Family Law

Family Law deals with especially sensitive issues that can have life-long emotional and financial effects. Whether going through a contested or uncontested divorce, instituting child custody or support, establishing paternity, or drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, The Law Office of Samuel S. Coe can guide you through this stressful world with a calm and steady hand while protecting your rights and ensuring your family’s happiness and well-being.

The firm represents clients in all areas of family law including:

  • Custody and Visitation
  • Guardianship
  • Spousal support and Maintenance
  • Paternity
  • Family Offense
  • Child Support
  • Neglect
  • Grandparents Rights
  • Orders or Protection

Whether contested or uncontested, a divorce in New York must be based on grounds of either abandonment, adultery, cruel and inhumane treatment, imprisonment, or irreconcilable differences (i.e. no-fault divorce). During the divorce process, may issues will need to be negotiated and, if no agreement can be reached, litigated before a judge. If you have children, child custody and support are two of the most important components of this process. Custody can have an enormous impact on the welfare and happiness of both parents and children. The facts that impact child custody and support are: the best interests of the child; income and living expenses of each parent; the child’s financial needs; the child’s relationship with each parent; the stability of each home environment; and each parent’s availability. Establishing paternity can be a critical step in this process. Without establishing paternity, fathers cannot assert their rights as a parent, and mothers cannot seek child support.

Spousal support and maintenance, commonly referred to as “alimony,” is another key component of the divorce process. Spousal maintenance is intended to maintain the standard of living that the dependent spouse experienced during the marriage. There are many factors that go into the determination of the amount of maintenance, including the total and relative income of the spouses, property the spouses each receive through the equitable distribution process, the length of the marriage, the age and medical condition of the spouse, and each spouse’s future earning capacity.

Many of these issues can be made much simpler if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement has been executed. Entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can strengthen your relationship, protect the finances of both spouses, curtail the costs and duration of a divorce or custody dispute, minimize the impact of a divorce on spouses and children, and be an invaluable component of your marriage.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, going to the police is not your only option. In New York, you can bring a family offense petition against your abusive spouse, intimate partner or other family member. The Family Court judge presiding over the case may issue a temporary order of protection, and a temporary order of child support if necessary. If the abuser subsequently appears in court as required and denies the allegations, then a hearing will be held. If, after a hearing, the judge determines that the allegations have been proven, the abuser can be placed on probation for up to 1 year, ordered to participate in a batterer’s education program which may include alcohol and drug treatment, ordered to pay restitution of up to $10,000, and the judge may also issue a final order of protection that can be effective for up to 5 years.

In this area of law, which is so fraught with tension and hostility, it is imperative to have legal counsel that can not only ensure that your rights are protected, but that can also keep this emotional and often contentious process as controlled and professional as possible.