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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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Im the father and custodial parent of 3 children (17B, 14G,

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I'm the father and custodial parent of 3 children (17B, 14G, 11G). The ex-wife was ordered 2 years ago to make up the 6 weeks she's behind and has made no attempt to pay. She pays $50/week. She has been told by her boyfriend to stop paying and is now 8 weeks behind. My son has special needs and requires constant assistance. I missed almost 6 months of work due to an illness and I have money constraints. Do I need a lawyer and one for the kids to tackle this? Or do I just inform the Yates county child support unit and they can address the issue? After i file for guardianship of my son does she have any rights to the SS income he might potentially receive? Does her child support for him stop at anytime? (21? 18?)
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

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.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear sir, I thank you for your information. I will accept and give positive feedback shortly. I understand the care of funds for my son after he's of age to receive some. I can't set up a bank account for him under his name, although the ex has one that I can't get her to close. I have to report his holdings to the DSS for recertification and any funds he has available are "counted against" what he can receive in services.


The next question is one that I have to address but will greatly complicate relationships with everyone involved.


The following is informational only, not my silly griping. The x lives with a man who had cheated on his wife for 20+ years with hookers, He watched his own daughter and her friends skinny dipping while he sat in shadows. I have concerns but he has not touched my children. He is manipulative and likes to posture above other people. He is the one who talked the ex into stopping paying support. During my time of financial difficulties, a creditor called his home ( the phone number is XXXXX that the ex took with her from a home business she had). He answered and pretended to be me. Are there any legal ramifications from that?


The more serious inquiry is about child abuse. My son frequently has blisters on his butt when he returns from her home (probably from lack of changing his brief through the night). My son has pausiarticular juvenile arthritis and is not allowed to wear pants or sit on furniture. I can only imagine that his knees and hips can get sore and his colds come from sitting on a pergo floor all the time. He has a wheelchair that is stored on a screened in porch or left in the back of their suv. It has gel packs to sit on to help prevent 'bed sores'. These are the same kind of gel that therapists use to heat and cool for joints. His chair is brought in and he's put in it for going on the school bus. I have to guess that the temp doesn't meet the temp around it for a couple hours. The metal of the chair must radiate some cold also. Minor issue; the x's boyfriend thinks my son smells and coats him liberally with a cologne. he gets some minor rashes from this.

I get this information from a sitter who used to work at there house, but that was awhile ago. I get my current information from my daughter's. Therein lies my dilemma. I have to protect my son, but I'll need to put my daughter's in a position of getting their mother and boyfriend (who instituted most of these rules) in trouble. I have requested that they make changes. They loudly informed me that I have no rights at their house.

The house is located on a corner on a cliff. Impossible for a PI to use surveillance. I know that the x knows she does wrong. If there is an official person coming to see them she dresses my son just for the occasion. I'm perplexed at how to proceed but determined that I have to......


I thank you for your assistance. Dan

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Your first question was whether there are legal ramifications for someone else having answered a phone call from a creditor and pretended to be you. The answer is that it would depend on what was said, but no criminal action could be pursued under any circumstance unless you had proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your second query was a statement "I'm perplexed at ho to proceed but determined that I have to..." There are plenty of ways to prove things in these situations, just like there are lots of ways to prove things in life. How would you prove that you went to the grocery store today? You might show a receipt of purchase. You may have a credit card record. Perhaps you ran into someone at the store that recognized you and would remember your being there. Maybe you were issued a traffic citation outside the store's parking lot. You would also have groceries from the store in your home. You know what the truth is, you would just need to show someone else how they can know it too. I don't have any specific recommendations--get creative. You have assumed that a private investigator cannot help, but consult with one anyway.
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