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Divorce Settlement Agreements

Settlement AgreementsSettlement agreements in divorce cases tend to be long and detailed. These agreements cover issues involving child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, the division of property, how much time each parent spends with the children, who pays for college and various other issues. It is important that the language in the agreement is clear and not subject to multiple interpretations.

The agreement should lay out the responsibilities of each of the parents in a clear and concise manner.

Visitation and Parenting Time Issues

The agreement should have a chart that breaks down what holidays are being celebrated by the children and who has parenting time with the children in odd and even years on these holidays. The agreement should also clearly stress if the holiday falls after a weekend whether the weekend and holiday shall be observed by the same parent having parenting time with the children.

A Tiebreaker

Generally speaking most parenting agreements do not have time tiebreakers. So, if one parent has to confer with the other parent on a particular issue and the parents disagree how that issue should be resolved concerning the children, there needs to be a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker in most agreements is the residential custodial parent. Unfortunately, clauses giving the residential custodial parent the final say on significant issues involving the children can be misused by that parent.

Read the Agreement Carefully

If you are entering into a settlement agreement on a divorce to start with you should carefully read it. Review all terms, conditions, obligations and matters involving financial responsibilities, visitation and custody with your attorney. Make sure you are absolutely clear as to what your responsibilities are, and the responsibilities of the other parent are with regard to all of the terms and conditions of the agreemen

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. He has been representing parties in divorce and Family Court cases for more than 40 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-644-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com. .

Joint Custody

joint-custodyNew York State has a gender neutral custody law. There is no longer a presumption that either parent should have custody of the children. Both parents have equal rights to seek custody of their children. It should be noted equal rights to obtain custody is not the same standard as to what is in the children’s best interests. Courts determine who receives custody of the parties’ children based on what is in the children’s best interest.

Legal Custody

Legal custody of children is usually determined by a proceeding in front of a judge. Courts seek to avoid issuing court orders awarding joint custody to parents.

There is a Court of Appeals decision (the highest court in the State of New York) which states joint custody is encouraged primarily as a voluntary alternative for relatively stable, amicable parents behaving in a mature civilized fashion. Situations where the parents do not get along, are not communicative with each other, are not right for joint ustody arrangements.

Quality Time with Children

Joint custody arrangements tend to work out when the children are very young. As children grow older they develop their own social circles and own friendships. Joint custody arrangements tend to get in the way of the children’s lives. Some studies have found it is not necessarily a benefit to the children for them to spend equal time with both parents.

Conclusion

Many parents seek to have equal parenting time with their children. It seems to meet the parents’ needs to develop a strong relationship with their children. However, giving each parent equal time with their children does not necessarily work out to be in the children’s best interest and equal parenting time arrangements generally break down as the children mature and go through puberty.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. He has been representing parents in custody disputes for more than 30 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at: Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

False Allegations of Child Abuse in Divorces

Child-Abuse-in-Divorces

Divorces can be amicable or be a type of limited warfare between the parents. Sometimes the issue of who is going to be the residential custodial parent is a significant issue in a divorce case. It occasionally leads unscrupulous parents to create accusations of child abuse to further their desire to become the residential custodial parent of the children and have a negative impact on the other parent’s parental rights. One spouse can accuse the other spouse of abusing the children. It can be the result of anger or concern that the parent making the allegations will not be successful in obtaining custody of the children unless they resort to this underhanded, inappropriate strategy.

Parental Alienation

There is a method for one parent to demotivate a child from spending time with the other parent. The alienating parent to engages in a type of brainwashing called parental alienation. In this circumstance one parent convinces the child the other parent is abusing them. This is done during a litigated custody case. It is extremely important if this happens that an experienced child custody attorney be retained. Advocacy by this attorney can be used to point out to the court the lack of evidence of child abuse and how the allegations are specifically related to the ongoing custody case.

Orders of Protection

Temporary orders of protection are often granted to one spouse when they falsely accuse the other spouse of abusing the children. Aggressive legal action must be taken to demand a hearing with regard to these issues. These issues should not be allowed to linger. The longer the order of protection is in effect preventing one parent from having any interaction with the other parent or children, the more likely this will impact on the long term relationship between the parent whose kept away from the children.

schlissel-headshot

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an attorney who has dealt with child abuse and child neglect issues for more than 3 decades. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Grandparents’ Rights and Custody Issues

General-Website-Grandparents’-Rights-and-Custody-Issues

Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren face many practical, legal issues. Grandchildren who live with grandparents for periods of time are impacted on by a variety of the laws in the State of New York. Issues involving custody, visitation with the parents, who has custody of the grandchildren long term, where the grandchildren go to school, medical insurance for the grandchildren, child support issues between the parents and the grandparents are just some of the legal issues grandparents face. Is a grandparent authorized to make medical decisions for a grandchild?

