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Application for Order of Protection Dismissed: Petitioner Failed to Move Forward with Prosecution

application for orderIn a recent case before Judge John Hunt, who sits in the Family Court in Queens County, applications for orders of protection were initiated. Judge John Hunt found the parties had been involved in an intimate relationship. They had one child together. Each of the parties had filed many petitions for orders of protection against each other over a 30 year period.

Many Petitions for Order of Protection Filed

Judge Hunt took note that not one of the petitions that had been filed was moved forward with. The parties failed to appear on the return dates of these petitions. The petitions therefore had been dismissed. Latonya had been making the same allegations in her petitions for orders of protections since 1994. She claimed the defendant, Jefferson, had a gun and he threatened to kill her as she did not want another child with him.

Jefferson’s Requests for Court Intervention

Jefferson also requested court intervention to stop Latonya from filing more petitions for orders of protection. He claimed these petitions resulted in his being arrested and losing jobs. Judge Hunt took note that in the case of such parties as Latonya and Jefferson who were not in a relationship for more than 30 years, there was no guidance as to whether such situations qualify to permit further applications under the “intimate relationship” as defined by the Family Court Act. Judge Hunt noted the legislature could not have intended to allow individuals to air their grievances and continuously file petitions after their personal relationship had failed.

New Orders of Protections Required Judge’s Approval

Judge Hunt dismissed Latonya’s newest petition for failure to prosecute. He also entered a ruling that neither party was permitted to file a new application for an order of protection in the Family Court without his prior approval.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has represented clients for over 30 years in the Family Courts in the Metropolitan New York area with regard to neglect and child abuse cases. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Custody: Who Is The Parent?

Who Is The ParentThere has been an unusual, and highly publicized case in Kentucky. This case involves a nine year old girl. She uses the middle and last name of a woman who is not biologically related to her. She lived with this woman and the woman’s partner until she was four years of age.

The girl’s biological mother became pregnant in 2006. The father was a sperm donor. The woman maintained a same sex relationship until 2011. The biological mother has now married a man. She has cut off the non-biological mother from having contact with the child. The man now seeks to adopt this child.

What Does It Mean To Be A Parent?

The case in Kentucky deals with the question of what it means to be a parent. Although the United States Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage, the issue surrounding custody of children and visitation with children involving non-biological parents is still up in the air. The long and short of the issue is this, can the non-biological parent obtain visitation or custody of their child from a same sex relationship after the relationship ends? In a heterosexual relationship the answer to this question would be yes. However in many states in the United States, the answer to this question is still no. Same sex marriage has not created a biological relationship with the non-biological same sex partner. Although the marriage may be legal, many states are reluctant to give parental rights to non-biological partners. The solution to this issue is for the non-biological parent to adopt the child.

custody attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is matrimonial and family law attorney representing clients in same sex and heterosexual relationships throughout the Metropolitan New York area with an emphasis on custody and parenting time issues.

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 work.family law attorney

Dealing With Parental Alienation Problems – Part I

divorce and custody attorneyIn divorce and Family Court litigation involving custody and spending parenting time with children, sometimes one parent seeks to alienate the children from the other. God gives each child two parents. A parent who estranges the children from the other parent for selfish, inappropriate and/or vindictive purposes, doesn’t understand the damage they are doing to their children. Unfortunately, family law attorneys see parental alienation situations all too often.

Parental alienation usually occurs when one parent tries to isolate the other parent from the children by engaging in conduct or saying things to the children which causes an estrangement between the children and the other parent. The alienation can be subtle and inadvertent or it can be very straight forward. In these cases, both the parent who is the object of the parental alienation and the children are victimized. The victimization can cause an estrangement between the alienated parent and the children and, sometimes, a total breakdown in that relationship.

The development of the parental alienation can be either a subtle or an overt series of actions which manipulates children into believing a parent who loves them is evil, dangerous, or really doesn’t love them.

Custody and Parental Alienation

Sometimes the parental alienation by one parent against the other is a tactic used in divorces and/or Family Court custody proceedings to try to guarantee the success of the alienating parent to obtain custody of the children.family law attorney

Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part II

family lawyer New YorkLevels of Proof

In proceedings brought in the Family Court by CPS, the level of proof necessary to establish child abuse or child neglect is minimal.  The formal rules of evidence which apply in other courts do not apply here.  CPS workers can present hearsay evidence from third parties.  They can present statements from three year olds or four year olds who have no clue as to what they are talking about.  The exercise of power by CPS in abuse and neglect proceedings can be abusive and inappropriate.  Allegations by CPS workers the parents failed to use appropriate standards of care concerning their children are extremely general and are difficult to defend against.

Children’s Injuries

In the normal course of their lives, children may be injured.  They will fall.  They will get knocked down by their friends or while playing.  They will be bruised.  They will have bumps.  Sometimes they will require stitches.  Sometimes children will break bones.  None of these events specifically is indicative of a parent being abusive or neglectful.  These injuries and maladies which children suffer are indications they are living fulfilling lives, playing and participating in sports, social and other recreational activities.  Children do not live in foam, rubber worlds where they don’t receive nicks and injuries.

