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Arrests of Immigrants for Criminal Acts in New York

Handcuffs & keys

On February of 2017 federal immigration agents arrested 41 people in the State of New York. After the arrests the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided details as to why these individuals were detained. These individuals had been convicted of offenses against children, convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, rape, robbery and cocaine distribution convictions. All of these convictions are considered aggravated felonies and are therefore offenses that individuals can be deported for.

Thomas R. Decker, the Director of Enforcement Removal Proceedings for ICE’s New York Office quotes: “Citizens of New York City and the surrounding areas are safer every time another criminal is removed from the street.” “Our nation has a proud history of immigration,” however, he went on to state: “No one should be allowed to pick and choose which laws they decide to follow.”

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

The individuals arrested were from a variety of countries including Mexico, Guinea, Guyana and Jamaica. Carlos Gerardo Izzo a spokesman for the Mexican consulate stated: “These were specific operations to pick up each one of them and not randomly take someone off the street because there was a Mexican place where there were a lot of people.” Mexican family members have been warned by consulate officials that they should not fear being arrested while on the street. The individuals arrested in the New York Metropolitan area were part of the approximate 700 people who were detained on a nationwide basis.

Criminal Action That Can Prevent You From Becoming A Naturalized American Citizen

Aggravated Felonies

A Gavel & Law Book

A criminal conviction after November 29, 1990 for what is defined as an aggravated felony is a permanent bar to becoming a naturalized American citizen. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Law some crimes under State and other federal laws would be considered misdemeanors are considered aggravated felonies for naturalization purposes. Examples of crimes that are considered aggravated felonies are crimes involving theft, where an individual is sentenced to one year in jail, drug trafficking and various other crimes. Some crimes which are not aggravated felonies also may prevent you from becoming a naturalized American citizen. The law involving becoming a naturalized American citizen requires that you provide documentation that for a period of five (5) years you have shown a good moral character. In some instances spouses of United States citizens only have to prove they have had a good character for three (3) years.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

There is a category of crimes involving moral turpitude that can be a bar to becoming a naturalized American citizen. Examples of these types of crimes are drug offenses, multiple gambling offenses, crimes where a judge has sentenced you to five (5) years imprisonment or more and any crime for which you have been confined to a prison for a period of six (6) months. A list of other crimes which are considered crimes of moral turpitude involve sexual offenses, robbery, receiving stolen goods, prostitution, counterfeiting, larceny, murder, burglary, writing bad checks, blackmail, bribery, rape and prostitution.

Citizens Application From Being Deported

If you apply to become a naturalized American citizen and you have been convicted of a crime involving more than five (5) years imprisonment or under certain circumstances three (3) years imprisonment, you can as a result of applying to become a naturalized American citizen be deported for your criminal act. Your case can be referred to an immigration Court for deportation action.

Attorney Elliot SchlisselElliot S. Schlissel and his associates are criminal lawyers who are not only experienced in representing clients with regard to criminal problems but are knowledgeable with regard to the immigration impact criminal convictions can have.

Ben Vereen – Bigamist or Not?

Marriage certificate being cut in half

Ben Vereen married Andrea Tonsley Vereen more than 50 years ago. The Marriage was short and sweet. It lasted only 2 years. Thereafter, Mr. Vereen remarried. Both Mr. Vereen and Ms. Tonsley remarried and had children with their new spouses. They stayed friendly during the 50 years that have ensued since they split up.

Applying for Social Security

Last year, Andrea applied to Social Security. When she applied, she found out she was still married to Mr. Vereen. Mr. Vereen recalled appearing in court and having their marriage dissolved. He assumed he had been divorced. However, the Social Security Administration had no record of his divorce. Mr. Vereen became concerned because he had remarried in 1976 and had 5 children with his second wife. He wondered as to whether he was a bigamist.

Prior Attorney Deceased

The lawyer that had represented Mr. Vereen in the 1970’s was deceased. Mr. Vereen hired several lawyers to try to uncover the problem brought up by his first wife. The New York Post and People Magazine wrote articles about the situation. This created an embarrassing situation for Mr. Vereen.

