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Buffalo New York Law Q & A

In this of section our website, we’ve answered hundreds of questions we’ve been asked over the years. So if you have a question, we might have the answer right here.

There are four ways to get an answer to your question.

One, type your question in the search box to the right and click “Search” – every page we have related to that question will then be shown.

Two, below and to the right, you’ll see a section called “Categories”. Just click the section related to your question and every page we have that is applicable to your question will be presented for your review.

Three, the links at the bottom of this page will take you to a web page that can answer many of the questions you might have.

And four, if we don’t have your answer here, or if you’d like to speak with us, feel free to call and arrange a free consultation – either on the phone or in-person.

We can be reached at 716-542-5444, or if the call is long distance, please call 1-800-729-4571.

While a verbal agreement isn’t enforceable, if you’ve moved and the original custody order is no longer workable, you’ll have to petition Family Court with a request for modification.

This can be done in Rochester or the new jurisdiction where you live. The court will probably want to know why you chose to rely on a verbal agreement instead of working through court orders, but your odds of being granted a hearing on the issues seem good.

At Friedman & Ranzenhofer, we help families stay close even after a divorce, and help to ensure that custody agreements stay relevant for the routine changes that people experience in their careers and lives.

Call us today at 585-377-5504 and learn how you can keep your relationship with your kids, whatever life brings.

Discovery is the process by which the two parties in a divorce divulge their financial records, property lists, net worth statements, and similar material to one another in order for each side to develop a valuation.

In other words, discovery is how your attorney learns about your spouse’s financial situation in order to develop an appropriately structured settlement offer.

The court is only interested in your financial situation in order to ensure that a reasonable divorce settlement is agreed to.

Discovery can be a difficult phase of the divorce, especially if you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets or income, or otherwise attempting to impede the process of developing a fair agreement.

Working with an experienced Rochester divorce attorney can make it harder for your spouse to interfere with the process, and ensure that you get the best settlement possible.

Call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 585-377-5504 and talk to a Rochester divorce lawyer for free.

It’s very common for the court to order a parent to purchase a life insurance policy designating the child, children, or ex-spouse as the beneficiary in the event of the parent’s death.

For the vast majority of policyholders, it never comes into play during the child support obligation, but acts as a backstop to protect your child’s future in the event of your death.

Obviously, there are scenarios when the life insurance policy becomes relevant, such as if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or work in a field with elevated risk.

In cases like that, you may want to review your options and make plans for your policy that ensure the maximum amount of money flows to your heirs rather than the IRS.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you with every piece of a child support order in Buffalo.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.

Your son’s adolescence and the problems he may be experiencing probably don’t fall under the state’s definition of a “change in circumstances” for the purposes of child custody.

Typically, a change in circumstance is understood to be a change in the parent’s life, such as a move, financial hardships or windfalls, and similar.

That said, if your child is exhibiting behavioral problems and you believe that you can exert a stabilizing effect, it may be worth pursuing a modification to allow for more time with your son.

If there are specific changes in the home where he’s living, those may rise to the level of a change in circumstances.

But even if he’s exploring normal boundary testing appropriate for his age, you may still have options.

To learn how to play a greater role in your son’s life, call the Buffalo child support attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.


Do All Buffalo NY Divorces Include Alimony?

No, not all divorces in Buffalo include alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance.

For couples whose incomes are similar, or where a lower-earning spouse has an earning capacity beyond their current employment, maintenance may not be required to transition one spouse from married to single life.

Maintenance is decided based on many considerations, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s age and health condition, their earning potential and educational background, parenting duties and roles, and what opportunities one spouse may have passed up in order to allow the other spouse to advance in his or her career.

Spousal maintenance can serve as an important transitional element as a spouse moves from married life to independence, but an improperly negotiated settlement can trap the other spouse in unaffordable payments that don’t serve the intended purpose.

When you’re divorcing in Buffalo, call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.

A Buffalo driver convicted of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a Class D Felony faces very serious criminal penalties.

This is a criminal offense that will result in a permanent criminal record, possible jail time and very high fines.

If convicted of this charge, a defendant may be incarcerated for up to seven years. As an alternative to jail, the Court may impose up to five years of probation.

The Court also may impose a sentence combining incarceration and probation. In many cases, the close proximity in time of the current and prior charges will result in at least a short period of mandatory incarceration.

In addition to or in place of incarceration, the Court may impose a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000. On top of any fine, there will be a mandatory surcharge of $520 and a Driver Responsibility Assessment of $250 per year for three years.

