Since the beginning of my law practice, I have handled thousands of Family Court cases ranging from minor visitation cases to cases involving extensive domestic and child abuse.  I am regularly appointed by the courts in Otsego and Delaware County to be an Attorney for the Child (formerly called a Law Guardian) and have received close to 200 hours of training in this area alone.   

              Matters in Family Court often require as much diplomacy as legal skill.  Even though significant rights must be protected, especially when children are involved, fighting tooth and nail can often further disrupt a family structure and lead to more serious problems in the future.  Regardless of what the adults may want, if there are children involved the Judge will be looking out for their best interests, regardless of what is “fair” for one parent or the other. 

            The first time I meet with new clients I try to determine if they know what they want to accomplish and whether they have considered long term ramifications.

             If I have not previously represented the client, I try to find out as much as the history of the case as I can reviewing prior Petitions and court orders.  We will discuss things like possible witnesses, documents, emails, or Facebook entries.  If I accept a case, the client receives copies of all correspondence and documents. 

             Family Court often requires several court appearances even on a fairly simple case. Before those appearances, I will answer all questions my clients have or sit down with them to discuss the upcoming court appearance, if that is a better way to handle it.  As with criminal cases, if a proposal is made to settle a case, I will promptly discuss it with my client.  The choice of whether to accept, reject, or ask to change any settlement proposal is ALWAYS up to the client.    

Thomas Hegeman

Attorney at Law

8-12 Dietz St., Suite 204, Oneonta, NY 13820

Office:  607-432-7952

Fax:      607-432-7987