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The Divorce Hotel

long island divorce attorneysHolland is a very progressive country. An entrepreneur in Holland has come up with the idea of a divorce hotel. Under this concept, couples with marital difficulties check into a hotel for a weekend. James Halfens has developed the concept of the divorce hotel. He is contracted with numerous hotels in Holland. The divorce hotel involves a hotel package agreement where for a fee of between $3500 and $10,000, the hotel provides mediators and lawyers who work with a couple during the course of a weekend to negotiate a settlement of all matrimonial issues. This paves the way for an amicable, uncontested divorce. Under this divorce hotel concept, at the end of the long weekend, the paperwork is completed regarding an uncontested divorce and the documents are submitted to a judge.

Divorce Hotels Coming to the United States

Is a divorce hotel coming to a neighborhood near you? So far, seventeen couples have bought the divorce hotel package in Holland. Sixteen of the couples were able to negotiate, during the course of the weekend, the arrangements for their divorce. James Halfens is eager to bring his divorce hotel package to the United States. He is currently in negotiations with a number of hotels in both Los Angeles and New York City. In addition, he is also in negotiations with television production companies who are interested in developing a reality television series based on the concept of the divorce hotel.

Although this seems like an interesting concept, the writer does not believe it will work in New York or in Los Angeles. The divorce process in the United States is significantly more complicated than in Europe. Issues involving child custody, division of assets, who lives in the home, spousal support, and other difficult issues need to be worked out on a timely basis in divorces. Couples need time to digest settlement negotiations and reach reasoned decisions concerning their future and the future of their children.

Conclusion

help secure your rights during a divorceThe divorce hotel concept is a great idea for Holland but not a particularly good idea for the United States marketplace.

Same Sex Marriage Comes to New York

marriage-150x127On Friday, June 24, 2011, New York became the largest state in the country to allow lesbian and gay couples to marry. It was questionable, up to the last minute, as to whether this law would pass the New York State Senate. In the final moments, four Republican majority members joined all but one Democrat and voted in support of the gay rights statute.

Previously Passed by New York State Assembly

The New York State Assembly had passed the same sex marriage law last week. Immediately after the law was passed, Governor Cuomo signed the law. This means the law went into effect on July 24, 2011.

New York is the fifth state in the country to permit the same sex marriages. The other states that have approved same sex marriages are: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.

This is the third year in a row that gay rights advocates had lobbied for New York State to pass a gay rights marriage bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied the New York State Legislature to pass this law. Governor Cuomo made this bill one of his top legislative priorities for the year.

Cap on Local Property Taxes

In addition to passing a same sex marriage law, the New York State Legislature passed statutes which created a cap on local property tax increases, as well as a five year tuition increase at the State University of New York and the City Colleges of New York.

Same Sex Divorce

If marriages are made in heaven, or now in the State of New York, divorces are made by the courts. Marriage is supposed to be forever, but the divorce rate upon heterosexual couples in the State of New York is close to 50%.

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling divorces in the Metropolitan New York area for over 33 years. We litigate all aspects of divorce related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Family Court. These proceedings involve divorce groundsno fault divorcechild custodymothers’ rights,f athers’ rightschild supportdownward modification of child supportspousal maintenance (alimony)and domestic violence issues. In addition, we negotiate separation agreementsprenuptial agreementsand post-nuptial agreements for our clients. We litigate equitable distribution issues involving doctor, dentist and lawyer licenses. Please call us for a free consultation.

Taping the Phone Calls of Suspects in Abuse Cases

phone-150x150New 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 number of taped phone calls were used in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence

Men charged with assaulting and beating their wives and girlfriends seem to be blabber mouths. “I need you to prepare the kids to start lying” was stated by one man to his girlfriend on one of 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 records “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 in violation of the court ordered orders of protection and constitute 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 that they refuse to cooperate with the prosecutors. In these situations, the District Attorneys office can utilize 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. Prosecutors 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 are arrested, it is generally not in your interest to speak about the alleged crime you have committed. The fathers’ rights lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo 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, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial 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.

