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Portrait of grandparents with grandaughter

There are a variety of reasons why grandparents might seek custody of their grandchildren. The parents of the children may be ill or drug addicts. The parents may be good parents who have become incapacitated. Sometimes the parents of children are simply incapable of meeting the demands and requirements of raising young children. The parents may be neglectful, abusive, too drunk or too addicted to drugs to appropriately care for their children.

Obtaining Custody

Grandparents can bring custody cases in the Family Court located in the County where the grandchildren reside. The application from the grandparents must show the custodial parents are unfit or incapable meeting the children’s needs. The grandparents in addition must show it is in the children’s best interests for the grandparents to be given temporary custody of their grandchildren. The court will specifically look at evidence of child abuse, neglect or addiction during the course of the proceedings brought by the grandparents.

Temporary Custody

The initial proceeding is always for temporary custody. The reason why the custody is temporary is the parents’ situation may be subject to change. If they are ill and through treatment they recuperate, they may thereafter become capable of taking care of their children. If they have a drug or alcohol addiction they may go through therapy and down the road recover to the point where they are no longer addicted and they are able to take care of their children.

Permanent Custody

After the grandparents obtain temporary custody the courts will do a follow-up to see how the children are doing in the grandparents’ custody. Unless the parents give up their rights permanently or a court order is entered permanently removing the parental rights of the parents, the parents can come back to court and make a presentation that they have been rehabilitated and seek to have custody of their children returned to them.

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates represent grandparents in grandparents’ custody cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

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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.


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.

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.


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

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.

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.

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

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.

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