Family & Matrimonial Law

Child Custody Matters

Child custody disputes can arise as an element of a divorce action or as a separate proceeding brought before the Family Court. Among the issues the Court may address are decision-making authority for the child, a parenting time schedule, grandparent visitations rights, and occasionally third-party claims. Child custody proceedings can be quite involved, and touch upon several areas of the Family Court Act, Domestic Relations Law, hundreds of decisions by the appellate courts, and nuanced rules of evidence when these matters proceed to trial. Kimberly M. Wells, Attorneys at Law represents parties in child custody matters across Warren, Washington, Essex and Saratoga Counties. Kim Wells serves as "Attorneys for Children" in custody proceedings within the Third Department.


When spouses decide to part ways there are a number of matters to settle prior to the issuance of a divorce decree. This is usually done by one of two ways: by executing a separation agreement for legal separation for a period of time or by opting out of the marriage immediately when certain grounds are present. In either case, the parties will need to come to some common ground with regard to the disposition of marital assets, support and maintenance payments, the custody arrangement of their children, etc. Kimberly M. Wells, Attorneys at Law assists parties in the negotiation of separation and opting out agreements as well as the filing of uncontested divorces with the New York State Supreme Court.

As an alternative measure, when spouses are simply unable to agree on the distribution of their property, custody of their children, or ongoing support obligations, litigation may be required in the Supreme Court for equitable distribution under the laws of the State of New York. When this is the case, a divorce matter is considered "contested" and a qualified attorney is your best best to ensure an appropriate outcome. Kimberly M. Wells, Attorneys at Law have handled many contested divorce matters and can guide you through difficult and complex matrimonial litigation.

Child and Spousal Support

New York and Federal Laws require payments for the support of one's children and spouse. The amount of those payments are determined by statutory formula. If proven, certain factual considerations permit the court to adjust the payments up or down from the baseline amount. The role of your attorney in a support proceeding is to highlight any reasons for deviation from the formula to ensure that the amount in any order for support is fair. After some time, and under certain circumstances, the court can be re-petitioned to adjust the amount of support. However, it can be extremely difficult to decrease the amount required by a support order, so it is of the utmost importance that your support matter is handled properly the first time.


Adoptions in New York State require court involvement. There are times when adoptions arise in the context of a contested custody dispute where one parent has effectively disappeared, but usually they involve adoption agencies and happier circumstances. In either case, the adoption of a child means the adoptive parent assumes a number of rights and responsibilities which should be discussed with your attorney.


A child neglect proceeding is a civil matter generally brought within the Family Court. In New York, a parent can be found to have neglected a child under a great number of circumstances, many of which are open to judicial interpretation. It is not uncommon that a neglect proceeding is brought as the result of a mistake made by a parent, or even resulting from a difference in opinion in the efficacy and appropriateness of certain parenting techniques. A finding of neglect can have a serious impact on a parent's right to raise his or her child and may result in foster placement. If you are listed as a Respondent in a neglect proceeding it is critical that you seek the assistance of an attorney as soon as possible