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Parenting Plans

visitation attorney for parentsParenting plans are a modern concept which are designed to allow both parents to have significant impact on their children’s lives. Parenting plans are utilized in cases where the parents have joint custody of their children. Well drawn up parenting plans deal with major decisions concerning children’s upbringing and in addition can have a positive impact on children’s lives. Parenting plans also help parents who no longer have a relationship with each other avoid disagreements. A parenting plan can provide a structure with regard to how the children are raised.

Setting Up a Parenting Plan

Well organized and thought out parenting plans cover all aspects of children’s lives. The parenting plan establishes times and circumstances when the children are under the supervision of each of their parents. It lays out who is responsible for various aspects of the children’s lives. Parenting plans establish which days and times each parent will have parenting time with the children. It deals with dropping off and picking up the children from school, athletics, social events and visitation arrangements with friends and loved ones. The parenting plan is used to clarify how the children will celebrate their birthdays and with which parent those birthday celebrations will take place. In addition, parenting plans work out weekend visitation, holiday visitation, summer visitation and who will be with the children during school breaks for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Spring and Winter school breaks. In addition, parenting plans can deal with allocating time for the children to visit with their grandparents and other loved ones.

Medical Issues

Parenting plans establish who will make decisions concerning significant medical issues involving the children. It lays out the ability of both parents to have access to medical records. Both parents should be notified pursuant to a parenting plan in case the children are hospitalized or injured.

In some situations both parents have their own medical insurance. The parenting plan will control which of the parents’ medical insurance will cover the children and if there are costs, how those costs for the medical insurance will be paid for by the parents.

Educational and Athletic Activities

A good parenting plan will work out who is responsible for pick up, drop offs and the costs of extracurricular activities, sports teams, travel teams, ballet, dance and all types of other after school and/or extracurricular activities. Decisions concerning the children’s education, religious upbringing are also dealt with in parenting plans. Attendance at parent teacher conferences and other school meetings involving the children are another area where parenting plans lay out a plan.

College Expenses

A well thought out parenting plan will deal with how a college education will be paid, whose responsibility the college education decisions will be and each parent’s financial responsibility towards the children’s college education. Parenting plans can also lay out the parents’ feelings concerning moral and ethical issues concerning their children. It can also indicate the children’s food allergy issues, clothing preferences, issues involving curfew and guidelines concerning how the parents will interact with each other and present their interaction with each other to the children.

Conclusion

Parenting plans are usually a good idea, especially when the parents actually abide by them!matrimonial  attorney

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.

Divorce and College Tuition Expenses for Children (Part 1)

college.bmpThere are many issues that come up in divorces. Who gets custody, child support, visitation (parenting schedules), equitable distribution of property and the payment of debts from the marriage. These issues can cause divorces to be contentious. Litigants in divorce cases spend large sums of money fighting to protect their rights concerning these problems.

College Expenses

If the parties to a marriage have children, how is the issue of college expenses dealt with? To start with, most litigants in a divorce will tell their attorney that their children are young and they don’t want to deal with the college expense issue now, that they’d prefer to wait until a later time. In those situations, the attorney should ask his clients how much they have saved up for college so far. The answer to that question is often either zero or a very small amount.

During settlement discussions on divorce issues, the parties often get together at one of the attorney’s offices and have a four party meeting. At this meeting, both spouses and their respective attorneys face each other across a conference room table and discuss, in a mature, intelligent, reasonable manner the issues involved in their divorce.

The purpose of these discussions is to try to work out an amicable settlement without the need for expensive litigation. When the issue of college tuition comes up, both of the spouses sometimes say they agree that we should pay for the college expenses for their children. Often the Attorney will inform them of something along the lines of: “well, your children are eight and ten, as of this point. You have saved very little towards their college expenses. Even though you seek to pay for your childrens’ college expenses, and this is admirable, since you haven’t saved money up until this point, it is unlikely that you will be able to save enough money to pay for the tuition in the future”

Divorce and Family Court Lawyers

I have been representing men and women concerning issues involving divorce, divorce grounds and family law problems for more than 33 years. I have been involved in hundreds of cases dealing with issues concerning orders of protection, child custody, child abuse, child neglect, division of marital property and regarding negotiation and separation agreements. My law office protects mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights in divorce and family court situations. Should you have questions or seek a free consultation, call me at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

New York Declines Jurisdiction in Custody Cases

child-150x1501A father brought a custody petition in New York State. The next day, the mother who resided in Texas brought a custody petition for the parties child in Texas. There was litigation to determine whether New York or Texas would be the appropriate jurisdiction to determine who receives custody of the child.

The Parties Were Divorced In Michigan

The parties were originally divorced in the state of Michigan. Issues involving child support, child custody, visitation and parenting time were still pending at the time the proceedings were brought in New York and Texas. Judge Statler, sitting in the Family Court of New York County, was presented with a sticky issue as to what state has jurisdiction. The father claimed that New York not Texas should be the state to determine custody. In her decision, Judge Statler found that, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Texas would be the appropriate state to handle this child custody case. Her reasoning was that the child had resided in Texas with the mother for approximately one year at the time of the initiation of the custody proceedings. Under this law, the state that the child lived in for the past six months is the appropriate state to determine custody. Judge Statler also found there were more significant contacts with the child and the mother in the state of Texas than in New York. She therefore dismissed the case and the case will now have to be dealt with in Texas.

