Fathers’ Litigation Rights

You need a devoted attorney at your side that is dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in what is undoubtedly a stressful and emotional time.

It is always our goal to secure the outcome that will satisfy our client’s financial and emotional needs. We commit to working with our clients through every step of what can be a grueling and often confusing process.

Tina C. Bennet and Beth A. Lockhart represent Father’s Rights in the following areas:


Contested or Uncontested Divorce

Every divorce is unique. Whether or not your divorce will involve litigation, you will need excellent attorney to represent your interests.  A divorce attorney is knowledgeable in all facets including but not limited to real estate law, business law, contracts, complex financial situations involving the tracing of assets and inheritance whether it affects the economic outcome of spousal or child support.

We will seek to understand your particular divorce situation, help you understand the entire divorce process into which you’re entering, assist you with the difficult decisions that are part of this process, and aggressively fight for your interests.


Child Custody

When parents, whether unwed or divorcing, cannot reach a custody agreement the Family Court or Supreme Court must render a custody decision. The court will consider numerous factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children. These factors can include:

  • Age of the child
  • Health of the child
  • Child’s primary caregiver
  • Health and lifestyle of the parents
  • Child’s preference, depending on age
  • Emotional bonds between the parents and child
  • Financial status and ability of parent to provide for the needs of the child
  • Quality of each parent’s home environment
  • Ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual development
  • Whether parent will encourage or discourage the relationship with the other
  • The parents’ religion
  • The parents’ neglect or abuse of the child
  • History of domestic violence
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of Mental Illness

The issue of child custody is often the most emotionally charged aspect of a divorce or disagreement between unwed parents. Just considering the number of factors that come into play can be overwhelming and we will aggressively advocate for you.

Child Support

Child support issues often result in litigation. If child support amounts cannot be agreed upon by both parents, the amount will be ordered by the court. Child support in New York is calculated based on the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). The non-custodial parent is required to provide financial support to the custodial parent to pay for the child’s needs, such as food, shelter, medical and educational expenses. The court also had discretion to make adjustments to the support amount based on factors such as:

  • Substantial differences between the parents’ income
  • Financial resources available to each parent
  • Unusual expenses for the non-custodial parent to exercise visitation (such as residing a considerable distance from child)
  • History of previous child support, if applicable
  • History of spousal support payments, if applicable
  • And any other factor

The child support percentages, as determined by CSSA are:

  • 17% of combined income for one child
  • 25% of combined income for two children
  • 29% of combined income for three children
  • 31% of combined income for four children
  • At least 35% of combined income for 5 children

Whether negotiating a child support agreement with the other parent or litigating the case in court you will benefit from an experienced attorney at your side. We will ensure that your best interests, as well as those of your children, are protected.

Don’t just hire anyone.  Child support is a complex area of law that requires attorneys to be well versed in the various mathematical calculations and factors that can be used to determine what and how a child support obligation will be determined.  Do not be fooled into believing that child support is just a calculation of the CSSA percentage based upon the number of children.


Spousal Maintenance (a.k.a. Alimony)

Spousal maintenance is meant to provide financial assistance to the dependant spouse to enable that person to be self-supporting.  Men are often discriminated against when seeking spousal maintenance as Women do not believe, for the most part, that they as the higher wage earner during the course of a marriage, should be obligated to provide financial support to their husbands.

Spousal Maintenance is determined by factors that include but are not limited to:

  • Length of marriage
  • Health and education of the parties
  • Pre-separation standard of living
  • Age of the parties
  • Disparity in income between the parties
  • Lost earning capacity (i.e. when one of the parties sacrificed a career to be a homemaker/full-time parent)
  • Expenses necessary to educate a spouse to become self-supporting when the party has been out of work (i.e. as a homemaker/full-time parent)
  • Other factors

Spousal maintenance is a key part of any divorce. Whether you need to know how to protect your future earnings or need to know how to ensure your pre-separation standard of living, you will require an experienced divorce attorneys. Together, we can work through the alimony process to ensure your future financial stability.

