Family Law – Various Issues With Which it Deals | Laws and Issues

Family law encompasses a wide range of family related issues including prenuptial agreements, adoption, child custody and visitation and divorce to just name a few. In our modern society one doesn’t have to look further than the media to see the complications of modern life are not necessarily keeping up with the abilities of the court to regulate and offer relief. Issues such as property division when a couple has lived as man and wife without the legal recognition marriage can offer an eye opening experience as judges can not treat the property obtained during the relationship as marital assets and a whole new set of rules, which may seem less accurate and less fair, but none the less apply. When children are involved it can become more complex as the need to establish paternity can slow down the process to arrange child visitation, custody and support. Taking all of the deviations of life into consideration it is easy to understand why this law becomes important in protecting the rights of families.


Although technically divorces are handled by the Supreme Court, most other similarly related matters are handled by family court. This court can ultimately end up micro managing the lives of families with concerns such as paternity, child support, and spousal support. Paternity is usually not a problem with children born in wedlock but it may have to be established for children born out of wedlock. If paternity has already been proven the court can move forward towards setting kid’s support. This law can also work with custodial guardians to enforce child support orders and garnish the wages of parents who refuse to pay support. Other issues that family court deals with include spousal support. A non working spouse in the process of being divorced can be entitled to spousal support in order to avoid going on welfare. In addition to the types of law already discussed, this can extend to criminal matters such as restraining orders related to domestic violence. The same will also address the issue of youth who are beyond parental control and juveniles who have been charged with criminal offenses.


Clearly this law is capable of providing a wide range of services not only for families who need court intervention to move forward with their lives but also for families who occasionally find a need for family court to enforce established orders such as child or spousal support.

Break the Law and Lose Your Car? | Laws and Issues

New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County have vehicle forfeiture laws. These laws allow the municipality to seize a motorist’s car if it is used as part of a criminal offense. Typically, this law is used for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. However, it can also be invoked for such offenses as reckless driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and driving with a suspended license. The standard is generally whether the vehicle was used as a means of committing a crime or employed to aid in a crime.In New York City and Nassau County, the law is routinely used even for a first offense. The Suffolk law is discretionary on the first offense but requires the police to impound the vehicle for second offenses.If you are not convicted of the charge, then you have grounds for getting your car back. If you enter into a plea bargain, then you will generally have to make a deal with the municipality. Of course, if you are not the owner of the vehicle, then often the municipality will release the vehicle to the owner with upon submitting proof of ownership. However, if the owner knew or should have known that it was reasonably likely that the vehicle was going to be used to commit a crime, the municipality may be able to obtain forfeiture of the vehicle any way.


So what do you do if you car is seized? The first thing you must do file a demand for it. This puts the municipality on notice that you will be seeking its return. Then, a case number is assigned. You can then negotiate with the assigned representative in an attempt to get it back. If the negotiations do not lead to a resolution, then the municipality has to sue and prove its case (a relatively easy proposition). Of course, you probably will want to retain an attorney to assist with this matter if your negotiations are not fruitful (if not sooner).Even if the vehicle is not seized, the municipality may go to court to seek the return of the vehicle. We had one client whose criminal case was resolved favorable and then months later received court papers seeking the vehicle. There is time limit, however, within which the municipality must act to obtain forfeiture. For instance, in Nassau County, the forfeiture action must be commenced within 120 days of the arrest date.


As an aside, no car will be returned unless and until the District Attorney has issued a release. Generally, the District Attorney will issue this document after the criminal case is resolved. Similarly, if you receive a notice that your car is subject to possible forfeiture, it is a violation of some forfeiture laws to sell or transfer ownership. A violation of such a provision carries substantial monetary penalties.Finally, the New York City law has been upheld as constitutional. However, the former forfeiture law in Nassau County was declared unconstitutional and has since been replaced with a new law. Therefore, keep in mind, that there may be valid constitutional grounds upon which to attack the forfeiture.