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Bankruptcy Fallacies – Part I

new york bankruptcy lawyerOne of the most widely held beliefs concerning individuals who file bankruptcy is they will never be able to obtain credit again. This is simply untrue. Although a bankruptcy filing will be maintained on your credit report for 10 years, most individuals who file bankruptcy can rehabilitate their credit within 18 months. A debtor who files for chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate all of his or her debt.

If the debtor obtains a secured credit card after filing bankruptcy and makes credit card payments on a regular basis he or she can reestablish credit. When this debtor files a new credit application, the financial institution will see all prior debt was discharged in bankruptcy and the individual, for the past 18 months, has been paying his or her debt on time. This makes this individual less of a credit risk to the financial institutions.

In my legal practice, I have represented individuals who have filed for bankruptcy three times during the course of my career. This means after the first and second bankruptcy they are able to establish credit all over again, run their credit up, go bankrupt again and then do a third time.

Individuals Who File Bankruptcy Can’t Have Assets

It is a mistaken belief that before someone can file bankruptcy they have to have virtually no assets. This is untrue. New York State has an exemption statute of $150,000 for equity in a home (this statute depends on which county the home is located in). There are also exemptions under New York State law for $5,000 in cash and a car with up to $4,000 in equity in it. New Yorkers can also choose to utilize Federal exemptions. Under Federal exemptions, there is a $21,625 exemption for the value of a home and $10,825 for cash held by the individual filing for bankruptcy.help in filing for bankruptcy

Borrowing Against Retirement Accounts

When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

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.

Modification of Criminal Law

DWI’s

Generally driving while intoxicated convictions (DWI’s) are not subject to being expunged. Instead, in some circumstances these records can be sealed. We can also obtain for our clients waivers of civil disabilities for individuals convicted of DWI’s. This  allows them to obtain commercial licenses in the future or have their commercial drivers license reinstated.

The Expungement Process in New York

To expunge a criminal conviction in the State of New York it is necessary to bring an application to the court that rendered the original decision to convict the defendant. The court has discretion and on a case by case basis decides whether to allow the criminal conviction to be expunged. Generally speaking to have a criminal conviction expunged you must have been convicted as a juvenile, convicted of an allowable drug related offense, or have been arrested in a case and not convicted. Feel free to contact the expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo for a free consultation regarding the issue of expunging a criminal record.

Contact an Experienced New York DWI Attorney

Based in Lynbrook, New York, The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents clients throughout Long Island and New York City, including  Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens, as well as Westchester County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.  Call us at 800-344-6431.

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.

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!

Loss of License for Talking on a Cell Phone

cell.jpegIt is against the law to speak on a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle in the state of New York. This past summer, Justice Edmead, sitting in the Supreme Court located in New York County, suspended a driver’s license for thirty-one days when she was found guilty of talking on her cell phone.

The defendant argued that the courts determination was arbitrary and that the sentence was excessive. The court stated otherwise. The defendant had two previous convictions for talking on a cell phone. These convictions took place within the past eighteen months and were still on her driver’s license.

The court claimed that sections 1225-c(2)(a) and section 510(3) of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws provided the court with discretion to temporarily suspend the license of a driver for multiple convictions related to the same offense. The court stated in its decision that monetary fines did not stop her from driving while talking on a cell phone. The court further indicated that there was a “reasonable prospect” that without the suspending of her drivers license, she would continue to violate the law. Therefore, the punishment was not disproportionate to the offense, shocking to one’s conscience or unreasonable.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our office has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with a variety of crimes, such as drug offenses, domestic violence, misdemeanors, felonies, assault and battery, juvenile offenses, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated, weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes and traffic tickets. Call us for a free consultation.

Family Court Restrained From Holding Husband in Contempt for Non-payment of Spousal Maintenance

divorce2-150x150Mr. and Mrs. Vandyke were married for thirty-five years. The marriage ended in 2007. Mr. Vandyke was supposed to pay his wife $400.00 in spousal maintenance (alimony) per week until she reached the age of sixty-two.

Mr. Vandyke failed to make his spousal maintenance payments. A hearing was held before Supreme Magistrate Rika Murray in the Family Court of Albany County. Court Magistrate Murray found that Mr. Vandyke had willfully violated his financial obligations to pay spousal maintenance to his wife. The Support Magistrate found that he was $11,774 in arrears.

Mr. Vandyke Appeals the Support Magistrate’s Decision to Family Court Judge Ducan

Judge Ducan reviewed the decision of Support Magistrate Rika Murray. He found that a party should not be held in contempt for failing to make spousal maintenance payments on a timely basis unless there were no other “less drastic” means of collecting this debt. He therefore refused to confirm the Support Magistrate’s finding that Kenneth G. Vandyke willfully failed to pay his maintenance payments.

