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Family Law Attorney in Poughkeepsie, New York

Family law issues touch the most private and pivotal parts of life. It's a legal area that affects the core of family units, from the difficult transition of dissolving marriage to the unspeakable realities of domestic violence.  

As an experienced family lawyer at the Law Office of Fred Clarke, I understand the challenges you're facing. I've been working with New York clients throughout the Poughkeepsie area for decades. Whether you're facing a divorce, a child custody battle, or struggling with domestic violence, my goal is to provide compassionate and effective legal representation to help you build the future you and your loved ones deserve.  

Contact me today to learn how my legal services can bring a sense of calm to your legal storm. I'm proud to serve families across Fairview, Arlington, Spackenkill, Highland, Haviland, Pleasant Valley, Crown Heights, Milton, Clintondale, and beyond.  

How My Firm Can Help

For families that are experiencing conflict and crisis, a knowledgeable family law attorney can offer calming and caring guidance as you work toward a fair and satisfying solution. You want to reach a positive outcome for you and your family, and I can help you find a path toward a more peaceful tomorrow.  

As your dedicated family law attorney, I will sit down with you and we will work together to determine the best course of action to pursue the best available result in your case. 


Divorce is a truly difficult and emotional experience for everyone involved. Your life is being turned upside down, your future is uncertain, and you may be left wondering how this happened and where you can go from here.  

There are many misconceptions about divorce. What applies to someone else's case might not necessarily apply to yours. To navigate the complicated nature of a divorce, your best option is to work closely with a divorce attorney who will clearly explain your rights, options, and obligations under the law.  

You don't have to go through this painful time alone. Relying on the knowledge and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney can take the legal burden off of your shoulders and help you move on to a more hopeful future. 

Facing a Family Crisis?

Child Custody and Visitation Rights

Child custody issues can be one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of family law disputes. In New York, child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, which takes several factors into account. These factors include:

  • The parents' ability to provide for the child's emotional and financial needs

  • The child's wishes (depending on their age and maturity)

  • The mental and physical health of both parents

  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse

New York distinguishes between two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions in a child's life, such as those relating to education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody, on the other hand, pertains to where the child will live.

The court may grant joint custody, where both parents share these responsibilities, or sole custody, where one parent has the majority of responsibility. 

Visitation rights, also known as parenting time, are typically awarded to the non-custodial parent, ensuring that the child maintains a meaningful relationship with both parents. Visitation schedules can vary widely and should be tailored to suit the needs of the child and the parents' availability.  

Navigating child custody and visitation rights can be incredibly complex and emotionally charged. With a focus on the best outcome for your child, I will provide you with the information and support needed to make informed decisions and advocate for your parental rights in court. 

Child Support in New York

In New York, child support obligations are calculated using the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), which provides a formula based on the combined parental income and the number of children requiring support.  

The basic child support amount typically constitutes a percentage of the parents' combined income, distributed as follows:  

  • 17% for one child, 

  • 25% for two children, 

  • 29% for three children, 

  • 31% for four children, and  

  • at least 35% for five or more children.  

This amount can be adjusted to account for various factors, including educational costs, healthcare expenses, and the standard of living the child enjoyed prior to the parents' separation. 

In addition to basic support, parents may also be required to contribute to other necessary expenses. These can include costs related to healthcare, childcare, and extracurricular activities. Both parents are expected to share these expenses proportionally to their incomes, ensuring that the child's needs are adequately met. 

My firm is dedicated to providing clear, compassionate guidance, ensuring that you fully understand your obligations and rights under the law.  

Domestic Violence

Victims of domestic violence may feel trapped and uncertain about their options. As a dedicated family law attorney, I am committed to providing the support and legal expertise needed to protect you and your loved ones. 

Domestic violence encompasses not only physical abuse but also emotional, psychological, sexual, and economic abuse within a household. Obtaining an order of protection is crucial in these cases. It can restrict the abuser's contact with the victim, enforce safe living arrangements, and ensure everyone's safety.

These orders can also provide temporary custody for children and exclusive possession of a shared residence. 

My firm works tirelessly to ensure that your voice is heard and that your safety is prioritized. I don't stand for bullies. I will not stand for my clients to be pushed around by their spouse or an opposing attorney. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, I encourage you to seek help as soon as you can. Let me assist you in taking the necessary legal steps to protect yourself and your family. As your lawyer, your safety and well-being will always be my top priorities. 

Understanding Post-Decision Modifications

Family law services don't stop once a divorce is finalized or a decision is made. As your life changes, so do your needs and the arrangements you have in place. I'm here to provide the ongoing legal support you need to continue building a stable and fulfilling future post-divorce. 

Child support orders can be reviewed and modified if there have been significant changes in circumstances. Common reasons to seek modifications include a substantial change in either parent's income, such as job loss or a significant pay raise. Additionally, changes in the child's needs, such as increased medical expenses or educational costs, could also warrant a modification.  

Either parent can file a petition with the court to request an adjustment. The court will then review the changes in circumstances and decide whether a modification is justified to ensure that the child’s needs are still being met appropriately. 

Custody arrangements may also need to be altered as the child grows and situations evolve. For instance, if a parent relocates or their work schedule changes significantly, the existing custody order may no longer be viable. Also, if there is evidence that the current living situation endangers the child's welfare due to neglect, abuse, or significant lifestyle changes of a parent, custody arrangements can be revisited.  

To initiate a custody modification, a parent must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child. The court will evaluate numerous factors before deciding on any changes to the custody order, including:

  • The child’s emotional and physical well-being

  • Their relationship with each parent

  • Their educational and social stability

Navigating post-decision modifications requires a thorough understanding of legal procedures and a thoughtful approach to presenting your case. Whether you need an adjustment due to changes in finances or an evolving family situation, I am here to guide you through the process, ensuring your child’s needs remain the primary focus. 

Family Law Attorney Serving Poughkeepsie, New York

I understand that family law matters are sensitive and can put a strain on your finances. I'm committed to providing affordable legal services to help you achieve a positive outcome. If you're facing a family law issue in Poughkeepsie, New York, or the surrounding areas, I'm here to help. Contact my firm today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards finding peace and security for you and your family.