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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.

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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.

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.

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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com 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:

Schedules

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

Conclusion

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 Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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

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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.

VIDEO: How Do You Choose A Divorce Lawyer?

Elliot discusses what you should look for when choosing a divorce lawyer.

Ben Vereen – Bigamist or Not?

Marriage certificate being cut in half

Ben Vereen married Andrea Tonsley Vereen more than 50 years ago. The Marriage was short and sweet. It lasted only 2 years. Thereafter, Mr. Vereen remarried. Both Mr. Vereen and Ms. Tonsley remarried and had children with their new spouses. They stayed friendly during the 50 years that have ensued since they split up.

Applying for Social Security

Last year, Andrea applied to Social Security. When she applied, she found out she was still married to Mr. Vereen. Mr. Vereen recalled appearing in court and having their marriage dissolved. He assumed he had been divorced. However, the Social Security Administration had no record of his divorce. Mr. Vereen became concerned because he had remarried in 1976 and had 5 children with his second wife. He wondered as to whether he was a bigamist.

Prior Attorney Deceased

The lawyer that had represented Mr. Vereen in the 1970’s was deceased. Mr. Vereen hired several lawyers to try to uncover the problem brought up by his first wife. The New York Post and People Magazine wrote articles about the situation. This created an embarrassing situation for Mr. Vereen.

Eventually Mr. Vereen found a lawyer who was able to uncover the fact that in 1974 a final judgement of divorce was entered between him and Andrea Tonsley Vereen. They actually had been divorced for 42 years.

Conclusion

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

It is highly recommended when you get divorced to save a copy of your divorce documents. You will be surprised how often these documents will come in handy.

Imputing Income in Family Court Cases

Picture of A Sleeping Child

The Family Court Act in New York has a variety of sections that deal with the imputing of the income to a parent. Income can be imputed for non-income producing assets, the use of an automobile, fringe benefits, and goods, services and money provided by relatives and friends.

When an individual’s income is not believable, a court can find that the individual’s income is greater than what is shown on his tax returns, W2 forms, 1099 forms and other financial records.

In the case Harrington v. Harrington, 93 A.D.3d 1092, a husband had brought an appeal from a decision by a judge which imputed $30,000.00 to his annual income. The husband’s tax returns showed income between $14,000.00 and $33,000.00 for years 2005 to 2009. The judge in this case found, after trial, the husband used his business account to pay his personal expenses as well as vacations with his girlfriend and he also paid other personal expenses out of his business funds. The judge in this case imputed income of $60,000.00 to the husband. The husband brought an appeal to the Appellate Division, Third Department. The appeals court held “here evidence was presented that the husband’s claim in this regard was not actually credible and provided a rational basis for the Supreme Court’s decision placing his annual income at $60,000.00″.

Conclusion

Attorney Elliot S. Schlissel

Litigants in Family Court and Supreme Court proceedings regarding child support and spousal maintenance must be aware that if the court feels there is off the books or hidden income it can impute this income to the parent who is hiding it.

Parenting Plans: What Are They?

A family holding hands

Traditionally in divorce cases one parent would obtain custody and the other parent would have visitation with regard to the children. Today, visitation is no longer the modern term referred to when discussing time a parent sends with his or her child. The modern term is called parenting time. In a divorce, each parent gets to have parenting time with their children. In divorce cases where both parents seek to spend quality time with their children, and play a significant role in the lives of their children, the best way to accomplish this goal is to the parents to amicably enter into a parenting plan.

Parents are Not a Visiting Relative

The concept of visitation is an old concept. Parenting involves much more than seeing your children. It involves helping raise the children, teaching them morals, social values, promoting their education and helping them grow into reasonable healthy well adjusted adults. Children could benefit from the wonderful experience of having two loving parents help raise them. The children should benefit from this experience even though their parents have gotten divorced. It should be pointed out that parents divorce each other, they don’t divorce their children!

In situations where one parent seeks to prevent the other parent from maintaining their relationship with the children or alienates the children from the other parent, he or she is damaging the children. This is inappropriate and only hurts the children. The children should be entitled to a life experience which involves learning and developing a relationship with both of their parents.

Working Out Parenting Plans

divorce attorney

Parents in divorces should do everything in their power to cooperate with each other to help the children have healthy loving relationships with both parents. The best way to accomplish this is to have each parent work with their respective attorneys to work out a parenting plan that fits into the children’s schedules and maximizes the time each parent can have with the children.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce

Marriages are made in earth, not in heaven.  Sometimes, things made on earth do not work out.  If you decide that you wish to get out of your marriage you need to retain a divorce lawyer. But who do you choose? The first thing you should look for in a divorce lawyer is someone you are compatible with.  There’s more tho choosing an attorney than their hourly rate, the articles they’ve published, the cases they’ve handled, and their level of success. Your divorce lawyer should be someone that you feel comfortable with. That is not to say your divorce lawyers experience, the size of his or her staff, their availability, their history of publishing on marital related topics, and their rate of success should not be taken into consideration.  All these items should be considered by you. But in the end your divorce lawyer needs to be someone you can talk to.

Changing Your Divorce Lawyer

Sometimes, for one reason or another clients feel their relationship with their attorney and the services he or she is providing is not what they want.  Even though you  currently have a lawyer there is nothing that stops you from discharging an attorney and hiring a new one. As a client you have an absolute right to discharge your lawyer and hire a new lawyer at any time.  However, it is usually not a good idea to hire and fire lawyers on a regular basis.  To start with, it is expensive and secondly each lawyer you hire needs to bring themselves up to speed with regard to the circumstances and events that have proceeded them in your case.

If you are unhappy with your second divorce lawyer, you can discharge him or her and hire a third divorce lawyer.  However as mentioned earlier, this tends to be expensive and sometimes a wasteful enterprise. Lawyers can be concerned that you are an unreasonable client and they may hesitate to get involved in your case.

In conclusion the best advice I can give you with regard to hiring a divorce lawyer is to carefully select a good one from the start.

divorce attorney

Elliot S. Schlissel is a matrimonial and family law attorney representing clients throughout the Metropolitan are for more than 35 years.

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

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