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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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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.

Conclusion

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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Hague Convention of International Child Abduction Petition Dismissed

An action was brought by Mohacsi in the United States District Court, before Judge William Kutz, who sits in a Federal Court located in the Eastern District of New York.  The petitioner claimed under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction the court should return his four year old son named Nir to Hungary.  He argued  the mother, Ropa, had wrongfully removed and kept their son Nir in the United States.  He claimed this was a violation of his parental rights under Hague Convention.

 

The Judge’s Decision

Judge William Kutz denied Mohacsi’s application.  He found the wrongful removal claim brought by Mohacsi could not be granted because at the time of the removal of the child neither he nor the Hungarian Court adjudicating the paternity claim on this matter had custodial rights to Nir.  Mohacsi’s wrongful retention claim was invalid due to the fact  Ropa was the sole custodial parent of Nir at the time of the removal.  She had the exclusive right to determine where Nir’s habitual residence would be.  In this case it was in the United States.

 

Hungary Was Not The Child’s Habitual Residence

The relationship between Mohacsi and Ropa fell apart even before Nir was born.  Evidence was presented they never shared an intent to raise Nir in Hungary.  It was therefore never established that Hungary was Nir’s habitual residence.  Mohacsi was also unable to show there was no risk of harm to Nir if he was ordered to have him returned to Hungary.  Nir now resides in the United States.

 

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an attorney with more than 40 years of experience.  He has represented clients involving international custody cases. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

The Bezos Divorce

Bezos DivorceJeff Bezos is considered to be the richest man in the world. He is estimated to have $137 billion in assets. He previously released a statement that he was separating from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos. The Bezos have 4 children together. It had been alleged that Jeff Bezos was having a relationship with another woman, Lauren Sanchez, a news anchor and actress. Ms. Sanchez who allegedly is Jeff Bezos new love interest is also in the process of getting divorced. She had been married for 13 years to Patrick Whitesell, a Hollywood agent. She has 2 children with Mr. Whitesell.

How Do You Deal With A Divorce Involving $137 billion In Assets?

Mr. & Mrs. Bezos are working out an amicable resolution of their divorce out of court. Individuals with exceptionally high net worth are in a position to hire lawyers and fight in court until the cows come home. However, the smartest route is always to try to keep ones dirty laundry outside of public discussion. A discreet negotiated settlement between Mr. & Mrs. Bezos is obviously the best way to deal with their marital difficulties. Mr. & Mrs. Bezos have taken a very low profile with such a potentially high profile matrimonial matter. This will help protect their children from the press coverage and allow them to work out what is hopefully a reasonable amicable breakup of their marriage.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a divorce lawyer. He has represented parties in divorces throughout the Metropolitan New York area for 40 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Amicable Divorce

Amicable DivorceJeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, is getting divorced from his wife. The Bezos’ seek to avoid fighting, arguing, anguish and other problems associated with a nasty, drawn out legal battle in a divorce. Is there a right way to get divorced and a wrong way? Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie are trying to do divorce the right way. So what is the right way?

Do Not Seek To Hurt Each Other

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos have 4 children, 3 natural born and 1 adopted. When parents have children they are going to be dealing with each other for the rest of their children’s lives. During the divorce process if lines are crossed and problems are created that will not allow the parents to forgive each other, in the end the children will suffer. Parents should never let their hostility show to their children. Children are designed by God to love both their parents. When one parent denigrates the other in front of the children, the children are victims.

An Imperfect Coupling

Most people are imperfect human beings. Divorces can be caused for a variety of reasons. However, whatever the reasons are the parties must move forward with their lives and they must do everything in their power to help the children deal with this situation.

