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Ralph Duthely

Ralph Duthely’s Answers

345 total


  • Is a child's uncorroborated testimony in an Article 6 proceeding sufficient for a judge to rule against a parent?

    Under Article 10 of the Family Court Act (FCA 1046), a child's allegations of sexual abuse are admissible but not sufficient for a court to make a finding of abuse or neglect unless the allegations are corroborated. CPL 60.20 also has restrict...

    Ralph’s Answer

    There is no statutory requirement of corroboration in an Art. 6 proceeding. The purpose of the corroboration requirement in Art. 10 is that: 1. the nature of the allegations are very serious and 2. the conduct alleged generally can only be testified to by the child victim. There needs to be corroboration to strengthen the testimony. Of course, the standard for what constitutes sufficient corroboration is pretty low.
    In an Art. 6 proceeding, there are other witnesses to events and conditions. Also, children tend only to provide testimony about their feelings and preferences. The seldom provide testimony as to facts which could not be verified through other means. The judge has the opportunity to weigh the reliability of the child's testimony but corroboration is not required.

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  • If circumstances are extenuating, can a person who has physical/residential custody move to another state with their children?

    My fiancee has two children from a previous relationship. the custody court order is vague and doesn't mention about moving to another state. it simply states she has residential custody, and they get joint legal. Her ex gets visiting time of week...

    Ralph’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The argument that you want to leave a crime ridden area is probably not sufficient because there are safe areas within a reasonable distance from you that would not involve leaving the state. The economic opportunity out of state is a good argument, although it would be stronger if it was the parent herself that had the job opportunity. Also, be prepared to argue that it is in the children's best interest to relocate. Obviously the family's economic well-being benefits the children; as well as living in a safer environment.

    I would advise strongly that your fiancee file a relocation petition before making the move. Relocation is a rather complex issue to litigate. You should hire an attorney. Be prepared to present an alternative visitation plan that would not deprive the father of the visits that he has been taking advantage of. If he doesn't take Wednesday visits anyway, it would be disingenuous of him to now argue that he will lose those. If your move is to Eastern PA and you would not be too far from Binghamton, offer to transport the children on a bi-weekly basis. Make sure the order contains a clause that the father is to confirm the visits (preferably by email). Then if he doesn't, you don't have to bring the kids. The transporting of the kids may be a burden but it is given in return for the court's permission to move.

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  • What defines an intimate relationship for a family offense petition in NY?

    A women who I was dating has turn ugly when I realize she was only using me and breaking off the relationship. There was no sex, no live in relationship and mild show of affection but we did spend time together. Now she has made hate text threats ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Based on the facts presented, it is not clear that you would meet the 'intimate relationship" standard for a family court OP. Of course, it would be better to consult with an attorney, who would get all of the details from you and be better able to make that determination.

    As an aside, it is unfortunate that the legislature used the term intimate relationship. Although the statute specifically states that the relationship does not have to be sexual in nature, the word intimate implies some sort of romantic involvement. In fact, a roommate or a brother-in-law might meet the definition of an intimate relationship.

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  • When trying to arrange a Living Estate Deed, should you ask a Family Lawyer or an Estate Planning Lawyer? Thank you!

    We live in NYC and are helping our grandmother who lives in Baltimore MD.

    Ralph’s Answer

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    An Estate Planning lawyer

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  • If I have been identified in court as legal father by equitable estoppel can it be reversed if mom says I am not the biological

    I have been raising my daughter for 2 full years while I fought for custody..even though I thought this was my child.. and barred from Dna by equitable estoppel. Even though mom says in court am not the biological dad. After winning custody I did ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    I'm guessing (are attorneys allowed to do that?) that the court will likely reject any attempt to reverse paternity unless another man comes forth to file for paternity and is proven to be the biological father. Estoppel has less to do with the truth and more to do with the fact that the State does not want the child to be fatherless.

    Of course, as Mr. Zaslavsky points out, these are rather unique circumstances and, without doing research, I don't know if there is case law specific to your fact pattern. This is something for which you would definitely have to hire counsel in order to present the strongest legal argument.

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  • Is a relationship between a 19 year old and a 16 year old legal in NYS ?

    New York State laws

    Ralph’s Answer

    I'm amazed how often this question is posed. Guys, stay away from underage girls (and vice-versa).

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  • Is this even possible?

    My ex claimed that he had filed for joint custody of our daughter a few weeks ago. He then told me a couple days ago that he called his attorney and had a hold put on the petition. Is this even possible or would we have to go to court and him tell...

    Ralph’s Answer

    It sounds like he may have just hired an attorney to draft the papers but then told the attorney to hold off on filing them. Still, I would agree with the advice given by the other attorneys. Contact the family court in the county you live in (as well as his, if it is different) to make sure that nothing was filed. You definitely don't want to miss a court date if there is a case on the calendar. Even if you were not served, you never know what may be told to the court.

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  • How do I voluntary surrender my parental rights

    My 14 year old son has ben diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder n sexual pedator tendencies. I have him living with his friend right now for my other childrens safety. He has become violent towards me n is addicted to drugs and alcoho...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Contact CPS in your county and discuss a voluntary placement. A petition will to be filed in family court and the child will be placed in the custody of CPS. Hopefully, they can find a therapeutic foster home for him. Otherwise, he may be placed in an appropriate group setting. They will try to get him the appropriate services. You will have the obligation to visit him and plan with CPS toward his return to your care. Failure to plan may result in a petition to terminate your parental rights. Good luck.

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  • How do I voluntary surrender my parental rights

    My 14 year old son has ben diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder n sexual pedator tendencies. I have him living with his friend right now for my other childrens safety. He has become violent towards me n is addicted to drugs and alcoho...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Contact CPS in your county and discuss a voluntary placement. A petition will to be filed in family court and the child will be placed in the custody of CPS. Hopefully, they can find a therapeutic foster home for him. Otherwise, he may be placed in an appropriate group setting. They will try to get him the appropriate services. You will have the obligation to visit him and plan with CPS toward his return to your care. Failure to plan may result in a petition to terminate your parental rights. Good luck.

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  • We don't have a legal separation document , but we haven't live together for the last 20 years , court denied divorce

    Is not children , the only possession with both names is a lot of land in Cherokee shores in Texas ,we went to court for the divorce a while back but the court denied me it .We were married in Dallas Texas in 1987 .my question is what i have to do...

    Ralph’s Answer

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    It is much easier now to get a divorce in NY with the new "no fault" provision than it was in the past. Refile, alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The sworn statement of one of the parties is all that is required to establish this. Don't do it yourself. Contact a matrimonial attorney in your area.

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