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Filing Bankruptcy

Filing BankruptcyMany clients come to me who have tried to file bankruptcy on their own. The usual result of a client filing bankruptcy is that the bankruptcy gets dismissed. To start with, there is a prerequisite to filing a bankruptcy. The prerequisite is that an individual seeking to file bankruptcy must take a credit counseling course. If the individual does not take the credit counseling course his case can be dismissed. That is the first half of the requirement. The second half of the requirement is after the meeting with the bankruptcy trustee the individual who filed bankruptcy must take the second half of the credit counseling course.

Filing Documents with the Court

The filing of a bankruptcy requires the filing of a bankruptcy petition, a statement of financial affairs, a statement of current monthly income, supporting schedules, a means test calculation and a statement regarding the individual’s social security number. In theory a debtor must list his or her income, assets and debts and show that he or she has negative cash flow.

Chapter 13 or Chapter 7?

The person filing bankruptcy must decide whether a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is appropriate. Individuals who seek to save their homes usually try to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, to qualify for filing a Chapter 13 the individual filing bankruptcy must meet certain financial requirements.

Re-affirmation of Debts

When an individual files bankruptcy he or she must provide the court with their intention as to whether they are going to re-affirm certain debts such as, mortgages on their home or car loans.

Hire an Attorney

While it may look like it is just involved with a series of filing a number of forms, extremely few individuals can correctly file a bankruptcy on their own and navigate the system through the court.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. Their office regularly files bankruptcies for individuals in the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

The Foreclosure Process in a Nutshell

The Foreclosure Process in a NutshellThe foreclosure process starts by the financial institution serving the homeowner with a summons and complaint. In response to the summons and complaint the homeowner must file an answer. The answer must be filed within 20 days if the summons and complaint was served on the homeowner personally and 30 days if the summons and complaint was served by any other means. The purpose of the answer is to allow the homeowner to put in a defense to the foreclosure lawsuit. If the homeowner fails to put an answer in, it is considered they have defaulted. A default is an acknowledgment the homeowner owes the debt and that the bank is entitled to move forward with the foreclosure without opposition from the homeowner. The failure to file an answer to the summons and complaint also keeps the homeowner in the dark with regard to the progress of the lawsuit against the homeowner. The homeowner can end up with the final notice that their home is going to sale and they would not have been able to take any action to stop the sale.

Request for Judicial Intervention

After the financial institution initiates the lawsuit they must file what is referred to as a Request for Judicial Intervention (or an “RJI”). This notifies the court that a lawsuit has been initiated and they ask the court to schedule a mandatory settlement conference with regard to the foreclosure.

The foreclosure settlement conference is supposed to take place within 60 days of the filing of the affidavit of service by the financial institution with the clerk of the court. The court usually sends out a notice to both the homeowner and the bank’s lawyers. The notice states the date, time and place of the conference and it advises the homeowner what if any documents the homeowner should bring to court with them.


Litigation in the foreclosure case cannot take place while the case is still before the mandatory settlement conference part. Once the case leaves the mandatory settlement conference part the homeowner can, if they put an answer in, engage in what is called the discovery process. The purpose of discovery is to allow the opposing parties to a lawsuit to obtain records, documents, information, the names of witnesses and any other material necessary to try to prove their case or their defense.

The Summary Judgment Motion

In virtually all foreclosure lawsuits the attorneys for the financial institution bring a summary judgment motion. The purpose of the summary judgment motion is to strike the homeowner’s legal defenses. The summary judgment motion is a request by the financial institution for the court to rule in favor of the lender and strike the answer of the borrower. The financial institution will allege the borrower cannot produce evidence supporting their defenses in their answer. If the judge grants the financial institution’s summary judgment motion, the homeowners’ case is usually considered to be lost. The homeowner at that point can file an appeal with the Appellate Division. This is an appeals court that has the authority to overturn decisions by Supreme Court Judges.

Once the summary judgment is granted to the financial institution all the homeowner’s attorneys can do is usually tie the case up in court and stop the house from going to sale quickly. However, for most practical purposes the homeowner has lost the case if the summary judgment motion is granted.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a foreclosure defense lawyer. He has been helping homeowners keep their home for more than 3 decades. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at:

Divorce and the Internal Revenue Service

Divorce and the Internal Revenue ServiceMany issues can arise after parties are divorced with regard to the filing of their income taxes. In the event you are divorced as of the end of the year you must file your taxes as either being head of household or as being single. If you had entered into a separation agreement you also may file as single or head of household.

