When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Elliot Schlissel can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmari recently disqualified Jeffrey S. Stephens from representing Edward Scannapieco, pursuant to a New York ethics rule that bars an attorney from working as an advocate in a case when his presence may have a “significant issue effect.”

Justice Palmari found that attorney Stephens of Greenwich, Connecticut, had “testified because he had submitted an affirmation to the court indicating the facts related to the execution of an undisclosed pre-nuptial agreement.” The pre-nuptial agreement is being contested by Machiell Scannapieco.

Justice Palmari stated his decision, “counsel here was a major participant in the event, as such his testimony is relevant to significant factual issues.” Mr. & Mrs. Scannapieco were married December 30, 1989. Mrs. Scannapieco filed for divorce in 2010.

Mr. Scannapieco brought a proceeding to deny his wife spousal maintenance. He indicated in his motion that there was a November, 1989 pre-nuptial agreement that limited Mrs. Scannapieco’s right to obtain spousal maintenance. He initially was unable to locate the document, but he found it shortly prior to bringing the application to the court.

Attorney Stephens stated in his court papers, “he prepared the agreement, negotiated the changes with an unidentified attorney representing the plaintiff-wife and he only recently found it in storage.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that the application of the pre-nuptial agreement will have to wait until the discovery process in the divorce proceeding is concluded. But since attorney Stephens may be a witness in this proceeding, he cannot represent one of the litigants. Justice Palmari stated, in referring to an earlier Nassau County decision, “that the preventing of an attorney from representing a litigant in a case where the lawyer may be a witness prevents any unfairness from arising from the lawyer’s opportunity to present his case twice.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that since the case was in the initial stages, the elimination of Mr. Stephens from representing Mr. Scannapieco will not create a “substantial hardship.”

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

The law office of Elliot Schlissel has been litigating fathers’ rights matters for more than thirty years. We have extensive experience in representing fathers in divorce proceedings, regarding orders of protection, concerning issues involving child custody, child visitation, child support and spousal maintenance (alimony). We have litigated child abuse and child neglect proceedings on behalf of fathers involving Child Protective Services and Association for Child Services. We have brought proceedings requesting the reduction of child support for fathers. We can assist fathers concerning no-fault divorce issues, equitable distribution of assets, family relocation problems, as well as negotiating separation agreements. We are also very knowledgeable concerning the parental alienation of children by mothers. Feel free to call us at your earliest convenience should you need a fathers’ rights attorney. Our phone numbers are 1-800- 344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

It is estimated that hundreds of non-judicial workers will lose their jobs related to an additional $70 million dollars in budget cuts from the judiciary budget in the state of New York. The $70 million in budget cuts is in addition to a previous $100 million that was cut from the $2.7 billion budget for the judiciary in the state of New York.

Judge Lipman, the Chief Judge in New York State, has not specifically identified who will be laid off as of this date. There are concerns that court houses will be closed due to these budget cuts. Judge Lipman claims that this will not happen and that the court houses will remain open.

Court Administrators Fight Layoffs

Court administrators fought to avoid significant layoffs. They had hoped the courts reduced budget requirements could be met by instituting an early retirement program, eliminating new hirees, and other economic concessions, such as the elimination of Judicial Hearing Officers. The $170 million cut represents 6.3% of the judiciary budget. There are currently 15,200 non-judicial workers employed by the court system in the state of New York. Rocco Desantis is the president of the New York State Court Clerks Association. In a recent interview, he indicated that the court system was already strained from early retirement and previous budget cuts. He stated, “as a result of positions left unfulfilled from early retirement, there are already long lines at every office that deal with the public and back offices.” He stated, “I am concerned that this is going to make a bad situation worse.”

John Strand of the New York State Court Officers Association recently stated that the projected courthouse cuts will have a severe impact on the operation of court facilities. He doesn’t see how all the current court parts can be kept open with a reduced staff of court officers.

James F.X. Doyle is the President of the New York State County Court Judges Association. In a recent interview, he claimed that there will be inadequate security in the court houses due these layoffs.

