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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

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

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

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

Social Security, Workmen’s Compensation and Disability Payment Considered in Spousal Maintenance Award

Judge's gavel with dollars in roll

In a case before Justice Richard Dallinger, who sits in Supreme Court in Monroe County New York, the husband sought to have a social security, disability and workmen’s compensation benefits declared separate property under the New York Domestic Relations Law. He claimed these payments should not be considered income for purposes of giving his wife spousal maintenance in their pending divorce lawsuit.

Were the Benefits Income?

The counsel for the wife alleged these benefits were income.  Since they were income it was claimed they must be included with regard to the calculation of spousal maintenance.

Benefits were Husband’s Separate Property

Justice Richard Dallinger ruled the benefits were the husband’s separate property.  However, since they were separate property the corpus of the assets could not be allocated on a percentage basis to the wife.  He did find t New York courts have held the mere fact a source of income was separate property did not prohibit a court from considering this income in calculating spousal maintenance.  Justice Dallinger therefore rejected the husband’s claim that only a portion of the related to lost wages should be considered income for the purpose of calculating spousal maintenance.

Yes, The Benefits were Income

Justice Dallinger  allowed the social security, disability and workmen’s compensation to the husband to be considered income and utilized in the calculation of the wife’s spousal maintenance award.


Here the husband won one argument but lost on another.


Elliot S. Schlisel is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP.  For more than 35 years he has been representing clients in divorce lawsuitdivorce cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

False Allegations of 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.


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

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. or 800-344-6431.

Hiring the Right Divorce Attorney

Hiring the Right Divorce AttorneyObtaining a divorce involves making one’s way through the legal process.  The best way to navigate through the divorce process is to have the right divorce lawyer.


The Right Divorce Lawyer

Is your divorce simple or complicated?  Do you have children and custody issues related to the children?  Do you have significant assets or virtually no assets at all?  Your divorce attorney’s job is to provide you with legal representation geared to your personal situation.  So, before you start looking for a divorce lawyer analyze what the issues are involved in your case.


Be Goal Oriented

The goal in your divorce is to end your marriage.  Your divorce is not a process involving the punishment of your spouse for being a lousy human being.  Think with your head about divorce issues and not with your emotions.  Try to avoid making your divorce more litigious than necessary.


Seek to Obtain Your Goal

With a Minimum of Aggravation and Expense

The best way to minimize the cost of divorce litigation is to negotiate a settlement out of court.  Litigation involves the concept of hurry up and wait.  You have to appear in court by 9:30 in the morning.  When you get there you can find that your case is number 25 on the calendar and that the court is going to make you sit around and wait until they get to you.  Meanwhile you are paying your attorney between $350.00 and $500.00 an hour while they are sitting around waiting for the case to be called.  Meetings in attorneys’ offices to discuss amicable resolutions of divorce cases are far more efficient then litigating in a court room.


Meet with your Attorney

In the first meeting with your attorney you should focus on his or her experience.   Find out how long they have been practicing law, the number of cases they have been involved with, and the staff and other attorneys in the office that back them up.  An ideal attorney should have the legal know how and experience to resolve your case while working as an advocate to obtain your goals.  He or she should be able to communicate with you and opposing counsel and negotiate on your behalf.  It is a good idea for your attorney to know the Supreme Court and Family Court judges in your local area and how they look at and deal with various issues.



Communicate with Your Attorney

If you think your attorney is doing a good job during the handling of your case, let him or her know.  If they are doing bad job also let them know.  Divorce can be an emotional process as well as a process involving the distribution of assets, issues involving custody, child support and spousal maintenance.  It is important to choose the right attorney Elliot Schlisseland to maintain constant contact with him or her.


Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been representing clients in divorce cases for more than four decades in the Metropolitan New York area.  He can be reached at or 800-344-65431.

What Should a Parenting Plan Include

Parenting Plan

I’ve heard that good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth. Whether a marriage or a relationship is good or bad children should not be made to suffer when the relationship ends.

