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Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part II

family lawyer New YorkLevels of Proof

In proceedings brought in the Family Court by CPS, the level of proof necessary to establish child abuse or child neglect is minimal.  The formal rules of evidence which apply in other courts do not apply here.  CPS workers can present hearsay evidence from third parties.  They can present statements from three year olds or four year olds who have no clue as to what they are talking about.  The exercise of power by CPS in abuse and neglect proceedings can be abusive and inappropriate.  Allegations by CPS workers the parents failed to use appropriate standards of care concerning their children are extremely general and are difficult to defend against.

Children’s Injuries

In the normal course of their lives, children may be injured.  They will fall.  They will get knocked down by their friends or while playing.  They will be bruised.  They will have bumps.  Sometimes they will require stitches.  Sometimes children will break bones.  None of these events specifically is indicative of a parent being abusive or neglectful.  These injuries and maladies which children suffer are indications they are living fulfilling lives, playing and participating in sports, social and other recreational activities.  Children do not live in foam, rubber worlds where they don’t receive nicks and injuries.

Allegations by CPS are difficult to deal with.  Should you be contacted by CPS workers who are investigating allegations of child abuse or child neglect, you should immediately contact an attorney familiar with handing these types of cases.  Be very careful what you say to CPS workers.  Be advised that without a search warrant CPS workers do not have a right to enter your home.  The fourth amendment to the United State Constitution prevents the unreasonable search of parent’s homes.  If the CPS worker comes to your door and says they are there to investigate you, you can tell them you wish to seek consult with your attorney before meeting with them or discussing anything with them.  They may tell you you do not have a right to an attorney.  They are lying to you if they say this.  You have an absolute right to be represented by counsel in these proceedings.

Obtain Competent Legal Counsel

Getting involved in CPS proceedings without the appropriate legal representation puts you at great risk of saying something that can be misinterpreted and later used against you in an administrative proceeding involving your children.

family law attorney Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney who has written numerous articles about CPS and ACS cases.  He represents individuals being investigated or charged with child abuse and child neglect throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  Elliot and his associates have been representing family members regarding CPS and ACS matters for more than 35 years.

Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part I

family law in New YorkChild Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”), provides an important public service by protecting innocent children from difficult circumstances. We applaud CPS workers for protecting children from violence, negligence and inappropriate circumstances. This article, however, is about CPS workers threatening to remove or removing children from situations involving no violence and parents who have neither neglected nor abused their children.

CPS Filing Charges Against An Innocent Parent

If one parent is involved in child abuse or child neglect, CPS can file child abuse and child neglect proceedings against both parents. If one parent should have a proceeding brought against him or her because they were the neglectful or abusive parent, CPS files proceedings against the other parent claiming they endangered their children’s health and welfare by letting the other parent act in an abusive or neglectful manner. This is the case even if the innocent parent was not around, unavailable or was unaware of the allegations of the abusive or neglectful parent. This is also the case if the allegations against the abusive or neglectful parent are simply not true.

CPS Controlling Family Situations

In these situations CPS seeks to establish control over the family situation. They seek to force the parents into programs under threats they will lose their children. CPS sets extremely high standards in these programs and the goals that must be met by the parents to comply with CPS to their satisfaction to either avoid the children being removed from the home or to have the children returned to the family’s home.

CPS As An Adversary

The parents often find instead of CPS helping them to be better parents, that they are in an adversarial situation with CPS wherein CPS is both the investigator and the de facto prosecutor of the parent.family law attorney

Child Protective Services and Mandatory Reporters

family law in New YorkThe purpose of this article is to provide a discussion on how innocent parents can sometimes fall into the net of Child Protective Services’ (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) investigations even when they have done nothing wrong.

Mandatory Reporters

The laws in the State of New York make many individuals mandatory reporters of potential child abuse or child neglect. These mandatory reporters include police officers, counselors, teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other individuals who work with children. Many of these workers are under the mistaken belief that any possible incident of suspected child abuse or suspected child neglect must be reported. This is not necessarily what the law requires and/or the intent of what the reporting statutes are. Mandatory reporters actually have a choice. Not every skinned knee, skinned elbow, black and blue mark, or bump on a child is an indication a child has been abused or neglected. These minor bruises can be indications the child actually has a fulfilling, playful, athletic life. These bruises can be an indication the child rough houses with his or her friends, or participates in sports, karate, and other activities.

What mandatory reporters do not seem to understand is they have a choice as to whether or not to report an innocuous injury to child protective services.

