While she is under his roof, receiving child support will be a tough sell to a judge. However, shencan file in supreme or family court at any time. Family court is the fastest and least expensive. As far as a "cheap lawyer" ... Shop it around. You get what you pay for however. She should call the local bar and see if she qualifies for a modest means lawyer. Suffolk county has that program, our office participates. Call us for an appointment and we can assist.
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First, the Islamic divorce is not the end of the story. A religious divorce and a civil divorce are two very different matters and your friend MUST speak with a lawyer immediately to ensure that she does not inadvertently compromise any of her rights in the latter by misconceptions that she may have about the former! In the circumstances you've briefly described above, your friend is still entitled, indeed she requires, a New York divorce in order to benefit from all the protections of New York law that will enure to her upon the dissolution of the marriage. Equitable distribution of marital property, child support, spousal support, exclusive occupancy of the former marital residence, and payment of her attorney's fees are among the issues that should be addressed in the context of a New York divorce. Your friend can find contact information here on Avvo for an attorney who can help her. Good luck!
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Divorce by Islamic law is of no consequence to the civil courts. Your friend can file for both spousal and child support in the Family Court. She can represent herself though this is not advisable as she will not know what information she can get by discovery which is available to her. She needs to allege that she and the children are not being adequately supported. The husband also has no right to expel her from the house without a court order.
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