New York City Family Law Attorney
Jayson Lutzky

A divorce, child custody case or other family law case does not always have to be a traumatic, combative experience. Even when the issues are complex, your future is at stake and emotions are running high, I will work hard to protect your legal rights while avoiding unnecessary conflict and stress.

As an experienced New York City Family Law Attorney, I provide personal service with integrity to men and women throughout the New York metropolitan area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. I care about my clients and am committed to obtaining the best results possible. My goal is to resolve matters quickly, to save my clients the trauma of litigation, but I will vigorously defend their rights in court when needed.

As a skilled New York City Family Law Attorney, my focus includes:

  • Divorce
  • Family Court
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody
  • Fathers' Rights
  • Adoption
  • Separation Agreements
  • Annulments
  • Visitation
  • Paternity
  • Property and Debt Division
  • Grandparents' Rights
  • Jurisdictional Issues
  • Spousal Support (Alimony)
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Estate Planning
  • Real Estate Matters

With over 27 years of experience, I provide aggressive representation in fighting for your rights in a variety of cases. My Firm also benefits from more than 40 years' combined experience of two paralegals. We are a caring firm where each client is treated as an individual and each client is important.

I have helped thousands of clients fight and win their cases. I have also won an award from New York State Bar Association for outstanding contributions of time, resources and expertise to the provision of free legal services to the poor.  I also won the Commitment to Justice Award from the Network for Women’s Services for an outstanding commitment to the ideal of access to justice for all individuals in the representation of battered women in obtaining divorces.

The Importance of Child Support:
Child support covers everything a child needs, and even more, during the growth and formative years. A parent's first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent's circumstances and station in life, and children should share in the standard of living of both parents.

The amount of a child support award is more than a question of bare necessities. If the child has a wealthy parent, that child is entitled to, and therefore needs something more than the bare necessities of life. Where the supporting parent enjoys a lifestyle that far exceeds the custodial parent's living standard, child support must to some degree reflect that more opulent lifestyle. This is so even though, as a practical matter, the child support payments may incidentally benefit others in the custodial household whom the payor parent has no obligation to support (e.g., custodial parent owed no spousal support, adult children, or children from custodial parent's other relationships). Children are entitled to share in the non-custodial parent’s elevated standard of living despite custodial parent's lower income.

If you or someone you know in the Bronx or throughout the New York metropolitan area needs the assistance of an experienced New York City Family Law Attorney, call Jayson Lutzky today at 718-355-9175, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.

Family Law Practice Areas and Legal Definitions

Divorce:
A court of law is the only way one can obtain a divorce decree, dissolution, legal separation, nullity or other form of terminating a marriage.  Other than the termination of the marital estate, the court also has jurisdiction to resolve other issues that are intertwined in the existing marriage which include, but are not limited to: custody and visitation rights, division of property of the marital estate, spousal support, child support, restraining orders, etc.

Property and Debt Division:
Marital property attained during marriage, regardless of whose name it is under, can be divided.  Marital property can include real estate (including a home bought in contemplation of marriage), pension plans, vehicles, bank accounts, income tax refunds and/or household furnishings.  However, property that is inherited by one spouse is not considered marital property, i.e. a family business or estate.  If you are contractually bound with your ex-spouse on a debt, the creditor can require the entire payment of that debt from your share of the community property even though the divorce decree assigns the debt to your ex-spouse.  Depending on the terms of your divorce decree, you may be able to have certain support obligations under the divorce decree determined to be non-dischargeable by the bankruptcy court or in state court.

Prenuptial Agreements:
A prenuptial, or premarital agreement (often referred to as a "pre-nup") is a written contract created by two individuals who plan to be married.  This agreement lists all individually owned property, such as homes and businesses, family assets, stocks and bonds, savings accounts as well as debts, and specifies what will and will not remain individually owned property after the legalization of marriage.  Prenuptial agreements also specify whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce, and the intentions regarding distribution of individually owned property upon death.

A factor that cannot be stipulated in a prenuptial agreement is child support.  A couple cannot lawfully agree in a prenuptial agreement that either part will in no way be responsible for child support.  Also, a few states do not allow prenuptial agreements to modify or eliminate the right of a spouse to receive court-ordered alimony at divorce, although a prenuptial agreement can facilitate in the degree of compensation.

