Individuals seek intervention in family court for a variety of reasons. The attorneys at O’Brien & Wood, PLLC regularly appear and advocate for their clients throughout upstate New York, including the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Ulster, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Warren.

We are experienced at prosecuting and defending enforcement/violation proceedings in family courts throughout New York State. If you have a family law case that you’re dealing with, the guidance of a legal assistant can provide you with the clarity and mediator that you need to come to the terms that are best for all parties. Check out some of the specialties that we have worked with.

Child Custody

Child custody concerns both the legal and physical custody of a child or children. Legal custody, which may be granted to one or both of the parents, deals with a parent’s right to make important decisions concerning their child’s life, religious upbringing, health care and education. Parents may be granted joint legal custody, even if one parent has primary physical custody of the child. In a joint custodial arrangement, the parents must agree together on all major non-emergency decisions concerning their child. If sole legal custody is awarded to one parent, then that parent has the right to make all decisions concerning the child without consideration of the other parent’s wishes.

Physical custody addresses the child’s residence. Parents may agree or a Judge may order joint physical custody. When parents share joint physical custody, the child resides with each parent an equal amount of time. There are a variety of parenting schedules that can be crafted to accomplish joint physical custody; joint physical custody does not require that the child stay with the mother the first week and the father the second week. If one parent is awarded more than fifty percent (50%) of the time with the child, then that parent is deemed to be the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent will have parenting time as the parties agree or as ordered by a Family Court Judge.

Please call our office if you need to establish legal and/or physical custody of your child or children or if you desire to modify an existing custody order.

Child Support

In New York, the custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. Where parents share joint physical custody of their child, the parent with the greater income is deemed to be the non-custodial parent and may be required to pay child support. New York courts apply the laws and methods set forth in the Child Support Standards Act, otherwise referred to as “CSSA,” to decide the amount of child support that will be paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. The determination of the proper child support amount is, however, more complicated than applying a percentage to your income (i.e. 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children and no less than 35% for five or more children).

The attorneys at O’Brien & Wood, PLLC are experienced in navigating the complicated laws and addressing the many issues involved in calculating child support in New York State. Please feel free to contact our office If you wish to discuss a child support issue that you are facing.

Spousal Support/Maintenance

A spouse may file for spousal support from their husband or wife while they are still married, even if neither party is seeking a divorce from the other. Proceedings for spousal support or a modification of spousal support or maintenance, when no divorce is pending, are generally heard in Family Court.

When a party files for divorce, they may be entitled to maintenance (formerly known as alimony) during the pendency of the divorce proceeding and after a Judgment of Divorce is entered. Maintenance that is awarded during the pendency of a divorce action is known as temporary maintenance. Maintenance that is awarded after the divorce is complete is known as post-divorce maintenance.

In New York, maintenance is calculated by guidelines that have been established by the New York State Legislature and are set forth in the Domestic Relations Law. There are many factors that go into calculating the amount and duration of maintenance, and you need an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected in this area.


If one parent has failed to abide by a custody order or if a parent has failed to pay child support pursuant to a child support order or Judgment of Divorce, then the other parent may file an enforcement/violation proceeding in family court. The attorneys at O’Brien & Wood, PLLC are experienced prosecuting and defending enforcement/violation proceedings in family courts throughout New York State.

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