Father Given More Time With The Children

Father Given More Time With The ChildrenIn a case before Judge Jeffrey Sunshine, who sits in Kings County New York, a father brought an application to modify a parenting time agreement. There were two teenage children of this marriage. The parties had joint custody of these children. One child was 13 years old and the other was 17 years old.

Fathers Economically Superior Situation

In this case the Father had a significantly better economic situation. The children desired to spend more time with their father than with there mother. As a result of this Judge Jeffrey Sunshine granted the father’s petition to have residential parenting time changed to two weeks in a row with him and one week with the mother.

The fathers work situation had changed and he was able to spend more time with the children. The father had also remarried. The children had developed a close relationship with his new spouse. The children also appreciated their father was able to provide them with a large home, a pool and resources which allowed them to have pleasant vacations.

The court also found the father and mother who had joint custody had no relationship whatsoever. Therefore they could not continue to have joint custody of the children.


This is an excellent decision with regard to the issue of fathers rights.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is a fathers rights lawyer who has been helping fathers obtain custody

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Happy Halloween

Mothers Support Violation Petition Dismissed

Mothers Support Violation Petition Dismissed In this case a mother brought a support violation case the father in Nassau Family Court before Support Magistrate Sandra Toscano. Mother’s petition alleged Father had violated his obligations to pay child support. She also claimed he did not pay his pro rata share of educational expenses and child care pursuant to a prior court order. Father moved to dismiss mothers application. He claimed she failed to attach a copy of the parties 2008 child support agreement which established he did not owe her any arrears for child support. He also argued that Mother’s petition should be dismissed due to latches (the issue was too old) and equitable distribution (it had already been decided).

The Court’s Reasoning and Decision

Mother claimed the parties 2004 stipulation stated any further agreement had to be endorsed by a court or was considered non-binding. The 2008 agreement which reduced the Fathers child support was not “so-ordered” by a court, and the court held was therefore not binding. Father’s claim based on this agreement had to be dismissed. Support Magistrate Toscano also held the defenses of latches and equitable could not be brought in this proceeding with regard to the issue of child support arrears. However, Magistrate Toscano did dismiss the Mother’s petition for child support, child care expenses and educational expenses because she didn’t comply with due process. Support Magistrate Toscano held that the petition lacked the requisite specificity required to give father due process by affording him the ability to prepare and present an adequate defense. Since Mother’s petition did not have the adequate specificity it was dismissed.


This is a victory by a Father, not on the merits but based on violations of legal procedure by the Mother when she failed to adequately present a petition which met the statutory requirements.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year

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.


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.


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.