Why Can’t You Get a Divorce in New York Family Court?

It seems obvious that family court should handle all things family but in New York Courts that is not true. According to the New York Family Court Act Section 115, the Family Court has exclusive original Jurisdiction or control, over the following:

    • child abuse and neglect proceedings
    • child support proceedings
    • proceedings to determine paternity and for the support of children born out-of-wedlock
    • proceedings to permanently terminate parental rights to guardianship and custody of a child
    • proceedings concerning whether a person is in need of supervision
    • proceedings concerning juvenile delinquency
    • proceedings involving handicapped children
    •  proceedings concerning adoption and custody of children
    • proceedings concerning the uniform interstate family support act
    • proceedings concerning children in foster care and care and custody of children
    •  proceedings concerning former foster children 
    • proceedings concerning destitute children
    •  proceedings concerning guardianship and custody of children by reason of the death of, or abandonment or surrender by, the parent or parents
    •  proceedings concerning standby guardianship and guardianship of the person
    • proceedings concerning the interstate compact on juveniles
    • the interstate compact on the placement of children
    • the uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act
    •  provided that tribal courts of Indian tribes designated as such by the state of New York shall have jurisdiction over such child custody proceedings involving Indian children to the same extent as federally designated Indian tribes upon the approval of the state office of children and family services 
    • concurrent jurisdiction with the criminal court over all family offenses
    • jurisdiction to direct the commencement of proceedings to suspend the driving privileges, recreational licenses and permits, and license, permit, registration or authority to practice of persons who are delinquent in their child or combined child and spousal support obligations or persons who have failed, after receiving appropriate notice, to comply with summonses, subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity and child support proceedings

In order to obtain a divorce, one must file an action in the New York Supreme Courts. The Family Court only has jurisdiction in matrimonial action only when the case is referred to it by the Supreme Court. If you are seeking a divorce you must file a complaint for divorce in the Supreme Court of the County where the parties were married and either party resided for at least one year prior to the filing pursuant to Domestic Relations Law 230.

If you are confused about where to obtain your divorce and need assistance in filing or defending a divorce action, Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. can represent you. Contact Attorney Diana Mohyi for a consultation.

Why Airbnb is Illegal in New York City

The fight for free enterprise between companies such as Airbnb and Hotels and Landlords has been in the news for a while. There is no Airbnb Law per se so what makes Airbnb and similar business models illegal in New York City?

Short term leasing is prohibited by New York Multiple Dwelling Law Sec 4(8)(a). A ‘Multiple Dwelling’ is a home rented within a residence with three or more families dwelling independently of each other. Such a dwelling can only be occupied by the same natural person or family for 30 consecutive days or more. However you may allow a non-paying guest to occupy your residence for less than 30 days if they are a non-paying guest.

According to the New York Housing a Maintenance Code 27-2004(14), an apartment is single dwelling unit meant for a single family with lawful sanitary and kitchen facilities for the exclusive use of that family. Under HMC 27-2004(4), a family is a single person with not more than two borders; OR two more persons related by blood, adoption, legal guardianship, marriage, or domestic partnership maintaining a household with not more than two borders; OR not more than three unrelated persons. Furthermore, pursuant to HMC 27-2078, a family may rent to no more than two borders, roomers or lodgers.

When is Airbnb illegal when you are home at the time of rental, which lasts less than 30 days, and the guests don’t number three or more?

When a Rent Stabilized Tenant is profiting off the rental. The Rent Stabilization Code prohibits Rent Stabilized Tenants from profiteering off their apartment by Subleasing

When you are creating a liability for other tenants and ultimately the landlord.

Why should landlords care if they get their rent anyway?

The New York City Department of Buildings and Environmental Control Board will issue violations and fines to a landlord if it finds that the short-term leasing law has been violated. Ignorance is not a defense!

Do not confuse these rules with the tenant’s right to have a roomate.

If you are Landlord faced with the need to evict a tenant for violating the short term leasing law or a tenant facing eviction for violating those laws, Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. can represent you.

The Difference between Rent Controlled verses Rent Stabilized Apartments


Yes there is a difference between Rent Controlled and Rent Stabilized Apartments. It’s all about the money. Both types of apartments are considered ‘Rent Regulated’ Apartments. The rent a tenant must pay is generally far below the market rate that the landlord could typically charge for the unit. Therefore these units are valuable to the tenants who have them because the tenancy can be passed on through the family or someone that is considered close to you and has lived with you in the unit. The landlord and tenant cannot contract outside of the governing statutes for these types of units. There are significant differences between the two types of units.

