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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.

Unlike child support, there isn’t a simple formula that courts use to determine the amount of spousal maintenance in Rochester divorces, or even whether it should be paid.

In a litigated divorce, maintenance is likely to be a significant consideration the judge will have to resolve.

In an uncontested action, on the other hand, maintenance is determined and paid in a variety of ways.

For instance, couples who are both professionals with strong earnings may decide that no spousal maintenance is necessary.

For couples who do decide that maintenance is appropriate, it can be paid in a variety of ways, from a single lump sum to setting a time frame based on life events, educational accomplishment, or income thresholds in the workplace.

Spousal maintenance is an important consideration in divorce in Rochester, and the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help ensure that your maintenance agreement is fair, meets both spouses’ needs, and serves the purposes it was designed to.

Call us today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation.

No, you can’t stop paying child support in Rochester without a court order, even if your ex is preventing you from your court ordered visitation with your child.

You do have options though, up to and including petitioning the court to reverse its custody finding based on a pattern of interference by your ex.

If your former spouse has created alienation between you and your children, or your older teen children refuse to participate in visitation with you, you may have a case for rescinding the child support order.

Circumstances that warrant that kind of relief are rare, but an experienced Rochester family law attorney can help you determine what your options are, and take steps to solve your ex’s interference, or remove your obligation to pay.

Call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation with a Rochester Family Law attorney.

In many cases, spousal support isn’t intended to be a permanent shift of wealth from one person to an ex-spouse.

While your former spouse may not remarry, if they begin cohabitating with a new partner, the support obligation generally ends.

Much depends on the type of spousal maintenance agreement you sign onto, which will be drafted by taking a variety of factors into account.

If your marriage was very long and your spouse has been out of the workforce for many years, the maintenance order may be designed for the longer term to compensate them for missed earning opportunities.

If your spouse in a long marriage has chronic health problems, maintenance may be expected to help them cope with medical bills, limitations on employment, and more.

The best way to ensure that you only pay the spousal support you need to is to sign the right agreement the first time.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you get the divorce settlement you need. Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.


Does Buffalo Allow Collaborative Or Mediated Divorce?

Yes, Buffalo allows collaborative and mediated divorces, so many couples are able to dissolve their marriage without the expense or drama of a litigated divorce.

Collaborative and mediated divorces are similar to filing an uncontested divorce action, but in mediation, the parties work with a neutral mediator to come to terms about the elements of their divorce.

In a collaborative divorce, each party is represented by an attorney, but both sides pledge to avoid litigation and work productively to reach a settlement that benefits each and protects the interests of any children from the marriage.

There are many ways to approach divorce in Buffalo, and an experienced divorce attorney can help you end your marriage with respect rather than rancor.

Call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 716-542-5444 and talk to a Buffalo divorce attorney for free.

It may seem impersonal, but rather than paying your child support directly to your former spouse, the judge will typically order you to remit payment to Buffalo’s Support Collections Unit (SCU), which is responsible for disbursing funds to your ex for the care of your children.

The system is set up this way to better track payments and ensure that children in Buffalo have the resources they need.

It’s important that you take proactive steps to watch for mistakes, as it can be difficult to get credit or reimbursement if SCU takes too much money out of your check (if you have automatic withholding), or has an error in the amount you owe.

Ramifications for bureaucratic errors can be significant, so it’s in your best interest to stay on top of payments and ensure that the system is operating as it should.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you navigate the child support system in Buffalo and ensure that your kids have the support they need, while you have the funds to live your life.

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

A Buffalo driver arrested for Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a class D Felony faces a very serious criminal charge.

A defendant convicted of this offense not only will have a permanent criminal record, but also faces very high fines and the possibility of extensive jail time.

While a first time DWI offender faces the possibility of up to one year in jail, a defendant convicted of Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a class D Felony may be sentenced to imprisonment in a New York State prison for up to seven years.

If the Court determines that a jail sentence is not necessary, it may impose up to five years of probation as an alternative. A sentence of incarceration followed by probation is also possible.

For many repeat offenders, at least a short jail term may be mandatory because of the proximity in time of the prior offenses.

In addition to or in place of incarceration, the Court may impose a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000.

There are also additional financial penalties aside from this fine.

These include a mandatory $520 surcharge and a Driver Responsibility Assessment of $250 per year for three years payable to the DMV.

