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Bankruptcy Fallacies – Part I

new york bankruptcy lawyerOne of the most widely held beliefs concerning individuals who file bankruptcy is they will never be able to obtain credit again. This is simply untrue. Although a bankruptcy filing will be maintained on your credit report for 10 years, most individuals who file bankruptcy can rehabilitate their credit within 18 months. A debtor who files for chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate all of his or her debt.

If the debtor obtains a secured credit card after filing bankruptcy and makes credit card payments on a regular basis he or she can reestablish credit. When this debtor files a new credit application, the financial institution will see all prior debt was discharged in bankruptcy and the individual, for the past 18 months, has been paying his or her debt on time. This makes this individual less of a credit risk to the financial institutions.

In my legal practice, I have represented individuals who have filed for bankruptcy three times during the course of my career. This means after the first and second bankruptcy they are able to establish credit all over again, run their credit up, go bankrupt again and then do a third time.

Individuals Who File Bankruptcy Can’t Have Assets

It is a mistaken belief that before someone can file bankruptcy they have to have virtually no assets. This is untrue. New York State has an exemption statute of $150,000 for equity in a home (this statute depends on which county the home is located in). There are also exemptions under New York State law for $5,000 in cash and a car with up to $4,000 in equity in it. New Yorkers can also choose to utilize Federal exemptions. Under Federal exemptions, there is a $21,625 exemption for the value of a home and $10,825 for cash held by the individual filing for bankruptcy.help in filing for bankruptcy

Borrowing Against Retirement Accounts

When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

Prenuptial Agreement In, Lawyer Out

pre-150x136Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmari recently disqualified Jeffrey S. Stephens from representing Edward Scannapieco, pursuant to a New York ethics rule that bars an attorney from working as an advocate in a case when his presence may have a “significant issue effect.”

Justice Palmari found that attorney Stephens of Greenwich, Connecticut, had “testified because he had submitted an affirmation to the court indicating the facts related to the execution of an undisclosed pre-nuptial agreement.” The pre-nuptial agreement is being contested by Machiell Scannapieco.

Justice Palmari stated his decision, “counsel here was a major participant in the event, as such his testimony is relevant to significant factual issues.” Mr. & Mrs. Scannapieco were married December 30, 1989. Mrs. Scannapieco filed for divorce in 2010.

Mr. Scannapieco brought a proceeding to deny his wife spousal maintenance. He indicated in his motion that there was a November, 1989 pre-nuptial agreement that limited Mrs. Scannapieco’s right to obtain spousal maintenance. He initially was unable to locate the document, but he found it shortly prior to bringing the application to the court.

Attorney Stephens stated in his court papers, “he prepared the agreement, negotiated the changes with an unidentified attorney representing the plaintiff-wife and he only recently found it in storage.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that the application of the pre-nuptial agreement will have to wait until the discovery process in the divorce proceeding is concluded. But since attorney Stephens may be a witness in this proceeding, he cannot represent one of the litigants. Justice Palmari stated, in referring to an earlier Nassau County decision, “that the preventing of an attorney from representing a litigant in a case where the lawyer may be a witness prevents any unfairness from arising from the lawyer’s opportunity to present his case twice.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that since the case was in the initial stages, the elimination of Mr. Stephens from representing Mr. Scannapieco will not create a “substantial hardship.”

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been litigating fathers’ rights matters for more than thirty years. We have extensive experience in representing fathers in divorce proceedings, regarding orders of protection, concerning issues involving child custody, child visitation, child support and spousal maintenance (alimony). We have litigated child abuse and child neglect proceedings on behalf of fathers involving Child Protective Services and Association for Child Services. We have brought proceedings requesting the reduction of child support for fathers. We can assist fathers concerning no-fault divorce issues, equitable distribution of assets, family relocation problems, as well as negotiating separation agreements. We are also very knowledgeable concerning the parental alienation of children by mothers. Feel free to call us at your earliest convenience should you need a fathers’ rights attorney. Our phone numbers are 1-800- 344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

NYC Child Welfare Workers Charged with Negligent Homicide

In March of 2011, two former New York City child care workers were charged with negligent homicide related to a girl’s death. The girl was four years old at the time of her death. The child care workers had a responsibility to monitor her family’s situation. Damon Adams was a child welfare worker who worked for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). He had a responsibility to visit the home of Marchella Pierce. He was supposed to be conducting his visits during the three month period prior to Marchella’s death. Damon Adam’s supervisor was Chereece Bell. She was supposed to provide oversight for Mr. Adams. She has also been charged related to Marchella Pierce’s death. Damon Adams falsely reported that he had been visiting Marchella’s home to check up on her. His failure to follow up and supervise her home situation contributed to her death.

