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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 spousal maintenance and child support are entirely separate elements in the divorce, in Monroe County, the Child Support Enforcement Unit will take action to enforce spousal maintenance orders when there is also a child support order in place.

In some cases, it can be extremely difficult to get a former spouse to respond to their obligations after a divorce, and it may be necessary to return to court for enforcement.

While most people take their responsibilities seriously and work hard to live up to them, if you’re in a situation where your spouse has simply stopped paying, you have options.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you work with the legal system to protect your children and your budget.

Call us today at 585-377-5504 and talk to an experienced divorce and support enforcement lawyer for free.

No, spousal maintenance isn’t a required part of a divorce, and as more couples with similar earning power get married and then divorce, spousal maintenance is becoming more and more optional in negotiated settlements.

In most marriages though, it’s easy to show a pattern of educational or professional sacrifices made by one spouse, to benefit the educational or professional aspirations of the other.

These sacrifices usually result in an income disparity between the spouses, and in that case, the court has a strong presumption in favor of spousal maintenance to help the lower earner recover.

Depending on age, health status, length of marriage, and many other factors, a judge can order spousal maintenance either for a set period of years, or in some cases, for the rest of your life.

By working with experienced Rochester divorce attorneys, you can expect an award that helps you meet your goals after your divorce.

Call Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation.

In most cases, spousal maintenance is awarded for a set period of time, usually a number of years, and tying it to something like your children moving out may be appropriate.

The important thing is not to confuse spousal maintenance with child support, which the non-custodial spouse is required to pay in every case, and which is a different consideration entirely.

For instance, child support payments are neither taxable income to the recipient, nor tax deductible by the payor.

Spousal maintenance, on the other hand, is a write off for the payor and is taxable income for the recipient.

It can be structured in a number of ways, and it’s important that you understand all the options, and their ramifications, when developing a spousal maintenance plan.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you have everything you need to move on after a divorce.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 and talk to a Buffalo divorce attorney for free.

Yes, so-called durational spousal maintenance can be ordered so that you’ll have the resources to complete a degree and find work in your chosen field.

Five year awards are very common, and it’s typically very easy to demonstrate to the court that maintenance used in this manner will result in your ability to thrive, economically and otherwise, after the divorce.

Judges have a strong interest in ensuring that the lower-earning spouse in a divorce has the tools and resources to continue on indepently.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer win strong spousal maintenance awards for our clients every day, so they can follow their dreams after a marriage ends.

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

Spousal maintenance awards vary considerably in Buffalo, and there’s no statutory formula to guide judges, as there is with child support.

Judges examine each case on its merits, and consider a variety of factors in deciding how much spousal maintenance should be awarded, and for how long.

Judges consider things like the length of the marriage and the ages of the spouses, the health status of each spouse, potential future earnings, net worth, and similar circumstances in order to develop a maintenance plan that ensures that the lower earning spouse won’t be left out in the cold after the marriage ends.

When you work with experienced Buffalo divorce attorneys, you can trust that your maintenance petition will be as strong as possible, and all relevant information conveyed to the court in the clearest, most persuasive way.

Call Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 716-542-5444 to talk to an experienced Buffalo divorce lawyer for free.

As experienced Buffalo DWI lawyers, we understand that most people arrested for Driving While Intoxicated are not familiar with the legal system and do not know where to start.

Generally, we have found that our first meeting with a potential client goes much more smoothly if the client is prepared to provide the following information.

First, the client should bring any tickets and supporting documents from the police or the court to the meeting so that the DWI attorney can review them.

A lawyer can obtain the answers to many questions and will better understand the case by reviewing these documents.

Second, in addition to the information on these documents, it is usually helpful for a client to be prepared to answer the following questions at the first meeting:

1. Where was the client driving to and from?
2. How much did the client drink and over what time period?
3. How long before being pulled over did the client stop drinking?
4. Did the arresting officer give a reason for the stop?
5. Did the client perform any field sobriety tests?
6. Does the client have any physical problems that would make these tests difficult?
7. Was the client taking any medication?
8. Did the officer have the client blow into a hand-held alcohol tester?
9. Does the client have any criminal record or prior alcohol-related arrests?
10. Does the client need a driver license for work, school or medical treatment?
11. Does the client have any alternative means of transportation besides driving?

If you are ever in the position of having to hire a DWI attorney, remember that you should be completely honest with your lawyer.

Any information you share regarding issues such as how much you had to drink is protected by the attorney-client privilege, and your lawyer needs honest answers to help prepare a defense to the charges.

We are experienced DWI lawyers who can help you navigate the legal system.

Please feel free to call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.


Why Do Some People Get Arrested For DWI Get Two Tickets?