Powers CPS and ACS Workers Do Not Have

The following is a list of powers that CPS and ACS workers do not have:

  1. They cannot arrest you.
  2. They are not law enforcement officers.
  3. They cannot open up a criminal investigation. CPS and ACS workers are social service employees. They are a branch of social services’ departments. They are not part of the criminal justice system.

CPS and ACS and Your Rights

Even though CPS and ACS workers are not involved with prosecutorial or criminal justice powers, they can initiate a series of events which can lead to investigations by police agencies. It is therefore in your interest should you be contacted by a CPS or ACS worker related to an investigation either concerning child abuse or child neglect that you consult with an attorney experienced in representing individuals subject to CPS and/or ACS investigations. CPS and ACS investigations can lead to decisions that you have committed child abuse or child neglect. This material can be maintained in computers in New York State for a period of up to 28 years and have a negative impact on employment situations involving children.family law attorney

New York Orders of Protection Explained

family lawyer orders of protectionAn Order of Protection is an order granted by a court which protects one individual from another. Individuals who are threatened or who have been abused or assaulted can request an Order of Protection in New York. If an Order of Protection is granted, it can require the alleged abuser to:

  • stay away from the home or other location of the individual who alleges he or she was abused
  • cause the individual to be removed from his home if the other party lives there
  • prevent the individual from telephone contact, verbal contact or contact through third parties with the individual who was allegedly abused
  • surrender all of his or her guns

Who Issues Orders of Protection?

Orders of Protection can be issued by the Family Court, Supreme Court or by Criminal Courts in the State of New York.

Family Court Orders of Protection in New York can be issued against spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, individuals who have a child in common, or individuals who have an “intimate relationship” with each other.

Criminal Courts issue Orders of Protection after an individual has been arrested and charged with a crime. A Criminal Court Order of Protection usually is issued against the person who was arrested and prevents him or her from contacting, communicating or threatening the alleged victim of a crime.

Term of Order of Protection

Orders of Protection usually last for one year but can last for as long as five years. If an Order of Protection is taken out against you, you should consult with competent legal counsel. Orders of Protection can be modified, changed, or rescinded. An application can be made to the court which issued the original Order of Protection and evidence presented that the Order of Protection as it currently exists is not appropriate.family law attorney

ACS Removes Child From Parents’ Home Without Just Cause

CPS and ACS defense lawyerThe Administration for Children’s Services, hereinafter referred to as (“ACS”), brought a proceeding claiming that parents had neglected a one year old child. They claimed the parents were providing inadequate guardianship. They took the position the baby fell in the park and sustained an injury to his face. Despite the child being injured, ACS claimed the parents unreasonably failed to obtain medical care. As a result of this application, emergency removal of the child was conducted by ACS. The child was removed to ACS’ custody.

Parents Demand a Hearing

The parents demanded a hearing. The parents testified when the child fell, he cried. However, the mother picked him up, calmed him down and ascertained that it was not a serious injury. The parents took the position the injuries on the day that ACS appeared at their home and took pictures of the child were significantly worse than on the first day of the incident. The mother also stated that she was going to take the child to the hospital, but she changed her plans when ACS requested a meeting with her. Judge Erik Pitchal, sitting in the Family Court of Kings County, found the father’s testimony that he had spoken with the mother and requested she obtain medical attention for the child before leaving for work was believable. This is true even though several days went by and the mother had not obtained medical treatment for the child.

The judge found even though the parents did not take the child for immediate medical treatment, he would not remove the child from the parent’s custody. Judge Pitchal found the failure of the parents to seek quick medical attention did not cause further injury to the child or place the child in imminent danger or impairment. The judge therefore dismissed the petition and ordered the child be returned to his parents.

Conclusion

This is an example of ACS overreacting to a child who had a small bruise on his face. The parents in this case came very close to losing custody of their child over a small bruise which children periodically receive while playing.family law attorney

Life in the Fast Lane Can Take its Toll

long island personal injury attorneyThe Injuries Board tells us that more than 75 per cent of personal injury claims in Ireland stem from car crashes. Most of us own cars, and public transport isn’t that great, so we’re almost all zipping around in cars every day. This leads to almost one compensation claim an hour here!

While the Injuries Board has its uses, you’ll be more certain to get the full amount you deserve if you get professional legal help after an accident, especially if you weren’t at fault.

