Family Law

THE JAMES FIRM, PLLC represents clients in Family Court with:

Child Custody

A Custody Order gives responsibility for the child’s care and how the child is brought up to one or both of the child’s parents or to someone else. There are two parts of custody: (1) legal custody and (2) physical custody.

A New York court can make orders about the child’s custody only until the child is 18 years old. The Court gives custody based on what is best for the child, this is called the “best interest of the child.”

If there is no court order, then both parents have equal rights to physical and legal custody of the child.


Visitation is also called “parenting time.” When one parent has sole custody of a child, the court will let the parent who doesn’t have custody visit with the child unless there is a reason not to allow visitation. Custody and visitation are two separate issues, but they are usually decided during the same hearing.

A parent has a right to visitation, unless the court decides there is a reason, they should not have visitation rights. A visitation petition can be filed as a separate case. The court will order visitation if it is in the best interest of the child.


Paternity means that a man is a child’s legal father.

When a man is a child’s legal father, he has legal rights and responsibilities to his child:

Child Support

Under New York State law, both parents must financially support their child until the child turns 21 years old.

Child support also includes providing health insurance coverage until the child turns 21 years old.

If the child is under 21 and married, self-supporting, or in the military then the child is emancipated and the parents don’t have to support the child.

Crimes Committed by Children Between 7-18

Starting at age seven, children can be brought to court if they are accused of committing a crime. Where the case is handled and how the child is treated depends on a number of factors including the child’s age, intent and past record. Youth who are accused of committing crimes fall into three categories:

  • Juvenile Delinquent
  • Juvenile Offender
  • Adolescent Offender

Neglect and Abuse

Child neglect petitions charge that the parent or guardian of a child has harmed the child, failed to properly care for the child by providing inadequate education or medical care, abandoned the child, or otherwise failed to exercise a minimum degree of care for the child.

Child abuse petitions charge that the parent or guardian of a child has physically, sexually, mentally or emotionally injured the child.

In New York State, every alleged case of child abuse or neglect is investigated by the county’s Department of Social Services or New York City’s Administration for Children Services. If evidence of child neglect or abuse is found, the child protective agency can petition the court for help with protecting the child.

Are you facing a legal challenge and seeking experienced guidance?

Our experienced attorneys are here to help.

At The James Firm, we offer personalized case evaluations to help our clients understand their options and make informed decisions. During your 30 minute initial consultation, potential clients have the opportunity to speak directly with Attorney LaToya James about their case and receive a preliminary evaluation.

During the initial consultation, our goal is to provide you with an introductory explanation of the law that applies to your facts, a clear understanding of your legal matter and potential outcomes. Whether you are grappling with a family law matter, a criminal charge or need assistance with estate planning, our attorney has the knowledge and  expertise to assist you in achieving your objectives.

Legal challenges can be overwhelming, but don’t allow them to consume you. Take the first step toward resolving your legal matter with confidence by hiring Attorney LaToya James.