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Dealing With Parental Alienation Problems – Part I

divorce and custody attorneyIn divorce and Family Court litigation involving custody and spending parenting time with children, sometimes one parent seeks to alienate the children from the other. God gives each child two parents. A parent who estranges the children from the other parent for selfish, inappropriate and/or vindictive purposes, doesn’t understand the damage they are doing to their children. Unfortunately, family law attorneys see parental alienation situations all too often.

Parental alienation usually occurs when one parent tries to isolate the other parent from the children by engaging in conduct or saying things to the children which causes an estrangement between the children and the other parent. The alienation can be subtle and inadvertent or it can be very straight forward. In these cases, both the parent who is the object of the parental alienation and the children are victimized. The victimization can cause an estrangement between the alienated parent and the children and, sometimes, a total breakdown in that relationship.

The development of the parental alienation can be either a subtle or an overt series of actions which manipulates children into believing a parent who loves them is evil, dangerous, or really doesn’t love them.

Custody and Parental Alienation

Sometimes the parental alienation by one parent against the other is a tactic used in divorces and/or Family Court custody proceedings to try to guarantee the success of the alienating parent to obtain custody of the children.family law attorney

Parental Alienation of Children

divorce attorneysParental alienation of children is now recognized by the Courts in New York to be detrimental to the best interest of children. When one parent alienates the children from another parent he or she is simply hurting the children. Each child has two parents and each of the parents adds to the quality of the human being the child will become.

Parental alienation syndrome involves one parent, through subtle and not so subtle means, encouraging denigration, bad feelings, a lack of love and a sense of animosity to the other parent. When one parent motivates the children in this negative manner regarding the other parent, the children become “alienated” from the other parent.

Parental Alienation And Changing Custody

In some cases, the Courts in New York have removed the children from the home of the parent who caused the children to be alienated from the other parent and given custody to the other parent. In these cases, the Courts in New York have found it in the children’s best interest to have custody changed.

It is the obligation of the residential custodial parent to foster visitation of the children with the nonresidential custodial parent. Visitation, which is now referred to as parenting time, is important for the development of the relationship with the children and the nonresidential parent.

In the case of In re Jeffrey Doroski v. Nancy Ashton, the Appellate division (an appeals court), in its decision, stated “parental alienation of a child from the other parent is in fact so inconsistent with the best interest of the children as too, per say, raise a strong probability that the [offending party] is unfit to act as a custodial parent.”

Action To Be Taken To Avoid Parental Alienation

The first thing a parent should do when presented with the situation of parental alienation is to speak to the other parent who was alienating the children. Try to educate the other parent that he or she is simply hurting the children by taking this action. Discuss family counseling with the other parent to deal with this situation.

child advocacy and assistance for parentsIf the alienating parent continues with his or her destructive behavior regarding the children, immediate legal action is necessary. It is important to nip parental alienation syndrome in the bud. The longer the alienating party has to turn the children against the other parent, the more difficult it is to undo this negative conditioning. Issues concerning parental alienation in the State of New York are handled either in the Supreme Court or in the Family Court.

Divorce and College Tuition Expenses for Children (Part 2)

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State University of New York (SUNY)

At this point in the discussion (refer to yesterday’s post for “Part 1” of this article), the attorney for one of the parties usually suggests the parents’ exposure for payment of college expenses should be limited to a “SUNY CAP”. The SUNY CAP is defined as either the cost of sending the children to one of the

SUNY schools or the cost of sending the children to the most expensive SUNY school.

The purpose for utilizing a SUNY CAP in divorce proceedings is to limit the potential expenses of a college education while allowing the children to attend a college in the SUNY system, which is considered one of the best state wide college education systems in the country.Using today’s costs, an education at a SUNY school costs approximately $18,000.00 a year, whereas an education at a private college, such as Syracuse University, would cost approximately $55,000.00 per year. As you can see, there is a large gap between the private university costs and the SUNY college tuition expenses. It should be noted this does not take into consideration scholarships, financial aid or loans that might be available to students attending a private university. These may bring the cost down considerably.

The SUNY CAP In Case Law

The SUNY CAP is used so often by divorce lawyers in settlement agreements that a questions arises as to whether this is a standard to be applied in divorces in New York. This question was answered by Supreme Court Justice Mathew F. Cooper, who sits in Manhattan Supreme Court, in the case of Pamela T. vs. Mark B. In this case, Judge Cooper stated “but there is one thing the SUNY system should not be. Contrary to what proponents of a wide and liberal application of the SUNY CAP might argue, the SUNY system should not be the assumed destination for a child of divorce.”

