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The Father Challenges Paternity – Court Denies Request for Paternity Testing

A childs hand in it's fathers hand

In a case before Supreme Court Justice Elisa Koenderman sitting in Queens County, Supreme Court, and a father had requested a paternity test and Justice Elisa Koenderman denied his request.

The Case

The case involves a husband and wife who were married in 2011. The wife gave birth to a son “LP” in 2012. A divorce action was initiated in 2015. However, at the time the divorce action was brought LP was living with the wife’s parents in China. This was pursuant to an agreement the parties had. Thereafter LP came back to the United States in 2016.

Husband Requests Visitation

After LP returns to the United States the father requests visitation with him; The mother grants his request and he starts seeing his son. Thereafter the father brought a proceeding before Justice Elisa Koenderman requesting an order from the Judge to have all parties’ paternity tested to determine whether he is really the father. The child’s mother and an attorney appointed to represent the child oppose the father’s application for paternity testing.

Presumption of Paternity

Justice Koenderman renders a decision against the father. She ruled that the presumption a child born during the marriage and the biological product of the marriage is “one of the strongest and the most persuasive known to the law.” She also brings up a theory called equitable estoppel.

Equitable Estoppel

Under equitable estoppel a person is prevented from asserting a claim which would prejudice another party. Here the Judge held the husband is equitably estopped from challenging the paternity of LP. He has previously represented himself to be LP’s parent. He has visited with LP. No evidence has been presented that the wife engaged in sexual relations with anyone else other than the father during the course of the marriage. In addition, the father continually presented himself as LP’s natural father in numerous ways. Judge Koenderman therefore ruled the father had not been able to rebut the presumption LP was a legitimate son and therefore his motion for an order allowing paternity testing was denied.

Conclusion

Fathers be careful. If you hold yourself out to be a child’s father the court can stop you from later demanding paternity testing to see if you are really the biological father.

Attorney Elliot SchlisselElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a father’s rights attorney who has for more than 3 decades has been representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area on issues involving custody, visitation and child support.

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Post Nuptial Agreement Set Aside: Even Though Husband’s Duress Claim Was Not Proven

A childs hand in fathers hand

A husband brought a proceeding to set aside a post nuptial agreement before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein in a Supreme Court divorce part in Nassau County, New York. He claimed the agreement should be set aside because he was fraudulently induced to execute it. He also argued he signed the agreement under duress and the terms of the agreement were unconscionable. He alleged in his moving papers that at the date the agreement was executed he was suffering from depression. In addition, his wife exerted duress upon him which caused him to sign this one-sided document. He also argued the terms of the agreement were overreaching and unconscionable. His moving papers alleged that he received only 12.3% of the marital assets. The wife who had an annual income of $2 million received 87.7% of all marital assets. He claimed this was so unfair that the agreement should be considered unconscionable and therefore set aside.

Duress Not Proven

Judge Goodstein found the husband’s claims of duress were not proven. He failed to submit substantial evidence to show his mental state was weakened to the point that he did not have free will to avoid executing the agreement. Judge Goodstein therefore denied setting aside the post nuptial agreement based on the husband’s duress claim.

Agreement Set Aside Anyway

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

However, Judge Goodstein found the wife out earned the husband as a practicing physician. He found she retained her medical practice and was not providing the husband with spousal maintenance. He set aside the agreement because the financial terms were so one-sided. Judge Goodstein rendered a decision regarding the agreement setting aside all of its financial terms.

Wife’s Application to Modify Separation Agreement to Her Benefit Is Dismissed

Father-with-son

Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo sitting in a divorce part in New York County recently had before him a case where a wife brought an application to modify or set aside a separation agreement she had entered into with her husband. She wanted the court to rescind the portion of the separation agreement the parties had entered into which dealt with the transfer of the parties’ marital home. She claimed she was not able to carry out her financial obligations under the separation agreement. The reason for her inability to fulfill her obligations was she could not obtain financing needed to pay a distributive award to the husband. She argued in her pleadings that if she was unable to make the payment he did not have to transfer the marital residence to her.