Eventually Mr. Vereen found a lawyer who was able to uncover the fact that in 1974 a final judgement of divorce was entered between him and Andrea Tonsley Vereen. They actually had been divorced for 42 years.


Attorney Elliot Schlissel

It is highly recommended when you get divorced to save a copy of your divorce documents. You will be surprised how often these documents will come in handy.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements: Doing Them Correctly!

Pre-nuptial Agreements
There can be a variety of reasons for individuals entering into a pre-nuptial agreement. However unless a pre-nuptial agreement is enforceable it’s not worth writing. If a divorce proceeding is initiated a claim can be made is to set aside the pre-nuptial agreement. The purpose of this blog article is to discuss a variety of issues that should be dealt with to limit the potential of a pre-nuptial agreement being set aside.

Avoid Last Minute Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Issues of duress and coercion can be the basis of trying to set aside a pre-nuptial agreement. To avoid these issues each party to the pre-nuptial agreement should be represented by independent counsel. The pre-nuptial should not be executed the day before, a night before or even a week before a date of a wedding. The parties should have a reasonable period of time to prepare, review and execute the pre-nuptial agreement without being impacted on by the impending celebration of their marriage.

Full Financial Disclosure

The parties who enter a pre-nuptial agreement in the State of New York should disclose their assets, debts, income and financial obligations. This allows the parties to make a knowing, reasonable decision with regard to entering into this agreement.

Avoid Unconscionable Terms

When a pre-nuptial agreement is challenged a court of competent jurisdiction will review the agreement. It must not be so unfair or imbalanced on its face that a court will refuse to enforce it. Unconscionability deals with the issue of an agreement being so unfair as to shock the consciousness of the judge ruling upon it. This means for an agreement to be fair and reasonable between a monied spouse and a non-monied spouse there must be come consideration given to the non-monied spouse.

Independent Counsel

Attorney Elliot SchlisselIn the State of New York each of the parties should have independent counsel representing them with regard to the preparation and execution of the agreement. Each party having their own attorney who can explain and make sure their client fully understands the agreement and all of its implications. Each party having their own attorney is especially important when they are waiving important legal rights they would be entitled to in a divorce proceeding. As a general rule my office will not enter into a pre-nuptial agreement unless the other party is represented by an attorney.

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been drafting pre-nuptial agreements for clients located throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years.

Father Ordered To Produce Children in New York

Parent holding hand of child

This is a case with international implications. The mother and father were married in Yemen. After being married in Yemen they relocated to New York. The parties had children and the children were returned to Yemen in the year 2011. The parties were eventually divorced in Yemen. The father took the position that pursuant to the Yemen divorce that he was the residential custodial parent of the parties’ children.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The father returned to New York allegedly for medical purposes and while he was in New York the mother brought a writ of habeas corpus which directed that the children be produced in court in New York. The mother took the position the father was “not just a flight risk, but a flight guarantee.” She took this action in response to an application by the father for the return of his passports so he could travel to Yemen.

The mother claimed the father had restricted her access to the children. She claimed there were issues concerning the children’s safety in Yemen.

The court took into consideration that the Yemen judgment, although granting the father custody, did not limit the New York court to giving the mother visitation rights with her children. The court stated maintaining the relationship between the mother, the non-custodial parent, and her children was in the children’s best interests. In addition the court found an extended visit with the mother was also in the children’s best interests. The court therefore granted her writ of habeas corpus. The father was directed to produce the children in New York. The court also ruled that there would be a trial thereafter.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel is a matrimonial and family law attorney. His office has been involved in a number of international custody cases.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year

Imputing Income in Family Court Cases

Picture of A Sleeping Child

The Family Court Act in New York has a variety of sections that deal with the imputing of the income to a parent. Income can be imputed for non-income producing assets, the use of an automobile, fringe benefits, and goods, services and money provided by relatives and friends.

When an individual’s income is not believable, a court can find that the individual’s income is greater than what is shown on his tax returns, W2 forms, 1099 forms and other financial records.

