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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.

Conclusion

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

Autism and the Child – Part III

assistance for parents of special needs childrenPrivate Schools and the Autistic Child

Child support in all fifty states in the United States is based on the Child Support Standard Act.  This statute lays out a schedule of child support payments and ancillary expenses the non-residential custodial parent must contribute to.  However, private school tuition is not one of the items included as a necessary payment obligation for non-custodial parents.  Courts have discretion to adjust the child support figures related to the special needs of a disabled child.  Divorce courts can utilize their discretion to order a parent to contribute to private schooling costs for an autistic child with special needs.  In situations where the public schools do not offer the specialized programs for an autistic child it may be in the child’s best interest to attend a school that can deliver specialized educational services related to autism.  The tuition costs for these types of schools should be taken into consideration by courts in making custody decisions concerning autistic children.

Emancipation and the Autistic Child

In the State of New York, a child is considered emancipated at the age of twenty one unless the child at an earlier age marries, enters into the armed services, or is working and self supporting.

An autistic child may never be emancipated.  Courts should consider whether a child’s disability should extend the time the child is unemancipated for child support purposes.  A child over the age of twenty one who is disabled and incapable of maintaining himself or herself because of illness or disorder should be considered to be unemancipated even if over the age of twenty one.

Conclusion

Autism is a tragedy affecting more and more American children.  Divorces caused by the tension and stress created by the necessary dealing with the unique problems of the autistic child are on the rise.  Courts, parents, and attorneys need to cooperate in creative decision making with regard to dealing with unique problems associated with raising an autistic child.

About the Author

family law and divorce on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel, Esq., has been practicing Family and Divorce law in the metropolitan New York area for more than thirty years.  Elliot and his team of dedicated, hard working lawyers deal with all aspects of matrimonial and family law including issues involving divorce grounds, family lawchild custodychanging visitationchild abuse and child neglectdrafting separation agreementsprenuptial and post nuptial agreements.  We also have litigated cases involving mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights.

Autism and the Child – Part II

advocates for parents of special needs childrenSpecial Needs For The Autistic Child

Autistic children require expensive therapy and special education regimes that are not available in local school districts.  This results in additional expenses for families.  Judges hearing divorce cases involving autistic children need to pay special attention to the needs of the autistic child.

Residential Custody of the Autistic Child

The residential custodial parent of the autistic child will have a significant burden in dealing with all the idiosyncrasies of the autistic child.  When determining custody of an autistic child the judge should take into consideration all of the following issues:

1.  The acknowledgment and acceptance of the child’s disorder.

2.  Each parents ability to follow through on recommended behavioral interventions for the child.

3.  The parent’s capacity to understand the nature and circumstances of this disease.

4.  The willingness of the parent to place the child’s needs over his or her needs.

5.  Each parent’s ability to handle the psychological stress involved in raising an autistic child.

Joint Custody of the Autistic Child

Sometimes with healthy children, joint custody is the best route to deal with parent’s access to their children.  However, autistic children require special consideration when it comes to joint custody.  Joint custody will not necessarily be in the best interest of the autistic child. Autistic children require predictable and consistent schedules.  They do not function well when their schedules are interrupted.  Autistic children need regimented behavioral therapy.  This can be difficult to maintain when the child is going back and forth between two households.

It is extremely important both parents, the residential custodial parent and the non-residential custodial parent, be educated as to what autism involves and the types of long term therapies autistic children require.

Parenting Schedules and the Autistic Child

In cases involving autistic children parenting schedules should give special consideration to the child’s therapy regime.  Autistic children may be in year round extended school year programs related to special education.  When school regimes are interrupted for autistic children they can regress.divorce attorney on long island


Autism and Divorce – Part I

marriage and divorce attorneyDivorce is a common occurrence in today’s world.  In some states almost half of the marriages end in divorce.  When a married couple has an Autistic child it further complicates the home situation.  The inability of one or both parents to deal with the stress and problems in raising an autistic child can be a cause of divorce.  Parents of children with autism experience higher degrees of stress in their lives.