Carlotta Pierce caused Marchella’s Death

Marchella’s mother is named Carlotta Pierce. She had been beating Marchella with household items. She refused to provide Marchella with food and water. She force-fed Marchella antihistamines. Marchella weighed only eighteen pounds at the time of her death. Marchella was a premature baby. She had undeveloped lungs. She had a twin sister who died at birth. Marchella had been in and out of hospitals her entire life. At the time of her release from the hospital in February of 2010, she had a tracheal tube inserted to assist her in breathing.

Administration for Children’s Services had been monitoring the family since November of 2009. Her mother was found to be a drug abuser. Mr. Adams and Chereece Bell are the first two workers working for the Administration for Children Services to be charged with negligent homicide. Anthony Rells, a union representative for the accused child welfare workers, stated, “it is unprecedented and outrageous that workers doing their jobs are being blamed for the deaths of children.”

Mr. Adams faces a potential sentence of seven years in prison and Ms. Bell faces up to four years in prison if they are convicted. The mother, Ms. Brett, faces a term of twenty-five years to life in prison if she is convicted of second degree murder.

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Criminal Attorneys

Our law office represents individuals charged with juvenile defenses, assault and battery, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, drug offenses, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and violent crimes. We also help our clients obtain bail. We’ve been representing individuals charged in criminal matters throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Downward Modifications of Child Support Denied

On February 17th, Justice Maron, sitting in the Supreme Court of Nassau County, rendered a decision in the case of S. S. v. M.S, denying the defendant husband a downward modification of his child support and spousal maintenance payments. The husband’s application to the court indicated that his income had been greatly reduced. He stated his income had been reduced by 58%. He explained the reduction in his income was caused by being terminated from his high-paying position. He claimed he was only able to find employment at a greatly reduced salary.

Liquidation of Assets

The father claimed he had been forced to liquidate assets to maintain the current rate of his financial obligations for child support and spousal maintenance. He also alleged his health was being negatively impacted by this situation.

Justice Maron found the father’s net worth statement was not complete.  His decision stated that the father failed to set forth the total amount of his assets. He found the father was a title owner to a brokerage account worth over a half million dollars and, in addition, he owned an individual retirement account with a cash value of over $163,000.

Justice Maron reached a conclusion, based on the father’s additional assets, that he had sufficient liquid assets available to fulfill his financial obligations for child support and spousal maintenance. The Judge ruled the current child support and spousal maintenance payments did not create an extreme hardship for the father.

This is an example of the high standards that must be met for a father to obtain a downward modification of child support and spousal maintenance.

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Divorce Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents individuals with regard to all aspects of matrimonial and family law. We litigate the grounds for divorce, orders of protection, child custody, child abuse, child neglect, annulments, issues involving fathers’ rights, mothers’ rights and we participate in mediation to resolve divorce matters. We also draft pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements.  Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Modification of Criminal Law

DWI’s

Generally driving while intoxicated convictions (DWI’s) are not subject to being expunged. Instead, in some circumstances these records can be sealed. We can also obtain for our clients waivers of civil disabilities for individuals convicted of DWI’s. This  allows them to obtain commercial licenses in the future or have their commercial drivers license reinstated.

The Expungement Process in New York

To expunge a criminal conviction in the State of New York it is necessary to bring an application to the court that rendered the original decision to convict the defendant. The court has discretion and on a case by case basis decides whether to allow the criminal conviction to be expunged. Generally speaking to have a criminal conviction expunged you must have been convicted as a juvenile, convicted of an allowable drug related offense, or have been arrested in a case and not convicted. Feel free to contact the expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo for a free consultation regarding the issue of expunging a criminal record.

Contact an Experienced New York DWI Attorney

Based in Lynbrook, New York, The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents clients throughout Long Island and New York City, including  Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens, as well as Westchester County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.  Call us at 800-344-6431.

