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New York’s Alimony Laws Are Changing

matrimonial attorneysIn 2010, the State Legislature in New York passed laws with regard to temporary spousal maintenance which is more commonly referred to as alimony. Since then, many divorce and family law attorneys as well as Judges have been upset about these new laws. The temporary maintenance formula is intended to provide a greater level of consistency in all awards made by courts, concerning families involved in divorce litigation. The 2010 amendment to the alimony laws in New York was supposed to alleviate concerns high income families had over issues such as one-time bonuses and mortgage payments.

State Legislature Appoints A Commission

After the temporary alimony law was passed in 2010, the State Legislature organized a commission to evaluate the effectiveness of this new law. The commission made a recommendation that the formula for alimony enacted in 2010 should only apply to people earning up to $136,000 per year. In a divorces involving couples with income greater than $136,000, judges would be given discretion to determine what, if any, alimony is to be paid based on a specific set of factors.

The $136,000 threshold was picked by the commission because it works in conjunction with the same threshold amount that is part of the Child Support Standards Act which is enforced in all 50 states.

Uncertainty About Alimony Awards

Divorce lawyers are concerned that changing the law will bring back uncertainty into the process of determining how much, if any, alimony is to be paid in a divorce. Since approximately 85% of all families getting divorced in New York State make under $136,000 the uncertainty will only exist, if it exists, with regard to a small minority of the families involved in divorce litigation.

Equitable Distribution Of Licenses And Degrees

There is a famous Court of Appeals decision in New York in the case of O’Brien vs. O’Brien which basically stated that professional licenses and degrees from universities are property subject to equitable distribution. The manner in which this type of equitable distribution matter is handled today is forensic experts are hired to determine the value of the professional licenses or degrees and the courts give an award of a percentage of said license or degree to the spouse. This principle is called Enhanced Earning Capacity. The commission appointed by the legislature has recommended abolishing this legal precedent. They feel licenses and degrees should not be subject to equitable distribution.


The divorce laws on New York State need to be modified pursuant to the commission’s recommendations. It is now up to the State Legislature to pass these changes to the divorce laws in New York.divorce assistance

Temporary Spousal Maintenance In New York

divorce attorneys on Long IslandIn October 2010, the State Legislature in New York enacted guidelines for calculating temporary spousal maintenance. The purpose of this new statute is to provide consistency in spousal maintenance awards by judges. The temporary maintenance law provides a formula by which the parties to a matrimonial lawsuit can determine what, if any, spousal maintenance is required to be paid on a temporary basis.

Temporary Maintenance Law Does Not Work

The temporary maintenance statute has not accomplished its goal. It has created more problems in divorce proceedings than it has resolved. The statutory formula replaced the prior system of determining temporary spousal maintenance which was based on the Court exercising its discretion after assessing the financial circumstances and the needs of the parties.

The intent of temporary spousal maintenance is to allow the non-moneyed spouse to maintain his or her standard of living that existed prior to the initiation of the divorce lawsuit. The legislature took action to draft a temporary maintenance statute because of the feeling that there was a lack of consistency and predictability by allowing Judges to determine each case on a case by case basis.

Bankrupting The Moneyed Spouse

In to in many cases the writer of this article has been involved with, the application of the temporary maintenance statute has financially ruined the moneyed spouse. This statute unfortunately over emphasizes the wages of the moneyed spouse. It does not take into consideration the financial needs of the parties and their actual living expenses. The formula does not take into consideration the payments for household expenses such as mortgage payments, electric payments, fuel oil, payments for internet service, telephone charges, maintenance of the property, child support and attorney’s fees during the course of litigation. The approach utilized by this statute does not accurately deal with the specific financial obligations and needs of the parties.

Rigid Formula Must Go!

The new maintenance statue needs to be revised. It is a rigid formula that denies the Court from having the necessary discretion to deal with the unique financial circumstances litigants are exposed to. In some situations spouses are receiving interim spousal maintenance awards in cases and at the conclusion, they receive no spousal maintenance. How can this be fair?maintenance and custody attorneys

Same Sex Marriage Comes to New York

marriage-150x127On Friday, June 24, 2011, New York became the largest state in the country to allow lesbian and gay couples to marry. It was questionable, up to the last minute, as to whether this law would pass the New York State Senate. In the final moments, four Republican majority members joined all but one Democrat and voted in support of the gay rights statute.