It should be noted that people who file head of household or married joint filers usually have lower income taxes than individuals who file married living separately or as single individuals.

Child Custody and Who Receives the Tax Exemption for the Children

Usually, the residential custodial parent is entitled pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code the tax exemption for the parties’ dependent children. Individuals who enter into a settlement agreement on divorces are entitled to divide the exemptions between them in any manner they wish. When attorneys work out the terms of settlement agreements they often give the parent who has more income the tax benefits of the dependent exemption for the children.

Medical Expenses

Even the parent who are not the primarily residential custodial parent for the children still has the right in the Internal Revenue Code to deduct medical expenses related to their children.

Child Support Payments

Child support payments are not tax deductible by the individual making the payments. In addition, child support payments are not income to the individual who receiving the child support payments.

Tax Refunds

Parties who are in the midst of a divorce litigation should work out a written agreement as to who will receive the tax refund and/or on what percentage will each of the spouses receive of the tax refunds.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer representing clients throughout the Metropolitan New York area in both matrimonial and family law matter. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

Divorce in Saudi Arabia

Divorce in Saudi ArabiaMy office has been representing clients in divorce cases for approximately 40 years. I recently became aware of how divorces proceed in Saudi Arabia. To protect women’s rights the government of Saudi Arabia now allows women to be notified when they are divorced by text messages. Women in Saudi Arabia have very few rights. In Saudi Arabia a woman’s life is controlled by her male “guardian”. The guardian can be her brother, her father or another male relative. This guardian has control over virtually all the aspects of the woman’s life including making decisions regarding marriage and divorce. As a result of this guardian controlling the woman’s life, issues involving sexual abuse and domestic violence are rarely dealt with by the authorities in Saudi Arabia. This because a woman would need to obtain the permission of her guardian before she could make any complaints to the authorities.

Moderation of Divorce in Saudi Arabia

The notification to women by text messages that they are divorced is considered to be a very progressive action by the government of Saudi Arabia. Unlike in the rest of the world sometimes the only notice a woman will receive in Saudi Arabia that she is divorced is when she receives a text message.


Women in Saudi Arabia have a long way to go to obtain equality with men. Based on the culture that exists in Saudia Arabia this may never happen.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been practicing matrimonial and family law throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 40 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

International Child Custody Issues: The Hague Convention

International Child Custody Issues: The Hague ConventionIn cases where a child is removed from one country where he or she resided in and brought to another country, what can a parent do? Many countries are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction (hereinafter referred to as the “Hague Convention”). The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty. It has been ratified by 98 countries. It provides a protocol for the return of a child unilaterally removed by a parent from one member country to another.

Article 3 of the Convention requires signatory countries to return children to the country of their habitual residence when they are wrongfully removed or retained in another country in breach of the custody rights of the left behind parent. The law of the state or country from which the child was removed determines custody rights; this adds some fluidity as in some countries an unmarried father may have rights upon the birth of a child, while other countries require a declaratory order to bestow custody rights.

Country of Habitual Residence

Custody rights are usually determines by the law of the country from which a child is removed. This can be complicated by the fact that fathers who have children out of marriage may be faced with the issue that some countries do not recognize custodial parental rights to unmarried fathers.

The Hague Convention is considered a treaty the United States is a party to which can be enforced by bringing a proceeding in a United States Court. There is an expedited procedure to do this.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. represents parents in child custody cases. He’s been representing parents with regard to domestic and international custody cases for more than 35 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

Grandparents Visitation Case

Grandparents Visitation CaseA grandmother brought a visitation petition in the Family Court of Kings County before Judge Javier Vargas. The child’s parents brought a motion to dismiss the grandmother’s, Debbie’s, application for visitation. They claimed Debbie had no right to bring this visitation proceeding because she only had sporadic contact with her grandson. They also claimed she did nothing to pursue a relationship with him since December 2015.

The Attorney for the Child

An attorney was appointed to represent the child. The attorney for the child argued the parent’s application to dismiss the grandparent’s visitation petition should be denied. She claimed the grandmother had had a relationship with the grandchild and had standing to bring the lawsuit.

The Judge’s Decision

Judge Vargas ruled in favor of Debbie and the attorney for the child. He held the parent’s motion should be dismissed. Debbie was able to sufficiently establish standing to pursue the visitation proceeding. Judge Vargas found Debbie showed that before 2015 she enjoyed a loving relationship with her grandson. She was later barred from seeing him.