Retirement: What if You Haven’t Saved any Money?

retire-150x1503Retirement is supposed to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for Americans. The current economic situation in the United States may require a re-thinking of retirement issues. A recent study has shown that one in four individuals approaching retirement have saved nothing for their retirement years! The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently revealed that nearly 50% of all individuals who are close to retirement, age 56 through 62, will run out of money if they are retired for twenty years or more.

Planning for Retirement

Planning for retirement is a complicated process. You never know how long you’re going to live! It is difficult to anticipate future medical expenses.

Retirement Facts

In the year 2011, the average individual receiving social security benefits will take in about $1,200 a month. Studies show you’ll need approximately eighty-percent of your pre- retirement income to maintain the same level of life style you maintained in your pre- retirement days. If you are nearing retirement, it is strongly suggested that you obtain literature and/or professional advice concerning retirement. Some retirement organizations offer community seminars. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has an enormous amount of information concerning what you can expect your expenses to be during the course of your retirement.

Are You In Debt

One of the first things that is recommended to individuals approaching retirement is to eliminate debt. The best way to do that is to review your expenses and take affirmative action to reduce these expenses. Examples of reducing expenses would be eating out in restaurants less often. You may have to change your life style and live a simpler, less expensive life.

Can You Downsize Your Home Expenses?

You may be able to sell your home and move into a smaller home. In some situations, you may be forced to sell your home and live in an apartment.

Don’t Retire!

Who says sixty-five years of age is the magic number to retire! People are living much longer today. Working into your early seventies may be the solution to your retirement issues. Another alternative is to simply not retire. I’m sixty-one years of age and I have no intentions of retiring anytime in the near future. I simply wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I retired. I anticipate I would be bored to tears!

Estate Planning Attorneys

Our law office has been handling estate planning matters for our clients for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts for our clients. We assist our clients in estate administration and probating wills. We deal with elder care matters involving nursing homes, nursing home abuse, medicaid, medicaid planning and medicaid planning techniques. We also assist our clients in developing special needs trusts for special needs children. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Fathers’ Rights Issues, Child Support and Visitation

If you are obligated to make child support payments and your spouse refuses to give you visitation, can you stop making these child support payments? The answer to this question is no. A spouse who has child support financial obligations must make these payments whether or not he or she has access to the child for visitation. It takes a court order to reduce or eliminate child support payments. A court will not reduce or eliminate your child support if your visitation is interfered with.

Child Support and Disability

Can you reduce child support payments if you become disabled through no fault of your own and are unable to work? The answer to this question is yes. However, there is an issue as to at what point your child support payments are reduced. Imagine this scenario, you are in a car accident and hospitalized for a period of a month. Thereafter, you’re in the rehabilitation facility for another two months. When you get your strength up, you bring a proceeding three months after the accident to reduce your child support. In a logical, fair-minded world, the court would grant your child support reduction as of the date you were injured three months ago. This may not be the case if you bring a child support modification proceeding in the state of New York. There are cases that hold that child support arrears may not be reduced retroactively, even when the defaulting party can show good cause for his or her failure to make an application for the relief from a judgment or an order of child support prior to the accrual of the arrears.

Downward Modifications of Child Support

Let’s take another scenario. You’re making $75,000 a year at your job. You lose your job. You diligently look for another job and you find a job for $50,000 a year. On January 1, 2011, you bring a proceeding in the family court in New York State for downward modification of child support payments. In June of 2010, you are successful and your child support payments are reduced. In this case, the child support is reduced retroactive to the January 1, 2011 date when you brought your proceeding.

Query – If there’s been an overpayment to child support services, will they refund your money? In a fair and perfect world, of course they would refund your overpayment. Unfortunately, we live in New York State. That doesn’t happen in New York. Over payments of child support are not refunded!

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Protecting Fathers’ Rights

We protect fathers’ rights. We litigate issues in divorces. We deal with both the criminal and the family court problems involved with orders of protection. We help our clients obtain child custody. When child custody is not requested, we obtain visitation for our clients. We litigate child abuse and child neglect issues. We provide a defense in child abuse cases. When there are questions of paternity, we litigate paternity issues. We educate our clients concerning no-fault divorces and attorney fees in divorces. We represent fathers in high net worth and high income divorce situations. We deal with relocation problems, parental alienation, parental alienation syndrome and we negotiate separation agreements when applicable. Call us. Fathers deserve equal treatment!