Previously Passed by New York State Assembly

The New York State Assembly had passed the same sex marriage law last week. Immediately after the law was passed, Governor Cuomo signed the law. This means the law went into effect on July 24, 2011.

New York is the fifth state in the country to permit the same sex marriages. The other states that have approved same sex marriages are: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.

This is the third year in a row that gay rights advocates had lobbied for New York State to pass a gay rights marriage bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied the New York State Legislature to pass this law. Governor Cuomo made this bill one of his top legislative priorities for the year.

Cap on Local Property Taxes

In addition to passing a same sex marriage law, the New York State Legislature passed statutes which created a cap on local property tax increases, as well as a five year tuition increase at the State University of New York and the City Colleges of New York.

Same Sex Divorce

If marriages are made in heaven, or now in the State of New York, divorces are made by the courts. Marriage is supposed to be forever, but the divorce rate upon heterosexual couples in the State of New York is close to 50%.

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling divorces in the Metropolitan New York area for over 33 years. We litigate all aspects of divorce related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Family Court. These proceedings involve divorce groundsno fault divorcechild custodymothers’ rights,f athers’ rightschild supportdownward modification of child supportspousal maintenance (alimony)and domestic violence issues. In addition, we negotiate separation agreementsprenuptial agreementsand post-nuptial agreements for our clients. We litigate equitable distribution issues involving doctor, dentist and lawyer licenses. Please call us for a free consultation.

Getting Divorced During an Economic Downturn

divorce-150x1502The financial crisis in the United States is causing tension within families. Financial problems can be the cause of a divorce. In most marriages the family home is the largest asset. The decline in home values over the past three or four years has resulted in many homes being worth less than the mortgages on them.

Postponing Divorce

Recent studies have shown that nearly a third of all couples who considered divorce have postponed their divorce plans due to financial problems.

Divorce and Real Estate Issues

What do you do with the house in the divorce? Who stays in the house? Who is responsible for paying the bills on the house? These are significant issues that must be dealt with.

Living Together Until Financial Problems Can Be Dealt With

One choice for couples who don’t get along is to continue living together, but not as man and wife. These couples live together with the hope that their financial situation will improve and they will be able to sell their home and get their equity out of it. However, there is no sign the real estate market is improving throughout the majority of the United States. Furthermore, there is always a question as to whether living with someone you don’t get along with creates a negative environment for the children or will result in domestic violence.

Are the Mortgage Payments Behind?

If the mortgage payments are behind, the unhappy couple will eventually be receiving a foreclosure notice. Is it better to sell the house now or wait until it’s sold in foreclosure?

Modern Divorce

Divorce can be a contentious issue or it can be negotiated. The best solution for couples that don’t get along is for them to sit down with attorneys and negotiate in a mature, amicable manner, in either a divorce settlement or separation agreement. This will help avoid the acrimony and high cost of litigation.

New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling divorces in the Metropolitan New York area for over 33 years. We litigate all aspects of divorce related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Family Court. These proceedings involve divorce grounds, no fault divorce, child custody, mothers’ rights, fathers’ rights, child support, downward modification of child support, spousal maintenance (alimony)and domestic violence issues. In addition, we negotiate separation agreements, prenuptial agreementsand post-nuptial agreements for our clients. We litigate equitable distribution issues involving doctor, dentist and lawyer licenses. Call us for a free consultation.

Suspects In Abuse Cases – Phone Calls are Taped

New York City jails tape all phone calls made by prisoners with the exception of calls to doctors and lawyers. Prosecutors have been using these tapes against these prisoners. More than 8,200 calls were taped last year in New York City jails. The largest use of these taped calls comes in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence

Men charged with assaulting and beating their wives and girlfriends seem to blabber mouths. “I need you to prepare the kids to start lying” was stated by one man to his girlfriend on these taped conversations. In another case the prisoner told his girlfriend “whatever you do, do not speak to the District Attorney.”

