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Wife’s Application To Set Aside Separation Agreement Denied

Wife’s Application To Set Aside Separation Agreement DeniedA wife had brought a proceeding in Nassau County which was heard before Court Attorney Referee Marie F. McCormick. The wife presented arguments that the Separation Agreement was not signed before a notary and therefore it was not enforceable. The wife claimed the agreement should be set aside because it was signed under duress. She also claimed the terms of the Separation Agreement were unconscionable.

Testimony At The Hearing

There was testimony that the parties signed and acknowledged the Separation Agreement before a notary public and the notary public’s stamp appeared on the Agreement. The court after listening to testimony found the husband’s testimony to be more credible than that of the wife. Attorney Referee McCormick found the wife’s alleged claim that the agreement was unconscionable was meritless. Referee McCormick found the wife was the person who wanted the written Separation Agreement. Referee McCormick also found neither the procedural nor the substantive aspects of the agreement indicated there was overreaching by the husband or that the terms and conditions of the Separation Agreement were unconscionable.

She inferred it was the wife not the husband who had someone draft the agreement. Then after the agreement was drafted it was presented to the husband to sign. Referee McCormick also found the wife failed to show any grounds to set aside the agreement. She found the agreement valid and held it should be maintained in full force and effect.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a divorce lawyer representing men and women throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached at Elliot@sdnylaw.com or 800-344-6431.

Parental Alienation and divorce

Parental Alienation and divorceParental alienation sometimes can occur in divorce situations. Parental alienation refers to an attempt by one parent to brainwash their children into having negative feelings towards the other parent. Studies have shown parental alienation can take place in as many as 15% of all divorces.

Parents Badmouthing Each Other

Although divorces can be contentious, aggravating and emotionally debilitating, it is extremely important parents do not actively discuss the negative aspects of their divorce litigation with their children. They should avoid saying negative things about their spouses when their children are present. This can have a negative effect on the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Children Respecting Their Parents

Children should love both their parents. They often have problems dealing with the breakup of the relationship of the parents with each other. If the children have coping problems with regard to this issue, counseling may be necessary to help the children to deal with their new situation in life.

Parents should educate their children to speak to the other parent in a respectful, appropriate manner. Children should not denigrate one parent to the other. Even though the parties are not married, they still must work together to raise their children. By having the children denigrate or disrespect one of the parents will have a negative impact on both parents ability to raise the children.

Parents who seek further information on parental alienation, child custody issues or co-parenting can contact Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. at either Elliot@sdnylaw.com or he can be called at 800-344-6431.  Elliot has been practicing matrimonial and family law for more than 40 years.

What Your Children Should Know About Your Divorce Case

What Your Children Should Know About Your Divorce CaseParties to divorce cases should not during the course of the divorce discuss these proceedings with their children. However, after the divorce is concluded there is some information that should be passed on to children.

Children Should Not Be Blamed For The Divorce

Children sometimes feel their actions and activities are partly to blame for their parents getting divorced. Children naturally love both of their parents. The breaking up of the marriage can cause the children to be stressed. It is important that both parents make it clear to the children they had no fault in causing their parents to be divorced. Divorces take place for many different reasons. Both parents should help the children avoid feeling they caused the divorce.

The Parents Will Have Separate Residences

The children should be made aware that as a result of the divorce the parents will be permanently occupying different residences. If the children believe the parents may be getting back together, they may cling to this issue, or seek to help the parents get back together. The parents should make it clear to the children the divorce is final and the parents are going to be moving forward separately with their lives.

Both Parents Still Love The Children

It is extremely important the children be made aware that both parents still love them very much. The divorce is not their fault and it should not interfere with their love and relationship with both of their parents.

Both Parents Will Be Spending Time With The Children

There is often a settlement agreement or an agreement in a transcript in divorce cases. These agreements are incorporated by reference into the Judgment of Divorce. The details with regard to each parents’ parenting time with the children are included in these documents. The children should be made aware each of the parents have a right to spend time with them, participate in activities with them and be generally an affirmative part of the children’s lives.

About the Author

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schissel DeCorpo LLP.  The firm represents parties in divorce lawsuits and Family Court cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  The firm offers free consultations and can be contacted at  800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Downward Modification of Child Support Denied

Downward Modification of Child Support DeniedIn a case in Suffolk County, New York, before Judge Paul Hensley who sits in the Family Court a father objected to an order made by a Support Magistrate that dismissed his petition for a downward modification of child support. The father presented arguments that the Support Magistrate made a mistake in dismissing his claim due to a substantial change in circumstances. He had been laid off from his job and he was unemployed for a period of over a year.

