Although most people associate family law with divorce, the reality is that this area of the law encompasses a variety of topics, ranging from adoption and child custody issues to domestic violence allegations and the drafting of prenuptial agreements. Whether you are considering filing for divorce, have questions about enforcing an already existing child support or child custody order, or want to modify a spousal maintenance award, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced Dutchess County family lawyer who can ensure that the best interests of both you and your children are protected.

What is Family Law?

Family law deals specifically with family-related matters and domestic relations. Although this area of the law does cover divorce, child custody, and child support it also encompasses a variety of other legal issues, including:

    • Property division;
    • Prenuptial agreements;
    • Obtaining temporary relief during divorce proceedings;
    • Spousal maintenance;
    • Establishing paternity;
    • Domestic violence accusations;
    • Child abuse or neglect proceedings;
    • Grandparent visitation;
    • Adoption;
    • Enforcement of court orders related to visitation, alimony, or child support;
    • Collaborative divorce; and
  • Modification of existing court orders.

At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our legal team has years of experience handling a variety of family law matters and is dedicated to applying this knowledge to helping our clients find the best solution for their families.



In 2010, New York became the last state to officially institute no-fault divorce. Until this time, parties to a divorce were required to prove fault based on the grounds of adultery, abandonment, incarceration, legal separation, or cruelty in order to dissolve their marriage. Since the passage of the law, couples are now permitted to file for divorce without asserting blame by claiming that their marriage has been irretrievably broken for the preceding six months. However, a divorce will not be granted until the parties have resolved all issues related to custody arrangements, visitation, child support, property division, and spousal maintenance. In many cases, the fastest way to resolve these issues is to come to an out-of-court agreement that is acceptable to both parties. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, whether due to the complicated nature of a couple’s assets, concerns about domestic violence, or general contention between the parties, in which case a judge will step in to decide custody and maintenance issues.

Child Custody and Support

During divorce proceedings, the parties must come to an agreement regarding legal and physical custody. Legal custody involves the right to make decisions about a child’s medical care, education, and religious upbringing. If a judge awards joint legal custody, then both parents must agree on these decisions. Physical custody, on the other hand, involves the actual physical care of the couple’s children, so if a judge awards joint physical custody, both parents will have equal access to the child. Otherwise, the parent with sole custody will care for the child and the non-custodial parent will have rights to visitation as well as the responsibility to pay child support in an amount determined by evaluating the parties’ incomes and expenses.

Call a Dutchess County Family Law Attorney Today

To speak with an experienced and compassionate family lawyer about your own legal questions or concerns, please contact The Colwell Law Group, LLC for a free phone consultation by calling 518-312-4058 or by sending us a quick text at 518-730-7028.

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