Your life and health is more important than money, so go to A&E, or at least to your doctor, to get a diagnosis and a date of knowledge, as you’ll need these to have any chance of compensation. If there’s a lot of time between the crash and a medical visit, it could be argued that your injuries weren’t that bad, or even that you sustained them after the crash!

You also need to report the crash to the Gardai, as they’ll note it, even if no-one’s seriously hurt. All this helps with your case. If it is a serious accident, then the Gardai will take statements and evidence which can be used later, as well as sketches and photos.

Get the names and details of all drivers, as well as any witnesses, if possible. At the very least take down registration plate numbers and snap a photo or two on your phone. In the heat of the moment, people might give the wrong address, or may be unable to speak clearly.You don’t even have to be driving a car! If you’re walking or cycling and a negligent driver injures you, you can start thinking about claiming car accident compensation.

How much compensation you’ll get is worked out by lots of different factors – your age, your gender, your occupation and your family circumstances. Your health before the accident is also important. There’s also the emotional and psychological cost of an accident, which isn’t something the Injuries Board deals with. Existing and future loss of earnings is a big deal as well, as is the cost of ongoing medical care or modifications to your home if you’ve been badly injured.

If you were partly responsible for your injuries, the courts will decide how much responsibility you bear and give you a percentage. If you were talking on your mobile when you had the crash, you may be deemed to be 40 per cent responsible for your injury and so you’ll receive 40 per cent less of any settlement.

A big temptation, while lying in hospital, is to accept the offer from the other party’s insurer of an out-of-court settlement. Don’t! They do this to save time and, most importantly, money. Once you accept an offer like this, the case is closed and you’ll get nothing more, so if you need ongoing medical help or can’t go back to work, you’ll struggle on your own. This is one reason why strong legal representation is essential after a car accident.

Anjelica Cullin is an aspiring financial writer. A resident of Kansas city, Missouri. She has been contributing to many finance niche blogs and sites for last couple of years. Ms. Cullin is a guest contributory writer of our blog.

Georgia Man Ordered to Pay $50,000 For Breaking Promise to Marry

divorce family attorney In a recent case in Georgia an appeals court has ruled a man who broke his promise to marry his fiancé should pay her $50,000 in damages. Melissa Cooper was engaged to Christopher Ned Kelly. He had promised to marry her after they had maintained a relationship for ten years. When he failed to marry her, she sued him for breach of promise and fraud.

The couple had a child together. He gave Melissa an engagement ring. During the litigation, he stated he had never said to her “will you marry me?”. This was his defense. He claimed he just wanted to give her the ring but he didn’t really want to marry her. When Melissa found out Christopher was cheating on her, she initiated the lawsuit. At the trial, the court ordered Christopher to pay Melissa $50,000 and reimburse her for her attorney’s fees. He appealed the ruling to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court. The appeals court stated “Cooper testified she was devastated by Kelly’s fraud and breach of promise to marry and that she quit her job to raise the couple’s children in reliance on the promise.”

Conclusion

Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

protecting your rights Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer representing men and women in the Metropolitan New York area on divorce proceedings, custody matters , visitation cases , and all other marital related litigation.

Avoiding Traffic Tickets – Part II

long island vehicle and traffic law attorneysFighting the Speeding Ticket

If you receive a speeding ticket, you should plead not guilty and ask for a trial. In some situations the prosecutors will plea bargain the matter and agree to give you a lesser ticket that involves less points on your license and a smaller fine. This is usually a good approach. Insurance companies often raise the rates for car insurance for those individuals convicted of speeding tickets. If you cannot plea bargain the speeding ticket, you can challenge the application of the radar, the laser or the use of the camera. Unfortunately these challenges are a bit complicated and the best way to deal with these types of challenges would be to hire a lawyer who handles speeding ticket defense cases.

Signage

There are very specific requirements municipalities must meet with regard to posting signs regarding the speed motorists can travel at on a particular roadway. You can check the uniform traffic control devices rules (MUTCD) with regard to the location and size of signs necessary to be posted with regard to providing motorists with information concerning how fast they can travel on a given roadway.

The Trial of the Speeding Ticket

There are a number of things you can do with regard to trying a speeding ticket. You can serve requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) on the police department. You can ask for the calibration specs with regard to radar guns. You can look into how often tuning forks are utilized by the radar gun manufacturer to test the radar guns. You can look into how old the radar device is and the last time it was tested for accuracy.

When the police officer testifies, you can ask him where he was in relation to your vehicle at the time you were stopped. If he paced your car with his vehicle, you can ask him how long he paced your car for. The police officer needs to establish how long a distance he paced your car for before it is appropriate for him to come to the conclusion you were speeding.