In the case Harrington v. Harrington, 93 A.D.3d 1092, a husband had brought an appeal from a decision by a judge which imputed $30,000.00 to his annual income. The husband’s tax returns showed income between $14,000.00 and $33,000.00 for years 2005 to 2009. The judge in this case found, after trial, the husband used his business account to pay his personal expenses as well as vacations with his girlfriend and he also paid other personal expenses out of his business funds. The judge in this case imputed income of $60,000.00 to the husband. The husband brought an appeal to the Appellate Division, Third Department. The appeals court held “here evidence was presented that the husband’s claim in this regard was not actually credible and provided a rational basis for the Supreme Court’s decision placing his annual income at $60,000.00″.


Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Litigants in Family Court and Supreme Court proceedings regarding child support and spousal maintenance must be aware that if the court feels there is off the books or hidden income it can impute this income to the parent who is hiding it.

New Child Support Contempt Law

A picture of the statue of liberty

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently signed into law a statute regarding the collection of child support payments. This new statute allows a parent to bring a contempt of court action in the Supreme Court against the other parent without having first to exhaust other legal remedies. Prior to the passage of this statute contempt proceedings could be successful only if there were no lesser available remedies. This caused delays in the enforcement of the child support payments.

The possibility that someone will be held in contempt of court and subject to a jail sentence creates a threat that it is expected to have a positive impact on the collection of child support payments.


Collecting child support payments from a recalcitrant parent can be difficult. The Family Court sometimes operates under two speeds, slow and backwards. However, this new statute will hopefully expedite contempt proceedings and assist custodial parents in obtaining child support payments from the child’s other parent.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a divorce and family court lawyer representing clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 3 decades.

Bankruptcy Explained


Picture of a gavel on a white background

There are basically two types of bankruptcies for individuals or married couples can file. These two types of bankruptcies are referred to as Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation. Non-exempt assets are liquidated and if there are any assets over and beyond the bankruptcy exemptions distributed on a percentage basis to the creditors. In the large majority of all Chapter 7 bankruptcies the debtor pays nothing to the creditors and the creditors receive zero.


The second type of bankruptcy is a Chapter 13. This is basically a wage earner plan. The debtor pays the secured creditors example a car loan, mortgages, 100 cents on the dollar as to what is owed. The unsecured (example: credit cards, personal loans, debts owed to hospitals and doctors) usually are paid a lesser percentage then 100 cents on the dollar. This type of bankruptcy will last anywhere from 3 to 5 years.


There are a variety of things that need to be done with regard to the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The following is a list of some of these items:

  • You must pay a Court filing fee of $335.00 when filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • A credit counseling course must be completed from an approved agency and documentation of this must be filed with the court.
  • Petitions must be filed with the court.
  • A trustee will be appointed and there will be a scheduled creditors meeting before the bank and the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in which the debtor must attend and give testimony.
  • Parking tickets, child support, spousal maintenance, student loans, sales tax, income taxes and a variety of other debts are non-dischargable in bankruptcy.
  • Bankruptcy attorneys don’t work for free. They usually charge between $1,500.00 and $3,500.00 to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • There is an income requirement test called the bankruptcy means test an individual must qualify for when filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


The following are some of the requirements necessary to filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • There is a $274.00 filing fee
  • You must take a credit counseling course by an approved agency and document it has been taken.
  • You must file a chapter 13 repayment plan.
  • You need to meet monthly income requirements and monthly payment requirements pursuant to the chapter 13 plan.
  • You have to file schedules and petitions with the bankruptcy court.
  • Bankruptcy attorneys usually charge between $3,000.00 and $5,000.00 to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy plans.


Attorney Elliot Schlissel

There are many reasons for filing bankruptcy – loss of employment, medical issues, inability to pay debts as they come due, mismanagement of finances, excessive credit card use, and many additional reasons. However all Americans should be aware that the filing of a bankruptcy takes place in the United States Bankruptcy Court and every American has a right to file bankruptcy. The filing of a bankruptcy cannot be used against you for any purpose and any discrimination or action taken as a result of your filing bankruptcy may allow you to take legal action to deal with this matter.

Happy Halloween


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