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Divorce Settlement Agreements

Settlement AgreementsSettlement agreements in divorce cases tend to be long and detailed. These agreements cover issues involving child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, the division of property, how much time each parent spends with the children, who pays for college and various other issues. It is important that the language in the agreement is clear and not subject to multiple interpretations.

The agreement should lay out the responsibilities of each of the parents in a clear and concise manner.

Visitation and Parenting Time Issues

The agreement should have a chart that breaks down what holidays are being celebrated by the children and who has parenting time with the children in odd and even years on these holidays. The agreement should also clearly stress if the holiday falls after a weekend whether the weekend and holiday shall be observed by the same parent having parenting time with the children.

A Tiebreaker

Generally speaking most parenting agreements do not have time tiebreakers. So, if one parent has to confer with the other parent on a particular issue and the parents disagree how that issue should be resolved concerning the children, there needs to be a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker in most agreements is the residential custodial parent. Unfortunately, clauses giving the residential custodial parent the final say on significant issues involving the children can be misused by that parent.

Read the Agreement Carefully

If you are entering into a settlement agreement on a divorce to start with you should carefully read it. Review all terms, conditions, obligations and matters involving financial responsibilities, visitation and custody with your attorney. Make sure you are absolutely clear as to what your responsibilities are, and the responsibilities of the other parent are with regard to all of the terms and conditions of the agreemen

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. He has been representing parties in divorce and Family Court cases for more than 40 years. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-644-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com. .

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.

Representing Yourself in Family Court: Usually a Bad Idea!

Representing Yourself in Family Court: Usually a Bad Idea!

Our law office has been representing men and women in the Family Courts in the Metropolitan New York area for 40 years. We have participated in scores of cases where our clients have initially tried to represent themselves. They usually retain our law office after they failed in their attempts to represent themselves in Family Court. They come to our law office to deal with their underlying problems in the Family Court proceedings they are faced with. Sometimes they have made their problems worse by trying to represent themselves.

Every person who goes into Family Court whether it is on a paternity proceeding, a relocation case, a child support matter, ACS or CPS case, a custody case, a visitation case or any other type of proceeding in the Family Court should be represented by competent experienced Family Court attorney.

I’m Smart Enough to Represent Myself!

An individual has every right to represent themselves in the courts in New York State. The issue is can they do a good job in representing themselves. If you plan on going into Family Court or Elliot Schlisseldivorce court and represent yourself ask yourself the following questions: How do I question myself when placed on the witness stand? How do I establish a foundation for introducing evidence into the record in court? What happens when in the middle of the hearing or trial, I realize I don’t know what I’m doing?

The best way to deal with any legal issue you are facing in Family Court is to hire an experienced Family Court attorney to provide you with their expertise and legal representation. Our office offers free consultations to our client. We are available for telephone consultation 7 days a week. We can be reached at our offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2808 and 631-319-8262. We can also be e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.
516-561-6645, 718-350-2808 and 631-319-8262. We can also be e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Mother Allowed to Relocate With Child To Florida

custody and visitation attorneyA proceeding was brought by a mother, JL in Nassau County Supreme Court before Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Goodstein regarding relocating with her child to Florida. She requested the father’s existing visitation schedule with their child be modified.

The Custody Agreement

The parties had entered into a custody agreement which provided the mother with both residential and legal custody. A hearing was held and the mother testified the father exercised only minimal visitation with the child, spending only sixteen hours a month with the child. In addition, she claimed the father was $100,000 behind in his child support payments.

The Judge’s Decision

Justice Goodstein granted the mother’s request to relocate to Florida. In his decision he noted the father only spent sixteen hours a month with the child and the father did not engage in overnight or midweek visits with the child. In his decision he stated that based on the evidence, the child’s education and child care issues could be resolved if the mother moved to Florida where she had a family support system. In the end Justice Goodstein found the relocation of the mother and the child to Florida would be in the child’s best interest. He went on further to rule the father was entitled to both telephone, Skype and facetime contact with the child. However, it would be his responsibility to initiate such contact. In addition, all of the child’s expenses to fly to and from New York to visit with the father would be the mother’s sole responsibility.family law attorney

Suffolk County Arrests Parents at Traffic Stops for Non-Payment of Child Support

Handcuffed_hands_line_drawingSince June of 2015, Suffolk County has a new policy concerning traffic stops. Police Officers in Suffolk County are checking on each traffic stop as to whether the parent involved owes back child support. Upon reviewing the court records, if it is found the parent owes child support the parent is handcuffed and taken into custody. County Executive Steve Bellone, on discussing the new policy, stated “those who bear the financial burden of taking care of their children must live up to their responsibility.” Bellone went on further to say “and we are sending a message we take that issue very seriously.”