Scott Kesler, the Bureau Chief in the Queens District Attorney’s office stated the recording “revolutionized the way we were able to proceed against men in domestic violence cases. Mr. Kesler stated that we now have to ability “to prove what we’ve always suspected which is that defendants in domestic violence cases are in constant contact with their victims and they utilize the phone system to intimidate their victims and refuse to cooperate in their prosecution.

Orders of Protection

In virtually all domestic violence cases the abused individuals are given orders of protection preventing the abuser from having contact with them. These jail house calls are violation of the court ordered orders of protection and constitutes a crime in and of themselves.

In one case in Kings County the abuser called the victim 1,200 times while he was incarcerated. Sometimes the victims are so traumatized by these phone calls they refuse
to cooperate with the prosecutors. In these situations the District Attorneys office utilized the recordings to explain why the victims are refusing to testify.

In a case involving Mohammd Khan, who was charged with stabbing his wife in the head and shoulders with a meat cleaver. The wife testified she did not remember who her attacker was. The recordings showed that Mr. Khan had engaged in a campaign of coercion against his spouse. They were able to introduce her statements made in the hospital during the course of the proceedings against Mr. Khan. Mr. Khan was convicted and eventually sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison.

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

If you were arrested it is generally not in your interest to speak about the alleged crime you have committed. The father’s rights lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo in addition we represent fathers concerning the following matters related to divorces and family court proceedings: orders of protection; child custody; child visitation; child support; spousal maintenance (alimony); child abuse & child neglect; CPS and ACS cases; paternity and equitable distribution; negotiating separation agreements and pre-nuptial and postnuptial agreements. Feel free to call us for a free consultation. We can protect your rights.

A Father’s Rights Protected

Judge John J. Kelly, sitting in the Family Court of Suffolk County, recently rendered a decision in a custody case that the children’s best interest required that they be returned to the custody of their father. The case presented to him was a permanency hearing brought by the Department of Social Services. The Social Services Department had recommended that the children be returned to their father.

The children had been removed from the mother’s home. The children’s temporary guardians were actively involved in a private placement adoption. The children’s mother had died. Before her death, she had promised the guardians that they could adopt her children.

Father Never Notified

According to the decision, the court found that the father did not make these promises too. The promise to have the children put up for adoption by the guardians was solely made by the mother. The court found the father to be a fit parent. He complied with the court’s request to attend mandatory court programs. He had presented ample evidence to the court that he would provide a safe environment for the children to live in. He also encouraged the relationship with the children and their siblings who are in their maternal grandmother’s custody. The court also found that he had recently had a relationship with the children and that there was no abandonment by the father of his children. It was in the children’s best interest that their father be given full custody of them. A father’s rights had prevailed!


Experienced Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

We represent fathers regarding divorce proceedings, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation issues, child support issues, spousal maintenance issues, alimony, child abuse and child neglect proceedings as well as child abuse defense. We also have extensive experience in dealing with paternity issues, child support, no fault divorces and equitable distribution of assets. Call for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

Are Back Taxes Shared in a Divorce? Maybe Not!

father1-150x1503This past summer, acting Supreme Court Judge Andrew A. Crecca, in the case of Maria C. vs. Dominick C., under Index No.: 04775/08, dealt with issues involving back taxes and equitable distribution in a divorce. The couple had been married in 1987. They had four children. The husband had a home improvement corporation and the wife was a secretary. In 2008, the husband was served with divorce papers. The basis for the divorce was constructive abandonment of the wife by the husband.

Case Scheduled for Trial

After the preliminary proceedings were concluded, Judge Crecca scheduled the case for an equitable distribution trial. Shortly before the trial, the husband unilaterally filed marital tax returns for the years 2004 through 2007. The amended returns showed that husband had earned $100,600 in previously unreported income during this period.

Judge Crecca stated in his decision, “the court sees no legitimate reason for this outrageous and despicable conduct, which the court finds is based solely on malice and revenge, with no other goal then prevent his wife from any recovery in equitable distribution. Accordingly, as a result of such shocking and egregious conduct on the part of the defendant-husband, the court declined to allocate any of the tax liability to the plaintiff-wife in connection with the amended personal returns and directs that the defendant-husband should bare full responsibility for any such additional tax liability.”

