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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

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.

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.

Suspects In Abuse Cases – Phone Calls are Taped

New York City jails tape all phone calls made by prisoners with the exception of calls to doctors and lawyers. Prosecutors have been using these tapes against these prisoners. More than 8,200 calls were taped last year in New York City jails. The largest use of these taped calls comes in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence

Men charged with assaulting and beating their wives and girlfriends seem to blabber mouths. “I need you to prepare the kids to start lying” was stated by one man to his girlfriend on these taped conversations. In another case the prisoner told his girlfriend “whatever you do, do not speak to the District Attorney.”

Scott Kesler, the Bureau Chief in the Queens District Attorney’s office stated the recording “revolutionized the way we were able to proceed against men in domestic violence cases. Mr. Kesler stated that we now have to ability “to prove what we’ve always suspected which is that defendants in domestic violence cases are in constant contact with their victims and they utilize the phone system to intimidate their victims and refuse to cooperate in their prosecution.

Orders of Protection

In virtually all domestic violence cases the abused individuals are given orders of protection preventing the abuser from having contact with them. These jail house calls are violation of the court ordered orders of protection and constitutes a crime in and of themselves.

In one case in Kings County the abuser called the victim 1,200 times while he was incarcerated. Sometimes the victims are so traumatized by these phone calls they refuse
to cooperate with the prosecutors. In these situations the District Attorneys office utilized the recordings to explain why the victims are refusing to testify.

In a case involving Mohammd Khan, who was charged with stabbing his wife in the head and shoulders with a meat cleaver. The wife testified she did not remember who her attacker was. The recordings showed that Mr. Khan had engaged in a campaign of coercion against his spouse. They were able to introduce her statements made in the hospital during the course of the proceedings against Mr. Khan. Mr. Khan was convicted and eventually sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison.

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

If you were arrested it is generally not in your interest to speak about the alleged crime you have committed. The father’s rights lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo in addition we represent fathers concerning the following matters related to divorces and family court proceedings: orders of protection; child custody; child visitation; child support; spousal maintenance (alimony); child abuse & child neglect; CPS and ACS cases; paternity and equitable distribution; negotiating separation agreements and pre-nuptial and postnuptial agreements. Feel free to call us for a free consultation. We can protect your rights.

Prenuptial Agreement In, Lawyer Out

pre-150x136Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmari recently disqualified Jeffrey S. Stephens from representing Edward Scannapieco, pursuant to a New York ethics rule that bars an attorney from working as an advocate in a case when his presence may have a “significant issue effect.”

Justice Palmari found that attorney Stephens of Greenwich, Connecticut, had “testified because he had submitted an affirmation to the court indicating the facts related to the execution of an undisclosed pre-nuptial agreement.” The pre-nuptial agreement is being contested by Machiell Scannapieco.

Justice Palmari stated his decision, “counsel here was a major participant in the event, as such his testimony is relevant to significant factual issues.” Mr. & Mrs. Scannapieco were married December 30, 1989. Mrs. Scannapieco filed for divorce in 2010.

Mr. Scannapieco brought a proceeding to deny his wife spousal maintenance. He indicated in his motion that there was a November, 1989 pre-nuptial agreement that limited Mrs. Scannapieco’s right to obtain spousal maintenance. He initially was unable to locate the document, but he found it shortly prior to bringing the application to the court.

Attorney Stephens stated in his court papers, “he prepared the agreement, negotiated the changes with an unidentified attorney representing the plaintiff-wife and he only recently found it in storage.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that the application of the pre-nuptial agreement will have to wait until the discovery process in the divorce proceeding is concluded. But since attorney Stephens may be a witness in this proceeding, he cannot represent one of the litigants. Justice Palmari stated, in referring to an earlier Nassau County decision, “that the preventing of an attorney from representing a litigant in a case where the lawyer may be a witness prevents any unfairness from arising from the lawyer’s opportunity to present his case twice.”

Justice Palmari indicated in his decision that since the case was in the initial stages, the elimination of Mr. Stephens from representing Mr. Scannapieco will not create a “substantial hardship.”

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been litigating fathers’ rights matters for more than thirty years. We have extensive experience in representing fathers in divorce proceedings, regarding orders of protection, concerning issues involving child custody, child visitation, child support and spousal maintenance (alimony). We have litigated child abuse and child neglect proceedings on behalf of fathers involving Child Protective Services and Association for Child Services. We have brought proceedings requesting the reduction of child support for fathers. We can assist fathers concerning no-fault divorce issues, equitable distribution of assets, family relocation problems, as well as negotiating separation agreements. We are also very knowledgeable concerning the parental alienation of children by mothers. Feel free to call us at your earliest convenience should you need a fathers’ rights attorney. Our phone numbers are 1-800- 344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Obama Administration Refuses to Defend the Defense of Marriage Act

same sex marriagesIn 1996, a Federal Statute was passed by Congress that prevented federal recognition of same sex marriages. President Obama has recently directed the Justice Department to stop taking legal action to defend this law in court.

The Obama Administration’s decision was presented to members of Congress by a letter written by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. The letter stated, “the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to tests that have, in the past, had the impact of blocking unfair discrimination. Attorney General Holder specifically stated that “the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.”

The Obama administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act has been heavily criticized by conservatives in Congress. While conservatives are very unhappy about the Obama administrations position, gay right activist are overjoyed.

Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, upon hearing of the Obama’s administrations position on the Defense Marriage Act, stated “this is a great step by the Obama administration and a tipping point for the gay rights movement that will have ripple effects in contexts beyond the Defense of Marriage Act.”

He further stated, “it will reach into issues of employment discrimination, family recognition and full equality rights for lesbian and gay people.”

Same Sex Marriage

There are approximately a dozen states in the United States that allow members of the same sex to be married. New York is not one of these states. However, New York State will recognize same sex marriages if those marriages were legal in the state that they took place. New York takes this action under the theory of comity of laws.

same2-150x150

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

Gay men and women are now fighting to obtain greater rights. In New York State, women received equal rights in 1989. When women received equal rights, fathers also benefitted by the matrimonial and family laws in the State of New York becoming gender neutral. It was thought at that time that fathers’ custody and visitation rights would be greatly enhanced. Although in theory this took place, fathers in the Family Courts are not treated equally in New York State.

Our office represents fathers regarding divorce proceedings, child custody, child visitation matters, child support issues, spousal maintenance and with regard to issues involving allegations of child abuse and child neglect. When fathers are thrown out of their homes due to domestic violence allegations, we represent them in contesting the orders of protection that are taken out against them.

In situations where the parties are amicable, we negotiate separation agreements on behalf of our clients. We also assist fathers with regard to the no-fault divorce law recently passed in the State of New York. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.

Six-year-old’s Video Testimony Rejected by Family Court Judge

father-150x1504Judge Richardson-Mendelsohn, a Family Court judge sitting in Queens County, New York, has refused a request to allow a six-year-old boy to testify via a closed circuit television hookup in a Family Court proceeding seeking an order of protection against his uncle.

Z. Shareef, the boy’s mother, had brought a proceeding in the Queens Family Court seeking the extension of an order of protection against her husband’s brother.  After bringing the application to the court, her attorney requested permission for the six-year-old boy to testify by a closed-circuit video hook-up.

Request for Video Hook-Up Denied

Family Court Judge Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelsohn denied the application to allow the six-year-old to testify by a video hook-up.  She stated in her decision that respondent Nhassen’s constitutional rights outweighed the need to protect the boy from psychological trauma.

The petition brought by the boy’s attorney indicated the boy is so afraid of his uncle that he’ll be petrified when he enters the court room and will be unable to testify in open court.  The judge rejected this argument, stating in her decision, “Although the petitioner contends that a her six-year-old son is scared of the respondent and therefore it will be traumatic for him to testify in [his] presence, no specific evidence supporting serious mental or emotional harm to the child has been presented.”  The lawsuit brought by Ms. Shareef, the boy’s mother, indicates, among other allegations, that the uncle has kicked her son and also hit him in violation of an order of protection.

Family Court Attorneys

The Fathers’ Rights Lawyers at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing men regarding applications for orders of protection for more than three decades.  Our office aggressively presents the fathers’ positions in cases brought by Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and Child Protective Services (CPS) for child abuse.  We work with our clients to provide the best possible results in these proceedings.  We also represent fathers in custody disputes, child support matters, visitation cases, spousal support matters, as well as all aspects of divorce litigation.  If you are a father or a man faced with a difficult situation either in a divorce or Family Court proceeding, we are the law firm that can help you.  Feel free to call us 24/7 at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Father Loses Custody of Children

In a case before Justice Sunshine, sitting in the Supreme Court located in Kings County (Brooklyn, NY), the judge was presented with a situation where the father had initially been awarded custody by default in a divorce in the year 2005. In 2008, the mother moved for a change in custody in the Family Court. Her application was denied. In the case before the court in August 2010, Justice Sunshine did find a sufficient change in circumstances since the Family Court Order of 2008. He modified the Family Court Order and gave the mother custody of the parties’ children.

In 2008, the children wanted to live with their father. Now they have expressed a strong desire to live with their mother. She has now found a new residence, she has changed her work schedule and she is now more available to spend time with the children.

Violence in the Father’s Home

The mother testified to a situation involving violence in the father’s household. The father’s testimony was a denial of the existence of the violence in his household. The Court did not believe the father.

The Court indicated there were several incidents where the father punched the oldest child in the ribs. He also had made the oldest child ride on a city bus until 1:00 a.m. There was an additional incident where the grandfather (paternal) who resided in the same house as the father punched the youngest child in the leg. The father also ripped up the attorney for the children’s business card in front of the children and called her a “white devil”.

Best Interests of the Children

The Court indicated that the father was involved in his children’s lives. However, the Court felt the father’s behavior was somewhat less than exemplarary. In the Court’s opinion, the children’s best interests were served by changing custody and making the mother the sole custodial parent. The children’s fear of their father, his level of intimidation in dealing with his children and the violence in the household required an immediate change in custody.

NY Father’s Rights Lawyers

Father’s rights lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing fathers in all aspects of matrimonial and family law for more than 30 years. We represent fathers with regard to custody proceedings, modification of custody proceedings, and child support proceedings, modifications of support proceedings, child abuse, child neglect proceedings, orders of protections in divorce proceedings in the Supreme Court and proceedings in Family Court. We also are very active in representing grandparents regarding grandparent’s rights cases. Call our office for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

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