In the case before Judge Cooper, a child fought to go to Syracuse University. The parents were both lawyers who had been divorced in 2008. Both of the parents earn in excess of $100,000 a year. Judge Cooper’s decision stated the parents had
The court’s prior decision in the 2008 Judgment of Divorce did not deal with the issue of college expenses for the two children of the marriage. Judge Cooper ordered the father, Mark B., to pay 40% of the son’s college education at Syracuse, which was approximately $21,000 per year.The moral of this story is that the details of college education expenses for children should be laid out in a separation agreement or stipulation of settlement. This will eliminate future questions regarding college education responsibilities.

resources in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although the mother was willing to pay for half of the cost of sending one of her sons to Syracuse University, the father was not. He only wished to pay half of the expense to send his son to the State University of New York at Binghamton.

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.

Mother Unfit to Obtain Custody: Father Awarded Permanent Sole Custody of Daughters

Justice MacKenzi, sitting in the Supreme Court in Suffolk County, awarded a father permanent sole and legal custody of his two daughters. There had previously been a temporary custody order in this case.

There were allegations that the mother had engaged in parental alienation of the parties four children against the father. The evidence showed that the mother had consistently attempted to destroy the children’s relationship with their father. This included portraying the father has a “dead beat dad.” The mother also tried to convince the children that the father was an abusive individual.

Mother Lies At Trial

At the time of the trial, the father testified and the court found him to be a credible witness. The mother’s testimony was another story. The court found her testimony was full of lies, half truths and distortions of what had happened.

The father had temporary custody of the parties’ daughters for a period of two years prior to the trial. During this period of time, his relationship with his daughters flourished. The court, in its findings, held that the father did not interfere with the mother’s relationship with her children. The court also rendered a decision stating that the mother’s interference with the father’s relationship with his daughters was to such an extent that she would be unfit to be a custodial parent.

The court awarded the father permanent and sole and physical custody of his daughters. The mother was given expanded visitation rights.

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Nassau and Suffolk County Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

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

Joint Custody Unworkable

joint-150x150 Acting Supreme Court Justice Neary, sitting in Westchester County, found that a one week on, one week off joint custody arrangement between a father and mother was unworkable. He also found that this arrangement was disruptive to the children’s lives.

Justice Neary ordered a hearing to determine who should receive custody of the children. In his decision, Justice Neary found that the father “methodically demonstrated” that the mother engaged in parental alienation of the children. A forensic expert confirmed that the mother had been involved in parental alienation syndrome activities.

Mother’s Testimony Unbelievable

The court found that the mother had significant credibility problems with regard to her testimony. The court’s decision stated that the father had met his burden of establishing an unforeseen change in circumstances which called for a modification of the custody arrangements.

Joint Custody Continued By the Court

The court found that joint custody was still the best way to handle this case. The court modified the custody so the parties would share children on a two week on, two week off basis. Judge Neary’s decision was based upon the fact that it was in the best interest of the children to have longer periods of time with each parent, thereby causing less disruption in their lives.

Conclusion

In this case, the mother’s bad behavior had very little impact on her overall relationship with the children and custody.

divorce-150x1503Long Island Divorce Lawyer

Issues involving divorce are difficult. The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been delicately and aggressively dealing with divorce-related issues for more than thirty years. Our law office litigates all aspects of divorce matters including, divorce grounds, child custody, child visitation, child abuse, child neglect, and the division of assets (especially in high net worth cases and cases involving doctors, lawyers and dentists). Our office can protect fathers’ rights, as well as mothers’ rights, in a divorce. If it is an amicable divorce situation, we assist our clients in negotiating separation agreements. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

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.

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.

Interrogation of Child Abuse Victims

The United States Supreme Court recently had before them the case of Camreta v. Green, 131 S. Ct. 456 (2010). In this case, the issue presented was whether the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires government officials to obtain a search warrant or parental permission before they can interrogate a suspected child abuse victim. The second issue was whether an official who fails to obtain a search warrant or permission of the parents can be held liable for violation of civil rights laws.

Child Protection Agencies claim that they need to investigate abuse cases without giving prior notification to the possible perpetrators of these acts. In this case, the social worker, Bob Camreta, conducted an interrogation of a child at the child’s school. This was done without a warrant. The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that this warrantless interrogation violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the child. The court also stated that Mr. Camreta was protected by a qualified immunity from being held personally liable for civil damages under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Law.

Child Abuse Allegations In New York

Here’s how the system works in New York: Someone files a complaint with the New York State Child Protective Services (CPS). A local investigator comes to the house and insists on seeing the child. If the parent or guardian refuses to let the investigator see the child, the investigator claims he’s going to get a court order. He threatens to take the child away from the parents. Although the Child Protection Agency seeks to protect children, in New York, they often violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the parents and the child.

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Fathers’ Rights

We protect fathers’ rights in divorce situations. We litigate spousal maintenance issues (alimony), child support, child custody, child visitation and we deal with the equitable distribution of property issues in divorces. We also negotiate separation agreements on behalf of our clients. Should the mother seek to leave the state with the child, we litigate relocation problems.