Fathers’ Rights Law Firm

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo is one of the premier fathers’ rights law firms in the country. Our attorneys have more than ninety years of combined legal experience in handling fathers’ rights cases. We litigate divorce matters, orders of protection, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse and child neglect proceedings. In addition, we deal with CPS and ACS problems related to child abuse and child neglect. When our clients lose their jobs or have reduced income, we bring proceedings to reduce child support payments. We litigate numerous cases each year involving issues concerning paternity, equitable distribution, grandparents’ rights and high net worth divorces. We also are negotiating separation agreements, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Feel free to contact us 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!

President Obama Focuses on Women’s Rights Issues

President Obama has recently spoken with regard to women’s rights issues. Women today are more likely to graduate from college than men. Statistics show that they still earn less money, on average, than men. Studies also show that the financial circumstances of women are generally not up to the same standards as that of men.

The President recently stated, “achieving equality and opportunity for women isn’t just important to me as president, it’s something I care about deeply as the father of two daughters who want to see his girls grow up in a world where there are no limits to what they can achieve.”

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Gender Discrimination

When President Obama was first elected, he signed legislation allowing women who have been discriminated against concerning salaries from their employers to have access to the courts for legal redress. When the United States Senate blocked action on a proposal to treat gender discrimination involving salaries in the same manner as racial, disability and age discrimination, President Obama indicated he was sadly disappointed.

The President said, “at a time when folks across the country are struggling to make ends meet – and many families are just trying to get by on one paycheck after a job loss – it’s a reminder that achieving equal pay for equal work isn’t just a woman’s issue, it’s a family issue.”

Paycheck Fairness Act

Republicans and various business groups oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act. They claim it would cause employers to face more litigation by removing limits concerning punitive damages and monetary damage awards.

Fathers’ Rights in the Family Court

In the Family Court in the state of New York, the laws are gender neutral. Both men and women are supposed to be treated equally. However, my experience is that sometimes there is an unequal treatment of men and women. Men are sometimes treated unfairly in the Family Court and in the Supreme Court concerning divorce related issues. Our law office has been protecting fathers’ rights for more than thirty years. We litigate issues involving Child Protective Services and Administration for Children’s Services problems. We deal with child abuse and child neglect proceedings, spousal maintenance issues, child support, paternity, child custodyvisitation with children, orders of protection and all other divorce and Family Court issues. We take fathers’ rights seriously! Call us for a free consultation.

Six-year-old’s Video Testimony Rejected by Family Court Judge

father-150x1504Judge Richardson-Mendelsohn, a Family Court judge sitting in Queens County, New York, has refused a request to allow a six-year-old boy to testify via a closed circuit television hookup in a Family Court proceeding seeking an order of protection against his uncle.

Z. Shareef, the boy’s mother, had brought a proceeding in the Queens Family Court seeking the extension of an order of protection against her husband’s brother.  After bringing the application to the court, her attorney requested permission for the six-year-old boy to testify by a closed-circuit video hook-up.

Request for Video Hook-Up Denied

Family Court Judge Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelsohn denied the application to allow the six-year-old to testify by a video hook-up.  She stated in her decision that respondent Nhassen’s constitutional rights outweighed the need to protect the boy from psychological trauma.

The petition brought by the boy’s attorney indicated the boy is so afraid of his uncle that he’ll be petrified when he enters the court room and will be unable to testify in open court.  The judge rejected this argument, stating in her decision, “Although the petitioner contends that a her six-year-old son is scared of the respondent and therefore it will be traumatic for him to testify in [his] presence, no specific evidence supporting serious mental or emotional harm to the child has been presented.”  The lawsuit brought by Ms. Shareef, the boy’s mother, indicates, among other allegations, that the uncle has kicked her son and also hit him in violation of an order of protection.

Family Court Attorneys

The Fathers’ Rights Lawyers at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing men regarding applications for orders of protection for more than three decades.  Our office aggressively presents the fathers’ positions in cases brought by Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and Child Protective Services (CPS) for child abuse.  We work with our clients to provide the best possible results in these proceedings.  We also represent fathers in custody disputes, child support matters, visitation cases, spousal support matters, as well as all aspects of divorce litigation.  If you are a father or a man faced with a difficult situation either in a divorce or Family Court proceeding, we are the law firm that can help you.  Feel free to call us 24/7 at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Divorce Fails, Lack of Proof of Sexual Abandonment

divorce-150x1506In September of 2010, Justice Bruno, a New York State Supreme Court Judge sitting in Nassau County, heard testimony with regard to fault allegations concerning the issue of constructive abandonment in a divorce proceeding. Constructive abandonment is when one party to a marriage refuses to have sexual relations with his or her spouse for a period in excess of one year.

