Thank you for entrusting me with your questions. Please allow me to answer them in the order that they were presented.
1. Do I need a lawyer and one for the kids to tackle this?
A. Whether you can handle it yourself without the assistance of legal counsel depends on you. The family courts
have gone to great lengths to make themselves more accessible to the public. They have partially succeeded--things are nothing like they were 30 years ago, but the process is not at all intuitive. Handling your own case is like preparing your own income tax returns; some people will always need professional assistance, some people are sophisticated enough to handle their own matter, but the majority of people can stumble through their own issues successfully as long as there is nothing unusually complex about their case. If your funds are low, and if the child support unit cannot help, I would recommend that you nonetheless consult with an attorney for an hour or two to help you organize your initial filings so you can at least start off on the right foot.
2. Or do I just inform the Yates county child support unit and they can address the issue?
A. They are a great place to start--they are essentially free and they can handle all of the basic actions. The biggest problem is that they are slow and they are not especially aggressive, but they are a good start and you can decide for yourself whether additional action needs to be taken afterward.
3. After i file for guardianship of my son does she have any rights to the SS income he might potentially receive?
A. SS income for an adult with a guardian belongs to the ward; the guardian manages the income on behalf of the ward. A non-guardian parent has no control over the SS income.
4. Does her child support for him stop at anytime? (21? 18?)
A. In New York, child support terminates at age 21. In New York, there is no parental duty to continue supporting a disabled adult child, but child support may nonetheless continue until age 21.
I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.