Family law is an area of law that concerns family issues and domestic relationships, which include:
- civil unions,
- same-sex marriage;
- child custody;
- child abuse;
- child abduction
- divorce and annulment;
- property settlements;
- Green Card and deportation issues;
- alimony and palimony; visitation right for the non custodial parent;
- juvenile adjudication (criminal cases);
- international family law matters.
This list is not inclusive, and varies from State to State. In most family law courts of the United States, judges are overloaded with matters, and there are delays in case processing due to backlogs.
The state of New York, along with other States, contemplates fault divorces. In such cases, one party blames the other of being at fault and having caused a breakdown of the marriage. The other spouse can contest the allegations, but contested divorces require a litigant to be represented by a family law expert, such a litigation attorney.
Generally, the spouses use the fault grounds to get the outcome of the litigation that they wish. In most cases, a spouse insists to get a favorable judgment and to convince the judge that the other spouse did something wrong, in order to receive a temporary or permanent alimony award. A family law attorney can guide you through the divorce process and can reach a settlement with your former spouse on complicated matters, including settlement agreements, child custody and visitation rights.
In New York, divorce by fault may be granted for:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment (Domestic Relations Law §170.1)
- Abandonment for a continuous period of one year or more (DRL §170.2)
- Imprisonment for more than three years subsequent to the marriage (DRL §170.3)
- Adultery (DRL §170.4)
Cruel and inhuman treatment can only be found when a spouse’s behavior causes the other spouse to abandon the marital home. Accuses of cruel and inhumane treatment include domestic violence and extreme mental cruelty.
Non-citizen spouses and minor children that are victims of domestic abuse are afforded legal protection by State and Federal laws. An immigration lawyer can assist in the filing of an abused spouse self-sponsored Visa, and removal of conditionson permanent residency.