Driver Rehabilitation Courses

In the State of New York, in the event you receive points on your license, you can take a course that will remove up to four points from you driver’s license. These motor vehicle safety courses are highly recommended should you get convicted of a speeding ticket.traffic court counsel

Avoiding Speeding Tickets – Part I

long island traffic ticket attorneysPolice officers have a job. Part of that job is to enforce traffic regulations. However, there is a financial incentive for municipalities to enforce traffic regulations. People who receive traffic tickets must pay fines. The fines create income for the municipalities.

Speeding Tickets

More than half of all of the traffic tickets given by police officers in the United States are speeding tickets. It is estimated more than $2 billion dollars a year in fines are paid by motorists who drive above the speed limit and get caught.

So how can you avoid speeding tickets? First rule is to avoid standing out in a crowd. If you have a red Porsche or a yellow Corvette you will be noticed by police officers a lot more than an individual driving an SUV.

Speed Traps

Speed traps can be set up using radar, laser devices, special cameras designed to pick up speeders, as well as other types of hidden cameras. In addition, police officers can clock you on a stop watch. Many police officers today are still trained to make visual observations and estimate the speed of motor vehicles.

If Stopped by a Police Officer, What Do You Do?

What you don’t do is mouth off at the police officer. Police Officers are hard working men and women who are doing their job to support their families. When a police officer asks you for your license, registration and insurance card, give it to him. Make no statement to the police officer. Be polite and do not antagonize the police officer. If you antagonize the police officer, he or she may decide to give you more than one traffic ticket.traffic and supreme court counsel

Learning the value of a good credit score – The secret behind a shining score for a student

Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpoFor the students, one of the best phases of growing up is becoming financially independent. But with the present financial condition in the US, learning how to manage your finances is rather a challenging task. Building a good credit standing is a must, especially for all the college students as without it, it won’t be possible to grab the best loans in the market, the best insurance policies, the best apartments and the best jobs. Now were you surprised to read the last point? Well, if you are, you should be aware of the fact that the employers all check your credit score before hiring you for a job. Not the problem is that when you’re a beginner and you don’t have any credit, how would you know how you should boost your credit score and remain on the right track? You may read on the concerns of this article to know the ways in which you can effectively build good credit.

  • Get authorized on your parent’s account: The analysts usually advise the parents that unless they’re sure about the fact that their kids are financially responsible individuals, you should give them the opportunity to use your card and make them the authorized user. By being an authorized user on your parent’s account, parents can easily monitor the way in which they’re spending the money. Apart from this, the students can also build good credit through piggybacking. Although being an authorized user has long been a popular option among the students, for some this has presently become the only option. After the Credit CARD Act, students below 21 years of age should have a co-signor for getting a new credit card and so this becomes a necessity.
  • Shop around and get the right card for you: Once the student is able to qualify for a regular card through his own income ability, he should be made aware of the fact that not all cards are similar and that they all operate in a different manner. Without adequate research and without shopping around, it is impossible to grab a card with low interest rate, annual fees, transparent billing policies and affordable credit limits. Don’t make the mistake of saying “Yes” to the first card that is offered to you.
  • Don’t use your card too often: The advisors always ask you to use the card rarely during making some small purchases and yes small means really small! If you inculcate the habit of using your card too often while making most purchases, you can be sure that you will incur a huge amount of debt. If you think that you won’t be able to repay the balance every month and that you might carry over balance from one month to the other, you should take out a low interest credit card so that the rates don’t multiply and bleed you.
  • Repay your balance every month: Do you think that it is only your credit cards that affect your credit? If answered yes, this is the actual fact and hence you should know the importance of repaying your balance every month. If you check the way in which the US credit bureaus shape your credit score, you will come to know that it is when you carry forward your balance to the next month that the hit is the biggest on your credit score. So, you should try your best to repay your balance every month instead of carrying it to the next month and accumulating high interest rates.

Therefore, if you’re a student and you’re spending sleepless nights wondering about the consequences of landing up with the wrong credit card, you should take into account the tips mentioned above. Stay within your means and keep checking your credit so that you may know about any subtle changes and also take help of the professional options if you wish to get out of debt with the help of an expert.

Anjelica Cullin is an aspiring financial writer, Ms. Cullin is passionate about the writing contents with regards to the debt management,credit card consolidation,student loan and so on. Ms. Cullin writes full time for numbers of financial sites and blogs as well.

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

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