Child Custody:
Custody is the charge and control of a child, including the right to make all major decisions such as education, religious upbringing, training, health and welfare.  Custody usually refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody.  Many factors influence an award of custody and the way a case is presented in court can have a large impact on the result for you and your children.  If you are awarded the children as a primary custodial parent, it has far reaching consequences both to you and to their well-being and development.

Child Support:
Child support is a periodic payment made to a custodial parent from a non-custodial parent to help compensate a child's living expenses, i.e. food, clothes, etc., and any other related debts.  When one parent is awarded sole custody, as in the event of a divorce, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments, whereas the custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself.  When parents are awarded joint custody in a divorce, however, the support obligation is shared and is based on a ratio of each parent's income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent.  Each state has guidelines that factor the amount of child support, such as the amount of time spent with the child, the income of both parents and the standard of living the child is accustomed to.  The court may allow deductions for items such as catastrophic medical expenses and travel expenses for visitation.

Jurisdictional Issues:
When faced with a relocating custodial parent, the court will general require that parent to give the other parent a minimum amount of notice prior to the anticipated move.  This notice gives the non-custodial parent an opportunity to go to court and seek orders restraining the relocation of the child.

These so-called move away cases have gone back and forth on allowing and disallowing a move by the custodial parent with the minor children for over 20 years.  While the best interests of the child have always been central to the decision, the uncertainty has made this area murky.  Prior to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, when parents sought an advantage in a custody tug-of-war, they would move to a "friendly" jurisdiction (that is, a region with a history of rulings favorable to their position). However, after the UCCJA was adopted by all 50 states, family law courts were forced to defer jurisdiction to the home state, and this custody battle tactic lost favor.

Spousal Support (Alimony):
Alimony is temporary or permanent financial support paid from one separated spouse to the other, either in one lump sum or in installments.  Alimony is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support.  Alimony differs from child support because it is at the discretion of the judge.  Child support is usually determined by state-sanctioned guidelines.

There are several factors a judge considers when deciding whether to grant alimony. These differ from state to state, of course, but they usually involve things like the parties' relative ability to earn money, both now and in the future; their respective age and health; the length of the marriage; the kind of property involved, and the conduct of the parties. In general, about the only time a judge will award alimony in most states is where one spouse has been economically dependent on the other spouse for most of a lengthy marriage.

Adoption:
Adoption is the legal process by which a person becomes a lawful member of a family different from their birth family.  Once a final order of adoption has been ruled by a court of law, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them; subsequently, an adopted child gains the same rights as birth children in regard to inheritance, child support and other legal matters.  In most U.S. jurisdictions, at the time the adoption is finalized, the adopted child's name is legally changed and the court orders the issuance of a new, amended birth certificate.

Divorce Mediation:
The basic attitude marking divorce mediation is a focus on solving problems, not fighting the fight. Family mediation is a voluntary process which gives a divorcing or separating couple the opportunity to make their own arrangements for their financial and personal future, while protecting themselves and their children from distress and the needless expense of litigation.  The strength of a mediated agreement is that it is built by both parties together in an open process that requires all participants to recognize and make accommodation for the needs of the other participants, often without having to compromise one’s own.

While no two situations are alike, the emphasis in a mediated approach is to achieve a satisfactory settlement in an efficient, cooperative manner.  This might include "four-way" settlement conferences where the parties meet along with their divorce mediation lawyers to work on a settlement.  The philosophy of Divorce Mediation is that as much effort should be exerted toward settlement as is traditionally spent in preparation for and conducting a trial.

Paternity:
Paternity covers all the matters related to proving the parentage of a child or children. For married couples, paternity of a child is assumed to be the spouse, unless there is a court order or judgment stating otherwise. For unwed parents, paternity can be established by signing an Affidavit of Parentage or by filing a paternity action with the court.

Legally establishing paternity or determining that someone is not the parent of child can have a significant impact on divorce settlements, property division, child custody, child support and the ability to move out of state.  Determinations of paternity can also have a significant impact on interstate conflict between unwed parents.
 

