5 Family Court Tips
Bringing a Support Person to Family Court
Irrespective of whether or not you have your own attorney, you can bring anyone to court that you would like for moral support. What is important for you to understand is whoever you bring with you to court, isn’t expected to be a participant in the court appearance. For example, if you do not have an attorney and you choose to bring a friend with you, that friend cannot sit with you at the desk before the judge, or speak for you or on your behalf; that would be the unauthorized practice of law. However, you can bring whoever you would like to sit behind you in the court appearance, to watch, to observe, to take notes, and to support you while you’re there.
One exception to this, however, is on trial dates. Generally, courts will bar perspective witnesses from sitting in the back of court proceedings and listening or observing to proceedings before they testify. After they testify, however, you can have your moral support back sitting with you in the court room.
Missing Family Court
I recently had a case in which the petitioner did not show up for a scheduled Family Court appearance. This was our second or third court appearance, and the judge dismissed the case. A question that I often receive in situations such as this is, “Do any temporary orders that were set remain in effect?” Unfortunately, any temporary orders that were rendered on the petition that is now dismissed die with the dismissal of the case. It is important to know that any final orders that were rendered from a prior petition do remain in effect, so make sure to abide by those terms.
Prenuptial Agreement Riders
A common question from clients who are planning on being wed regards whether child support and maintenance obligations can be included in a prenuptial agreement. These clients are hardly anticipating getting divorced; they are merely aware of the possibility that it could one day occur. Maintenance and child support are complicated solely because the court looks at the parties’ financial circumstances and their income at the time they get divorced.
While a prenuptial agreement may be able to include terms regarding child support and maintenance, and that will be evidence of the parties’ intentions in the event that they do get divorced, it is only at the time of divorce when the court will review the parties’ income and financial circumstances to determine the child support and the maintenance. As the court deliberates, it will review the agreement in that respect.
There are different types of agreements into which people enter either in anticipation of a divorce or during the divorce itself. Property settlement agreements and prenuptial agreements are arrangements wherein parties are able to reach their own resolutions as to their financial circumstances, assets, liabilities, child support maintenance, and even the payment of distributive awards. A postnuptial agreement is similar to these types of arrangements, except that the parties enter into it after they are married and in anticipation of the possibility of a future divorce.
Served A Summons Out of State
If you were served with a summons to appear in a New York state Family Court, but you live out of state or you cannot get to court on the appearance date on that summons, it is important that you contact the family court where the matter is scheduled to be held. You should, if you cannot attend, submit in writing to the court your explanation for why you cannot attend. In many cases, if you reside out of state or are a considerable distance away you can fill out a form, which is a request to appear telephonically in the appearance. However, you must provide written notice to the court.