Limitations Placed on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren do not necessarily have a legal right to make decisions involving a variety of issues concerning the health and general welfare of their grandchildren. For a grandparent to have legal authority over a grandchild the grandparent must obtain a court order. Physical custody is not the same as legal custody. If the children simply live with the grandparents they have what is commonly referred to as physical custody. However, the fact the grandchildren reside with the grandparents does not give them legal rights to make decisions regarding the grandchildren’s health care and school issues. Grandparents must bring a case in the Family Court to obtain temporary custody of their grandchildren. This will put them in a position where they can make decisions involving significant issues for their grandchildren. When a court grants a grandparent legal custody the grandparents then have legal authority to make decisions concerning the health and general welfare of the grandchildren.

Temporary Power of Attorney

In situations where the parents are cooperating, a temporary power of attorney can be given by the parent to the grandparents. This temporary power of attorney would give the grandparents temporary authority to make specifically delineated decisions on behalf of the grandchildren. The temporary power of attorney gives the grandparents specific legal rights that are clearly enunciated in the power of attorney. An example of these types of provisions may involve a grandchild travelling with a grandparent to another state or country and the grandparent is given authority during this trip to make medical decisions for their grandchildren. It should be noted the power of attorney can be revoked by the parents and has no impact on the legal rights of the parents to maintain custody of their children.

Adoption

Adoption is a permanent route for grandparents to exercise both parental rights and responsibilities over a grandchild. In essence, once the grandparents adopt the grandchild the grandparents now become the parents of the grandchild. Adoptions by a grandparent can be on consent of the parent or can be done in situations where the parents don’t consent but they have been found to be unfit, incapable or have deserted their children.

Elliot-Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been working for grandparents’ rights with regard to issues concerning custody and visitation of their grandchildren for more than 3 decades. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Parenting After Divorce

You just went through a divorce. Your marriage is over. You have 2 children and those children have a mother and father who are now not living together, and they are going their separate ways. How do you help the children cope with the change in their life circumstances?  The answer is to cooperate and co-parent.

 

Co-Parenting After Divorce

Both parents should always work in their children’s best interests. It is important to put the children’s lives and best interests ahead of the parents. Children have daily routines, schedules, educational issues and a need for discipline. Both parents need to work together to help promote their children’s lives.  Even if the parents do not get along, they need to put their differences aside and put their children’s best interests in the forefront of their minds.  Parents divorce each other.  Children do not divorce their parents.

 

Successful Co-Parenting

Parents to successfully co-parent should communicate with each other on a regular basis regarding issues involving the children.  They should especially be consistent on addressing issues involving child rearing decisions.  They need to be flexible with each other and take into consideration each other’s work schedule to promote parenting time between the children and both parents.  There should be an accepted and established visitation schedule but the parents should maintain flexibility concerning the parenting time each parent has with the children.  The parents should be considerate of each other.

 

Supporting the Other Parent’s Relationship

Each of the parents should support the relationship the children have with the other parent.  This is true even if each of the parents have different parenting lifestyles.  Each of the parent should go out of their way to keep the other parent up to date with regard to the activities, sports, social situations and educational issues faced by the parties’ children.  Yes, the parents are divorced but No they should not allow their negative feelings about each other to burst onto the surface and impact how their children are being raised.

 

You and Your Ex Spouse

Sometimes parents feel the necessity of questioning their children about what they do when they spend time with the other parent.  This should be avoided.  Children should also not be made into messengers to convey information from one parent to the other parent.  In talking to your children should you find a disagreement with how certain matters are being handled by your ex-spouse, you should discretely listen to your children.  Thereafter, out of the Elliot Schlisselchildren’s purview discuss your issues and problems regarding your ex-spouses conduct, or parenting decisions.

 

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a family law attorney who has been practicing in the Metropolitan New York are for more than 4 decades.   He can be reached at. Elliot@sdnylaw.com or 800-344-6431.

Representing Yourself in Family Court: Usually a Bad Idea!

Representing Yourself in Family Court: Usually a Bad Idea!

