My name is Paul Matthews. Welcome to my website. I am a top rated (according to the BBB and AVVO) and affordable NY divorce and family law attorney, conveniently located here in New York City.
I opened my family law practice in downtown Manhattan in 1996, specializing in family law trials and appeals. To date, I have tried over 500 cases. I have also prosecuted or defended over 15 appeals, and have successfully filed over a hundred uncontested divorce cases.
I believe that attorney fees in New York State, and particularly in New York City, have become way too high.
I charge only $200 an hour for all Family Court cases, including child support, child custody cases, and all Family Court appeals.
Like all reputable attorneys, I do require an up front retainer fee for all contested cases.
The amount of this retainer depends on a number of things, including the type of case, the complexity and difficulty of the case, whether the issues of law are simple or complex, and who the adversaries are.
I consider my word, my integrity, and my reputation as my most important assets.
My New York law practice enjoys a rating of A+ with the Better Business Bureau, and I myself enjoy the highest rating of “10-Superb” with AVVO, the most well known attorney rating service.
I offer an initial phone or video consultation of up to one hour on all New York City Family Law cases for only $100.00. Call me today at (347) 461-0760. I offer a totally free consultation on uncontested divorce cases. I may have solutions to your problems.
NYC Family court lawyer – Over 500 trials in the NY Family Court
At the present time, my practice focuses on Family Law Matters. Family Law is a specialty practice which includes:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Orders of protection (domestic violence cases)
(if a child is involved the case usually is considered to be a family law case). In New York State, except for Divorce cases, which are only heard in the Supreme Court, the majority of these cases are heard in the Family Court.
I have done cases in every county in the City of New York, and although at this time I do not take cases in Long Island or Westchester county, I have appeared in those counties as well in the past.
Child support in NY
Child Support cases in New York can be very tricky and complicated.
Unless you are a w-2 wage earner with a full time job and no overtime, you likely need legal advice and legal assistance from an experienced family law attorney for your child support case.
Even then, if your income is either high or very low, you may still need legal help.
While it is true that New York Courts often apply a formula to calculate the amount of child support, in high income cases they have a lot of flexibility based upon a number of factors, including the needs of the child. There are also special rules about paying for private schools and college expenses.
I have found that when the custodial parent (usually the mother) does not have an attorney the support magistrate may sometimes, but not always, help her with her case, but support magistrates rarely help a respondent (usually the father) without a lawyer, especially when the respondent is trying to suspend or reduce a prior child support order.
After having years of family law and litigation experience, I have come to be known as an expert in all types of New York child support cases and disputes, including upward and downward modification cases, enforcement and contempt cases, interstate cases and high net worth cases. If you are looking for representation call me today at (347) 461-0760
Child custody cases in New York
If you are one of the many parents who faces a contested child custody case, you are probably in for the most important case and maybe the nastiest and most stressful case of your life. You should therefore hire a family law attorney who has done a large number of New York child custody trials.
It is usually better to come to an agreement with the other parent, although sometimes this is not possible. There are lawyers and social workers who have divorce and custody mediation practices, who can resolve issues of child custody and visitation for much less than the cost of a contested divorce or a contested child custody trial.
If a child custody case has to be tried, the court may appoint a neutral child psychologist to do an evaluation and report with recommendations about who should have custody, as well as what should be the access schedule for the non custodial parent. Dealing with direct and cross examination of this kind of witness requires a high level of advocacy by experienced attorneys.
If mediation does result in a proposed agreement, you will still need your own attorney to look over proposed parenting agreements and advise you as to you rights under New York state law, and whether or not the agreement is fair. He or she should be able to answer any questions you may still have.
If you are the victim of domestic violence or other abuse by your spouse or former partner, you should think long and hard about agreeing to joint legal custody. An order of “joint legal custody” where you only have to consul with the other parent via text or email, but where you have the final decision making power can work, and is a common resolution to the problem of resolving custody with an abusive spouse or ex partner.
While in most states there is a presumption in the law in favor of joint custody, in New York state there is almost a presumption against it. It is extremely rare for a judge to order joint custody over the objection of either party, although agreements for joint custody are common where the mother and father do get along well.
While New York state has been criticized as being backwards about family law matters (It was the last state to allow no fault divorces), New York is a leader in protecting victims of domestic violence, and while divorce courts and family courts are allowed to take any factor in consideration in deciding custody and visitation cases, by statute they are required to consider proven instances (and possibly even serious allegations) of domestic violence.
The New York State family court
The New York Family Court is unique in that it has its own customs, practices, and procedures.
While the Family Court cannot do divorces or resolve issues of dividing property and other assets between couples in a marriage or unmarried parents of a child or children, they can and do order paternity tests, grant paternity orders, make orders for child support, grant orders of protection, decide issues of custody, guardianship and visitation, and also can do adoptions, including step parent adoptions.
The Family court can also enforce orders of maintenance (often called alimony) and parenting agreements which have already been granted pursuant to a divorce.
While most people believe that the law is the law no matter what type of case, there are special statutes that govern Family Law cases, and over the years a whole body of case law has evolved in New York which apply the law differently to Family Court cases, especially when a child is involved. The proceedings in Family Court may also look quite different than those in most other courts.
When the welfare and/or custody of a child is at stake, the court usually take a much more active role than it does in other types of cases not involving a child or children.
The court may order investigations by the City Child Welfare Agency, may interview the child or children in chambers, and may refuse to sign off on settlements that it believes is not in the best interests of the child or children involved. Family court cases are also different in that the court will often assign family law attorneys to a child or children.
Attorneys who believe that just because they are experienced handling other types of cases in other courts that they can serve clients well in the Family Court on a custody or child support case are usually mistaken. In my opinion a divorce attorney who seldom appears in Family Court and is not known to the judges is probably not the best choice and you would probably be better served by finding a family law attorney or family law firm with special expertise in the Family Court.
Because all families are different, a seasoned family law lawyer will take the time to sit down with you and try to get a clear understanding of your particular situation and will explain the process to you.
New York uncontested divorce lawyer contact me today at (347) 461-0760
Because the only divorces that I presently handle are uncontested cases, the majority of my divorce clients are on the young side.
Most have only been married for a relatively short time, and usually have no significant issues regarding division of property, such as homes, pensions, automobiles, substantial bank accounts, etc. These clients are primarily focused on getting divorced as quickly as possible with a minimum of expense, stress, and aggravation.
However there may be some issues, such as pensions or retirement funds, that require an experienced lawyer in order to protect the client’s rights and interests, even in uncontested divorce cases. I have been licensed to practice law in New York State since 1993.
No fault grounds for divorce
New York state was the last state in the country to allow no fault divorce. In NYS parties only have to claim that there has been an irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage that has lasted six months in order to have grounds for the divorce.
There are almost never any requirement that the parties appear in court for any proceedings in an uncontested divorce.