Governor Cuomo Slashes NY Judiciary Budget by $170 Million

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It is estimated that hundreds of non-judicial workers will lose their jobs related to an additional $70 million dollars in budget cuts from the judiciary budget in the state of New York. The $70 million in budget cuts is in addition to a previous $100 million that was cut from the $2.7 billion budget for the judiciary in the state of New York.

Judge Lipman, the Chief Judge in New York State, has not specifically identified who will be laid off as of this date. There are concerns that court houses will be closed due to these budget cuts. Judge Lipman claims that this will not happen and that the court houses will remain open.

Court Administrators Fight Layoffs

Court administrators fought to avoid significant layoffs. They had hoped the courts reduced budget requirements could be met by instituting an early retirement program, eliminating new hirees, and other economic concessions, such as the elimination of Judicial Hearing Officers. The $170 million cut represents 6.3% of the judiciary budget. There are currently 15,200 non-judicial workers employed by the court system in the state of New York. Rocco Desantis is the president of the New York State Court Clerks Association. In a recent interview, he indicated that the court system was already strained from early retirement and previous budget cuts. He stated, “as a result of positions left unfulfilled from early retirement, there are already long lines at every office that deal with the public and back offices.” He stated, “I am concerned that this is going to make a bad situation worse.”

John Strand of the New York State Court Officers Association recently stated that the projected courthouse cuts will have a severe impact on the operation of court facilities. He doesn’t see how all the current court parts can be kept open with a reduced staff of court officers.

James F.X. Doyle is the President of the New York State County Court Judges Association. In a recent interview, he claimed that there will be inadequate security in the court houses due these layoffs.

Cuts In Court Personnel Unacceptable

The judiciary has traditionally been the poor man in the three branches of government in New York. Judges in New York state have not received a salary increase in more than thirteen years. They’re the poorest paid judges in the United States of America. When you consider that some of these judges live in the most expensive counties in the United States, it helps to explain the horrific conditions that exist in our legal system. The further layoffs of court personnel due to budget cuts will cause our legal system to grind more slowly. Justice delayed is justice denied! The budget cuts forced upon the judiciary by Governor Cuomo are unfair and will have a negative effect on the quality of the legal system in the state of New York!

Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

The legal system is supposed to be gender neutral. Many men involved with litigating matrimonial and family law matters have walked away from the legal system because their rights were not protected and they felt the system was biased against them.

We are fathers’ rights lawyers. We represent fathers in the negotiation of separation agreements. We deal with relocation problems when the custodial parent moves, creating a problem with the father’s visitation. We deal with parental alienation syndrome and the parental alienation by one parent of the other parent to the children. We litigate high net worth divorces and all aspects of equitable distribution in divorce cases. We help our clients obtain divorces under the new no-fault divorce law in the state of New York. We specifically assist fathers in litigating child abuse charges, paternity, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse, child neglect, child custody, child visitationorders of protection and all other issues litigated in divorces in the Supreme Court. If you’re a father and you’ve have concerns concerning your rights being protected, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

NYC Child Welfare Workers Charged with Negligent Homicide

In March of 2011, two former New York City child care workers were charged with negligent homicide related to a girl’s death. The girl was four years old at the time of her death. The child care workers had a responsibility to monitor her family’s situation. Damon Adams was a child welfare worker who worked for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). He had a responsibility to visit the home of Marchella Pierce. He was supposed to be conducting his visits during the three month period prior to Marchella’s death. Damon Adam’s supervisor was Chereece Bell. She was supposed to provide oversight for Mr. Adams. She has also been charged related to Marchella Pierce’s death. Damon Adams falsely reported that he had been visiting Marchella’s home to check up on her. His failure to follow up and supervise her home situation contributed to her death.

