will be penalized. Is there any way he could establish a separate residence without being penalized? Thanks for your help. (By the way, he lives in Long Island, NY).

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Question #27

 What is the age of consent for a child in custody lawsuits in the state of New York?? At what age do they allow the child to speak what THEY want?? I have been divorced for about three years now – I have joint custody of my daughter, but the ex-wife has physical custody. However, I do have my daughter 3-4 days a week and have never been late on any payments – pay 100% of all medical, dental, prescriptions, whatever she needs PLUS 17%…. My daughter just informed me (she is 7yrs old) that her mother was planning on moving way out of state (other side of the country), and she told her not to tell me. She is planning on moving because her new boyfriend (who she is ‘engaged’ to, my daughter told me – and her mother told her not to tell me) has the ‘possibility’ of getting a job way out there. As of yet, the mother does not know that I know. My daughter is scared to death that I will tell the ex that she told me these things (she is scared of her mother). I need to find out what I can do. I can NOT lose my daughter – I don’t care if I have to sell everything I own to get the required funds for whatever is needed.

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Question #26

I live in New York State and am considering seeking physical and legal custody of my children. Is the term “unfit mother” defined anywhere by statute or case law? if not, can you explain what may persuade a court that a mother is unfit?

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Question #18

My husband and I are talking about a divorce. I live in the Metro NY area. This divorce is of his asking. What can I do before speaking with a lawyer to help me secure the house and custody of the children? 

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Question #20

Last week, I had my husband arrested for domestic violence, and since then, I moved back home with my mother. I have a 4 yr old who, at the time of the incident, was downstairs with my in-laws. I decided it was better to leave my daughter with the in-laws because there was always someone home to bring/pick her up from school. I told my in-laws that I would pick her up from school on Fridays and watch her for the whole weekend. Will this show as abandonment? What are my chances of having full custody? Do I have to find a lawyer in my jurisdiction? 

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