Cuts In Court Personnel Unacceptable

The judiciary has traditionally been the poor man in the three branches of government in New York. Judges in New York state have not received a salary increase in more than thirteen years. They’re the poorest paid judges in the United States of America. When you consider that some of these judges live in the most expensive counties in the United States, it helps to explain the horrific conditions that exist in our legal system. The further layoffs of court personnel due to budget cuts will cause our legal system to grind more slowly. Justice delayed is justice denied! The budget cuts forced upon the judiciary by Governor Cuomo are unfair and will have a negative effect on the quality of the legal system in the state of New York!

Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

The legal system is supposed to be gender neutral. Many men involved with litigating matrimonial and family law matters have walked away from the legal system because their rights were not protected and they felt the system was biased against them.

We are fathers’ rights lawyers. We represent fathers in the negotiation of separation agreements. We deal with relocation problems when the custodial parent moves, creating a problem with the father’s visitation. We deal with parental alienation syndrome and the parental alienation by one parent of the other parent to the children. We litigate high net worth divorces and all aspects of equitable distribution in divorce cases. We help our clients obtain divorces under the new no-fault divorce law in the state of New York. We specifically assist fathers in litigating child abuse charges, paternity, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse, child neglect, child custody, child visitationorders of protection and all other issues litigated in divorces in the Supreme Court. If you’re a father and you’ve have concerns concerning your rights being protected, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

On February 17th, Justice Maron, sitting in the Supreme Court of Nassau County, rendered a decision in the case of S. S. v. M.S, denying the defendant husband a downward modification of his child support and spousal maintenance payments. The husband’s application to the court indicated that his income had been greatly reduced. He stated his income had been reduced by 58%. He explained the reduction in his income was caused by being terminated from his high-paying position. He claimed he was only able to find employment at a greatly reduced salary.

Liquidation of Assets

The father claimed he had been forced to liquidate assets to maintain the current rate of his financial obligations for child support and spousal maintenance. He also alleged his health was being negatively impacted by this situation.

Justice Maron found the father’s net worth statement was not complete.  His decision stated that the father failed to set forth the total amount of his assets. He found the father was a title owner to a brokerage account worth over a half million dollars and, in addition, he owned an individual retirement account with a cash value of over $163,000.

Justice Maron reached a conclusion, based on the father’s additional assets, that he had sufficient liquid assets available to fulfill his financial obligations for child support and spousal maintenance. The Judge ruled the current child support and spousal maintenance payments did not create an extreme hardship for the father.

This is an example of the high standards that must be met for a father to obtain a downward modification of child support and spousal maintenance.

Divorce Lawyers

The law office of Elliot Schlissel represents individuals with regard to all aspects of matrimonial and family law. We litigate the grounds for divorce, orders of protection, child custody, child abuse, child neglect, annulments, issues involving fathers’ rights, mothers’ rights and we participate in mediation to resolve divorce matters. We also draft pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements.  Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Americans do not save enough money during the course of their working years to have the retirement life experience  they have dreamed about. In a recent study by the Employment Benefit Research Institute, fifty-six percent of the workers interviewed stated that the total value of their household savings and investments, without including the equity in their residence, was less than $25,000. Twenty-nine percent of those interviewed had savings of less than $1,000. How are these people going to afford to retire?

Rethinking Retirement Issues

Many Americans look at retirement as a long term vacation. However, very few Americans can afford this long term vacation. Saving funds for retirement must be done over long periods of time to accumulate the type of capital necessary to stop working. The retirement age of sixty-five is  unrealistic for the majority of Americans currently in the work force. Sixty-five is no longer the magic retirement number. Matthew Tuttle, a certified financial planner with Tuttle Wells Management, stated, “with life expediencies increasing, playing golf and going to early bird dinners every day can get [old] after 35 years. Rethink what retirement means. It could be working fewer hours or changing jobs to something that you like more.” Americans will either have to work longer, until 70 or 72, or, after retiring, might have to obtain a part time job to supplement their income.

Medical Expenses

Individuals who are over sixty-five  years of age have more medical expenses as they grow older than when they were young and healthy. A Fidelity Investments study indicated that a sixty-five year old couple who retire in 2010 will need a quarter of a million dollars to pay medical expenses during the period of their retirement. This $250,000 does not include nursing home expenses. This study found that the average monthly expenditures for health care will amount to $535 a month.