Rent Control generally applies to residential buildings built before 1947 in municipalities such as New York City, among others, which did not declare an end to the postwar rental housing emergency. The rent stays stagnant and therefore it would be possible to pay under $100 a month in rent in such a unit. These are considered the most valuable apartments. There have been 10 room apartments in the upper east side which have rents set at not more than $1000 per month. But good luck finding a tenant willing to give it up!

In NYC, Rent Stabilized apartments are generally those apartments in buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and January 1, 1974. Rent Stabilized apartments are still much lower than market rate to rent. The landlord has a right to increase the rent in accordance with the landlord’s expenses by applying to The Rent Guidelines Board which regulates the rent on Rent Stabilized Units only. Generally, a landlord can convert a Rent Stabilized apartment to a market rate apartment. The landlord must do significant renovation to the apartment, such as a complete gutting of the apartment down to the floor beams, and applying to the Rent Guidelines Board to convert the unit to a market rate apartment. Otherwise, when a Rent Stabilized unit is vacated by a tenant it remains Rent Stablized.

When Rent Controlled Apartments become vacant they automatically convert to a Rent Stabilized Apartment. The landlord cannot unilaterally declare that the unit is now market rate and then start marketing it as such. If a legitimate case for rent over charge is brought against a Rent Stabilized unit’s landlord, the landlord can be required to repay all the rent paid by the tenant which was charged above what was the tenant was legally required to pay as well as hefty fines and the tenants legal fees. The landlord must attach certain riders to a lease for a Rent Stabilized Apartment.

If you are a tenant being forced to pay above market rent for your unit or you are a landlord who is defending such a claim, Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. can assist you to resolve your dispute.

See more on this topic at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguidelinesboard/resources/rent-control.page

Why a Landlord Cannot Evict & Collect Past Due Rent at the Same Time

Usually the parties in a lawsuit resolve all disputes against one another in one proceeding, but Landlord Tenant Law is a different. A landlord cannot both evict a tenant and obtain a judgement for past due rent from the the tenant in the same proceeding. A landlord must send a termination notice to the tenant first before commencing a holdover proceeding to evict the tenant. If the landlord wants to get past due rent from the tenant they must commence a non-payment proceeding to obtain a judgement from the tenant. In most cases, the tenant has not been paying rent because they don’t have the money to pay it. In that situation it does not make sense for the landlord to start with a nonpayment proceeding. The landlord would typically commence a holdover proceeding. The landlord must be careful to follow the both the rules of Civil Procedure for a Civil Lawsuit and procedures outlined in the the New York State Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL). If any one of the procedural requirements are not followed, the Landlord essentially gives the tenant’s lawyer an excuse to use to have the action dismissed. Therefore it is important for a landlord to obtain the counsel of an attorney who practices landlord tenant law. Otherwise the Landlord will waste time and money commencing an action against a tenant just to restart the process all over again. Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. is available to represent you in your landlord tenant proceeding whether you are a landlord who is not being paid or a tenant who is being harrassed.

Why The Best Interests of Your Children in a Divorce Are Not Your Interests

When a married couple with minor children seeks a divorce they often forget that their interests are not automatically aligned with the best interests of their child. If they cannot agree on a custody and visitation arrangement, the Court steps in to protect the children by appointing a children’s attorney aka guardian ad litem and by appointing at least one forensic psychologist or physician to evaluate which home environment would be better for the children. As you may suspect these paraprofessionals can contribute to a very expensive divorce bill. Therefore it is best that the parties come to a mutual decision about custody and visitation without involving third parties who will be required to approve any agreement the parents make once they get involved.

According to New York’s Domestic Relations Law, the parent to be awarded custody is not an automatic assumption. DRL 70 states that “there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child.’ DRL 240 also echos that language. This concept has been expanded in New York’s body of case law resulting in factors which help a court determine what is in the best interests of the child.

(1) The parent who has been the primary caretaker;
(2) The age and health of the parties;
(2) The need for stability and continuity in the child’s life;
(3) The relative financial ability of each parent;
(4) The quality of home environment and the parental guidance each parent provides;
(5) The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual development;
(6) The relative fitness of each parent;
(7) The length of time the present custodial arrangement has been in effect; and
(8) The desires of the child.

Ultimately, unless being around a certain parent is inherently bad for a child, a child needs both parents. A child is not property. A child is a human being who only has one set of biological parents. No matter how much a party may hate their spouse, there is nothing they can do to change that so they might as well start by agreeing for the sake of their child.

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