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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.

Religious Court Could Not Make Decisions Concerning Custody And Visitation

matrimonial attorneysJudge Daniel Palmieri, sitting in a Supreme Court part handling matrimonial matters in Nassau County, New York, recently vacated the decision of a Beth Din determination and award. Beth Din is a Jewish Religious Court.

The parties in this case had entered into a written agreement to arbitrate financial issues related to the marriage before the Beth Din religious court. The agreement authorized the Beth Din arbitrators power to hear and determine all issues of a financial nature. The determination of these financial issues are enforceable in the Nassau County Supreme Court.

Limitations Of An Arbitration Agreement

The arbitration agreement did not empower the Beth Din court to render final and enforceable decisions concerning issues involving child custody and visitation. This is due to public policy in New York. In New York, only state courts can render decisions on issues of child custody and visitation.

In the case, before Justice Palmieri, the husband moved to set aside a decision and award by the Beth Din arbitration panel. He also asked the Court to grant a downward modification of child support. The wife moved to confirm all aspects of the decision of the Beth Din panel.

Justice Palmieri vacated the arbitration award to the extent that it dealt with decisions of custody and visitation as being against a public policy in the State of New York. He confirmed the portion of the award dealing with financial issues.

Private Arbitration Of Legal Matters

More and more litigant today are opting for alternate dispute resolution of legal matters. This usually involves hiring a retired judge to conduct an arbitration. These private tribunals can resolve litigated issues much faster than the overworked courts in New York.assistance in family law

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings in the New York Family Court

Children who are charged with crimes will often have these crimes adjudicated in the Family Court of New York.  These children are entitled to virtually the same rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution in the Family Courts they would have if they were prosecuted in the Criminal Courts in New York.

Similarities and Differences Between the Family Courts and Criminal Courts in New York

There are similarities and differences between the prosecution of a crime in the Family Court in New York vis a vis the prosecution of the same or similar crime of an adult in the Criminal Courts.  To start with, the prosecutor is called the “presentment agency” instead of “The People of the State of New York”.  There is no District Attorney’s office representing the prosecution in the Family Courts.  In the City of New York the prosecutors is the Corporation Counsels Office and in the suburban counties outside the City of New York the prosecutors are the County Attorney’s Office.  In the Criminal Courts individuals charged with a crime can be released on their own recognizance instead of bail being posted.  In the Family Courts the children are released to their parent’s custody.  There is no bail statute affecting release in the family court.

The trial in a criminal prosecution in the Family Court is referred to as a fact finding hearing.  The finding of a Family Court, instead of being that the individual is guilty, is a finding of “adjudication of juvenile delinquency”.  In the Criminal Court an individual found guilty can be sentenced to jail. In the Family Court the sentence of a child is called a placement in a facility.

Motion Practice in the Family Courts

As in the Criminal Courts, Motions to Suppress evidence and Motions to Dismiss in the interest of justice can be made to the judge.

No Jury Trials in the Family Court

Juveniles in the Family Court do not have a right to a jury trial. Adults in Criminal Court are entitled to trial by jury in both misdemeanor and felony proceedings. In misdemeanor proceedings six person juries are used while in felony proceedings twelve person juries are used.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is a process in the Criminal Courts where an individual charged with a crime can plead guilty to a lesser crime for the purpose of receiving a no jail commitment or a sentencing commitment from a judge that is much more lenient than if he or she had been found guilty of the original crime.  In the Family Court instead of plea bargaining the juvenile makes an admission to a lesser charge.  Unlike in the Criminal Courts there is no commitment by the court with regard to sentencing.  The reason for the lack of commitment for sentencing in the Family Court relates to the mission of the Family Court.  It takes into the consideration the best interests of the child and the protection of the community when dealing with sentencing issues.

Convictions In The Family Court

If a juvenile is convicted in Family Court after the fact finding hearing there is a second hearing called the dispositional hearing.  During the disposition hearing the attorney for the child can present to the court a plan to deal with the issues raised in the case.  These plans can deal with sentencing alternatives involving placement in schools, community based programs, drug treatment counseling and other types of alternative sentencing programs.  The judge at a dispositional hearing will render a decision as to whether the child requires confinement, treatment or supervision.  The court can also conditionally discharge the child into the custody of his or her parents.

Family Court Legal Representation

Although there are similarities between the prosecution of a juvenile in the Family Court and the Criminal Courts, should you have a child that is charged with a crime pending in the Family Court before retaining counsel you should discuss the attorneys experience in representing minors in the Family Court.  Although there are similarities and differences between criminal prosecutions in the Family Court and in the Criminal Courts an attorney with experience and expertise in dealing with Family Court matters may obtain a better result than an attorney that only deals with prosecutions of individuals in the Criminal Courts in New York.

Family Court Lawyers

The Family Court Lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing minors charged with both misdemeanors and felonies in the Family Courts in the metropolitan New York area for more than thirty years.  Our firm represents juveniles charged with misdemeanors and felonies in the Family Courts of the five boroughs of the City of New York, Westchester County, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  In addition the firm represents individuals charged with assault and battery, shop lifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI), weapons possession, traffic tickets, computer crimes and internet crimes in the criminal courts.  We also help our clients arrange for bail so they can be released from jail.  Call us for a free consultation.