Estate Planning Practice Areas and Legal Definitions


Probate: 
Probate is the legal process of transferring property following a person's death.  Although probate customs and laws have changed over time, the purpose has remained much the same: an individual formalizes his or her intentions as to the transfer of his or her property at the time of death (typically through a Will); his or her property is collected, certain debts are paid from the estate and the property is distributed accordingly.

Wills:
A Will is a written instrument containing directions on how the assets and property of the testator (individual creating the Will) shall be divided upon his or her death.  Wills can also contain instructions regarding the care of minor children, gifts to charity and formation of posthumous trusts.  In order for a Will to be legally valid, the testator must sign the Will in the presence of two witnesses and he or she must be mentally competent and not acting under duress or under the controlling influence of another.

Will Contest Litigation:
A Will Contest is a type of litigation that challenges the admission of a Will to probate.  Issues that are likely to spur the contesting of a Will include: 

  • the testator lacked mental capacity, i.e. was senile, delusional or of unsound mind at the time the documents were created;
  • the testator was subjected to fraud, coercion or undue influence during its creation and implementation;
  • there are ambiguities in the document or
  • the Will is a forgery or does not conform to legal requirements as to the number and nature of the witnesses.

If the Will is thrown out, the court, depending on state law and the specific facts and circumstances may disallow only the part of the Will that was challenged; throw out the entire Will, distributing the property as if the person died without a Will or use the last previous Will.

Trusts:
Trusts are estate-planning tools that can replace or supplement Wills and can also help manage property during life.  A trust manages the distribution of a person's property by transferring its benefits and obligations to different people.  Maintaining assets in a Trust often makes it easier to minimize taxes and leave a larger inheritance.  A Trust is also a way to provide a steady income to the Beneficiary over time (as opposed to distribution in a lump sum), thus reducing the Beneficiary's tax burden, allowing the Trust to grow through investment, and keeping assets free from creditors of the Trust beneficiary.  Trusts can also be established for the benefit of charitable organizations.

Probating Estates:
Estates are categorized as probate or non-probate property.  Probate property is property that is transferred by the provisions of a Will.  Non-probate property is property that is either jointly held and passes by right of survivorship, is directed by beneficiary designation such as an IRA or a life insurance policy, or passes according to the terms of a trust.

Estate Planning:
Good estate planning is more than just a simple Will.  It minimizes potential taxes and fees (including Federal and State gift and estate taxes), and sets up contingency planning to make sure wishes regarding health care treatment are followed before and after death.  A good estate plan also coordinates what happens to a home, investments, business, life insurance, employee benefits (such as a 401K plan) and other property in the event of disability or death.

Powers of Attorney:
Powers of Attorney are governed by the law of agency, a branch of common law concerned with the delegation of power from one person (the principal) to another (attorney-in-fact or agent).  When a person becomes incapacitated, the government or the court often steps in and appoints someone to represent and make legal decisions for the incapacitated person.  One of the ways to avoid government or court intervention and the appointment of a stranger to act as your guardian, is to use a Power of Attorney.  A Power of Attorney is a written document that can be limited in scope, or it can allow one person to give another the full power and authority to represent him or her.  There are two types of Power of Attorneys; one covering assets and one covering health care decisions.

Estate Litigation:
Estate litigation is a legal dispute usually initiated by someone who feels they did not receive all they were entitled to in a Will.  Wills can be challenged if it is suspected that the Will is not legally valid or if the person who was writing the Will was wrongly influenced while creating it.

Conservatorship:
A conservatorship is a court order that a person deemed fully or partially incapable be subject to the legal control of another person.  The conservator is responsible for the assets and finances of an incapacitated person.  Many jurisdictions use the term "guardian of the person" to refer to the same legal principle.  It may be necessary to petition a court to appoint a conservator for persons:

  • Who have physical or mental problems that prevent them from managing their own financial affairs;
  • Who have no person already legally authorized to assume responsibility for them; and
  • Where other kinds of assistance with financial management will not adequately protect them. 