The driver’s license of any defendant convicted of this crime will be revoked for at least eighteen months.

In most cases, a driver convicted of this offense will not be eligible for a conditional license because of the close proximity between the conviction and the underlying prior charges.

If a driver is eligible for a conditional license, there are additional fees associated with obtaining the conditional license and applying for a full license at the end of the revocation.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated per se as a Class D Felony has very severe penalties.

If you need a lawyer experienced in defending DWI cases, call us at 716-631-9999.

Buffalo drivers who are repeatedly arrested for drinking and driving often will be charged with enhanced criminal offenses and face additional penalties.

They also face greater penalties when found to have an extremely high blood alcohol content.

The offense of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a Class D Felony is a very serious criminal charge that extremely intoxicated repeat offenders may face.

For a first time offender, Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated per se is a misdemeanor.

It may be charged where a driver has undergone a blood alcohol test which resulted in a score of .18% or greater.

This is more than twice the legal limit of .08%. Aside from this, all that is necessary to support the misdemeanor charge is proof that the driver was operating a vehicle on a public highway, a private road open to the public, or in a lot with parking for four or more vehicles not attached to a one or two family residence.

It does not need to be shown that the defendant was driving erratically.

For a repeat offender, this offense may be enhanced from a misdemeanor to a D felony if it can also be proven that the driver previously had been convicted – on two separate occasions – for any combination of the following offenses:

  • Driving While Intoxicated; Driving While Intoxicated per se; Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated;
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs;
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combination of Alcohol and Drugs;
  • or any of various vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges arising from driving under the influence of alcohol.

Both of the prior offenses must have taken place within ten years of the current arrest.

This is a very serious criminal charge, and anyone arrested for this offense needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If you have been arrested for DWI, please call us at 716-631-9999 for legal help.

For a Buffalo driver who has been convicted of an alcohol or drug related driving offense, continuing to drive can carry very serious penalties.

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree is an unclassified misdemeanor, which is a crime in New York State and will result in a criminal record.

When the reason for the driver’s suspension or revocation was an alcohol or drug related driving conviction, refusing a blood alcohol test, or a suspension pending prosecution, the court is required to impose a sentence of incarceration of at least seven days, with the potential sentence being as high as 180 days of incarceration.

The Court may also impose a period of probation supervision of up to three years, or a combination of jail time and probation.

There is also a mandatory fine of between $500 and $1,000. In addition to the fine, there is a mandatory surcharge of $175 and a crime victim assistance fee of $25.

These same penalties also apply when the driver’s license was suspended for failure to appear in court or pay on fine for three separate prior offenses.

If the offense was increased from the Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree to Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree because of a prior conviction for aggravated unlicensed operation, however, the sentencing possibilities are slightly different.

Under such circumstances, there is no mandatory seven day lower limit on any sentence of incarceration, but there is also no $1,000 cap on the potential fine.

If you have been convicted of DWI or a related offense and need legal help, call us at 716-631-9999.

A Buffalo driver convicted of any alcohol-related driving offense will have his or her driver’s license suspended or revoked for a period of time.

A driver caught driving without a license – or driving outside the terms of a conditional license – during this period of suspension or revocation may be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree.

To prove the offense of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree, the prosecution must establish the lesser offense of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree.

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree is the operation a motor vehicle on a public highway when the driver knew, or should have known, that his or her license to operate a vehicle in New York State was suspended or revoked.

For the offense to be raised from the third degree to the second degree, the reason for the driver’s license suspension or revocation must be a conviction for any drug or alcohol-related driving offense, a revocation for refusing to take blood alcohol test, or a suspension pending prosecution for a drug or alcohol-related driving offense.

The charge also may be enhanced to the second degree if the driver either has – on three separate occasions – had a license suspension for failure to appear in court or has a previous conviction for aggravated unlicensed operation within the past eighteen months.

Continuing to drive after a DWI conviction may have serious consequences.

If you need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.

Yes, you’ll be ordered by the judge to retain life and health insurance policies for your spouse and children after you’ve been served with divorce papers.

This is one provision in the automatic orders that are issued at the time of the filing, and among other things, you’ll be required to protect physical assets like furniture and cars, as well as financial instruments like credit cards and retirement and investment accounts.

If you take actions that make the courts believe you have emptied accounts or canceled insurance coverage as a way of retaliating against a spouse seeking to divorce you, you may not like the consequences.

To understand both your obligations and your options after your spouse has filed for divorce, call the Rochester divorce attorneys at 585-377-5504 today and talk to a lawyer for free.