Frequently Asked Questions.

Why choose The Law Office of Christopher A. Pogson?

I have been practicing matrimonial and family law for over twenty (20) years. Your case is important to me and I believe in providing top-notch counseling and representation to each and every client. I will treat you with compassion, always tell you the truth and present all options.

A client was once referred to me from another attorney. He explained that he told his lawyer-friend that he was looking for an attorney who was good at negotiating matters and working things out but who would be excellent in court if the matter couldn't be settled. I took it as a great compliment that the lawyer referred her friend to me. This, in a nutshell, is my philosophy -- work hard to settle the case favorably but win in court if a settlement is not possible.

If you have questions about a possible matrimonial or Family Court matter, please feel free to give me a call. I am always happy to speak with a potential client by phone, answer some basic questions, and provide guidance in helping a potential client decide how to proceed.

I have represented people from all walks of life. I participate in the Broome County Family Court Assigned Counsel Program where I represent indigent individuals and has also represented highly-successful professionals.

Many matrimonial and family law issues appear to be straightforward but courts have considerable discretion in resolving custody, support, maintenance and equitable distribution. You need a skillful and experienced attorney to prepare your case.

How long will my case take?

Unfortunately, the only honest answer I can give is the most lawyerly answer of all: it depends. In an uncontested divorce or family law matter in which the parties largely agree, these matters can be handled efficiently and often be resolved within weeks or a few months. In complex or high-conflict divorce matters, or a hotly contested Family Court matter, the issues can take much longer.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is governed in New York State by a law known as the Child Support Standards Act which establishes a formula based on the incomes of the respective parties. There are a number of variables that come into play, but basically the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent based on a formula. Even though the statute establishes a formula, the court has discretion about how much to award and a skilled advocate is key to achieving the most favorable outcome. A link to a chart showing presumptively correct child support awards can be found here.

How is maintenance (or spousal support) calculated?

Like child support, maintenance, both the amount and duration, is governed by a statutory formula. Again, the court has discretion and a skilled advocate is key to achieving the most favorable outcome. A calculator for determining presumptively correct maintenance can be found here.

What are the factors courts look at in determining custody cases?

A judge once stated that in custody cases, the law is easy but the facts are hard. Custody/visitation issues are governed by the “best interests of the child” standard. What constitutes the best interests of the child is complicated but courts consider all relevant factors such as the ability to maintain stability for the child, the child's wishes, the home environment with each parent, each parent's past performance and relative fitness, each parent's ability to guide and provide for the child's overall well-being and the willingness of each parent to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.

How does the court decide how to divide assets and liabilities?

The division of assets and liabilities under New York law, known as equitable distribution, is governed by the Domestic Relations Law. This law requires courts to consider a list of statutory factors. The court divides all marital property, which generally speaking is property acquired during the marriage regardless of titled ownership. Marital property can include real estate (including the marital residence), retirement accounts including 401-K's or pensions, bank accounts and personal property. Separate property is not divided. In some cases, equitable distribution can include a portion of separate property. A skilled advocate will assist you in protecting any separate property you might have and/or help negotiate or achieve through litigation the most favorable outcome possible.

My spouse is violent. Is there anything I can do to protect myself and my children?

The answer is a definite yes. If your spouse is violent or unstable, you are entitled to file a motion or petition for an order of protection.