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Wife Seeks to Set Aside a Pre-Nuptial Agreement: She Failed!

Wedding certificate with two rings and a pen.

In a case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein sitting in a Supreme Court, Matrimonial Part in Nassau County, a wife brought a proceeding to set aside a pre-nuptial agreement the parties had entered into more than 10 years earlier. The husband brought a motion seeking to dismiss wife’s claim to set aside the pre-nuptial agreement.

The wife argued the pre-nuptial agreement was invalid due to the fact that there had been fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, coercion, among other issues. She claimed her spouse had promised her the agreement would be no longer in effect after seven (7) years of marriage. She also claimed she was coerced into signing the agreement and she did not have the opportunity to have independent counsel.

The agreement was executed a few days before the wedding took place. The wife also claimed her husband had breached significant portions of the agreement.

The Judge’s Decision

Justice Goodstein rendered a decision the wife had failed to prove her case due to the agreement’s unambiguous language. He also found she failed to establish fraudulent inducement. In addition, he found she did not establish coercion, breach of contract or lack of independent counsel. His decision noted the wife did not provide any corroborating testimony or evidence to support her allegations and statements.

Elliot Schlissel

Judge Goodstein did find there was some ambiguity with regard to the issue of life insurance and thereafter ruled the entire agreement was valid except for the clauses dealing with life insurance.

Conclusion

Before entering into a pre-nuptial agreement one should retain counsel to discuss the terms, conditions and obligations in the agreement. In addition, parties to a written agreement should always be careful and understand the contents of the agreement they are signing.

Same Sex Partner Getting Visitation Rights

Wedding rings

In a case which emanated originally from Suffolk County New York, the Appellate Division, Second Department, an appeals court, upheld a Suffolk County Family Court’s ruling that a female same sex partner had legal standing to seek parenting time with children despite the fact artificial insemination’s had not been conducted by a doctor in the State of New York and therefore did not comply with New York’s artificial insemination law. The appeals court held: “the record reflects that the parties made an informed mutual decision to conceive this subject children via artificial insemination and to raise them together, first while in a registered domestic partnership in California and, later, while legally married in that State.”

Domestic Partnerships

The women entered into a registered domestic partnership in the year 2004 in California. In 2007 the biological parent gave birth to a child through artificial insemination. The non-biological parent was listed on the child’s birth certificate as a parent. However, the non-biological parent did not adopt the child. In 2008 the parties were married in California. Thereafter, the biological parent had another child through artificial insemination. The non-biological parent was listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. Both children were conceived by sperm given from the same sperm donor. The artificial insemination’s were conducted at the parties’ home without a doctor being present.

Parenting Time (Visitation Rights)

The biological parent claimed that the non-biological parent lacked standing to have parenting time with the child born in 2007. She argued they were not legally married at the time. With regard to the child born in 2009, she argued the artificial insemination was not performed by a physician and therefore the non-biological parent cannot be deemed the child’s parent under New York Domestic Relations Law Section 73. This statute states a child conceived by artificial insemination is deemed the legitimate of the mother and her husband if the procedure was conducted by a physician after the written consent of both parents.

Elliot S. Schlissel

In the underlying Family Court proceeding which took place in Suffolk County, Judge Deborah Poulos found that the couple’s noncompliance with the artificial insemination statutes in both New York and California did not prevent the court from awarding the non-biological parent parenting time with the children.

Conclusion

The decision in this expands the rights of non-biological parents to have a relationship with their children.

Parties Marriage Declared Void Because Husband Was Still Married to Prior Wife

Wedding rings

In a case in Kings County Supreme Court before Justice Delores Thomas, a husband filed a divorce case against his wife. The wife took action to have the marriage declared void (to have never existed). The wife provided documentation that while her attorney was looking into the appraisal of their property in the Dominican Republic, her attorney discovered her husband had been previously married and the marriage didn’t end in a divorce. The husband took the position the Dominican Republic marriage certificate referred to another man and not to him. He claimed the national identity card number on the marriage document was not his and it belonged to someone else.

Rights of Non Biological Parents

Justice Delores Thomas sitting in the Family Law part in Kings County found the husband had sought to get around the determination in Kings County concerning his divorce in the Dominican Republic on the basis that he had initiated a lawsuit in the Dominican Republic to declare his prior marriage void. The court found the father had been proceeding with declaring his prior marriage void in Dominican Republic for 3 months and he was not interested in waiting any longer. Judge Thomas found the husband’s passport showed an identification number similar to the one on the marriage certificate presented by the wife’s attorney. She found his allegation that the marriage certificate was a fraud was without merit. She also found the father’s allegation the other marriage never occurred was simply not true. The court therefore rendered a decision declaring the wife’s and husband’s marriage to be void as of the date it took place and that therefore no divorce lawsuit was necessary.

Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates represent clients concerning matrimonial and family law issues throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Allegations

Gavel & law books

Domestic violence situations often occur in residences. Domestic violence cases involving requests for Orders of Protection, arrests by the police, and applications in the Family Court usually involve individuals who live in the same residence. The District Attorney’s offices in the Metropolitan New York area take allegations of domestic violence quite seriously. Many of the District Attorney’s offices have special units designed to investigate and prosecute domestic violence cases.

Sexual Abuse: Forcible Touching

In the State of New York there are a variety of related crimes: sexual assault, sexual abuse and improper touching. New York has a new statute involving forcible touching. This involves individuals touching other individuals without permission in an inappropriate and/or degrading manner.

The sexual related crimes take into consideration the age of the victim, the circumstances of the crime, the nature and extent of the contact. In certain situations individuals convicted of sexual crimes have to file under the sex offender registration statute. Our office has experience in dealing with false charges involving sexual abuse related to domestic disputes and cases involving divorces and/or custody litigation.

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

False Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Improper and false allegations of sexual abuse can have impact on all aspects of a person’s life. It can cause an individual to be thrown out of his or her home, lose their job and/or be considered a sex offender, which will create numerous problems in finding future employment. All cases involving alleged sexual domestic violence issues should be taken very seriously. If you, or a friend, or family member are accused of a sexual related incident or domestic violence matter, it is important you retain competent counsel as quickly as possible.

VIDEO: Mother Secretly Relocates With Child

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel discusses a case in which a mother secretly relocated to North Carolina with a child.

Internet Crimes: Child Pornography on the Internet

Handcuffs and keys

In recent years there has been many prosecutions of individuals relating to downloading or uploading child pornography through the internet. In addition, contact on the internet with minors or providing obscene material to minors, is also a crime. These cases are prosecuted by federal investigators, state investigators and local police departments. These law enforcement agencies often pose as minors on the internet to obtain information to prosecute individuals involved in these inappropriate illegal activities.

Jail Sentences for Internet Related Crimes

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

The jail sentences for internet related crimes involving child pornography and inappropriate sexual contact with minors can be very harsh.

Should you be contacted by law enforcement personnel with regard to alleged obscene material, child pornography or contact with minors on the internet, you should immediately advise the investigating authorities that you wish to make no statement until you consult with an attorney. The retaining of an attorney early on in these investigations is crucial. Statements made to investigating officers can be used against you in courts of law.

VIDEO: Court Refuses to Deviate From A Child Support Standards Act Requirement

Happy Independence Day from the Offices of Elliot Schlisel

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Happy Independence Day

And thanks to all who serve.

Wife Entitled to 50% of Husband’s NY Fire Department Pension Retroactively

gavel-law-books

A wife brought a case in Rockland County Supreme Court before Justice Robert Berliner. In this case the parties had been divorced by a judgment dividing the marital portion of each of the parties’ pension and retirement benefits. Thereafter the wife submitted a Domestic Relations Order concerning the husband’s New York City Fire Department (hereinafter referred to as ‘FDNY”) pension. In November 2015 the wife received her first payment of the husband’s pension. The monthly payment she received was for $1,762.88.

Husband’s Pension in Pay Status

The husband’s FDNY pension however was in pay status going back to May 2014. The wife’s application sought $31,731.84 which represented her 50% interest related to her marital portion of husband’s pension from May 2014 through October 2015. The wife’s attorneys presented an argument that her financial interest in husband’s pension vested when the parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement regarding their divorce on April 22, 2014. There was a delay with regard to submitting the Domestic Relations Order. However, the delay in submitting the Domestic Relations Order the wife claimed should not impact on her receiving the retroactive portion of her husband’s pension. The husband’s attorneys argued the wife’s application was not in conformity with the Stipulation of Settlement the parties entered into. He also argued the Domestic Relations Order submitted by wife sought to modify the Stipulation of Settlement in the divorce which had been resolved 2 years prior.

Wife’s Interest in Husband’s Pension Vested
Upon Execution of the Stipulation of Settlement

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

Justice Robert Berliner agreed with the wife’s position. He held the wife’s interest in her husband’s pension vested when the Stipulation of Settlement was executed. He further held the delay in submitting a Domestic Relations Order did not impact on her rights to half of her husband’s pension. The judge found the wife was entitled to $31,731.84 in back payments. This constituted her 50% share of her marital interest portion of husband’s pension. The husband had to pay her back this money because these funds were paid out prior to the court entering the Domestic Relations Order causing the New York City Fire Department to pay the wife $1,752.88 per month.

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