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What Should a Parenting Plan Include

Parenting Plan

I’ve heard that good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth. Whether a marriage or a relationship is good or bad children should not be made to suffer when the relationship ends.

Children benefit from having relationships with both parents. However, there can be bumps in the road in working out details related to the parenting time each parent has with the children. The best way to deal with these issues is to have a detailed, well written reasonable parenting plan. The following are some issues that should be dealt with in a well written parenting plan:


Parenting plans should include schedules for each parent. These schedules should deal with weekends and vacation periods including summer vacation, winter recess, Easter, Christmas vacation and Spring break. In addition, there should be a division of all school holidays. Both parents should have access to the children on their birthdays. The father should have the children on Father’s Day and the mother should have the children on Mother’s Day. The parenting plan should deal with who picks up the children and who drops the children off. If the parties are sharing their car seat, the parenting plan should deal with the car seat issue. If the parents do not get along and can’t pick the children up at their respective places of residence, a neutral location can be worked out as to where the children will be picked up and dropped off.

Parent/Child Communications

The parenting plan should deal with each parent’s ability to communicate with the children when the children are with the other parent. They should take into consideration the usage of cell phones, texting and e-mails.

At School, Athletic and Religious Functions

The parenting plan should deal with the religion of the children. It should designate with who will be responsible for religious education and the celebration of various religious functions involving the children. Children like to see their parents at their athletic events. Each parent should assist the other parent in being aware of significant functions such as school plays, school athletic functions and other school activities the children are involved in. It makes children happy to see their parents in the audience. The parents should also keep each other advised with regard to the children’s report cards, parent/teacher conferences and open school week issues. If the school maintains a website regarding the children’s activities both parents should be aware of this.

Decision Making

There are major decisions that affect children’s lives. These decisions deal with educational issues, social issues and health care issues. A specific framework in the parenting plan should be set up to deal with all of the potential problems with regard to these issues.

Elliot Schlissel


Whether good marriages are made in heaven and bad marriages are made on earth, when relationships break up the best way to avoid future problems is to have a parenting plan which deals with all the aforementioned issues involving the children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with 40 years of experience in dealing with divorce and family law issues. He has offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties, He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at

Husband’s Personal Injury Award Converted Into Marital Assets And Subject to Equitable Distribution

divorce lawyer New YorkIn a case before Justice Stacy Bennett sitting in a Divorce Part in Nassau County, a wife brought a divorce lawsuit against her husband. They had been married in 2001. Issues involving parental access, grounds, custody, and all other issues had been decided by the court. The issue presented to Justice Stacy Bennett was whether a personal injury settlement of $1,638,348.90, which had been initiated prior to the marriage was converted from separate property into marital property. And then, if it was marital property, what portion of the marital property would the wife be entitled to?

The wife in this case alleged the personal injury settlement award to the husband was converted and transmuted into marital assets and were no longer separate property. The husband alleged that since the assets involved were all the proceeds of a personal injury award, and personal injury awards are not subject to equitable distribution, all of said assets belonged to him.

Assets Converted Into Marital Property

Justice Stacy Bennett held a trial with regard to this matter. After reviewing the evidence, she found the husband had converted the separate assets into marital assets and therefore these assets were subject to a distributive award.

The usual manner in which separate property assets are converted into marital assets is by putting one’s spouse on an account where those assets are located. Another way of converting them would be to spend them on improving a marital asset, such as the marital residence which is in both parties’ names.


If you want to maintain separate assets, separate and not have them become marital property, you should maintain them in a separate bank account or investment account and not put your spouse’s name on the account.divorce attorney

The Grounds For Divorce in New York

The Grounds For Divorce in New YorkIrretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

The newest ground for divorce is a no fault ground. This no fault ground is used in the large majority of divorce cases today. It simplifies the divorce process because it is a ground which does not usually have an available defense to it. The ground specifically states the relationship between the spouses has been irretrievably broken down for a period of at least six months. You do not have to specifically allege any details or information as to why the parties aren’t getting along. Although the irretrievable breakdown between the parties establishes a no fault ground for divorce, the issues of child custody, visitation, equitable distribution of property, child support, spousal maintenance, and other financial and custody related issues need to be resolved before the court actually grants a divorce.

Living Separate and Apart Under A Separation Agreement
or Court Judgment for Separation for One Year

This ground is not often used anymore. It had been used often in the past, but when the new ground, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, came into existence a number of years ago, this ground for divorce fell largely into disuse. However, it is still a valid reason to get divorced. If the parties to the marriage enter into a validly executed separation agreement and live separate and apart pursuant to the terms of this agreement and comply with the terms of this agreement, this becomes a ground for obtaining a divorce. This also applies to judgments of separation issued by courts for a period of one year. It should be noted the grounds for bringing a proceeding for judgment for separation are exactly the same as the grounds used to obtain a divorce and therefore it is usually cheaper to go straight for the divorce and not for a judgment of separation.

Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

This ground for divorce involves physical or mental cruelty which puts the victimized spouse at risk. The allegations of physical or mental cruelty have to be specifically stated with regard to time, place, location and specificity regarding what took place to utilize this grounds for divorce.