Set Reasonable Priorities

Americans need to down grade their expectations of their standard of living in retirement. They need to save and accumulate larger amounts of assets to cover their longer life expectancies. They must think twice about purchasing very expensive luxury items instead of putting those funds away for future needs.

Wills and Trusts Lawyer

The law office of Elliot Schlissel drafts wills. We handle estate administration and estate tax issues. We deal with issues concerning business succession. We also draft living wills and help our clients with end of life issues, supplemental needs trusts and special needs trusts. We prepare medicaid applications and handle medicaid issues for our clients. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

In March of this year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo went on record that he was in favor of the legalization of same sex marriage in the state of New York. He stated that he would be involved in a campaign to legalize same sex marriage.

Same Sex Law Failed in 2010

Last year, a same sex marriage law was proposed. It was defeated in the New York State Senate by a large margin. The question this year is whether Mr. Cuomo’s political savvy will be sufficient enough to get a same sex marriage bill through the state legislature.

Senator Dean Skellos from Rockville Center, New York, has gone on record as being opposed to the legalization of same sex marriages. Senator Skellos, a Republican, is the majority leader in the New York Senate.

At a meeting with leaders of the state’s most prominent gay rights organizations, Governor Cuomo compared same sex marriage to historical movements such as the women’s liberation, gay rights and environmental justice. Governor Cuomo stated New York needed to restore its reputation as a progressive state. Governor Cuomo stated, “to me this is more than just a piece of legislation, this is about the lives of people who I have known for many years and who currently are without the rights to which they are entitled.”

Long Island and New York Divorce Lawyer

Our law office handles various types of issues that arise from same sex relationships. In addition, we litigate divorce related issues such as child custody, child abuse, child neglect, separation agreements and the division of property. We represent individuals who seek to fight orders of protection. We also negotiate pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements for our clients. Should our client be involved in a high net worth divorce, we have an in house accountant that assists our lawyers in dealing with complicated financial issues. Fee free to call us for a free consultation.

Justice Janowitz, sitting in the Supreme Court located in Nassau County,  New York, recently made a decision in the case of Jill G. vs. Jeffery G,  202923-10 (March 18th). The wife in this case claimed that the  temporary, non-taxable maintenance payments she was receiving were  inadequate. The wife was receiving $10,783 per month. This award was  based on the presumptive amount of maintenance that has to be paid by one spouse to another, which maintains a current cap on only the first $500,000 of annual income. The wife claimed that the presumptive award was inadequate. She claimed that she had a child with physical disabilities. Her child had additional medical expenses, she claimed, due to these disabilities. Judge Janowitz carefully looked at the wife’s net worth statement (financial statement). He stated his opinion that this net worth statement did not reflect that there were extraordinary expenses that the wife was facing. He also found that the wife had received $450,000 in an infant compromise related to a personal injury award for this child.

The court stated in it’s decision that under New York Domestic Relations Law section 236B(5-a), the “pendente lite” (pending litigation) of spousal maintenance awards must comport with the new guidelines issued on October 12, 2010. To convince a court to deviate from these guidelines, the court must find that the pendente lite maintenance amount was unjust or inappropriate. In this case, Justice Janowitz felt that $10,783 per month in non-taxable pendente lite maintenance is a fair and reasonable award. Fathers’ rights were preserved in this case!

NY Fathers’ Rights

Fathers have legal rights in matrimonial and family law proceedings. We aggressively protect fathers’ rights. We litigate all aspects of divorce proceedings. We represent fathers involving orders of protection, child custody matters, child visitation proceedings, child support proceedings, spousal maintenance proceedings (alimony), as well as child abuse and child neglect proceedings. We bring proceedings to reduce child support when fathers have had a reduction in their income or a loss of their job. We present defenses to child abuse cases. We litigation paternity related proceedings. In addition, we represent fathers concerning equitable distribution of assets, as well as negotiating separation agreements. Call us for a free consultation. We are available seven days a week. Our phone numbers are 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Modification of Criminal Law

April 28th, 2011

DWI’s

Generally driving while intoxicated convictions (DWI’s) are not subject to being expunged. Instead, in some circumstances these records can be sealed. We can also obtain for our clients waivers of civil disabilities for individuals convicted of DWI’s. This  allows them to obtain commercial licenses in the future or have their commercial drivers license reinstated.