She claimed the wording of the separation agreement was a mistake, and she was defrauded. The terms of the separation agreement were therefore impossible for her to carry out. Judge Nervo did not see it that way. He dismissed wife’s lawsuit. He found her allegations of a mutual mistake could not be proven. The only mistake was made by her. He also found there were no fraudulent misrepresentations. Judge Nervo ruled the wife’s claim that it was an impossibility for her to perform the terms of the separation agreement regarding the payment to the husband for the house were not proven. The husband’s application to dismiss her complaint was granted.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates are father’s rights attorneys representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area in divorces and family court cases. His law firm has been helping fathers with legal issues involving child custody, child support and visitation problems for more than three decades.

Father Obtains Court Order Reducing His Child Support

Father Holding Child

A father brought a child support modification proceeding. A hearing was brought before a support magistrate and the father’s child support obligations were modified to $283.00 per week. The father objected to this finding and appealed the decision to a Family Court Judge. The father asked that his child support be reduced from $283.00 a week to $167.87 per week.

The Support Magistrate is Overruled

Judge Stephen Aronson sitting in the Family Court part in Ontario County New York agreed with the father. Judge Aronson ruled that the father’s prior modification petition was denied on the basis that his income reduction was self-imposed. Judge Aronson found although the father earned $50,000.00 in 2013, this was the exception to the rule. Judge Aronson also found the father did not voluntarily quit his job. Unfortunately, he was laid off because there was no longer a need for his position by his employer. Judge Aronson therefor overruled the support obligation to $166.77 per week.

Conclusion

In the Family Court in the State of New York, Support Magistrates deal with issues involving child support. Often Support Magistrates are very busy and have limited amounts of time to conduct hearings with regard to the appropriate amount of child support. This can result in incorrect calculations as to what a father’s financial obligations for child support are. In these situations, a type of appeal called “Objections to the Support Magistrate’s ruling” can be filed. In this case, when the Objections were filed, the Family Court judge carefully reviewed the situation and determined the father’s child support obligation was incorrectly calculated and therefore they were reduced.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney. Elliot and his associates have more than 100 years of combined experience representing fathers in child support and child custody legal cases.

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Father Awarded Sole Legal and Physical Custody. Mother Given Supervised Visitation Only

A father on hammock with his son

In a case before Justice Linda Christopher sitting in the Supreme Court in Westchester County, Judge Christopher dealt with a matter that shocked her consciousness. In this case the mother had left and hidden the parties’ children. The father was given temporary legal and physical custody of the children. The father brought an action seeking permanent legal and physical custody of the children. In his moving papers he claimed the mother kidnapped the children. He further claimed the mother attempted to suffocate the children. He claimed the mother tried to strangle her son. He claimed the mother had denied who she was for years.

Justice Christopher conducted a hearing on this matter. Testimony was submitted that shocked the Hearing conducted of the court. She found that the mother was unbelievable. The judge found the father was a credible individual capable of taking care of the children. Judge Christopher found there were instances of child abuse by the mother with regard to the parties’ children. She ruled that the mother was a potentially dangerous person to be around the children. She found the mother should only have supervised visitation with the children.

Father Given Sole Legal and Physical Custody

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

She awarded the father sole legal and physical custody of the children. She found this was in the children’s best interests. The mother was permitted to receive copies of school and health records; however she barred the mother from having information concerning the children’s schedule and details of the children’s’ daily life. She felt the mother posed a danger to the children.

Father’s Challenge to Imputed Income Granted

Father holding child

In a case before Judge Machelle Sweeting sitting in the Family Court of New York County, a father brought objections (an appeal) to a support magistrate’s finding he had imputed income. The father challenged the support magistrate’s decision. The mother had a petition for an upward modification of child support. At the time the petition was filed the father was unemployed. However the support magistrate found he had voluntarily left his position. The court therefore imputed the income to him that he would have received had he not left his job. The father sought to present testimony he did not voluntarily leave his job. However he was not allowed to present this testimony with regard to how he came to be unemployed.

The Family Court Judge’s Decision

Family Court Judge Machelle Sweeting found that there was no evidence submitted before the support magistrate that the father had taken action to intentionally reduce his earnings by leaving his job. Judge Sweeting found there must be a factual basis on the record for imputing income to a father. She stated there must be a determination made that the parent intentionally reduced earnings for the purpose of avoiding child support obligations. She held this can be imputed based on a litigant’s employment history and/or educational background. She found in this case a hearing would need to be held as to whether the father intentionally reduced his earnings and for recalculation, should it be reasonable based on the outcome of this hearing.

Conclusion

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

If you appear before a Support Magistrate and receive an unfair or incorrect decision your remedy is to bring an appeal.