The wife’s attorney commented, with regard to this decision, that the Internal Revenue Service is not bound by decisions of state courts. However, they “will give it the appropriate wait.” He further stated that the husbands failure to settle the tax debt “showed the vindictiveness and vengeance of the strategy.”

Fathers’ Rights

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo aggressively represents fathers. We defend fathers’ rights regarding divorce, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse, child neglect and paternity proceedings. We also deal with relocation agreements, grandparents’ rights issues and the drafting of separation agreements. In cases involving parental alienation, we litigate issues related to parental alienation syndrome and how it affects fathers. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Father of Six Seeks Downward Modification of Child Support


In the matter of “Demetrius D. v. Loti T.”, reported in the New York Law Journal on January 27, 2011, a father sought a downward modification of his child support obligations. The lawsuit was brought in Clinton County, New York, before Family Court Judge Lawliss.

The father in this case was ordered to pay child support for his son, Isiah. At the time of the proceeding, the court was aware that the father was paying child support for three other children. Demetrius was a very active fellow! After the proceeding, in which Judge Lawliss ordered Demetrius to pay child support for Isiah, he was then forced to pay child support for another daughter and subsequently thereafter for another after born son.

Demetrius’s life was a mess! I assume he was not familiar with the concept of birth control.

Downward Modification Proceeding of Child Support for Isiah

Demetrius petitioned Judge Lawliss. He claimed that he had changed jobs and had received a reduction in his wages. He asked the court to reduce his child support obligations regarding his son Isiah.

There had been a ruling by a support magistrate. The support magistrate found that Demetrius voluntarily changed jobs and that the new job paid him less than the prior job. She found that Demetrius voluntarily engaged in sexual acts leading to his having an additional son and he was aware of the financial consequences of having more children. The support magistrate denied Demetrius application. Demetrius appealed this decision to Judge Lawliss in the Family Court of Clinton County.

Judge Lawliss ruled that Demetrius did not successfully prove he was entitled to a downward modification of child support. Judge Lawliss’s written opinion states that Demetrius did not show that the reduction in his wages was cause by actions other than his own decision to change jobs. Therefore, Demetrius’s objections to the support magistrate’s denial of his reduction of child support were without merit and Demetrius lost the case.

New York Fathers’ Rights

If you are a father and find yourself engaged in divorce proceedings or Family Court proceedings, we are the law firm to level the playing field. The law in New York is gender neutral concerning the rights and privileges of fathers and mothers. However, the reality of the practical application of this law in many courts is that fathers get the short end of the stick. Our job is to level this playing field.

We represent fathers concerning orders of protection, child custody, visitation with children, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), as well as child abuse and child neglect proceedings brought on by Child Protective Services (CPS) and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).

We also represent fathers regarding parental alienation issues. This is caused by one parent taking inappropriate action to create a negative relationship between the child or children and the other parent. Call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350- 2802 for a free consultation.

Family Court Restrained From Holding Husband in Contempt for Non-payment of Spousal Maintenance

divorce2-150x150Mr. and Mrs. Vandyke were married for thirty-five years. The marriage ended in 2007. Mr. Vandyke was supposed to pay his wife $400.00 in spousal maintenance (alimony) per week until she reached the age of sixty-two.

Mr. Vandyke failed to make his spousal maintenance payments. A hearing was held before Supreme Magistrate Rika Murray in the Family Court of Albany County. Court Magistrate Murray found that Mr. Vandyke had willfully violated his financial obligations to pay spousal maintenance to his wife. The Support Magistrate found that he was $11,774 in arrears.

Mr. Vandyke Appeals the Support Magistrate’s Decision to Family Court Judge Ducan

Judge Ducan reviewed the decision of Support Magistrate Rika Murray. He found that a party should not be held in contempt for failing to make spousal maintenance payments on a timely basis unless there were no other “less drastic” means of collecting this debt. He therefore refused to confirm the Support Magistrate’s finding that Kenneth G. Vandyke willfully failed to pay his maintenance payments.

