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Problems Men Face in Family Courts

mensrights-150x150Have men’s rights in Family Courts become a civil rights matter? Do men need to band together to protect their rights that are being abused in Family Courts? Is there an inherent bias against men in the Family Courts? Do Family Courts make presumptions that have a negative effect on men’s rights?

Women as Nurturers

Prior to 1989, there was a presumption, in the courts of New York, that women would receive custody and men would support their families. In 1989, a gender neutral statute eliminated the statutory bias in favor of women in custody cases. The statutory bias was based on the assumption that women were the primary nurturers of young children and, therefore, they should have custody of their children. Since 1989, men and

women have had equal rights regarding custody of their children. So why have men not faired well in the Family Courts?

Primary Care Givers

Arguments are made on a regular basis that women are the primary care givers of their children and they should therefore have custody. If a court hears this argument over a long period of time, does the judge develop a bias against men who seek custody of their children? What can men do if they want to obtain custody of their children? To start, they must be dedicated, nurturing, loving parents. They must participate in their children’s lives. They must go to school events, participate in athletic events and take their children to the doctors. They must make time for their children. In the event of a divorce or Family Court situation, they must retain aggressive, experienced, dedicated attorneys. They must be prepared to expend the time, money and effort to go through protracted custody litigation in order to obtain custody of their children. Too often men talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk!

Fathers’ Rights

Fathers who come to our law office often claim that they are treated like second class citizens in the Family Court regarding child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), orders of protection and issues involving child abuse and child neglect. They also relate to us that in divorce proceedings in the Supreme Court they are not treated fairly.

Our law office represents fathers with regard to all types of proceedings in the Family Court and the Supreme Court. We aggressively protect fathers’ rights. We deal with difficult issues, such as downward modifications of child support, relocation problems, parental alienation cases and issues involving parental alienation syndrome. For more than 33 years, we have been recognized as one of the premier fathers’ rights law firms in the Metropolitan New York area. If you have matrimonial or family problems, we can help you. Call for a consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Joint Custody Modified, Father Given Temporary Custody of Both Children

father-150x150Justice Connelly, sitting in the Supreme Court of Westchester County, modified a joint custody order and gave the father sole temporary custody of both of his children. The parties had entered into a stipulation of settlement wherein each of them would have joint custody. The children would reside with the mother and the father would have regular parenting time with the children.

Prior to a judgment of divorce being entered, the children were removed from the mother’s residence. There was an incident which alleged that she was using physical force against the older child. Criminal charges were pending against the mother.

The children were temporarily placed in the father’s custody during the pendency of the criminal allegations against the mother. The mother asked the court to award her sole physical and legal custody of the parties youngest child and joint custody of the parties other child. The mother argued that this was in conformity with the recommendation of a court appointed forensic evaluator. Judge Connelly rejected the forensic evaluator’s suggestions. He found that splitting the children up could cause more potential trauma and harm. The court refused to transfer the temporary custody of the younger child to the mother. She awarded the father, based on the children’s best interest, temporary custody of both children.

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

We represent fathers! We have been doing this for more than thirty years. We litigate all aspects of divorce, including child custodyvisitationchild support, spousal maintenance (alimony) and equitable distribution of property. We also represent fathers with regard to proceedings in family court. We litigate issues involving paternity, downward modifications of child supportrelocation problemsparental alienation cases and issues involving parental alienation syndrome. We also negotiate separation agreements for our clients. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

Paternity by Estoppel: Can This Really Happen?

support-150x150Paternity by Estoppel is a legal doctrine that is now accepted by the New York State Court of Appeals.  This doctrine holds that a man can be required to pay child support for a child if it is proven beyond any doubt that he is NOT the biological father of this child.

In the matter of Shondel v. Mark D., the New York State Court of Appeals held as follows:

“In this child support proceeding, we hold that a man who has mistakenly represented himself as a child’s father may be estopped from denying paternity, and made to pay child support, when the child justifiably relied on the man’s representation of paternity, to the child’s detriment.  We reached this conclusion based on the best interest of the child as set forth by the legislature.”

In the aforementioned case, the father of the child had seen the child approximately four times during the child’s life.  However, he had held himself out to be the child’s father.  He had provided the child with financial support.  He had also signed an affidavit authorizing the child to use his name.

The New York State of Appeals rendered a decision that this man’s actions caused the child to justifiably rely on these representations that he was the child’s father.  The court further reasoned that it was now in the child’s best interest to prevent the father from denying the paternity, even though the DNA proved beyond question that this man was not the child’s father. Therefore, this man was forced to continue to pay child support for a child that was not his.

Paternity by Estoppel

This case and subsequent cases should be a warning to all men.  If you are not absolutely certain you are the father of a child, you should demand a DNA paternity test.  You should not sign an acknowledgment of paternity unless you are absolutely sure you are the father of the child.

If you undertake to provide support for a child, visit with a child or hold yourself out as being the father of a child, should you later find that you are not the biological father of the child, you will be estopped (prevented) from making this argument in court.

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Mens’ Rights/Fathers’ Rights Attorneys

Men need advocates in court.  Both fathers and men who find themselves in the Family Court and/or the Supreme Court sometimes run into a hornets’ nest.  The system, in many situations, favors mothers and women.

The Fathers’ Rights defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo litigate issues involving paternity, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), visitation rights, relocation issues, as well as Orders of Protection and child abuse and child neglect allegations.   We handle all aspects of representing fathers concerning their rights and responsibilities in divorces, equitable distribution of their assets and issues involving parental alienation.  We negotiate separation agreements and we try to amicably resolve our cases whenever it is possible.  Feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431; 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

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