When a Buffalo driver is arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, the arresting officer will provide the driver with a document called a Uniform Traffic Ticket which sets forth basic information such as the offense allegedly committed, the time and location of the alleged offense, the name and address of the court where the charge will be heard, and the scheduled court date.

Any New York driver who has seen a speeding ticket is familiar with this form.

Drivers arrested for DWI, however, are often confused because they are issued two Uniform Traffic Tickets, both of which appear to charge the driver with DWI.

These tickets are actually for two separate charges. Nearly all drivers accused of DWI will be issued a ticket for the offense of common law Driving While Intoxicated.

Drivers who submit to a breath or blood test and are found to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater will also be charged with a separate offense called Driving While Intoxicated per se.

Both of the offenses require proof that a motor vehicle was operated on a public highway while under the influence of alcohol.

The difference is that common law Driving While Intoxicated requires proof that alcohol rendered the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.

This is usually proven through evidence of bad driving or poor performance on field sobriety tests.

In contrast, Driving While Intoxicated per se only requires proof that the driver’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08%.

Because the impact of the alcohol on the person’s ability to drive is not relevant to this charge, he or she can appear completely sober but still be found guilty.

Both of these charges are misdemeanors and carry the same penalties.

It is entirely possible to be convicted of one and acquitted of the other.

If you have been arrested for DWI and need legal help, please feel free to call us at 716-631-9999.


What Is A Victim Impact Panel?

A Buffalo driver convicted of drinking and driving will find that, in some areas, the court has broad discretion when crafting a sentence.

In addition to the expected consequences of fines and potential jail time or probation, the court may impose additional penalties aimed at educating or rehabilitating the defendant for the purpose of curbing future drinking and driving.

One such requirement may be attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

A Victim Impact Panel is a program where individuals whose lives have been affected by an intoxicated driver – usually people who have lost family members or friends in an automobile accident – make a presentation to the audience.

The purpose of these presentations is to encourage DWI offenders to think about the consequences drinking and driving may have on other people.

Even though a defendant may not have been involved in an accident, it is common for the court to require attendance at a Victim Impact Panel with the goal of discouraging future drinking and driving.

A defendant who is ordered to attend a Victim Impact Panel usually will be given a specific date, time and place to attend by the Court.

If the defendant fails to attend, he or she may be re-sentenced by the court and have additional penalties imposed.

There are many potential consequences to being convicted of drinking and driving, and it helps to have an experienced DWI lawyer assisting you following an arrest.

If you have been charged with an alcohol-related driving offense and need legal help, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.


Can Someone Be Arrested For DWI On Private Property?

As Buffalo DWI defense lawyers, we would never advise anyone to drive a vehicle after having consumed too much alcohol, even if it is not actually illegal to do so.

Drinking and driving is not always illegal on private property, but this does not make it a good idea.

Under older versions of New York State law, several DWI convictions were reversed because of the law limited the location where the alcohol-related offense had to occur to a “public highway.”

In response to this problem, New York State changed its anti-drinking and driving laws.

They now specifically apply not just to public highways, but also to private roads open to motor vehicle traffic and any other parking lot.

The updated statute also provided a definition of the term “parking lot” as meaning any area of private property, including a driveway, near a premises and used as a means of entering and leaving a highway adjacent to the premises.

The parking lot also must have the capacity to park four or more motor vehicles.

It specifically does not apply to any area of private property on which is situated a one or two family residence.

Under this definition, it is not a violation of New York’s drinking and driving laws to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol on private land, unless that private property is a road open to traffic or a parking lot with four or more parking spaces and not attached to a one or two family residence.

When defending against a charge of Driving While Intoxicated, it is important to have an attorney who understands the law.

We are experienced DWI defense lawyers who can be reached at 716-631-9999.


Why Can’t I Serve My Spouse Once I File In Buffalo?

In filing legal action in Buffalo, the person filing the papers (the plaintiff) may not serve them to the person being sued (the defendant).

There are a number of good reasons for this rule, but the most important has to do with the nature of our legal system.

Every American has the right of due process when there are legal actions pending against them, so being notified in full of the complaint is protected under the constitution.

When one party takes action against another, they are considered motivated actors in denying the defendant access to the court.

After all, if your spouse never responds, they will be in default and the divorce can proceed without them.

Because of this conflict of interest, you’ll be required to rely on another person to serve your spouse, and that person will then provide an affidavit to the court where they swear that the papers were properly delivered to the correct recipient.

This is usually handled by professional process servers, though any adult over the age of 18 can serve the papers.

At Friedman & Ranzenhofer, we can help you properly notify your spouse and move your divorce forward with minimum hassle.

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