Guardianship:
A guardianship is a legal relationship created by a court between a guardian and his ward, either a minor child or an incapacitated adult.  The guardian has a legal right and duty to care for the ward.  This may involve making personal decisions on his or her behalf, managing property or both.  Usually, a person has the status of guardian because the ward is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity or disability.

Courts generally have the power to appoint a guardian for an individual in need of special protection.  There are different types of guardians that can be appointed.  A guardian with responsibility for both the personal well-being and the financial interests of the ward is a general guardian.  A person may also be appointed as a special guardian, having limited powers over the interests of the ward.  A guardian appointed to represent the interests of a person with respect to a single action in litigation is a guardian ad litem.

Estate Tax Returns:
The money and property you own when you die (your estate) may be subject to federal estate tax.  Most estates are not subject to the tax.  Only about 2% of all estates are subject to the estate tax.  An estate tax return generally will not be needed unless the estate is worth more than the applicable exclusion amount for the year of death.  The estate tax is technically a tax on the transfer of property to others, generally to children of a decedent.

Estate taxes are different from, and in addition to, probate expenses and final income taxes owed on income the decedent earned in the year of his or her death.  They also are separate from inheritance taxes that are collected by some states.

Most states impose their own estate taxes, usually as a "sponge tax" that piggybacks on the federal estate tax.  The federal estate tax allows each estate a tax credit for any state inheritance or estate taxes paid, up to a maximum dollar amount.

Private Annuities & Charitable Trusts:
In a private annuity trust, an owner transfers property to an irrevocable trust in exchange for a promise to make prescribed payments to the owner for his or her lifetime.  The trust then sells the property to a third party, the proceeds of which are invested to provide the payments promised to the owner.  On death, the remainder of the trust estate typically passes to the heirs of the property owner.  The trustee must be someone other than the property owner.

A charitable trust is somewhat similar to a private annuity trust, except that the owner transfers property to an irrevocable trust of which one or more charitable organizations will be beneficiaries.  The type of charitable trust most likely to be used is a charitable remainder trust, in which the owner retains an income interest for his or her lifetime.  The property can be sold by the trustee and the proceeds invested to provide the payments to the owner.  On death or after a specified term of years, the remainder of the trust estate passes to one or more designated charitable organizations.  Unlike a private annuity trust, the trustee can be the property owner.
 

Real Estate Practice Areas and Legal Definitions

Real Estate Negotiations:
In major financial transactions, especially those involving real estate properties, it’s important to have a knowledgeable negotiator working for you, one who knows the law and whose loyalty to you is undivided.  Real estate brokers and agents depend on sales commissions for their livelihood.  If the sale does not occur they receive nothing for their time and energy, and this can create a conflict of interest.  You need someone representing you who is less concerned about a particular sale going through than with making certain your legal rights are protected.

Title Clearance Issues:
In large urban centers title insurance has reduced the need for in-depth title searches by real estate lawyers, but this is not necessarily the case in rural areas of the state.  As with any other insurance policy, title insurance documents are usually packed with disclaimers of one kind or another, all in highly technical real estate jargon and legalese, and all set forth in the tiniest of fine print.  Failure to fully understand the import of a particular clause or disclaimer in the policy can result in financial consequences at some later date, when it may be too late to do anything about it.  If you find things in the title policy you don’t understand, your real estate attorney can explain them to you and can also point to you any items that need to be challenged and resolved.  Given the amount of money involved in modern real estate transactions, it is critical to make certain that title problems are not going to make the deal a disaster.

Quiet Title Matters:
Sometimes a particular piece of real property has title defects of such significance that no sale or other transfer of ownership can occur until they are resolved.  The usual method of clearing title defects is a lawsuit called a “Quiet Title” action.  In the Quiet Title action, the Court would receive and consider evidence on the issue, and if satisfied that the judgment had been discharged, would issue an order dissolving (removing) the judgment lien.

Mechanic’s Liens:
When doing building construction or repairs, building contractors often utilize a legal device called a “mechanics lien” as a means of making certain they will be paid for their labor and materials.  The creation of a mechanic’s lien involves written notice to the owner of the property and other formal requirements, and its enforcement is subject to strict procedural rules. Once a valid mechanic’s lien attaches to the property, however, it operates as a claim against the property which, if it remains unpaid, can ultimately result in foreclosure proceedings.