Child Support Payments

The Judgment of Divorce set a child support payment obligation of $2,000.00 per month. The agreement laid out documentation that the proper amount of the child support obligation was approximately $2,900.00 per month. However, the settlement agreement and the Judgment of Divorce showed the parties opted out of Family Court Act Section 451(3) and both parties agreed to the lesser amount of child support of $2,000.00 per month.

The Judge’s Decision

Judge Paul Hensley in his decision found the father had the burden of proving after the order of consent was entered the father involuntarily lost his job. The father had to thereafter prove he made diligent efforts to obtain a similar job. Judge Hensley, after reviewing the court record, found there was sufficient evidence showing the father did not prove the 2 elements of his claim for a downward modification. His objections (which amount to an appeal) of the decision dismissing his downward modification of support was denied.

Conclusion

Fathers have to be careful when they bring applications to reduce their child support because they have lost their job. Coming into court and saying I was laid off and I couldn’t find another job is simply insufficient. Substantial documentary evidence must be presented with regard to both being laid off and diligent efforts to obtain other employment. If the father does not meet his burden he will be unsuccessful in reducing his child support even if he is still unemployed.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a father’s rights lawyer who has been representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area in child support, child custody, visitation cases and divorces for more than 40 years.  Should you need guidance with regard to marital or family issues feel free to contact the law firm of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP at 800-344-6431 or you can e-mail Elliot Schlissel at Elliot@sdnylaw.com for a free consultation.

Divorce grounds in the State of New York

Divorce grounds in the State of New YorkIn the State of New York the parties seeking to be divorced can file for a no-fault divorce. The no-fault divorce filing process only needs allegations which allege an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period of at least 6 months. The parties do not have to elaborate as to what has caused this irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In short, the parties basically are alleging they haven’t gotten along for 6 months and they want a divorce. This is enough to obtain a divorce in the State of New York on the no-fault ground.

Fault grounds for divorce

It is more complicated to obtain a divorce on fault based grounds in the State of New York. The moving parties in the divorce must prove either physical or mental abuse, adultery, abandonment for a period of at least one year, the other party was incarcerated for a period of 3 years or adultery. The definition of adultery in the State of New York with regard to being a ground for divorce is a married person having sexual relations with an individual he or she is not married to. It should be pointed out cases based on adultery are usually nasty cases which are aggressively litigated. It is usually recommended to choose a different ground for divorce even it adultery is present to avoid complicated, expensive divorce litigation.

How marital fault effects divorce

The courts in New York do not consider marital fault with regard to issues such as division of marital property and spousal maintenance (alimony). Some individuals believe that if they can prove adultery it is a factor in giving the other spouse spousal maintenance. This is not true anymore in the State of New York. In situations where the spouse committing the adultery wasted a significant portion of the marital assets entertaining his or her lover, this can become an issue with regard to the equitable distribution of the assets.

Keep it simple

Generally speaking the best rule to follow with regard to divorce is to keep it as simple as possible.

About the Author

schlissel-headshotIf you wish to learn more above issues related to divorce feel free to contact Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Neglect Finding Against Mother

Neglect Finding Against MotherIn a case in the Family Court before Judge Michael Milsap sitting in the Bronx County ACS had filed a petition against the mother. The petition claimed the children were neglected by the mother. The petition alleged that the children were neglected because the mother allowed the children to be present when a significant other engaged in domestic violence against her.

Order of Protection Issued

The mother had an order of protection requiring John to stay away. The mother denied knowledge of prior incidents of alleged domestic violence against her. In addition, the mother denied knowledge that she had an order of protection against John.

Flawed Parental Judgment

The court ruled that the mother showed “flawed parental judgment”. She allowed John to contact her with the children present. The court entered a neglect finding against her with regard to inadequate supervision and guardianship. The Judge found that by allowing the children to be exposed to domestic violence in spite of the existence of an order of protection was the basis for his finding against her.

Conclusion

When there is an order of protection against a third party the parents of children have an obligation to enforce the order of protection. If they don’t and that individual had been engaged in domestic violence acts, the parent who is the victim of domestic violence can be found to be neglectful of their children. In this case ACS was successful in proving the mother neglected her children.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an attorney who represents clients in ACS and CPS matters throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be contacted for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or by e-mail at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020

To a joyful present and a well-remembered past. Best wishes for happy holidays and a magnificent new year.