Amicably Resolving Divorce Issues

The best way to resolve divorce issues is for the parties in the divorce and their respective attorneys to meet and have a reasonable discussion of all of the issues. The issues in divorces usually breakdown to custody, visitation, division of assets, child support and spousal maintenance. These matters can be worked out amicably in a conference room or there can be a blood and guts trial in front of a judge. Litigating a divorce is very expensive. Sometimes the litigants in divorces get so carried away that the only real winners are the lawyers. To facilitate a resolution and a settlement of the issues in a divorce both parties must come to the table and be willing to make reasonable compromises. In the end, less than 5% of all divorces go to trial. If you are getting divorced you don’t want to be in that 5% that goes to trial!

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a divorce lawyer. He has been representing men and women throughout the Metropolitan New York area for than 40 years. He can be reached for a free consultation either 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Happy 4th of July 2019

Happy 4th of July 2019

Judge Finds Child’s Best Interests Are Served By Mother Being Allowed To Relocate

Mother Being Allowed To RelocateIn a case before Judge Aija Tingling ,who sits in the Family Court of New York County, a mother brought a petition seeking to relocate with her child. The father opposed the mother’s application. The mother claimed she was hoping to relocate to Miami, Florida. She claimed her family resided there. The father convinced her initially to stay and go to New Jersey. The mother in this case claimed the relocation would provide the child with better housing, in a safer neighborhood and better educational opportunities. She claimed for these reasons it was in the child’s best interest to allow her to relocate.

No Modification of Prior Custody Order

The father’s attorney claimed a change in circumstance would be required for the modification of the present custody order. Judge Tingling found the change in circumstances was required only for a modification of a custody order. Since the court took note the mother was not seeking to modify a prior custody order, a change in circumstance would not be necessary to obtain the court’s permission to allow her to relocate.

The Court’s Decision

Judge Tingling found the mother testified in a credible manner. The testimony showed that the relocation would enhance both her life and the child’s. Judge Tingling found the mother’s testimony established the child would benefit physically, financially and educationally from the relocation and the father would not be denied meaningful access to the child. The father argued the relocation would interfere with his parental access. Judge Tingling disagreed with the father’s position. She found that the mother was able to show the relocation was in the child’s best interest. It also would not interfere with the father’s parenting time. She therefore granted the mother the application to relocate.

schlissel-headshot Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an attorney who litigates relocation actions and objections to relocation proceedings throughout the Metropolitan New York. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

The International Child Abduction Remedies Act Under the Hague Convention

Airplane landing in the nightProceedings under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act Hague Convention (hereinafter referred to as: “ICARA”) and ICARA are not the same as child custody cases.  Applications under the Hague Convention and the ICARA are to force the return of a child to his or her “country of habitual residence”.  The purpose is to allow the courts of that country to determine questions relating to the custody of the child.  The Hague Convention specifically provides under Article 3 that to prevail on a child abduction claim a petitioner must show:

  1. The child was habitually a resident in one nation and had been removed or retained in a different country;
  2. The removal or retention was in breach of the petitioner’s custody rights under the law of the country of habitual residence; and
  3. The petitioner was exercising those rights at the time of the removal or retention.

The petitioner must establish these requirements by a preponderance of the evidence.  If a petitioner can show the wrongful removal, the return of the child is required.  However, there are defenses to the return of the child.  Those defenses are:

  1. The proceeding was commenced in the responding state more than one year after the wrongful removal or retention; and “the child is now settled in his or her new environment”;
  2. The party now seeking return of the child was not actually exercising his rights at the time of the wrongful removal or retention of the child; or there was consent to the removal; or there was acquiescence to the retention;
  3. The return of the child would place him or her in an “intolerable situation”; or the Attorney Elliot Schlisselchild objects to being returned and has reached an age of maturity that is appropriate to take account of his views.
  4. The human rights and fundamental freedom would be abridged if the return was permitted.

International child removal proceedings have become more common as more members of the public have obtained the financial ability to fly to foreign countries.  These cases are handled in the United States District Courts.  They are not handled in states courts.  The statute as you can see is complicated and there are significant issues that must be proven and/or defenses which must be overcome to be successful in these cases.

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been representing parents in both domestic and international child custody cases for more than 30 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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