Our law office has been representing men and women in the Family Courts in the Metropolitan New York area for 40 years. We have participated in scores of cases where our clients have initially tried to represent themselves. They usually retain our law office after they failed in their attempts to represent themselves in Family Court. They come to our law office to deal with their underlying problems in the Family Court proceedings they are faced with. Sometimes they have made their problems worse by trying to represent themselves.

Every person who goes into Family Court whether it is on a paternity proceeding, a relocation case, a child support matter, ACS or CPS case, a custody case, a visitation case or any other type of proceeding in the Family Court should be represented by competent experienced Family Court attorney.

I’m Smart Enough to Represent Myself!

An individual has every right to represent themselves in the courts in New York State. The issue is can they do a good job in representing themselves. If you plan on going into Family Court or Elliot Schlisseldivorce court and represent yourself ask yourself the following questions: How do I question myself when placed on the witness stand? How do I establish a foundation for introducing evidence into the record in court? What happens when in the middle of the hearing or trial, I realize I don’t know what I’m doing?

The best way to deal with any legal issue you are facing in Family Court is to hire an experienced Family Court attorney to provide you with their expertise and legal representation. Our office offers free consultations to our client. We are available for telephone consultation 7 days a week. We can be reached at our offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2808 and 631-319-8262. We can also be e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.
516-561-6645, 718-350-2808 and 631-319-8262. We can also be e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Parenting Plans and Co-Parenting

Parenting Plans & Co-ParentingParenting plans are often set up during the course of settlement agreements to deal with decision making, visitation and custody issues for children of the marriage. Parenting plans can help provide stability, minimize potential conflicts between the parents and create a consistent framework for parents to develop loving relationships with their children. Couples who utilize parenting plans and cooperate with each other regarding the terms of the parenting plan can usually avoid problems with the other parent when dealing with issues involving their children.

Co-Parenting

Co-parenting involves parents working together after their relationship has ended regarding issues involving their children. There are many keys to co-parenting. The parents should promote the children’s best interests and maintain consistency in their policy decisions. They should consult with each other regarding significant child rearing issues and be flexible with each other if their decisions don’t work out well.

Parenting Time

Elliot SchlisselParents should work out reasonable parenting time schedules and be flexible in modifying and changing these schedules to meet with the parents and their children’s needs. It is especially important that the parents cooperate with each other and support their children’s relationship with the other parent. The key to co-parenting is to maintain the children’s best interests as the priority and put the children’s needs above the parents’ needs.

The law office of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP for more than 4 decades has been representing parents in divorces, custody disputes, visitation and relocation proceedings. Our offices in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties offer free consultations to prospective clients. We can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mail Elliot Schlissel, Esq. at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

VIDEO: Getting Custody for Grandparents

Elliot discusses getting custody for Grandparents.

Child Custody Cases

Sad boy sits alone

In cases where the children’s parents are not married legal custody of the children can only be granted by the Family Court in the State of New York. In situations where the children are living with the mother sometimes the mother thinks she has legal custody. Unfortunately, if the children visit with the father and he refuses to return the children the mother has no legal right to force the father to return the children to her. In many cases our law office has been involved in, the mother has called the police and said: “I have custody of the children.” The police will then ask the mother for a court order giving her custody. When the mother tells the police – well I don’t have a formal order but the children have always lived with me, the police will usually respond: unfortunately, unless you have a court order there is no action we can take to help you.

Paternity

Fathers who want custody of their children must prove paternity. Mothers have no difficulty or need to do this. They know who carried the child for 9 months. Unfortunately, today some mothers still believe since the mother carried the child, and gave birth to the child, she automatically becomes the residential custodial parent. This is simply not true.

Court Proceeding for Custody

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Mothers who want to have custody of their children must bring a case in the Family Court seeking custody. A petition is filed in the Family Court and served upon the father. Thereafter the mother appears in court and provides evidence to the judge she has been taking care of the children and it is in the children’s best interest she be given legal custody of the children. It should be pointed out even if the mother retains custody of the children it is the custodial parent’s obligation to promote a relationship between the children and the non-residential custodial parent. Both parents who have children out of wedlock and married parents need to obtain a court order to obtain custody. Married parents can bring a divorce case in Supreme Court or a custody case in Family Court. Unmarried parents can only bring custody cases in Family Court.

Custody for Grandparents

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 Elliot Schlisseltreatment 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.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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