Real Estate Document Preparation:
Whatever may be said during real estate negotiations, whatever promises may have been made, it is the final written documents that will control what happens.  Many of the closing documents involve the completion of pre-printed forms, but sometimes the details of a particular transaction require modification of a form to provide adequate protection.  Your real estate attorney can either prepare all of the documents, or can review the documents that have been prepared, explaining them to you and suggesting changes, as needed, for your benefit.

Closing Attorney Representation:
The majority of transactions are concluded routinely, with no unanticipated problems and as it may well appear after the fact, no need for legal representation during the closing.  There is no legal requirement for representation by counsel at the closing, but most lenders and prudent investors will do so.  It is at closing that critical disputes often arise concerning the language in a particular clause or some other technical aspect of the transaction.

Sales Breach Issues:
Once a written agreement has been executed by both parties to a real estate transaction its provisions are legally binding.  Which judicial remedies, if any, may be available for the breach of the agreement depends on a variety of factors.  There may, for example, be remedies available to the Buyer if the Seller breaches that are not available to the Seller, if the Buyer is the breaching party.

Land Development Issues:
Land development projects grow more difficult and complex with each passing year.  Your real estate lawyer can guide you through the labyrinth of zoning regulations, environmental agency requirements, building, fire and safety codes and the various other requirements for doing business in this complicated field of real estate.

1031 Exchanges:
Internal Revenue Service Code §1031 provides a means for deferring the capital gains tax consequences of a real estate transaction when the proceeds of sale from one transaction are to be promptly reinvested in another similar type property.  The key word here is “deferral".  What happens is that the tax basis of the old property is transferred to the new, so that when the new property is ultimately sold, the tax will be due.  Of course, if the second property is also sold under a 1031 exchange, the tax will be deferred yet again.

Zoning & Land Use Issues:
Zoning and land use laws come into play in every real estate development, whether large or small.  Before buying real estate property or making major improvements to property you currently own, it is absolutely essential that you know about and understand the existing zoning and land use restrictions.

As a general rule, specified land uses are compatible.  You cannot, for example, put in a dairy herd, a shopping mall or an office building on land zoned for residential use.  It is sometimes possible to persuade local authorities to change the zoning for a particular area, but it can be very difficult, very expensive and it can take a long time.  In some cases it is possible to secure a zoning variance.  A variance is in the nature of an “exemption” for the particular parcel of real estate, from a particular zoning requirement.  Zoning changes and variances both involve extremely complex and difficult legal and political skills and often require public hearings before governmental agencies.

Condominium Association Matters Including Common Area Fee Recovery:
While Condominium Associations are autonomous, they must comply with state and federal law and with the provisions of their own bylaws.  A qualified real estate lawyer can provide timely and useful advice to Condominium Associations so that they may accomplish this purpose.  Association officers can be held individually responsible if the Association fails to comply with the law.

If you or someone you know in the Bronx or throughout the New York metropolitan area needs the assistance of an experienced New York City Family Law Attorney, call Jayson Lutzky today at 718-355-9175, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.

Professional Profile

If you or someone you know in the Bronx or throughout the New York metropolitan area needs the assistance of an experienced New York City Family Law Attorney, call Jayson Lutzky today at 718-355-9175, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.

ADDRESS OF THE FIRM:
Jayson Lutzky, P.C.
26 W 183rd St
Bronx, NY 10453
Telephone: 718-355-9175
Fax: 718-329-8760

MEMBERS OF THE FIRM:

Jayson Lutzky

EDUCATION:

  • Union College, B.S., 1979

JURISDICTIONS:

  • New York State
  • Southern District of  New York
  • Eastern District of New York

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Bronx County Bar Association
  • NYS Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Attorney Award
  • Network for Women's Services Commitment to Justice Award 

Additional Questions or need further information?

Jayson Lutzky
Jayson Lutzky, P.C.
26 W 183rd St
Bronx, NY 10453
Phone: 718-355-9186
Fax: (718)329-8760

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