In his decision, Judge Ducan compared and contrasted the procedures concerning the enforcement of spousal maintenance in the Family Court and the Supreme Court. Judge Ducan found that in the Supreme Court, a party cannot be held in contempt unless the court concludes that there are no other remedies available to collect this debt. He stated, “Family Court cannot be granted any jurisdictional authority that is not available to the Supreme Court, because Supreme Court has plenary jurisdiction over all causes of action”. Judge Ducan stated that before a court could determine that a party should be held in contempt, it must look into whether there are alternatives, such as giving security or enforcing the judgment by income execution or income deduction audit.

Rules For Contempt

Judge Ducan’s decision indicates that the Family Court should be covered by the same rules regarding contempt as the Supreme Court. He remanded the case for further consideration. This is a victory for fathers’ rights.

Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens Father’s Rights Lawyers

Our law office has been representing fathers and protecting their rights for three decades. We litigate all aspects of divorce proceedings. We deal with equitable distribution of assets, spousal maintenance, child support, paternity, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation, child abuse and child neglect cases. When our clients lose their jobs, we bring downward modification of support proceedings. When either of the parents need to relocate, we deal with relocation issues related to child custody.

We also represent fathers concerning issues involving parental alienation syndrome. This is where one parent engages in parental alienation of a child by making disparaging comments about the father or criticizing the father in front of the child. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802. Our phones are monitored 24/7.

Prison Gone Wild

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is conducting an investigation into a privately run prison in Idaho. The FBI has received a video showing prison guards watching an inmate being brutally beaten. The guards did not intervene in the beating. The beating stopped when the attacker decided he was finished beating his fellow inmate to a pulp.jail-150x150Hanni Elabed begged the guards for assistance. He was being viciously attacked by another inmate at the Idaho Correctional Facility. The guards didn’t help him. They simply watched him being beaten for a considerable period of time. During the course of the beating, Elabed’s attacker took a break. After the break, he continued beating Elabed.

When the medical staff arrived, Elabed was unconscious . He was bleeding from his brain. He went into a coma for a period of three days. He suffered permanent brain damage. He has now been released from prison because the correctional facility could not meet with his medical needs.
U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, in an Associated Press interview, stated that Federal Investigators are looking into accusations that the Idaho Prison uses prisoner-on-prisoner violence and intimidation to control the facility. Lawsuits brought by prisoners concerning this Idaho Correctional Facility have labeled it “Gladiator School” due to the brutal nature of how the facility is run.

Steven Pevar, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, in an AOL telephone interview, stated “This is the most violent prison I have ever seen”. The ACLU is currently suing the Idaho State Prison officials due to the level of violence at the Idaho Correctional Facility.

Steven Pevar stated, “it’s as if gangs have taken over the prison, where decisions are being made that seem to be consistent with allowing gangs to strong-arm other prisoners.”

Numerous prisoners have reported to staff that they were beaten up when gang members told the prisoners they had to pay rent to live safely in that housing unit. The guards did nothing about it.

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Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are charged with a crime, we can help you. We represent individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies. We litigate criminal charges involving drug offenses, domestic violence, assault and battery, juvenile defense, shoplifting, burglary and driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases. We can assist you in violent and non-violent criminal prosecutions. Feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431; 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Non-Attorney Felon Helps Lawyer

courtroom1-150x150In October of 2003, Kenneth Stevens was charged with robbing one Citibank branch and three branches of Chase Manhattan bank in New York. Mr. Stevens’s modus operandi in each of the robberies was to give the teller a note demanding money. The note also stated that he had a bomb with him.

The fourth robbery was his last one. Several blocks from the bank he was stopped and arrested. At the time of arrest he was carrying the $4,700 in cash he had taken from the bank. Unfortunately for Mr. Stevens, he also had a deposit slip that read, “I have a bomb. Give me all the money”. Mr. Stevens was also carrying with him a black plastic bag containing a coffee canister, not a bomb!

Trial

Mr. Stevens was represented at the time of his trial by a court appointed attorney named Michael Young. During the course of the trial, Michael Young had a man named Harvey Alter sit at the defense table. Mr. Young referred to Harvey Alter as his “associate”. Mr. Alter was present during the entire course of the trial. When there were conferences at the bench, he also approached the bench with Mr. Young. The court was under the impression that Mr. Alter was an attorney.

In September of 2004, the jury found Mr. Stevens guilty. Judge John F. Keenan of the Southern District of New York sentenced Mr. Stevens to 216 months in jail.

Harvey Alter Was Not An Attorney

After the trial, it was discovered that Harvey Alter was not an attorney. He was instead a convicted felon and had a business relationship with Michael A. Young, Esq.

Appeal Based On Ineffectiveness Of Counsel

Mr. Stevens brought an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the second department. He claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. He further claimed that he was convicted on the felony charge of bank robbery, labeled a career offender and sentenced to eight years in prison due to the fact that his attorney’s associate was a felon.

The court found that even though Mr. Stevens attorney sat next to an individual that was a felon, it did not impact the effectiveness of his counsel. The court also pointed out that the jury was never aware that Mr. Alter was not an attorney and therefore it had no impact on the jury deliberations. Unfortunately for Mr. Stevens, he is still stuck in jail!

Should you have questions regarding misdemeanors, felonies or other criminal matters, free feel to contact the criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

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