Manhattan Father’s Rights Attorney
Father’s Rights Lawyer Serving Manhattan and all of NYC
Fathers have and deserve the same rights as mothers do when it comes to caring for a child. It seems, at times, that the odds are not in favor of the father in the family scenario. If you have questions about, or want to establish, your rights as a father, don’t hesitate to reach out for skilled legal guidance. Call a Manhattan Father’s Rights Attorney at Chaim Steinberger, P.C. today. Our team is here to help. It is our goal to educate and assist you in fighting in an intelligent and meaningful way, for your rights as a father. It is important to understand the difficulties you may face in order to obtain a successful outcome in your case. Chaim’s reputation for the highest quality of advocacy and representation makes him the clear choice for fathers in Manhattan and NYC to overcome the very real challenges they face in court in custody-related matters.
Issues Fathers Face in Family Law Matters
In Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268 (1979), the United States Supreme Court held that any gender-based presumption violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. Nevertheless, it sometimes feels like there are still some pervasive presumptions lingering in our legal system, and the deck can feel stacked against men. That’s why it’s even more important for men to have superior lawyers protecting their rights and ensuring that justice is done. (For a discussion of the attributes of a superior lawyer, click here.) These lingering biases implicate many family-law issues:
The law recognizes that children require the love, guidance, and affection of both parents. Nevertheless, too often fathers’ roles are diminished in their children’s lives.
Society’s mores, like a pendulum, often swings back and forth. As a response to the common-law sensibility that children were the property of their fathers, American law adopted in large measure the “tender years” doctrine, that young children needed their mothers. Under the tender years doctrine, custody and care of young children were typically warded to their mothers.
Today, the standard for awarding custody is the “best interests of the child.” That requires an individual determination of each particular child and its physical, emotional, psychological, and developmental needs, and how they all correlate to the strengths and weaknesses of each parent. This standard has no bias for or against either parent, though the historical caretaker starts with the advantage of stability for the child, often the mother. Too frequently, however, a father’s historical role as the primary caretaker of the child is subconsciously minimized by the court, the child’s attorney, and/or the forensic evaluator. Obviously, these issues, involving as they do technical assessments, require specialized knowledge and skill by the attorney, as well as the ability to convey these complicated concepts to, and challenge sub rosa biases of, the presiding judicial officer without alienating him or her. (For more information, see our Child Custody page and our informative child custody guide PDF found here.) Too many judges often start with the [implicit] presumption that mothers should be awarded custody of their children and superior skills are required to overcome such an implicit bias. (In one case we litigated, although we demonstrated that the father was the de facto custodial parent, the judge kept assuming that the mother was the primary custodial parent and that the mother would remain in the home after the divorce was finalized.)
The Need for Superior Negotiating Skills: Even better than litigating this issue–which is inherently destructive to the ability to work together for the child’s future well-being and is expensive–is the ability to use superior negotiating skills and techniques to work out a solution that is advantageous to each parent as well as to the child. (For more information on how to apply game theory strategy to achieve a win-win resolution, check out Divorce Without Destruction.)
Visitation / Parental Access / Parental Alienation
A corollary to the custody issue is the time that the child will spend with the other parent. As stated above, it’s important for every child to have the love, affection, and guidance of both parents. That means that children do better when each of its parents has a strong, regular, reliable presence in its life and the bonds between parent and child continue to grow and strengthen. Obviously, if a parent spends time with a child only infrequently, the bonds will deteriorate and even the time they do spend together, will not have the same quality as a parent who is continuously in the child’s life.
A parenting plan is, therefore, an important part of every divorce action, particularly when a lawyer is representing the non-custodial parent. The parenting plan has to be appropriate for the child’s current physical, psychological, emotional, and developmental needs, and make appropriate provisions for those same needs well into the future. On the other hand, not every eventuality can be foreseen and accounted for without overwhelming the parties now. Thus, a lawyer must have the skill, foresight, and experience to understand what needs to be planned for and what can be left for the parties to resolve at a later date.
Unfortunately, some parents, whether due to vengeance, hurt, anger, or manipulation, seek to exclude the other parent from the child’s life. This is a form of child abuse and hurts not only the other parent, but the child as well. (For more information about parental alienation, see our page on Parental Alienation and view, print, or download our convenient PDF guide on Parental Alienation .) These are difficult issues to litigate in part because there are no easy or quick solutions to them. As a result, they often take time (and in these cases, time is of the essence for the alienated parent), and are too often costly. However, a parent’s alienation of the child justifies the reversal of custody, with custody awarded to the alienated parent.
Chaim, as author of the acclaimed article, ‘Father? What Father? Parental Alienation and its Effects on Children,’ is particularly suited to ensure that your rights will be protected.