Allegations by CPS are difficult to deal with.  Should you be contacted by CPS workers who are investigating allegations of child abuse or child neglect, you should immediately contact an attorney familiar with handing these types of cases.  Be very careful what you say to CPS workers.  Be advised that without a search warrant CPS workers do not have a right to enter your home.  The fourth amendment to the United State Constitution prevents the unreasonable search of parent’s homes.  If the CPS worker comes to your door and says they are there to investigate you, you can tell them you wish to seek consult with your attorney before meeting with them or discussing anything with them.  They may tell you you do not have a right to an attorney.  They are lying to you if they say this.  You have an absolute right to be represented by counsel in these proceedings.

Obtain Competent Legal Counsel

Getting involved in CPS proceedings without the appropriate legal representation puts you at great risk of saying something that can be misinterpreted and later used against you in an administrative proceeding involving your children.

family law attorney Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney who has written numerous articles about CPS and ACS cases.  He represents individuals being investigated or charged with child abuse and child neglect throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  Elliot and his associates have been representing family members regarding CPS and ACS matters for more than 35 years.

Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part I

family law in New YorkChild Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”), provides an important public service by protecting innocent children from difficult circumstances. We applaud CPS workers for protecting children from violence, negligence and inappropriate circumstances. This article, however, is about CPS workers threatening to remove or removing children from situations involving no violence and parents who have neither neglected nor abused their children.

CPS Filing Charges Against An Innocent Parent

If one parent is involved in child abuse or child neglect, CPS can file child abuse and child neglect proceedings against both parents. If one parent should have a proceeding brought against him or her because they were the neglectful or abusive parent, CPS files proceedings against the other parent claiming they endangered their children’s health and welfare by letting the other parent act in an abusive or neglectful manner. This is the case even if the innocent parent was not around, unavailable or was unaware of the allegations of the abusive or neglectful parent. This is also the case if the allegations against the abusive or neglectful parent are simply not true.

CPS Controlling Family Situations

In these situations CPS seeks to establish control over the family situation. They seek to force the parents into programs under threats they will lose their children. CPS sets extremely high standards in these programs and the goals that must be met by the parents to comply with CPS to their satisfaction to either avoid the children being removed from the home or to have the children returned to the family’s home.

CPS As An Adversary

The parents often find instead of CPS helping them to be better parents, that they are in an adversarial situation with CPS wherein CPS is both the investigator and the de facto prosecutor of the parent.family law attorney

Child Protective Services and Mandatory Reporters

family law in New YorkThe purpose of this article is to provide a discussion on how innocent parents can sometimes fall into the net of Child Protective Services’ (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) investigations even when they have done nothing wrong.

Mandatory Reporters

The laws in the State of New York make many individuals mandatory reporters of potential child abuse or child neglect. These mandatory reporters include police officers, counselors, teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other individuals who work with children. Many of these workers are under the mistaken belief that any possible incident of suspected child abuse or suspected child neglect must be reported. This is not necessarily what the law requires and/or the intent of what the reporting statutes are. Mandatory reporters actually have a choice. Not every skinned knee, skinned elbow, black and blue mark, or bump on a child is an indication a child has been abused or neglected. These minor bruises can be indications the child actually has a fulfilling, playful, athletic life. These bruises can be an indication the child rough houses with his or her friends, or participates in sports, karate, and other activities.

What mandatory reporters do not seem to understand is they have a choice as to whether or not to report an innocuous injury to child protective services.

Powers CPS and ACS Workers Do Not Have

The following is a list of powers that CPS and ACS workers do not have:

  1. They cannot arrest you.
  2. They are not law enforcement officers.
  3. They cannot open up a criminal investigation. CPS and ACS workers are social service employees. They are a branch of social services’ departments. They are not part of the criminal justice system.

CPS and ACS and Your Rights

Even though CPS and ACS workers are not involved with prosecutorial or criminal justice powers, they can initiate a series of events which can lead to investigations by police agencies. It is therefore in your interest should you be contacted by a CPS or ACS worker related to an investigation either concerning child abuse or child neglect that you consult with an attorney experienced in representing individuals subject to CPS and/or ACS investigations. CPS and ACS investigations can lead to decisions that you have committed child abuse or child neglect. This material can be maintained in computers in New York State for a period of up to 28 years and have a negative impact on employment situations involving children.family 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 schlissel.law@att.net.

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.”

Conclusion

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

Marriage and Divorce Attitudes of Americans

Watch today’s video blog where we will be talking about the Marriage and Divorce Attitudes of Americans:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a family law attorney with more than 35 years of experience representing clients in all types of family law matters. He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net. The phones are monitored 24/7. Call today for a consultation.

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