Carlotta Pierce caused Marchella’s Death

Marchella’s mother is named Carlotta Pierce. She had been beating Marchella with household items. She refused to provide Marchella with food and water. She force-fed Marchella antihistamines. Marchella weighed only eighteen pounds at the time of her death. Marchella was a premature baby. She had undeveloped lungs. She had a twin sister who died at birth. Marchella had been in and out of hospitals her entire life. At the time of her release from the hospital in February of 2010, she had a tracheal tube inserted to assist her in breathing.

Administration for Children’s Services had been monitoring the family since November of 2009. Her mother was found to be a drug abuser. Mr. Adams and Chereece Bell are the first two workers working for the Administration for Children Services to be charged with negligent homicide. Anthony Rells, a union representative for the accused child welfare workers, stated, “it is unprecedented and outrageous that workers doing their jobs are being blamed for the deaths of children.”

Mr. Adams faces a potential sentence of seven years in prison and Ms. Bell faces up to four years in prison if they are convicted. The mother, Ms. Brett, faces a term of twenty-five years to life in prison if she is convicted of second degree murder.

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Criminal Attorneys

Our law office represents individuals charged with juvenile defenses, assault and battery, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, drug offenses, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and violent crimes. We also help our clients obtain bail. We’ve been representing individuals charged in criminal matters throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Retirement Planning Mistakes

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Americans do not save enough money during the course of their working years to have the retirement life experience  they have dreamed about. In a recent study by the Employment Benefit Research Institute, fifty-six percent of the workers interviewed stated that the total value of their household savings and investments, without including the equity in their residence, was less than $25,000. Twenty-nine percent of those interviewed had savings of less than $1,000. How are these people going to afford to retire?

Rethinking Retirement Issues

Many Americans look at retirement as a long term vacation. However, very few Americans can afford this long term vacation. Saving funds for retirement must be done over long periods of time to accumulate the type of capital necessary to stop working. The retirement age of sixty-five is  unrealistic for the majority of Americans currently in the work force. Sixty-five is no longer the magic retirement number. Matthew Tuttle, a certified financial planner with Tuttle Wells Management, stated, “with life expediencies increasing, playing golf and going to early bird dinners every day can get [old] after 35 years. Rethink what retirement means. It could be working fewer hours or changing jobs to something that you like more.” Americans will either have to work longer, until 70 or 72, or, after retiring, might have to obtain a part time job to supplement their income.

Medical Expenses

Individuals who are over sixty-five  years of age have more medical expenses as they grow older than when they were young and healthy. A Fidelity Investments study indicated that a sixty-five year old couple who retire in 2010 will need a quarter of a million dollars to pay medical expenses during the period of their retirement. This $250,000 does not include nursing home expenses. This study found that the average monthly expenditures for health care will amount to $535 a month.

Set Reasonable Priorities

Americans need to down grade their expectations of their standard of living in retirement. They need to save and accumulate larger amounts of assets to cover their longer life expectancies. They must think twice about purchasing very expensive luxury items instead of putting those funds away for future needs.

Wills and Trusts Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo drafts wills. We handle estate administration and estate tax issues. We deal with issues concerning business succession. We also draft living wills and help our clients with end of life issues, supplemental needs trusts and special needs trusts. We prepare medicaid applications and handle medicaid issues for our clients. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Governor Cuomo Seeks to Legalize Gay Marriage in New York

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In March of this year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo went on record that he was in favor of the legalization of same sex marriage in the state of New York. He stated that he would be involved in a campaign to legalize same sex marriage.

Same Sex Law Failed in 2010

Last year, a same sex marriage law was proposed. It was defeated in the New York State Senate by a large margin. The question this year is whether Mr. Cuomo’s political savvy will be sufficient enough to get a same sex marriage bill through the state legislature.

Senator Dean Skellos from Rockville Center, New York, has gone on record as being opposed to the legalization of same sex marriages. Senator Skellos, a Republican, is the majority leader in the New York Senate.

At a meeting with leaders of the state’s most prominent gay rights organizations, Governor Cuomo compared same sex marriage to historical movements such as the women’s liberation, gay rights and environmental justice. Governor Cuomo stated New York needed to restore its reputation as a progressive state. Governor Cuomo stated, “to me this is more than just a piece of legislation, this is about the lives of people who I have known for many years and who currently are without the rights to which they are entitled.”