Here too, too often judges believe that women should just receive child support and should not have to contribute anything to the child’s expenses. As a result, judges too often just multiply the father’s income by the child support percentage, without considering that that means that the mother is effectively relieved of contributing to her child’s support, and is free to spend what would otherwise be her “child support obligation amount” on shoes and other accessories. (For a more detailed description of how child support is calculated, visit our Child Support page.) Here too, superior skills are required for the court to consider the methodology of the CSSA so that both parents contribute their fair and reasonable share of the proper child support amount.
Modification of Support
Child support orders can be changed whenever circumstances change. Moreover, the law now allows the courts to entertain a modification petition every three years or whenever a party’s income has changed by 15% or more, unless the parties specifically opted out of this regime. DRL § 236[B][d]. In addition, a party whose child support is being collected by the Support Collection Unit (“SCU”), may request a “cost of living adjustment” (“COLA”) every two years. FCA § 413-a.
The effective date of any modified order relates back to the date the petition for the modification was made. So like the old-time taxi-meter-flags that were “dropped” when you entered the cab though you didn’t have to pay the metered-fare until you arrived at your destination, when a petition for support is filed the flag drops, though the amount is not set until the Court reaches a final determination, at which time it relates all the way back to the date the petition was made. While it may take months and sometimes even years for a case to be adjudicated or resolved, when it finally is, the obligation is retroactive to the date the petition was made.
Men, from time immemorial, continued to support their wives, post-marriage, until their ex-wives remarried. (For more information about spousal support, see our Spousal Support/Maintenance page and view, print, or download our illuminating Spousal Maintenance guide by clicking here.) That remains true today though, with the equitable distribution law, the amounts and terms of the award have been limited.
Nevertheless, many lawyers still have trouble asking for and obtaining support for men from women, after the termination of their marriage. Many in society feel a natural graciousness and generosity to the female of our species. Many also tend to feel that able-bodied men should be out working, being “productive,” earning a living, supporting themselves and their families. In that view, a man who is not earning his keep is mooching; though society traditionally–and this may be changing–felt no such animus to stay-at-home women.
Thus, here too, the skills of a superior lawyer are required to make a compelling case that women should be required to earn their keep as much as men; that men are entitled to the same maintenance as any woman in that same situation would be; and that a litigant’s gender should play no role in the determination of this issue.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
There are so very, many issues in the equitable distribution of marital property–from the valuation of property, pre-marital origination credits, active or passive appreciation distinctions–that a less-than superior lawyer might easily miss. (For a more fulsome discussion of equitable distribution see our Division of Property page and check out our comprehensive Substantive Issues in Divorce PDF; for information unique to high-asset property distributions see the High Net Worth Divorce webpage on and view, print, or download High Net Worth Divorce, our informative PDF.)
Moreover, because these issues implicate child support and spousal maintenance, a superior lawyer is necessary to properly develop and present these issues to the Court in a compellingly-advantageous manner.
As stated above and elsewhere on our website (see Child Custody and Custody PDF), the specific factors for an award of custody was left to the caselaw. The statutes in New York do not specify the many and varied factors a court must consider when determining custody.
The Domestic Relations Law does, however, specify one factor that Courts must always consider before making any custody or visitation award. And that factor is “domestic violence.”
Domestic Relations Law § 240(1) requires each Court to consider the effects of any proven “domestic violence upon the best interests of the child” before making a custody or visitation award.
Unfortunately, too many people implicitly believe that men can only be the perpetrators, and not the victims, of domestic violence. Thus, the skills of a superior lawyer are required to effectively present these situations to the Court. Moreover, because domestic or intimate partner violence can have affected a party’s income, career, and earning potential, this factor may affect many areas of the parties’ dispute.
A person who knows that he is the father of a child may need to bring a paternity action to formalize his relationship and secure his position as parent. The failure to assert that right for a period of time may result in the forfeiture of the person’s parental status, as the Court might invoke the doctrine of “equitable estoppel” to deprive the child of its relationship to someone else who had, in the interim, assumed the role of parent to the child.
With the declaration of paternity comes the obligation to support that child. Many parents, however, feel that the joy of parenthood is worth the obligation of providing for and supporting one’s offspring.
Whether the child is born to parents who are married or is born out of wedlock, the child’s natural parents are entitled to the love, affection, and companionship of the child, and to provide care, guidance, and nurturance to it.
Get Experienced Legal Guidance – Call Manhattan Father’s Rights Attorney Chaim Steinberger Today
To help with all these issues, and to ensure that you have someone on your team who will represent your zealously to obtain the justice you deserve, call CHAIM STEINBERGER, P.C. We are here to assist fathers to establish their rights. It is critical to have an experienced father’s rights advocate in your corner to protect the special bond that exists between a father and his children. Don’t delay, reach out to our compassionate team at (212) 964-6100 today, or fill out our convenient online form.