Suspension of Driver’s License For Non-Payment of Child Support

Under New York State law a driver’s license can be suspended for any driver who has not made a child support payment for a period of four months and did not make a payment within 45 days after getting formal notice of the four month delinquency. There are approximately 12,500 Suffolk County residents who have suspended driver’s licenses for failure to make child support payments. These driver’s license suspensions are checked when the police officers run a driver’s license history during the course of a traffic stop. In a case where the driver’s license is suspended they are being charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $200 to $500 fine or both.

Motivating The Payment of Child Support

Suffolk County Legislator William Lindsay III, recently stated regarding this new program to catch deadbeat parents “some people blame the system and walk out of Family Court laughing. This is aimed at people who aren’t paying anything for a long time and think they can thumb their noses at the system.”

Tim Sini, an Assistant Deputy County Attorney, stated “putting handcuffs on someone usually changes their behavior, when referring to motivating deadbeat parents to make their child support payments.” Assistant Deputy County Attorney Sini indicates the County is going to be following up this program with a six month study to determine whether the policy of arresting driver’s for non-payment of child support and charging them with a crime is having a positive impact on the payments of child support.family law attorney

Do It Yourself Divorce: Is It Really A Good Idea?

On today’s video blog we talk about how Do it Yourself Divorce’s are a BAD idea:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce attorney with more than 35 years of experience. He represents clients in all areas of family law including child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution and custody and visitation issues. He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, 1-800-344-6431 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Changing Divorce Lawyers

divorce family lawyersDivorce cases are unique. They can be emotionally gut wrenching litigation. An attorney representing you in a divorce case should be communicative and experienced with regard to divorce law. In addition he or she should be someone you have faith in. You will be forced to rely on your divorce lawyer should your case become acrimonious. Your divorce lawyer will make suggestions with regard to settlement, negotiating tactics, and present opinions to you concerning child custody, child support, equitable distribution of the marital assets, and a variety of other issues in your divorce case. So what do you do if you become unhappy or disenchanted with your lawyer? You can meet with your attorney and express your concerns and try to get your relationship back on the right track. What do you do if that doesn’t work? Sometimes, you simply need to change lawyers.

Hiring a New Divorce Attorney

If you are not comfortable with the way your case is going, or the way your family law attorney is handling your case, you should look for the best available attorney to represent you. Individuals usually find it difficult to express their unhappiness to the level of firing their lawyer. But this is not necessary in the State of New York. There are specific procedures in place with regard to changing attorneys. When you hire a new lawyer, it is the new lawyer’s responsibility to make arrangements to obtain the file and to notify the prior attorney that he or she has been retained in their place.

When our office is retained by a client who already has an existing attorney, one of the first things we do is to contact the prior attorney and discuss the matter with him or her. We can review court records, materials the client brings to us and we make arrangements to obtain the file from the prior attorney. We then lay out a strategy and set up a game plan as how to effectuate this strategy. We aggressively pick up the case where the other attorney left off.

Contact With Clients

One of the mainstays of how our law office operates is that we understand we are in the service business. For that reason, our phones are monitored 7 days a week. Our attorneys return calls during business hours, after business hours, and on weekends. We take our responsibility to our clients seriously and we do whatever is reasonable to deliver for our clients and protect their rights.

family law advocateShould you be unhappy with your present lawyer, call us to discuss your case. We offer free consultations. Our office numbers are 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645, and 718-350-2802.

Divorcing Yourself: A Bad Idea

nassau matrimonial attorneyThere are numerous justifications people have for trying to divorce themselves either by utilizing forms they find online or by using paralegal paper preparation companies. The do it yourself divorce is generally a terrible idea. Unless you have no children, no debts, no assets, neither of you have health insurance, there are no issues regarding spousal support, child support, child custody, visitation, no issues concerning social security benefits, Medicare benefits, or numerous other issues, you should hire an attorney to represent you, protect your rights, and see to it that you don’t end up creating more problems than you resolve by trying to represent yourself in a divorce.

Divorces Can Be Expensive

Contested divorces can be expensive. There are numerous bread and butter issues which have to be dealt with in divorces: such as who gets custody of the children; who gets visitation and when does the visitation take place. Divorces are generally not simple. If they were not complicated and difficult to resolve in an appropriate manner, there would be very few divorce lawyers, no need for divorce courts, and very few family court judges. This is simply not the case. It would be a mistake to represent yourself in a commercial lawsuit, a criminal trial, a car accident case, and also to either represent yourself or try to do a do it yourself divorce.