Loss of License for Talking on a Cell Phone

cell.jpegIt is against the law to speak on a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle in the state of New York. This past summer, Justice Edmead, sitting in the Supreme Court located in New York County, suspended a driver’s license for thirty-one days when she was found guilty of talking on her cell phone.

The defendant argued that the courts determination was arbitrary and that the sentence was excessive. The court stated otherwise. The defendant had two previous convictions for talking on a cell phone. These convictions took place within the past eighteen months and were still on her driver’s license.

The court claimed that sections 1225-c(2)(a) and section 510(3) of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws provided the court with discretion to temporarily suspend the license of a driver for multiple convictions related to the same offense. The court stated in its decision that monetary fines did not stop her from driving while talking on a cell phone. The court further indicated that there was a “reasonable prospect” that without the suspending of her drivers license, she would continue to violate the law. Therefore, the punishment was not disproportionate to the offense, shocking to one’s conscience or unreasonable.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our office has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with a variety of crimes, such as drug offenses, domestic violence, misdemeanors, felonies, assault and battery, juvenile offenses, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated, weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes and traffic tickets. Call us for a free consultation.

Medicare Scams

On February 17, 2011, more than one hundred doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other medical providers were arrested as part of a huge, nationwide investigation dealing with medicare fraud. Approximately seven hundred law enforcement personnel were involved in the arrests of individuals accused with illegally defrauding medicare of more than $225 million dollars. The $225 million dollars represented illegal false billing of medicare for services that either were not necessary or never provided. Medicare fraud is a huge problem in the United States. It is one of the causes of the high expense rate for this program.

The February 17, 2011 medicare fraud arrests involved individuals in the following cities: Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, Brooklyn, New York, Tampa, Florida and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In Detroit, a pediatrist who performed unnecessary partial toenail removals by the name of Dr. Errol Sherman was accused of defrauding medicare out of $700,000 for these unnecessary procedures. His alleged partial toenail removals were actually Dr. Sherman simply cutting the toenails of his patients. Dr. Sherman had the audacity to bill medicare for twenty toenail removals on three toes for one patient! He charged medicare $110.00 for each of these non-existent treatments. Query – how many toes can a patient have?

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Scandalous Brooklyn Proctologist

Dr. Borus Sachakow, located in Brooklyn, New York, is a proctologist. He billed medicaid for ten hemorrhoid removals for one patient. This is impossible! Dr. Sachakow had been previously arrested last year on criminal charges for other fraudulent medicaid activities.

Three clinics in Brooklyn, New York, that specialized in physical therapy were also busted. These clinics were part of an organized crime ring operated by Russian immigrants. They paid recruiters to find senior citizens to come to their office for unnecessary treatment. They billed medicaid $57 million for physical therapy that consisted of back rubs.

Miami, Florida

Home Care, Inc., which was run by two Miami physicians, was charged with writing $25 million worth of fake prescriptions. In Miami, more than three dozen individuals were charged with medicaid fraud. They were charged with falsely billing medicaid for more than $56 million.  The busts on Thursday, February 17, 2011, were in addition to the arrests of twenty one people in Miami on Tuesday of that week for $200 million in medicare fraud.

John Gillis, the FBI Agent in charge, stated “we can arrest and charge people every day and it still won’t make a dent until changes are made to medicare.”

Unfortunately, medicare operates under a system that pays for medical services without investigating as to whether these services were actually necessary. Medicare is one of the largest medical supplier systems in the world. It has more than $1.3 million licensed suppliers nationwide. This is increasing by more than 18,000 new suppliers coming onto the system each and every month. This system program needs a better system of policing.

Medicare Needs To Be Reformed

America is going broke. Medicare is one of those programs that is contributing to the financial problems faced by state and local governments. The medicare system must be changed. Procedures must be developed to provide quality medical care. The system today promotes high quantities of unnecessary medical procedures. We simply can no longer afford this!

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Elder Care Lawyers

There are many issues faced by senior citizens. The elder care lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can assist seniors with these issues. We draft wills.  We probate wills. We litigate contested wills and estates for family members and friends of the decedents. We engage in medicaid planning. We deal with nursing home issues and we assist our clients when they feel there has been nursing home abuse. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children. We also provide tax planning advise for our high net worth clients concerning estate tax issues. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

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

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