Halle Berry’s Custody Issues

Halle Berry was married to Gabriel Aubry. They have a daughter named Nahia. Halle Berry is an oscar winning actress. She has been engaged in a custody fight over her two year old daughter Nahia.

Halle has dropped out of a broadway play due to custody issues. She had been scheduled to make her broadway debut in September. The play was called the Mountain Top. Samuel L. Jackson is portraying Dr. Martin Luther King in the play. Halle was to portray a maid at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis where King was the night before he was shot.

Nasty Custody Battle

Halle has been involved in a nasty custody battle with her ex partner Gabriel Aubry. The couple initially split up in 2010.

Halle Pulls Out of Movie Entitled New Year’s Eve

Halle Berry has also dropped out of a movie entitled New Year’s Eve. She blamed her pending custody litigation involving her daughter for her dropping out of this film.

She has recently claimed she has been unable to amicably resolve her custody issues with the child’s father Gabriel. A representative for Halle Berry has stated “she has serious concerns for her daughter’s well being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her.” Is the real issue that Nahia’s father Gabriel Aubry is the parent who spends the majority of the time meeting the child’s needs while Halle pursues her career. It appears that Gabriel spends a majority of the time taking care of this child, while Halle is off making movies and appearing in other productions.

Father’s Rights Lawyers in New York

Children have two parents, a father and a mother. Under New York Law they have equal rights to custody and visitation. We are father’s rights lawyers. We litigate issues on behalf of fathers involving divorce, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse defense, paternity, no fault divorce and issues involving attorneys fees in divorces. We also assist our clients in obtaining annulments and dealing with parental relocation problems. We negotiate separation agreements, pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements for our clients. We represent fathers in cases in Nassau County, Kings County, Queens County and the rest of the Metropolitan New York area. Call for a free consultation.

Smoker Told to Take Doctor’s Advice or Return to Jail

court1-150x150Mrs. McCloud was released from jail three months early to have a heart transplant. She ignored the advise of her doctors to stop smoking. She now either has to stop smoking, pursuant to the order of Judge Francis D. Ricigliano, or go back to jail!

Nassau County District Judge Francis D. Ricigliano told Diane McCloud that she must stop smoking. She also must submit to drug testing and she must comply with her doctor’s requests.Ms. McCloud had been jailed after being convicted of taking $4,000 in merchandise from a Target store located in Westbury, New York. While she was incarcerated, her health went down hill. Her doctors determined she had less than six months to live. Justice Ricigliano felt sorry for Ms. McCloud and released her from jail, under the condition that she take all necessary steps suggested by her physicians to obtain a heart transplant.

Ms. McCloud’s physician, Janjay Doddamani, the chairman of the cardiology department in Nassau County University Medical Center, contacted Judge Ricigliano. He advised the Judge and the District Attorney’s office that Ms. McCloud had not been cooperating with him.

Ms. McCloud was brought back before the court. Judge Ricigliano made it clear that, unless she complied with her doctor’s requests to stop smoking, he would send her back to jail and she would not have the opportunity to receive a heart transplant. Hopefully she is complying to the Judge’s order.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents individuals charged with crimes or who are being investigated for crimes. We are experienced in representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimes, violent crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI), shoplifting, burglary, juvenile offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Grandparents Seek Visitation with Grandchildren

grand-150x150In a case before Supreme Court Justice Janowitz, sitting in Nassau County, grandparents brought a proceeding seeking visitation with regard to their three grandchildren. The children’s parents asked Judge Janowitz to dismiss the case. They claimed the grandparents lacked standing to bring this proceeding.

The grandparents’ petition argued that they had enjoyed a good relationship with their grandchildren, but that the parents have cut off all visitation since January of 2010. The grandparents claim the cut off was without justification.

The parents argued that the grandparents behaved inappropriately and therefore they would not permit them to have access to their children. They claim the grandparents filed a false Child Protection Services report against them. The report was investigated and Child Protective Services found it to be unsubstantiated.

Court Finds For Grandparents

Justice Janowitz stated in his decision that where there is an established relationship between the grandparents and the grandchildren, the court would look into the basis of the parents’ decision to cut off this relationship. Justice Janowitz felt that mere animosity or bad feelings between the parties was not a valid reason, under Domestic Relations Law Section 72(1), for cutting off grandparents access to their grandchildren. Justice Janowitz ordered a forensic evaluation to determine if the parents’ allegations against the grandparents were true.

Grandparents’ Rights and Fathers’ Rights

Grandparents should have the right to develop a relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents and fathers play important roles in children’s lives and their rights are protected by the law in New York. We litigate all types of fathers’ rights issues, including divorce, orders of protection, custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse and child neglect proceedings. We defend fathers involved in paternity proceedings, and we also represent fathers who seek annulments.

In divorce situations, we litigate equitable distribution issues, relocation problems, parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome issues. We also negotiate pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements.