The following are a list of reasons and problems that should be considered before trying to divorce yourself:

  1. There are different rules and requirements in each and every state concerning divorce. Even within the State of New York, different counties handle the divorce process differently.
  2. Issues involving division of property in a divorce can be final. Once the parties to the divorce agree on the equitable distribution of their assets and a final agreement is signed concerning those assets, it is very difficult to set those agreements aside, change or modify them.
  3. The divorce process can be painstaking, drawn out and emotionally draining. It is said that those people who represent themselves have a fool for a lawyer. You need someone to stand back and look at what is taking place in your divorce and provide you with independent, reasonable, expert judgment concerning financial issues and custody issues.
  4. Unless you and your spouse are in agreement on all things, it is extremely difficult to negotiate a settlement between the two of you. When negotiations breakdown there is no one to intercede and no one to talk to.
  5. If you represent yourself and you do not have professional advice, you may make a mistake and waive very important rights to raise your children, to receive child support, receive spousal maintenance, or have visitation with your children.
  6. You may leave out important items from a divorce settlement. These items may include, who pays for college? Who maintains the medical insurance? Who covers dental and orthodontia work? Who pays for the babysitter watching the child while you go to work? Who pays for summer camp or someone to watch the children during the summers? These are just a few of the items you could leave out of a divorce settlement agreement.

Get Your Divorce Right the First Time

help during divorceThe divorce may not cost you as much as you think. If your divorce is not particularly complicated, you may be able to work out a set fee arrangement with an attorney. It is always less expensive to get it right the first time, than to try to straighten out a divorce that was improperly worked out to begin with.

New York State Bar Association Proposes Creation of New Family Court Judgeships

family court attorney long islandThe New York State Bar Association has requested that Governor Andrew Cuomo allocate sufficient funds for twenty new Family Court judgeships in the State of New York. New York State Bar Association President David Schraver when discussing the need for Family Court judgeships stated, “sadly, children’s lives are put on hold while too few judges struggle with burgeoning caseloads.” He went on further to state, “a six month delay in resolving legal matters involving custody, foster care or adoption can put a vulnerable child at further risk, while also putting additional strain on child welfare and court systems.”

State Senate and Assembly Are in Agreement Over The Need For Family Court Judgeships

Both the State Senate and the Assembly in the State of New York are in agreement with the New York State Bar Association’s request that additional Family Court judgeships need to be created. There is an issue as to where the money will come from to pay for these twenty judgeships. It is estimated the new judgeships will cost around $20,000,000 per year. It is hoped these judgeships will be created so the new judges will take office on January 1, 2015. There are currently one hundred fifty three Family Court judges in New York State.

Conclusion

The Family Courts in the State of New York deal with bread and butter issues for many families. The State Bar Association’s request for the additional judgeships addresses a growing need for more judges to speed cases through these courts.

family court counselElliot S. Schlissel and his associates represent clients on divorces, custody cases, and child support matters throughout the Metropolitan New York area. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing New Yorkers in family related legal matters for more than 35 years.

Autism and Divorce

family law lawyersIt is approximated that one in every ninety children born in the United States suffers from Autism. Autism has been described as a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain. It creates symptoms involving children who have difficulty speaking; who speak in monotones and engage in obsessive compulsive behavior. Autistic children throw temper tantrums involving behavior which causes them to injure themselves and have a reduced ability to understand dangerous activities. Autistic children have special needs. Unfortunately these special needs create a significant burden on the parents of autistic children and the rest of their family members.

Divorce Rate Among Families with Autistic Children

The huge burden autistic children place on families can also have a debilitating effect on the marital relationship of the parents. The divorce rates among families with autistic children is higher than that of the general populace.

Autism and Custody Issues

Autistic children have special needs. The special needs of autistic children should be considered with regard to custody issues in divorces. The residential custodial parent of an autistic child has a much greater burden than the parent of a normal child. This places a far greater burden on the residential custodial parent, especially with regards to issues of schooling, medical and psychological care for the autistic child.

Financial Issues and Autistic Children

Autistic children require much greater care, training, medical and psychological treatment than normal children. All of these issues require greater financial obligations. Autistic children often require speech therapy, sensory integration and behavioral therapy. These costs are far above the normal costs for medical care for children. Autistic children also require greater attention than normal children which can have a negative impact on the ability of the residential custodial parent to leave the home for purposes of employment.

Courts should take into consideration when, they are presented with divorce cases involving autistic children, the additional responsibilities, costs, and problems the residential custodial parent of an autistic child will be facing.matrimonial help for parents

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