The Problem was between the Parents and Grandparents

The parents wanted Debbie to comply with conditions involving therapy to address what they felt was uncivil behavior towards them. Debbie continued to make various attempts to continue to see her grandson, including seeking intervention of the Family Court. Judge Vargas found there was a problematic relationship between the parents and grandmother. However, this was not sufficient to deny the grandmother visitation with her grandson. Judge Vargas thereafter ordered a hearing to determine whether the visitation between Debbie and the grandson was in her grandson’s best interests.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlisel is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. Elliot has brought numerous lawsuits on behalf of grandparents to obtain visitation rights with their grandchildren. He has helped grandparents throughout the Metropolitan New York area obtain visitation with their children for more than 3 decades. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

Mother’s Rights

Watch today’s video blog on the topic of Mother’s Rights:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce attorney representing clients for more than 35 years. He and his associates handle all aspects of family law, divorce litigation, and custody proceedings. He can be reached for consultation by calling 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or sending an email to

Father Wants Children Returned to Poland: The Court Disagrees

Child custody attorneyAnetta and Cezari were both from Poland. They both came to the United States and were married in Brooklyn, New York in 2003. After they were married, they went back to live in Poland. They had two sons, K.G. who was born in 2004, and M.G. who was born in 2008. There were claims their relationship involved spousal abuse.

Anetta Moves to New York

Anetta took her children and immigrated to New York in April 2011. Her mother had been living in Brooklyn and she moved in with her. In 2012, Anetta brought a divorce proceeding in Brooklyn, New York against Cezari.

Family Court Proceedings

Both Anetta and Cezari brought a legal action in the Family Court of Kings County (Brooklyn). Anetta was granted both legal and physical custody of the parties’ children by the Family Court. Cezari was given visitation with the children, but the visitation had to take place within the United States.

U.S. District Court Proceeding

Cezari brought a proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (a federal court). He took this action under the Hague Convention, an international child abduction remedies act. He asked the District Court to have the children returned to Poland with him. Judge Frederic Block sitting in the Eastern District of New York found the children’s removal from Poland may have violated Cezari’s custody rights under Polish Law. However, he also found the children had “settled” in the United States. Pursuant to Article 12 of the Geneva Convention this made the United States their home. He found they attended school and church in the United States. He also found they were old enough to form relationships and attachments in their new home. The judge did find there were some questionable issues concerning Anetta’s financial stability and also issues about the children’s appropriate immigration status. However, after reviewing all of the factors Judge Block found the children had “become so settled in their new environment that repatriation [is] not in [their] best interests.”New York family law attorney

Co-Parenting and Parenting Plans

Watch today’s video blog on the topic of Co-Parenting and Parenting Plans:

Elliot S. Schlissel represents individuals in divorces, custody cases, child support proceedings and all other family related matters. He and his associates have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. Elliot can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email at

ACS’ Actions Reversed by Appeals Court: Mother Given Custody of Her Youngest Child

attorney for family law matters in New YorkAdanna C. had four children. She had lost custody of the oldest three. After losing custody of her three children, she successfully completed counseling and parenting courses. Recently, an appeals court made a ruling returning her infant son to her custody.

History of the Case

In 2014, Adanna C. gave birth to a son. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition in the Family Court alleging derivative abuse based on an earlier injury to one of the infant’s siblings. The Family Court ruled in favor of ACS. The court found that her son would be in imminent risk of harm if left in the custody of his mother. The child was removed from her custody in May 2014.

The Appellate Court reversed the Family Court’s decision. They cited in their decision verbiage from the Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) which stated “imminent danger, however, must be near or impending not merely possible.” Based on their interpretation of these words they found the “Family Court’s determination that remand of the subject child to his mother’s custody would place him in imminent risk of harm is based upon nothing more than speculation that the mother would not enforce the Order of Protection as against the father.”

The mother had testified in the Family Court proceeding that she didn’t live with the father and that she would uphold an Order of Protection against him. The Association for Children’s Services (ACS) had visited her in the shelter where she lived. They confirmed she lived alone. A coordinator with regard to the mother’s supervised visits with her other three children testified that she interacts with all three children and is “attentive and loving towards all of her children.” She consistently brings food and other items consistent with her resources for the children.


This is a case where ACS was overly aggressive taking an infant child from his mother without reasonable cause to do so.New York family law attorney

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