Adultery is the most difficult grounds of divorce to prove. In addition to being difficult to prove, there are defenses to adultery. Some of these defenses are that you forgave your spouse for having sexual relations with him or her after discovering the adultery. If the person alleging their spouse committed adultery also committed adultery, this can be a defense to the action for adultery.


Abandonment involves leaving your spouse for a period of one year.

Sexual Abandonment: Sexual abandonment involves refusing to have sexual relations with your spouse for a period of one year.


Although there are a variety of grounds for divorce in New York, today almost all divorce lawyers in New York recommend to their clients to use the no fault ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. It is less expensive, less difficult to prove, and to a large extent fool proof.divorce attorney

Dealing With Parental Alienation Problems – Part II

custody attorney in New YorkFighting Parental Alienation

The best way to deal with a situation involving parental alienation is for the alienated parent to take immediate legal action to ask for either a change in custody, an order enforcing visitation, an order of protection, and/or other legal remedies. The longer the parental alienation is allowed to go unrestrained, the harder it is to stop the programming of the children against the alienated parent. When parental alienation exists for a substantial period of time, it is often necessary to reestablish the relationship with the alienated parent through a family therapist or psychologist helping de-program the children with regard to the negative feelings and attitudes they have against the alienated parent.

Parental Alienation and Child Abuse

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. The long term effects of parental alienation upon children are still being determined by psychologists and therapists. However, I have personally been involved in numerous cases representing individuals who have been alienated from their children. A common factor in many of these cases is, once undergoing therapy, the children come to realize they really don’t understand why they dislike or don’t want to spend time with one of their parents. Through therapy the children can be made to realize the alienated parent really loves them, and has done nothing wrong. In these situations the alienation can be overcome and this parent can re-establish his or her loving relationship with the child. The problem with the therapeutic approach is it can be a long drawn out process. For it to succeed, the alienation by the alienating parent must stop and there is no guarantee that it will law attorney

Child Custody Litigation

Watch today’s video blog on the topic of Child Custody Litigation:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce attorney representing clients for more than 35 years. He and his associates handle all aspects of family law child custody proceedings, and divorce litigation in both the Supreme Court and the Family Court. Elliot can be reached for consultation by calling 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or sending an email to

Ashley Madison Data Going Public Causing Rising Divorce Rates

divorce attorney in New YorkHackers recently posted the names, addresses, partial credit card numbers and email addresses of the large majority of almost 40 million users of the Ashley Madison website. The Ashley Madison website acts as a center for individuals seeking to cheat on their spouses to meet other individuals who seek to cheat on their spouses through the internet. The Ashley Madison website was hacked by a group called the Impact Team. They claim to publish personal information on the “cheating dirtbags” who use Ashley Madison and “deserve no such discretion.” The Ashely Madison website states “life is short, have an affair.” It invites new users to join its millions of “anonymous members.” There is an airbrushed image of a woman on its website whose eyes are hidden and finger is pressed to her lips indicating that no one will find out your information. The woman has a gold wedding ring on her finger. The website claims the material on their website is 100% discreet. is owned by Avid Life Media. They have recently put out a statement stating “the criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world.”

Spouses today can go on the internet and find out if their partner’s name and information was listed on the Ashley Madison website seeking to cheat. This has caused an increase of calls to divorce lawyers. Spouses now can simply go online and see if their spouse has been seeking to cheat on them. This has caused an increase in inquiries to divorce law firms and it is expected to cause many divorces.


The largest cheaters website has now had its lid blown open and almost 40 million people may be subject to difficult questions and discussions with their spouses. Most people assume the material they place on the internet is secure. Obviously this is not true!family law attorney

Child Custody Issues

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a child custody attorney. He has been representing parents for more than 35 years in all aspects of custody litigation. He and his associates are available for consultation by contacting one of the attorneys at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Wife Ordered to Produce Facebook Data in Custody Case

divorce attorney on Long IslandSupreme Court Justice Lawrence Ecker sitting in Westchester County recently ordered a wife in a custody dispute to turn over four years worth of her Facebook postings. The purpose of turning over the documents was to determine how much time she had spent with her child during the prior four years. Justice Ecker took this action because the wife had frequently traveled related to her employment. She had been traveling ever since the child was born about four years ago. Her Facebook postings and photos documented her travels and they could be utilized to determine whether she had been the primary caretaker of her child. Justice Ecker wrote in his decision “the court finds that the time spent by the parties with the child may be relevant and material to its ultimate determination of custody.”

The child’s father had requested the information because the wife had “unfriended” him from her Facebook account. The wife objected to the release of this information. She claimed it was a breach of privacy. Judge Ecker in his decision in A.D. v. C.A. cited the case of Abrams v. Pencile, 83 A.D.3d 527 (1st Dept. 2011) which stated “a party demanding access to social networking accounts must demonstrate that the request will lead to the disclosure of relevant evidence.”


Many people discuss their daily activities on various social media websites. More often the material on these websites are becoming relevant in matrimonial and family law cases. What you post on the internet may not be considered private!family law attorney

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 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 law attorney

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