In his decision, Judge Ducan compared and contrasted the procedures concerning the enforcement of spousal maintenance in the Family Court and the Supreme Court. Judge Ducan found that in the Supreme Court, a party cannot be held in contempt unless the court concludes that there are no other remedies available to collect this debt. He stated, “Family Court cannot be granted any jurisdictional authority that is not available to the Supreme Court, because Supreme Court has plenary jurisdiction over all causes of action”. Judge Ducan stated that before a court could determine that a party should be held in contempt, it must look into whether there are alternatives, such as giving security or enforcing the judgment by income execution or income deduction audit.

Rules For Contempt

Judge Ducan’s decision indicates that the Family Court should be covered by the same rules regarding contempt as the Supreme Court. He remanded the case for further consideration. This is a victory for fathers’ rights.

Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens Father’s Rights Lawyers

Our law office has been representing fathers and protecting their rights for three decades. We litigate all aspects of divorce proceedings. We deal with equitable distribution of assets, spousal maintenance, child support, paternity, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation, child abuse and child neglect cases. When our clients lose their jobs, we bring downward modification of support proceedings. When either of the parents need to relocate, we deal with relocation issues related to child custody.

We also represent fathers concerning issues involving parental alienation syndrome. This is where one parent engages in parental alienation of a child by making disparaging comments about the father or criticizing the father in front of the child. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802. Our phones are monitored 24/7.

Neighborhood Change Insufficient to Modify Child Custody Terms

custody2-150x150 Lawrence C. and Antheap met based on an advertisement placed on a website for a partner to conceive a  child through artificial insemination. When the parties met, it was agreed that Antheap would be  artificially inseminated and Lawrence C. would play a role in the parenting of the perspective child. In  June of 2008, twins were born. A custody arrangement was worked out between the parties. During a  two-week period, Dad had the children with him for four evenings. Mom had the children with her for  ten evenings.

The relationship between the parties was never one of love and affection. It was strictly one of convenience, for the purpose of conceiving children. In 2007, the relationship soured.

Court Hearing Before Referee Barnett

Referee Barnett, sitting in the Family Court for New York County, rendered a decision after a hearing that the father should be the primary residential custodial parent of the children after they reach the age of four. In the decision of Referree Barnett, Dad was given final decision-making authority on all significant issues, including, without limitation, education, medical care and extra curricular activities. Mom appealed.

Appellate Division First Department Ruling

The Appellate Division of the First Department, located in New York County, overturned the decision of Court Referree Elizabeth Barnett. The Appellate Division found “none of the grounds upon which the Referree ordered a future change in custody are so compelling as to warrant the attended disruption of the children’s lives.” The court went on to state, “speculation (based solely on lay testimony) that the children, by reason of their non-traditional family background, would more easily fit in with other children in the father’s west village neighborhood than in the mother’s predominately Greek American neighborhood in Queens “was not a reasonable basis for making a custody decision concerning the best interest of the children.”

The Appellate Division also stated that, while each parent would do well to adopt a more cooperative attitude towards the other, the past problems with the mother’s conduct are not so great as to warrant displacing her as the primary custodial parent.

custody11-150x1501New York and Long Island Fathers’ Rights Attorneys

Are you a father with a legal problem? If so, we are the attorneys for you. We have more than thirty years of experience representing fathers in all types of father’s rights cases. We litigate divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, child visitation proceedings, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), as well as child abuse and child neglect proceedings in the Supreme Courts and Family Courts throughout the metropolitan New York area.

We develop defenses for fathers who are removed from their residences based on orders of protection. We litigate the equitable distribution of property of the parties in divorce cases. When the situation is appropriate, we negotiate separation agreements for our clients.

When mothers seek to leave the metropolitan New York area for the purposes of relocating, we litigate relocation problems on behalf of fathers.

If you are a father and you have problems involving your children, we are the law firm for you. We will give you a free consultation. We will analyze your problems and provide you with a detailed presentation as to how we can help you resolve these problems. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 – Father’s Rights Website.

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