Long Island and New York Divorce Lawyer

Our law office handles various types of issues that arise from same sex relationships. In addition, we litigate divorce related issues such as child custody, child abuse, child neglect, separation agreements and the division of property. We represent individuals who seek to fight orders of protection. We also negotiate pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements for our clients. Should our client be involved in a high net worth divorce, we have an in house accountant that assists our lawyers in dealing with complicated financial issues. Fee free to call us for a free consultation.

Retirement: What if You Haven’t Saved any Money?

retire-150x1503Retirement is supposed to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for Americans. The current economic situation in the United States may require a re-thinking of retirement issues. A recent study has shown that one in four individuals approaching retirement have saved nothing for their retirement years! The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently revealed that nearly 50% of all individuals who are close to retirement, age 56 through 62, will run out of money if they are retired for twenty years or more.

Planning for Retirement

Planning for retirement is a complicated process. You never know how long you’re going to live! It is difficult to anticipate future medical expenses.

Retirement Facts

In the year 2011, the average individual receiving social security benefits will take in about $1,200 a month. Studies show you’ll need approximately eighty-percent of your pre- retirement income to maintain the same level of life style you maintained in your pre- retirement days. If you are nearing retirement, it is strongly suggested that you obtain literature and/or professional advice concerning retirement. Some retirement organizations offer community seminars. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has an enormous amount of information concerning what you can expect your expenses to be during the course of your retirement.

Are You In Debt

One of the first things that is recommended to individuals approaching retirement is to eliminate debt. The best way to do that is to review your expenses and take affirmative action to reduce these expenses. Examples of reducing expenses would be eating out in restaurants less often. You may have to change your life style and live a simpler, less expensive life.

Can You Downsize Your Home Expenses?

You may be able to sell your home and move into a smaller home. In some situations, you may be forced to sell your home and live in an apartment.

Don’t Retire!

Who says sixty-five years of age is the magic number to retire! People are living much longer today. Working into your early seventies may be the solution to your retirement issues. Another alternative is to simply not retire. I’m sixty-one years of age and I have no intentions of retiring anytime in the near future. I simply wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I retired. I anticipate I would be bored to tears!

Estate Planning Attorneys

Our law office has been handling estate planning matters for our clients for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts for our clients. We assist our clients in estate administration and probating wills. We deal with elder care matters involving nursing homes, nursing home abuse, medicaid, medicaid planning and medicaid planning techniques. We also assist our clients in developing special needs trusts for special needs children. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

A Father’s Rights Protected

Judge John J. Kelly, sitting in the Family Court of Suffolk County, recently rendered a decision in a custody case that the children’s best interest required that they be returned to the custody of their father. The case presented to him was a permanency hearing brought by the Department of Social Services. The Social Services Department had recommended that the children be returned to their father.

The children had been removed from the mother’s home. The children’s temporary guardians were actively involved in a private placement adoption. The children’s mother had died. Before her death, she had promised the guardians that they could adopt her children.

Father Never Notified

According to the decision, the court found that the father did not make these promises too. The promise to have the children put up for adoption by the guardians was solely made by the mother. The court found the father to be a fit parent. He complied with the court’s request to attend mandatory court programs. He had presented ample evidence to the court that he would provide a safe environment for the children to live in. He also encouraged the relationship with the children and their siblings who are in their maternal grandmother’s custody. The court also found that he had recently had a relationship with the children and that there was no abandonment by the father of his children. It was in the children’s best interest that their father be given full custody of them. A father’s rights had prevailed!

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Experienced Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

We represent fathers regarding divorce proceedings, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation issues, child support issues, spousal maintenance issues, alimony, child abuse and child neglect proceedings as well as child abuse defense. We also have extensive experience in dealing with paternity issues, child support, no fault divorces and equitable distribution of assets. Call for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

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