Criminal Law

If you have been arrested, accused of a crime or if you have reason to believe you’re being investigated for a crime you should immediately hire an experienced criminal law attorney – this is your best chance for freedom. Being charged with a crime is a most serious matter and consequences can include some or all of the following:

  • imprisonment
  • mandatory relevant treatment
  • fines
  • probation
  • loss of important rights and privileges

One of the major difficulties in understanding the criminal judicial process is being knowledgeable about all of the legal jargon associated with criminal court appearances. Not only can I put this jargon into understandable language for you, but I will aggressively represent you throughout the entire criminal judicial process. The possibility of imprisonment is a scary and nerve wracking situation.We have the compassion to work with you through what will be a challenging and difficult time and the dogged determination to fight aggressively and thoroughly on your behalf. We will be on the offensive in handling your case.

Following here is a guide to New York State sentencing in criminal cases. Although this is not a substitute for the knowledge and opinion of a qualified New York criminal defense attorney such as me, it’s a start to understanding the maximum and minimum amounts of jail time faced by an accused. This is often the item of highest interest to the accused as well as the family and friends of the accused. Please keep in mind that sentencing laws are subject to change and thus the information here is meant as a guide and not as a definitive calculation of potential jail time. It is not a complete sentencing chart, does not cover every possible situation and does not apply to felony drug cases.

The Offense Level

  • New York State grades felonies from A to E. A is the most serious and E is the least serious.
  • Each felony is also labeled violent or nonviolent. The rating of violence is often related to actual violence involved in the crime but this is not always the case. If you know the offense level of the crime you are researching, go to Criminal History Level below. You must know both the “grade” and whether or not it is considered violent.

Criminal History Category

The criminal history category of the accused is also necessary to know, but it’s not always obvious how to classify it. Here are some guidelines.

  • No Priors – If the accused has no felony convictions ever, he/she qualifies for the “no priors” category. An accused can also qualify for the “no priors” category if he/she has no felony convictions in the last ten years. The ten years does not begin until the individual in question is released from jail on a previous case. This may require a careful analysis of dates. Youthful Offender findings do not count as prior convictions. Felony convictions in other states, the federal system, or even other countries can be considered conviction in New York State. A determination with respect to non-New York convictions can be extremely complex.
  • Non-Violent Predicate – A non-violent predicate is an individual who has been convicted of a non violent felony within the last ten years.
  • Violent Predicate – A violent predicate is an individual who has been convicted of a violent felony within the last ten years.
  • Persistent Felony Offenders – If an individual has two or more felony convictions in the past he/she may be a persistent felony offender and face LIFE in prison.
  • Juvenile Offender – Children 16 and younger can be prosecuted in adult criminal court for certain serious crimes. Such children do not face the same jail sentences that adults face and are thus not addressed in the chart that follows.
  • Youthful Offender – Individuals under 19 years old at the time of the alleged offense are usually eligible for Youthful Offender Treatment. If the accused is found to be a “Youthful Offender” the individual is not considered to be convicted of a crime by New York State and is sentenced according to different rules from adults.

Chart of Jail Time Faced in New York State

Directions: Find the Offense Level on the left hand column. Then find the criminal history category of the individual who is charged with the crime. The box at the intersection of the row and column provides the jail time range required by New York State law. Please note that Level A felonies are not listed here. Those are the most serious crimes in New York and all carry potential LIFE sentences.

Jail Time Chart


Rights for Members of the Military

Active members and veterans of our nation’s armed forces require and deserve expert legal assistance to handle divorce, custody and support situations. If you are an active service member considering marriage or already married and about to deploy, you should consider protecting yourself before leaving your home life in the hands of your spouse or significant other – contact us for a consultation.  Our armed forces members face many issues on the home front whether here on leave or during deployment. Such issues may include:

  • Contested or uncontested divorce
    • Understand the ways in which past or present military service can affect the rights of divorcing spouses
  • Child custody and visitation
    • Parenting plans must be carefully written to address deployment situations
  • Child support
    • How active duty affects child support obligations
  • Spousal support and division of assets and property
    • Know how this may affect your military pension
  • Father’s Rights
    • As a father, you can do everything a mom can do except breast feed. Protect your rights to be the father your child needs
  • Parent Alienation
    • Ensure you and your child are treated with respect while you sacrifice your family life for your country

Every situation is unique and as an active service member or veteran there are a variety of ways in which this may affect you and/or your child. We respect what you sacrifice as a member of our military and will work diligently and tirelessly on your behalf to protect you while you protect all of us.