The wife in this case had to take the witness stand and answer many personal and embarrassing questions about her sex life.

The problem with a constructive abandonment ground for divorce is that sexual activity between husbands and wives usually takes place in the privacy of the bedroom and there are no third-parties to corroborate this type of testimony.

The plaintiff in this action, Sandra McPhee, testified that she and her husband had not had sex since their honeymoon in 1979. Unfortunately, Ms. McPhee forgot that she had two children during the course of her marriage. She later testified after her memory was refreshed that she and her husband had not had sexual relations since December, 2001. When questioned whether she had asked her husband to have sex with her since then, her response was “no”.

Justice Bruno dismissed Ms. McPhee’s case. He ruled that she failed to establish constructive abandonment by her testimony. He stated, “the plaintiff did not offer any credible evidence that the defendant’s refusal was unjustified, willful and continued despite repeated requests to resume sexual relations.”

New No-Fault Divorce Law Eliminates This Problem

The new no-fault divorce law in the State of New York only requires that a party plead that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period in excess of 6 months. The pleadings to this no-fault divorce cause of action are simple. The testimony simply has to be that the parties have had a breakdown in their marriage that is irretrievable and the breakdown has lasted in excess of 6 months.

Ms. McPhee is Fortunate

Since the new law went into effect on October 12, 2010, Ms. McPhee can immediately start a new divorce case based on the irretrievable breakdown of her marriage. This time her case won’t be dismissed!

NY and Long Island Divorce Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been handling divorce matters for more than 30 years. We represent our clients with regard to issues involving child custody, child support, fathers’ rights, visitation, separation agreements, orders of protection, child abuse and child neglect. Should you need a divorce lawyer, contact us at 516-561-6645; 718-350-2802 or 1-800-344-6431.

The Cruise From Hell

cruise-150x150In November of 2010, 4,500 passengers embarked on a cruise on the Carnival Splendor. The cruise ended-up being a horrible experience for everyone involved. At or around dawn, many passengers awoke to a shaking of the entire ship. When they went out to the hallway, it was filled with smoke. Crew members told passengers to go to the life boats. The passengers, who were in their night clothes, left their rooms and headed towards the lifeboats. Although it wasn’t necessary for the passengers to abandon the Carnival Splendor, they were stranded for three days under difficult circumstances.

A fire caused the ship to lose power. This caused all the food on the ship to spoil. The ship was in the dark. At the time this happened, the ship was too far from land for cell phones to work. The ship was without air conditioning, hot water or hot food. All of the toilets backed up and the ship developed a stench from human waste. Navy helicopters had to supply food to the ship through an air lift. The cabins were without air conditioning. They were stuffy and hot.

The cruise ship was brought into San Diego harbor by tug boats. The Carnival Cruise Ship Line is giving all passengers a refund. In addition to the cost of the cruise, they are also refunding air fares and providing all passengers with a free cruise.

I have never taken a cruise. My major reason for not going on a cruise is that there are no tennis courts on cruise ships. I also like to stay in one place. My wife and I have recently discussed going on a cruise. I don’t look forward to being in a place that I can’t leave, especially if there are problems. I have no intention of going on a cruise in the near future.

Our Law Firm Can Help You

Our law firm has a history of protecting fathers’ rights. We represent fathers in divorce proceedings. We assist fathers regarding orders of protection. We also litigate child custody, visitation, child support and spousal maintenance issues.

Should you be involved in matrimonial or family court problems, call us. We are available 24/7 to assist you. Our office has more than eighty years of combined legal experience representing individuals in matrimonial and family court situations. We take an aggressive stance in representing our clients. Feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516- 561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete?

marry-150x150A recent study found that four out of ten Americans think marriage is obsolete.  This same study also showed that attitudes have been changing concerning gay relationships and gay marriage.  Today, an unwed couple can be the definition of a family situation.

Since the 1970’s, there has been a significant increase in the number of Americans who believe the institution of marriage is becoming obsolete.  In 1978, only 28% of Americans questioned by Time Magazine believed that marriage was becoming obsolete.  Today, that number has climbed to 39%.

Although marriage is becoming less popular in the United States, various attitudes reflect different racial, social and ethnic groups regarding the institution of marriage and are reflected in a survey conducted by Pew Research Center and Time Magazine.  The gap between marriage rates for college graduates and individuals with only a high school education is growing larger.  In 1960, the gap was only 4%.  Today, the gap is 16%.  Among college graduates, 64% now marry, as compared with 48% of individuals with only high school educations.  The reason the less educated Americans are marrying less often has to do with financial issues.

The study conducted by the Pew Research Center and Time Magazine also showed that 86% of respondents consider a single parent and a child to be a family.  If marriage rates go down, then divorce rates should go down.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. The divorce rate in most states in the United States is approximately 50%.

About our Firm: New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling divorces for men and women in the Metropolitan New York area for more than thirty years.  Our firm litigates all aspects of divorce proceedings, including child custody, visitation, division of property, fathers’ rights, mothers’ rights, and all issues concerning orders of protection.  If we can be of assistance to you, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

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

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