Wife Gives Condo to Ex-husband

willsJustice Belen sits in the Appellate Division of the Second Department located in Brooklyn. He recently wrote a decision regarding a joint will involving Sandra Angelo Murray. In the year 2000, Mr. & Mrs. Murray entered into a divorce settlement agreement. In the divorce settlement, they reaffirmed their 1993 joint will. This 1993 joint will bequeathed to the survivor of the two the entire estate of the first person to die, as well as property which either of them had the power to dispose of.

After the divorce, Sandra Murray deeded their Florida condo to her ex-husband. He deeded title of the condo in Roslyn, New York, to Sandra. They traded one property for another. In 2006, the Roslyn condo became part of an irrevocable trust. In the year 2007, Sandra conveyed the Rosyln condo equally to her and Jerome’s four children.

A proceeding was brought under the New York Surrogates Court Procedure Act in Nassau County. The Surrogates Court held, and the 2nd Department (an appeals court) affirmed, that the will from 1993 was binding. Sandra could only bequeath the condo in Rosyln to Jerome. She could not bequeath it to her four children. The deed turning over the condo to the four children was therefore set aside and Jerome received the condo.


Will Contest Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you if you want to contest a will. We draft wills and we probate wills. We also draft all types of trusts including, but not limited to, revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts. We assist our clients with Elder Care planning, medicaid applications, medicaid planning techniques, and we litigate nursing home abuse cases. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children. Should you have a will, trust or estate related matter, feel free to call us. We can help you!

Nassau County District Attorney Informs Convicted Criminals About Family Crime Lab Analysis of Drugs


Kathleen Rice is the District Attorney of Nassau County. She has recently notified three hundred inmates serving time in local and upstate penitentiaries that they should contact their attorneys or local legal aid organizations. This is on the heels of the disclosure of problems faced by the Nassau County Police Department’s crime lab. Problems stemming from the crime lab could have affected the 300 inmates’ cases.

Nassau County is currently involved in the process of re-testing all felony drug case material from 2008 to the present. In addition, Nassau County is also re-testing all blood-alcohol related material from as far back as 2006.

District Attorney Rice’s letter to the inmates specifically stated the purpose of this letter is to make you aware of this situation and to provide you with contact information should you have any questions or wish to contact legal counsel. It is my hope that this letter provides you with the ability to appropriately consider the events in the last few months in the context of your criminal case.

Lawyers Move To Surpress Evidence and Set Aside Convictions

There have been more than forty motions made to the courts in Nassau County by attorneys for defendants requesting that evidence be suppressed (kept out), or that conviction be set aside due to the mishandling of evidence by the Nassau County Police Department crime laboratory. District Attorney Kathleen Rice has put together a team of Assistant District Attorneys to handle these challenges concerning the questionable evidence practices of the Nassau County crime laboratory.

Criminal Lawyers

Our law office has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with crimes throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We represent individuals charged with white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, drunk driving (DWI), shoplifting, burglary, juvenile defense, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offenses and all types of felonies and misdemeanors. If you are charged with a crime, call us. We are on duty seven days a week. Our phone numbers are 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Father’s Conduct Not Contemptuous

A proceeding was brought by a mother in Nassau County Supreme Court by Judge Falanga to hold her children’s father in civil contempt. The mother alleged the father, who was awarded custody of their child, had refused to make reasonable accommodations related to her Orthodox Jewish religious practices. She argued that her Orthodox Jewish observence requirements prevented her from driving to pick up and drop off the child. She alleged there were numerous Jewish holidays that fell on her Wednesday visitation days.

Prior Court Order

Judge Falanga took note that there had been a previous order making the father aware of the importance of maintaining a relationship between the mother and the child. However, Judge Falanga did not grant the mother’s application to find the father in contempt. The father suggested that an alternative to the Wednesday visitation, the mother have visitation with the child on Tuesdays. He claimed the mother refused to accept his offer of Tuesday visitation.

Judge Falanga found that although the father’s actions disrupted the visitation routine between the mother and the child his conduct did not rise to the level of being contemptuous. He stated “while visitation was a most precious right the child corresponding need to have normal socialization and age appropriate activities could not be held hostage to a very occasional and intermitant inability of the mother to visit. The mother’s motion to hold father in contempt was denied. Hooray for Judge Falanga!

Fathers’ Rights Law Firm in Nassau County

We litigate all types of father’s rights issues. We represent fathers in Nassau County, Kings County, Queens County and throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We litigate equitable distribution issues, spousal abuse, child support, child visitation, child custody and orders of protection. We protect our clients from allegations of child abuse.

We fight paternity proceedings in the family court. We deal with parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome cases. When the mother seeks to relocate the children making it difficult for fathers to have visitation, we litigate relocation problems. In amicable situations we negotiate separation agreement for our clients. When our clients lose their jobs or have reductions in their income we bring proceedings to reduce their child support obligations. We’re a full service father’s rights law firm. Our experience in the father’s rights area can help you in your case. Call us for a free consultation.

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.

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