The Expungement Process in New York

To expunge a criminal conviction in the State of New York it is necessary to bring an application to the court that rendered the original decision to convict the defendant. The court has discretion and on a case by case basis decides whether to allow the criminal conviction to be expunged. Generally speaking to have a criminal conviction expunged you must have been convicted as a juvenile, convicted of an allowable drug related offense, or have been arrested in a case and not convicted. Feel free to contact the expungement attorneys at the law office of Elliot Schlissel for a free consultation regarding the issue of expunging a criminal record.

Contact an Experienced New York DWI Attorney

Based in Lynbrook, New York, The Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel represents clients throughout Long Island and New York City, including  Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens, as well as Westchester County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.  Call us at 800-344-6431.

If you are obligated to make child support payments and your spouse refuses to give you visitation, can you stop making these child support payments? The answer to this question is no. A spouse who has child support financial obligations must make these payments whether or not he or she has access to the child for visitation. It takes a court order to reduce or eliminate child support payments. A court will not reduce or eliminate your child support if your visitation is interfered with.

Child Support and Disability

Can you reduce child support payments if you become disabled through no fault of your own and are unable to work? The answer to this question is yes. However, there is an issue as to at what point your child support payments are reduced. Imagine this scenario, you are in a car accident and hospitalized for a period of a month. Thereafter, you’re in the rehabilitation facility for another two months. When you get your strength up, you bring a proceeding three months after the accident to reduce your child support. In a logical, fair-minded world, the court would grant your child support reduction as of the date you were injured three months ago. This may not be the case if you bring a child support modification proceeding in the state of New York. There are cases that hold that child support arrears may not be reduced retroactively, even when the defaulting party can show good cause for his or her failure to make an application for the relief from a judgment or an order of child support prior to the accrual of the arrears.

Downward Modifications of Child Support

Let’s take another scenario. You’re making $75,000 a year at your job. You lose your job. You diligently look for another job and you find a job for $50,000 a year. On January 1, 2011, you bring a proceeding in the family court in New York State for downward modification of child support payments. In June of 2010, you are successful and your child support payments are reduced. In this case, the child support is reduced retroactive to the January 1, 2011 date when you brought your proceeding.

Query – If there’s been an overpayment to child support services, will they refund your money? In a fair and perfect world, of course they would refund your overpayment. Unfortunately, we live in New York State. That doesn’t happen in New York. Over payments of child support are not refunded!

Protecting Fathers’ Rights

We protect fathers’ rights. We litigate issues in divorces. We deal with both the criminal and the family court problems involved with orders of protection. We help our clients obtain child custody. When child custody is not requested, we obtain visitation for our clients. We litigate child abuse and child neglect issues. We provide a defense in child abuse cases. When there are questions of paternity, we litigate paternity issues. We educate our clients concerning no-fault divorces and attorney fees in divorces. We represent fathers in high net worth and high income divorce situations. We deal with relocation problems, parental alienation, parental alienation syndrome and we negotiate separation agreements when applicable. Call us. Fathers deserve equal treatment!

It is against the law to speak on a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle in the state of New York. This past summer, Justice Edmead, sitting in the Supreme Court located in New York County, suspended a driver’s license for thirty-one days when she was found guilty of talking on her cell phone.

The defendant argued that the courts determination was arbitrary and that the sentence was excessive. The court stated otherwise. The defendant had two previous convictions for talking on a cell phone. These convictions took place within the past eighteen months and were still on her driver’s license.

The court claimed that sections 1225-c(2)(a) and section 510(3) of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws provided the court with discretion to temporarily suspend the license of a driver for multiple convictions related to the same offense. The court stated in its decision that monetary fines did not stop her from driving while talking on a cell phone. The court further indicated that there was a “reasonable prospect” that without the suspending of her drivers license, she would continue to violate the law. Therefore, the punishment was not disproportionate to the offense, shocking to one’s conscience or unreasonable.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our office has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with a variety of crimes, such as drug offenses, domestic violence, misdemeanors, felonies, assault and battery, juvenile offenses, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated, weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes and traffic tickets. Call us for a free consultation.