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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

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

family law and divorce attorney on Long IslandPrenuptial agreements are not for everyone. The only individuals eligible for prenuptial agreements are people getting married. Seriously though, who needs a prenuptial agreement and why would you really want one?

Prenuptial Agreements deal with issues such as assets accumulated during the marriage, professional licenses and spousal maintenance issues.

Starting On Equal Terms

Many couples who marry have similar financial circumstances. However, during the course of the marriage, one party may decide to stay home and raise the children which would have a negative impact on his or her career. This provides a ground in a divorce for requests for alimony (spousal maintenance).

Prenuptial Agreements Cost Less Than Engagement Rings

Engagement rings today cost anywhere between $5000 and $25,000. A prenuptial agreement will usually cost between $2500 and $7500. It is a lot cheaper than an engagement ring. It is said that diamonds last forever. Diamonds in the engagement ring may last forever but 50% of all marriages fail. This makes the cost of prenuptial agreements when considered over the long run a lot less expensive.

Don’t Wait For The Last Minute

If you anticipate entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse, you shouldn’t wait to a few weeks before the marriage to retain an attorney to draft the document. Prenuptial agreements should be negotiated several months before the parties get married.

Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers

assistance in family court and with prenuptial agreementsThe attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo draft prenuptial agreements. It addition we draft post nuptial agreements and separation agreements. The firm also litigates all divorce issues. These issues may involve 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. Call for a free consultation.

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.

Order of Protection Fails, Woman Shot

restrainingorder-150x150Carmen Valdez obtained an order of protection from her boyfriend, Felix Perez. She was assured by police officers that Felix would be arrested if he threatened her in violation of the order of protection, issued by the Bronx Criminal Court. Thereafter, Mr. Perez shot Carmen Valdez. Bullets pierced her face and her arm. Felix Perez killed himself with the same gun. Carmen Valdez sued the City of New York for failure to arrest Felix Perez and protect her pursuant the order of protection.

City of New York Not Liable to Carmen Valdez

The New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) in a 5-2 decision in the matter of Valez v. The City of New York, found that New York City would not be liable for damages to Carmen Valdez for her gunshot wounds. Even though she was assured by a police officer that her ex-boyfriend would be arrested when he threatened her, the City of New York still could not be held liable. The Court found that Ms. Valdez did not establish or create a “special relationship” between her and New York City based on the promise of a police officer to arrest her boyfriend when he threatened her on the phone. The court stated in its decision Carmen did not have “a justifiable reliance” on the City’s affirmative undertaking of the promise of the police officer to keep her safe. Even though Ms. Valdez, in compliance with her order of protection, reported to a police officer that her boyfriend threatened to kill her “the officer’s statement did not create a special relationship that would create liability upon the City of New York.” So much for the protection offered by an order of protection issued by a Criminal Court!

New York Divorce and Family Court Attorneys

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been protecting women involved in domestic violence situation, by obtaining orders of protection for them in both the Criminal Courts and Family Courts for more than 30 years. We also represent men and women in issues concerning child abuse, child neglect, divorce related issues, child custody issues, mother’s rights and father’s rights issues as well as drafting pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. Feel free to call for a free consultation.

‘Genius’ Not Taken Into Account in Equitable Distribution

divorce-150x150Judge Dregger, sitting in Manhattan Supreme Court, denied a very successful private equity firm executive from presenting evidence in a divorce case that he had “unique personality traits” prior to the marriage that allowed him to accumulate 450 million dollars in business assets during the thirty year term of his marriage. Justice Dregger, in her decision, stated that “in purporting to prove that the success of the business is solely attributable to his innate genius, the expert opinion evidence offered by the husband provides no assistance to the finder of fact in fashioning an equitable distribution of the estate based on the contributions of each party to the marital partnership.” Mr. and Mrs. Silverman were married for more than thirty years prior to a divorce lawsuit being brought. They had married in January of 1978.

Innate Talents

Mr. Silverman claimed that he had unique innate talents that allowed him to be successful in this business. Mr. Silverman argued that his talents in business should be considered in determining equitable distribution. Justice Dregger stated that intangible assets may be considered as marital property, referring to the enhanced earning capacity of an investment banker, someone with celebrity status or someone involved in a political career. However, she stated the question is “to what degree the spouse not possessed of the intangible asset was entitled to a distributive aware arising from the enhanced earning capacity of the career developed during the marriage and not the degree of fame, skill or political acumen possessed at the time of the marriage.”

Henry Silverman is out of luck. The 450 million dollars he amassed is subject to equitable distribution with his wife. I’m sure he’ll end up with enough money to prevent himself from starving.

New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling divorces in the Metropolitan New York area for over thirty-three years. We litigate all aspects of divorce related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Family Court. These proceedings involve divorce grounds, no fault divorce, child custody, mothers’ rights, fathers’ rights, child support, downward modification of child support, spousal maintenance (alimony) and domestic violence issues. In addition, we negotiate separation agreements, prenuptial agreementsand post-nuptial agreements for our clients. We litigate equitable distribution issues involving doctor, dentist and lawyer licenses. Call us for a free consultation.

New Divorce Law In New York

NoFaultDivorce1-150x150On August 15, 2010, Governor Paterson signed into law new statutes that significantly change divorce law in New York.

No Fault Divorce

The most significant of the statutes adopts a true no-fault divorce law, making New York the 50th state to adopt such a law. The new statute eliminates the need for a person seeking a divorce to claim that they either have been living apart pursuant to a written separation agreement for a period of one year or that the spouse has committed adultery, abandonment, cruel and inhuman treatment or has been sentenced to prison for a period of three years or more.

The party seeking the divorce simply has to claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” for a period of six months. The other party does not have to consent or agree to it. Once the allegation is made by one party, there is no defense available to the other party that will stop the divorce from going forward. The court then has to deal with issues involving child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution of property and other related matters.

Temporary Maintenance Awards

In addition, one of the new statutes changes the process by which courts grant temporary maintenance (money) to a spouse while a divorce is pending. The statute creates a formula and a list of factors to govern these awards. The purpose is to allow for a quick resolution of temporary spousal maintenance issues and enable the financially worse-off party to continue with litigation without being impoverished.

Attorney Fees

The third statute creates a presumption that the less well-off spouse in a divorce proceeding is entitled to the payment of his or her attorney fees. Under existing law, a party might be unable to secure legal representation must make an application to the court for attorney fees at the end of the litigation process.

Should you, a loved one or a friend be involved in or considering a divorce, feel free to contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

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