Post Trial Applications need to go to the Appellate Division

Post Trial Applications In a case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein, who sits in the divorce Supreme Court part in Nassau County, a husband brought an application to set aside a provision in a 2017 court decision after trial awarding a wife a $226,042.00 money judgment for support arrears. He also sought to modify the court’s decision crediting him for $200,907.68 in support payments. The court allegedly failed to give him the appropriate credit among other things.

The Wife’s Position

The wife opposed the husband’s application. She brought a cross-application to allow her to trade cash assets awarded her in exchange for the husband’s equity in the marital residence. She claimed it was essential for the parties’ special needs son to remain in the marital residence, to stay in the same school district, keep his friends and maintain the same routine.

The Trial Judge had Retired

Justice Goodstein, in a matter of first impression, ruled that under the circumstances presented in this case the prospective of a trial judge, now retired, was essential to the appropriate evaluation of the parties’ motions. Since the trial judge was retired, Justice Goodstein found he had no authority to rule on these post trial motions. The decision regarding all financial issues was resolved by the decision after trial. Therefore, under both statutory law and case law any change or challenge to the trial court’s decision would have to be made to the Appellate Division, an Appeals Court. Only the Appellate Division could determine if the modification of the trial court’s decision was appropriate. He therefore denied both parties’ applications.

Conclusion

In this case there were issues that should have been dealt with before the original trial judge. Parties in divorce cases should always resolve all issues when they settle or take a case to trial.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel has been representing parties in divorce and family court cases in the courts throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

No Order of Protection Against Former Boyfriend

Against Former BoyfriendMaliha A. brought a proceeding in the Family Court of Queens County before Judge John Hunt seeking an order of protection against her former boyfriend Onu M. Her petition claimed she had a bitter breakup and Onu was harassing her. Onu and Maliha had entered into new romantic relationships. Malihu had told a court attorney she was not afraid of Onu. At one point she sought to withdraw her application for an order of protection but at a later point she denied to the court that she wanted the petition withdrawn.

The Case Goes to Trial

Maliha stated she wanted to move forward with the petition and the case was eventually set down for trial. Maliha had posted a number of tweets on a twitter and even though she did not mention Onu’s name these tweets were about him. Onu had texted their agreement not to communicate with Malihu. Malihu testified that she was never threatened by Onu and she was not afraid of him, but she still wanted an order of protection because “as there is no telling what he might say or do.”

Application Dismissed

Judge Hunt dismissed Maliha’s petition. It failed to meet the statutory burden rising to a level of a family offense.

Conclusion

If an application is made to a court for an order of protection there must be a basis in law and the facts must substantiate the basis in law for a judge to grant this type of petition.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a father’s rights attorney representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Mother’s Relocation to Florida Denied

Mother's Relocation to Florida DeniedA mother had brought a Family Court case seeking to relocate to Florida. She wanted to bring her child with her to Florida. The father had opposed this application. The mother lost her application in the Family Court. She thereafter appealed the denial of allowing her to relocate to Florida.

The Appeals Court Decision

The Appeals Court also denied the mother’s request to relocate and affirmed the prior decision of the Family Court. The Appeals Court took note the record did not show the mother’s plan to relocate was a real plan. The record was insufficient to establish the child’s best interests would be served by allowing the mother and the parties’ child to move to Florida.

The Mother’s Circumstances

The mother was unemployed. She had no family members or extended family in Florida. There was no information as to her having a job in Florida, what town she wished to live in and where the child would go to school. The mother claimed the father would be able to visit the child in Florida. However, the father’s work schedule and personal life were likely to prevent him from having any significant contact with his child if the mother was able to move with the child to Florida. It was also unlikely the child would be able to come back to New York to spend substantial time visiting with the father.

The mother claimed her financial and economic situation would greatly improve if she relocated to Florida. However, she did not show even if she received economic benefit, the parties’ child would benefit from this relocation.

Conclusion

If one parent seeks to relocate and the relocation has a negative impact on the other parent, the relocating parent must present a very detailed case as to how the relocation will benefit the child of the parties.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer representing fathers in custody, relocation, visitation, support proceedings throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached for consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.