Yonkers, New Rochelle and White Plains Family Court Lawyer

Our highly-skilled Westchester County Family Attorney provides effective representation in Family Court.

Attorney Karen M. Jansen has practiced extensively in the Family Courts in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Bronx Counties for 24 years.  She is thoroughly familiar with court practice and procedure and has cultivated countless relationships with other practicing attorneys, all of which allows her to effectively resolve conflicts or litigate them when resolution is not possible.

Family Court Practice includes matters relating to custody, visitation, relocation, paternity, child support, family offenses, abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, and Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS).  Each of these areas has its own special rules, and Attorney Jansen is knowledgeable in all aspects of the law and how they apply in your particular circumstances.

Child Custody:  New York utilizes a “best interests of the child” principle in determining custody disputes in both Family Court and Supreme Court matters.  Many different factors are considered in making such a “best interests” determination.  Attorney Jansen understands that preservation of your parenting time and continued input into the important major decisions in your child’s life are always of paramount concern to you.   This always-changing area of the law requires not only an attorney who is familiar with the law but one who can be sensitive to a client’s feelings and emotions, as well as those stemming from the effects of the divorce process on their children.

Child Support:  Child support determinations are based on statutory law known as the Child Support Standards Act.  The Child Support Standards Act provides a set formula for determining basic child support payments and mandatory add-on costs for expenses such as health insurance premiums, unreimbursed costs such as co-payments and pharmaceutical expenses, as well as child care costs while the custodial parent is working or seeking employment.  A copy of the 2022 Child Support Standards Act Guidelines Chart can be found at:  https://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/pdfs/CSSA.pdf

In New York both parents are responsible for their children’s support according to their pro rata share of combined parental income. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to arrive at a fair determination of true combined parental income.  Courts are empowered to impute income to non-working or “underemployed” parents in setting child support.  However, the evidence which must be presented to a Court in order to allow them to impute income must be competently presented.

As part of its extensive overhaul of New York’s Domestic Relations Law in 2010, the Legislature laid out specific new rules relating to how and when an order of child support can be modified.  A thorough understanding of this new legislation and court practices relating to same can make all the difference in negotiating a fair settlement of child support, as well as litigating same where no resolution is possible.

Finally, even after there is agreement on matters relating to child support, or a court has made a determination regarding same after a hearing, enforcement of the resulting agreement or order is essential. The need for a modification to a child support agreement or order or to a maintenance award may occur, for example, where an individual has lost a job or there has been a change in income that affects their ability to pay. Alternatively, an increase in payment obligations can be obtained if the payor has had, for example, an increase in wages or a change in financial circumstances that make additional funds available.

Paternity: Decisions surrounding the establishment or disestablishment of paternity can have serious legal consequences on other areas of Family Law, such as child custody and visitation, and child support issues. Paternity issues can be very sensitive and emotionally charged, often leading to high-conflict, high-stakes legal disputes. If you find yourself confronted with a paternity legal issue, you want to work with a seasoned attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to lead you through this challenging legal matter.

Adoption: Many people seek to expand their families through the adoption of a child or children. The adoption laws and processes in New York are deliberately careful and complex, given that the long-term well-being and safety of minors are at stake. There are a number of adoption scenarios, each with their own challenges: stepparent, other family member, foster child, newborn/infant, and international adoptions. You want to work with an attorney highly skilled and experienced in each adoption type, to help guide you through the process as smoothly as possible.

Legal Separation: A married couple may decide to physically separate and live apart for various personal reasons. In New York State, the act of legal separation requires the creation of a binding and enforceable legal agreement that is much more complex and contractual than simply deciding to live in separate residences. This agreement usually includes terms for child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets, debts, and property. If you are considering a legal separation, you want to work with an attorney who is highly skilled in the creation of such agreements, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected under the terms of your legal separation.

Family Offenses and Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence in any form is a crime in the State of New York.  Domestic violence crimes are often brought through the filing of a Family Offense petition in Family Court (or the filing of a motion in Supreme Court) with the remedy often being the attainment of a civil order of protection against a spouse, intimate partner or family member without going through the criminal process.   The law mandates that domestic violence be considered as a factor in making a determination of custody or visitation. If an orders of protection is violated, the person violating such order can face fines and/or imprisonment.   Attorney Jansen’s exposure early in her career to the impact of domestic violence on victims through her work with the Pace Women’s Justice Center uniquely qualifies her to provide counsel and advice in this sensitive area of the law.

Abuse and Neglect:  When you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to defend against unwarranted allegations of abuse or neglect, especially when your employment may be affected by an unfavorable decision, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney.   Ms. Jansen has successfully represented clients in this area of the law for many years, and her experience in prosecuting these case for the Westchester County Department of Social Services makes her uniquely qualified in this regard.  Article 10 Abuse and Neglect proceedings can have long-lasting effects on your ability to adopt children, to become a foster parent, or to work in fields in which you may have contact with children.  A “Fair Hearing” is your opportunity to have an “indicated” CPS report amended to unfounded or “expunged” so that such information regarding prior allegations or findings is not divulged to agencies seeking such information.

Attorney Jansen is highly committed to attaining positive results for her clients in all aspects of Family Court practice.  She has successfully resolved hundreds of Family Court matters for clients and strongly believes that it is important to work with an experienced advocate who will take the time to understand your objectives.

White Plains and Yonkers Family Court Lawyer, Karen M. Jansen, serves clients in New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, Eastchester, all Westchester County, Rockland County, NYC and NY State communities.