When our clients lose their jobs or have reduced income, we bring applications to reduce child support payments. We also educate our clients with regard to the new no-fault divorce law. In contested, nasty divorces, we deal with issues involving parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome caused by one parent making negative statements about the other parent to the children. Should you have a Family Court or divorce issue, feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Father in Jail Trumps Custody Order. Mother can Leave the State.

father1-150x1502Last March, Judge Posner, sitting in the Family Court of Duchess County, ruled that a woman whose ex-husband had been in and out of jail since approximately 2003, and in addition had alcohol related problems, could leave the state with her nine-year-old son. She could take this action in spite of the fact that she had signed a custody order barring her from removing the child more than 25 miles from her residence without giving ninety days notice to the father.

Mother Wants to Move to North Carolina

The mother was a nurse. She wanted to relocate to North Carolina. She had a support system in North Carolina. Her parents were there. She felt moving to North Carolina would improve her financial condition and allow her to spend more time with her son.

She brought a proceeding before family court Judge Posner in Dutchess County. She claimed that she had an untenable financial situation. The father had not participated in raising the child or supporting the child since 2006. Judge Posner took into consideration the father’s long periods related to his incarceration. He also stated that he had failed to support his son or be involved in his son’s life. In her application, Mom advised the judge that relocating would allow her to work less hours and earn a similar salary, and spend more quality time with her son.

Relocation Issues

It was the father’s contention that the mother did not present sufficient evidence to support her position. Although the father didn’t deny his alcohol problems and incarceration had kept him away from his son, he expressed a desire to maintain a relationship with his son.

Best Interests of the Child

Judge Posner ruled that the mother had shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that her relocation would be in the best interest of the child and therefore she was justified in modifying the custody agreement. The Judge also stated he was “confident” the mother, if permitted to move, “will take steps to encourage a meaningful relationship” between the father and his son.

The attorney for the mother was interviewed after the decision. She stated, “that this ruling stands for the proposition that having an addiction isn’t an excuse for failure to observe your parental obligations.”

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Long Island Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

Fathers have rights that need to be protected. Cases involving child abuse and child neglect are sometimes brought as a cover to obtain custody for the mother. Child Protective Services and Administration for Children’s Services problems can have an impact on a father obtaining custody or visitation with his child. Fathers who are paying child support and are downsized need representation to reduce their child support obligations. Children can be turned away from their fathers due to parental alienation syndrome caused by one parent alienating the child from the other parent by bad mouthing the other parent in the child’s presence. Issues involving paternity, child support and child visitation also acquire aggressive representation. Feel free to call our law office for a free consultation.

Fathers’ Rights Issues, Child Support and Visitation

If you are obligated to make child support payments and your spouse refuses to give you visitation, can you stop making these child support payments? The answer to this question is no. A spouse who has child support financial obligations must make these payments whether or not he or she has access to the child for visitation. It takes a court order to reduce or eliminate child support payments. A court will not reduce or eliminate your child support if your visitation is interfered with.

Child Support and Disability

Can you reduce child support payments if you become disabled through no fault of your own and are unable to work? The answer to this question is yes. However, there is an issue as to at what point your child support payments are reduced. Imagine this scenario, you are in a car accident and hospitalized for a period of a month. Thereafter, you’re in the rehabilitation facility for another two months. When you get your strength up, you bring a proceeding three months after the accident to reduce your child support. In a logical, fair-minded world, the court would grant your child support reduction as of the date you were injured three months ago. This may not be the case if you bring a child support modification proceeding in the state of New York. There are cases that hold that child support arrears may not be reduced retroactively, even when the defaulting party can show good cause for his or her failure to make an application for the relief from a judgment or an order of child support prior to the accrual of the arrears.

Downward Modifications of Child Support

Let’s take another scenario. You’re making $75,000 a year at your job. You lose your job. You diligently look for another job and you find a job for $50,000 a year. On January 1, 2011, you bring a proceeding in the family court in New York State for downward modification of child support payments. In June of 2010, you are successful and your child support payments are reduced. In this case, the child support is reduced retroactive to the January 1, 2011 date when you brought your proceeding.

Query – If there’s been an overpayment to child support services, will they refund your money? In a fair and perfect world, of course they would refund your overpayment. Unfortunately, we live in New York State. That doesn’t happen in New York. Over payments of child support are not refunded!

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Protecting Fathers’ Rights

We protect fathers’ rights. We litigate issues in divorces. We deal with both the criminal and the family court problems involved with orders of protection. We help our clients obtain child custody. When child custody is not requested, we obtain visitation for our clients. We litigate child abuse and child neglect issues. We provide a defense in child abuse cases. When there are questions of paternity, we litigate paternity issues. We educate our clients concerning no-fault divorces and attorney fees in divorces. We represent fathers in high net worth and high income divorce situations. We deal with relocation problems, parental alienation, parental alienation syndrome and we negotiate separation agreements when applicable. Call us. Fathers deserve equal treatment!

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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