AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON FINANCIAL ABILITY TO PAY CAN BE REQUESTED TO RE-APPORTION THE FEES OF THE ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD IN NEW YORK CHILD CUSTODY CASES
DIVORCE & CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, NASSAU COUNTY NY
H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York divorce and family law attorney with over 34 years of experience suggests that a hearing on the ability to pay should be requested if circumstances warrant and a party disagrees with the apportionment of fees directed by the Court to pay the Attorney for the Child (referred to as the “AFC”). Attorneys for the Child are routinely appointed by the Courts in New York to represent the child’s interests and to espouse the child’s position (if known) in child custody and child visitation proceedings. In Family Court cases, there are no fees for the Attorneys for the Child. Fees are directed and typically apportioned in Supreme Court divorce cases (and Writs of Habeas Corpus).
In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court was presented with a situation where an Attorney for the Child was appointed to represent the children’s interests in the child custody proceedings before the Court. The Supreme Court directed that the fees of the Attorney for the Child be equally divided by the parties without considering the parties finances and presumably determining each party’s ability to pay the Attorney for the Child’s fees. As a party in the case had made a motion to the trial Court to re-apportion the Attorney for the Child’s fees, the Appellate Division determined that it was appropriate to direct a hearing to examine each party’s finances (and implicitly their respective ability to pay). The trial Court was directed to make a new determination concerning responsibility for the Attorney for the Child’s fees following the hearing.
From a practical perspective, it makes sense to examine whether circumstances warrant a re-apportionment motion. An examination of the facts should be undertaken to determine if there is a meaningful disparity of income or resources between the respective parties to the child custody dispute.
I have been litigating divorce cases throughout my career. Recent results can be found within the TESTIMONIALS page on this website. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 34 years.
Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce, child custody, child visitation or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.
My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall Ring Road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.
Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Child Custody Lawyer