It is also mandatory that the New York State driver’s license of the defendant be revoked for at least one year.

If one of the two underlying convictions was for Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, this minimum period of revocation rises to eighteen months.

Moreover, because of the proximity in time of the earlier convictions, a person convicted of Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a class D Felony rarely is eligible for a conditional license, meaning he or she will be completely barred from driving.

A person with prior convictions who is arrested for DWI faces severe penalties.

If you have been arrested for DWI, we can help you at 716-631-9999.

A defendant who has previously been convicted of multiple drinking and driving offenses requires the help of an experienced Buffalo criminal defense lawyer.

In almost all cases, having a history of DWI convictions will result in the current charge being enhanced and much greater penalties being imposed if convicted.

Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a class D Felony is one of the most serious charges a repeat DWI offender may face.

Driving While Intoxicated Per Se is an unclassified misdemeanor for first time offenders.

For the offense to be increased to a class D felony, the prosecution must establish that on two prior occasions within the past ten years, the defendant was convicted of any combination of the offenses of Driving While Intoxicated, Driving While Intoxicated per se, Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, or Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combination of Alcohol and Drugs.

A prior conviction or convictions for various vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges arising from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs also may serve as a prior offense for purposes of enhancing the charge.

Aside from the prior offenses, the prosecution must establish that the defendant took a breath, blood or urine test which revealed that he or she had a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater when operating a motor vehicle.

The charge is based solely on the blood alcohol content of the driver, and it does not need to be established that any “bad driving” occurred.

Driving While Intoxicated Per Se as a class D Felony is a very serious criminal charge.

If you have been arrested for DWI and need help, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.


What Is The Drug Court Program?

Many courts in New York State, including courts in the Buffalo area, now have what are termed “drug court” or “drug treatment court” programs.

While the specific criteria for entry into one of these court programs may vary from court to court, individuals arrested for alcohol-related driving offenses often are eligible for these programs.

In some cases, a court that offers a drug court program may strongly encourage participation as a way to avoid incarceration.

Drug court programs are designed to encourage individuals facing charges related to substance abuse – such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – to enter into court-monitored treatment for substance abuse.

The incentive given to defendants to enter into such programs is the promise of a plea to a reduced charge or at least a reduced sentence upon completion of the program.

As a result, the program must be completed while the charge is still pending, and further proceedings in the criminal court are often put on hold during drug court participation.

A defendant participating in drug court will usually be required to participate in an intensive, court-monitored program of group and individual substance abuse counseling.

The defendant waives some of his or her constitutional rights while participating in the program and consents to conditions such as random breath tests and regularly reporting to the court.

There are several different sanctions, including jail time, that the court may impose if the defendant does not comply with the program conditions.

The length of the program varies, but it typically lasts from six to twelve months.

If the defendant successfully completes the program, he or she usually will receive a plea to a reduced charge or a lesser sentence.

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

If you have any legal questions, call us at 716-631-9999.


What Is A Hardship License?

One of the most difficult situations faced by Buffalo drivers accused of drinking and driving is loss of driving privileges.

Under New York State law, the driver’s license of most individuals arrested for DWI will be suspended by the judge during arraignment on the charge, which usually occurs at the first court appearance.

The suspension of driving privileges is very difficult for many defendants because they are not eligible for a conditional driver’s license until thirty days after they have been formally charged at arraignment.

For individuals who need a driver’s license to travel to and from work or school, this obviously could result in the loss of a job or cause them to fail classes – even if they are eventually acquitted of the charge.

As a result, for individuals who meet the right criteria, the court is allowed to issue a hardship license.

To obtain a hardship license, the defendant must have submitted to a blood alcohol test which resulted in a score of .08% or more. Refusing to take a blood alcohol test makes a person ineligible for a hardship license.

It must also be shown that the driver will experience “extreme hardship” without a driver’s license, which is generally defined as inability to obtain alternative means of travel to or from work, school or necessary medical treatment for the defendant or a member of the defendant’s household.
A hardship license only allows a driver to operate a vehicle to and from work, school or necessary medical treatment. It does not allow a driver to operate a vehicle for work.

As a result, individuals who drive for a living may not benefit from this license.

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, you still need your driver’s license. We can help you at 716-631-9999.

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.