The Autistic Society of America, in a study, found the following cause for stress among autistic parents:

1.         Parents inability to determine the child’s needs.

2.         Reactions from society to the autistic child and the feelings of isolation.

3.         Concerns regarding future care for the autistic child.

4.         Finances and economic pressures caused by the cost of the therapies for the child.

5.         Feelings of grief.

6.         Lack of personal time.

7.         Stress from reactions by siblings and other family members

Divorce and Autism

There are special issues that affect parents of an autistic child during divorce proceedings. Issues involving child custodyvisitationchange in child custodychild supportfamily court issueschild abuse and child neglect proceedings, special education expenses for the child, and health insurance for the autistic child are issues that need to be dealt with.

Autism in America

There has been an astronomical increase in the past ten years in the number of children born in American who develop autism. Now approximately 1 out of every 90 child born in the United States develops autism.

Autism affects children in different ways.  Autistic children often have difficulty speaking.  Some autistic children only repeat what they hear others say.  Autistic children have difficulty making eye contact.  They can engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors.  Examples of this type of behavior include lining up objects in a row and repeating a task over and over again for many hours.

Some autistic children do not understand danger. They can place their hand on a stove even if they were burned by doing this previously.  Autism is a serious disorder.  An autistic child’s ability to learn, communicate and socially interact is negatively affected.  Although autism is not curable, early diagnosis and intense behavioral treatment can allow the child to make significant improvements.maintenance and custody attorneys

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

family law and divorce attorney on Long IslandPrenuptial agreements are not for everyone. The only individuals eligible for prenuptial agreements are people getting married. Seriously though, who needs a prenuptial agreement and why would you really want one?

Prenuptial Agreements deal with issues such as assets accumulated during the marriage, professional licenses and spousal maintenance issues.

Starting On Equal Terms

Many couples who marry have similar financial circumstances. However, during the course of the marriage, one party may decide to stay home and raise the children which would have a negative impact on his or her career. This provides a ground in a divorce for requests for alimony (spousal maintenance).

Prenuptial Agreements Cost Less Than Engagement Rings

Engagement rings today cost anywhere between $5000 and $25,000. A prenuptial agreement will usually cost between $2500 and $7500. It is a lot cheaper than an engagement ring. It is said that diamonds last forever. Diamonds in the engagement ring may last forever but 50% of all marriages fail. This makes the cost of prenuptial agreements when considered over the long run a lot less expensive.

Don’t Wait For The Last Minute

If you anticipate entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse, you shouldn’t wait to a few weeks before the marriage to retain an attorney to draft the document. Prenuptial agreements should be negotiated several months before the parties get married.

Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers

assistance in family court and with prenuptial agreementsThe attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo draft prenuptial agreements. It addition we draft post nuptial agreements and separation agreements. The firm also litigates all divorce issues. These issues may involve divorce grounds, family law, child custody, changing visitation, child abuse and child neglect, drafting separation agreements, prenuptial and post nuptial agreements. We also have litigated cases involving mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights. Call for a free consultation.

Lie To The Court and Your Divorce Gets Dismissed

Justice Charles J. Markey was recently presented with two cases involving divorces that had similar fact situations. In both cases judgments for divorce had been granted to the parties based on sworn statements that there were no children from the marriages. However in both situations the court eventually discovered that there were children of these marriages.

The court found intentional fraud or inexcusable recklessness due to the fact there were unemancipated children of the marriages who required child support to be paid on their behalf. Since there were misrepresentations in the original documents, there was no child support in the divorce judgments.

In both situations the court vacated the judgments of divorce. The court refused to amend the divorce judgment to include the children. Both divorce law suits were dismissed by the courts.

Stayed Foreclosure Allowed To Continue

The court took note that in both situations there were homes in foreclosure. He put in previously granted stays with regard to the foreclosure proceeding during the pendency of the divorces. The court vacated the stays of the foreclosure matters and allowed the two foreclosures proceedings to proceed. Conclusion, tell the truth in your divorce admissions!

New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyers

The attorneys of the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have extensive experience in handling matrimonial and family court cases. The lawyers have a total of 100 years combined experience. These attorneys have extensive experience with regard to divorce grounds, family law, child custody, changing visitation, child abuse and child neglect, drafting separation agreements, prenuptial and post nuptial agreements. We also have litigated cases involving mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights.

Elliot S. Schlissel has litigated numerous cases dealing with professionals whether they are doctors, lawyers or dentists whose practices were being equitably distributed. The firm pays special attention to individuals who have high net worth divorce situations. Feel free to call for a free consultation 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.

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!

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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.

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