Children benefit from having relationships with both parents. However, there can be bumps in the road in working out details related to the parenting time each parent has with the children. The best way to deal with these issues is to have a detailed, well written reasonable parenting plan. The following are some issues that should be dealt with in a well written parenting plan:


Parenting plans should include schedules for each parent. These schedules should deal with weekends and vacation periods including summer vacation, winter recess, Easter, Christmas vacation and Spring break. In addition, there should be a division of all school holidays. Both parents should have access to the children on their birthdays. The father should have the children on Father’s Day and the mother should have the children on Mother’s Day. The parenting plan should deal with who picks up the children and who drops the children off. If the parties are sharing their car seat, the parenting plan should deal with the car seat issue. If the parents do not get along and can’t pick the children up at their respective places of residence, a neutral location can be worked out as to where the children will be picked up and dropped off.

Parent/Child Communications

The parenting plan should deal with each parent’s ability to communicate with the children when the children are with the other parent. They should take into consideration the usage of cell phones, texting and e-mails.

At School, Athletic and Religious Functions

The parenting plan should deal with the religion of the children. It should designate with who will be responsible for religious education and the celebration of various religious functions involving the children. Children like to see their parents at their athletic events. Each parent should assist the other parent in being aware of significant functions such as school plays, school athletic functions and other school activities the children are involved in. It makes children happy to see their parents in the audience. The parents should also keep each other advised with regard to the children’s report cards, parent/teacher conferences and open school week issues. If the school maintains a website regarding the children’s activities both parents should be aware of this.

Decision Making

There are major decisions that affect children’s lives. These decisions deal with educational issues, social issues and health care issues. A specific framework in the parenting plan should be set up to deal with all of the potential problems with regard to these issues.

Elliot Schlissel


Whether good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth, when relationships break up the best way to avoid future problems is to have a parenting plan which deals with all the aforementioned issues involving the children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with 40 years of experience in dealing with divorce and family law issues. He has offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties, He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

Wife Entitled to 50% of Husband’s NY Fire Department Pension Retroactively


A wife brought a case in Rockland County Supreme Court before Justice Robert Berliner. In this case the parties had been divorced by a judgment dividing the marital portion of each of the parties’ pension and retirement benefits. Thereafter the wife submitted a Domestic Relations Order concerning the husband’s New York City Fire Department (hereinafter referred to as ‘FDNY”) pension. In November 2015 the wife received her first payment of the husband’s pension. The monthly payment she received was for $1,762.88.

Husband’s Pension in Pay Status

The husband’s FDNY pension however was in pay status going back to May 2014. The wife’s application sought $31,731.84 which represented her 50% interest related to her marital portion of husband’s pension from May 2014 through October 2015. The wife’s attorneys presented an argument that her financial interest in husband’s pension vested when the parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement regarding their divorce on April 22, 2014. There was a delay with regard to submitting the Domestic Relations Order. However, the delay in submitting the Domestic Relations Order the wife claimed should not impact on her receiving the retroactive portion of her husband’s pension. The husband’s attorneys argued the wife’s application was not in conformity with the Stipulation of Settlement the parties entered into. He also argued the Domestic Relations Order submitted by wife sought to modify the Stipulation of Settlement in the divorce which had been resolved 2 years prior.

Wife’s Interest in Husband’s Pension Vested
Upon Execution of the Stipulation of Settlement

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

Justice Robert Berliner agreed with the wife’s position. He held the wife’s interest in her husband’s pension vested when the Stipulation of Settlement was executed. He further held the delay in submitting a Domestic Relations Order did not impact on her rights to half of her husband’s pension. The judge found the wife was entitled to $31,731.84 in back payments. This constituted her 50% share of her marital interest portion of husband’s pension. The husband had to pay her back this money because these funds were paid out prior to the court entering the Domestic Relations Order causing the New York City Fire Department to pay the wife $1,752.88 per month.

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