Non-Party Fiancé Must Testify to His Financial Support in the Divorce

Non-Party Fiancé Must Testify to His Financial Support in the DivorceIn a case before Justice Jeffrey Sunshine, who sits in the Supreme Court of Kings County, Justice Sunshine dealt with issues involving financial support provided by a fiancé of the wife. The parties in this case had been involved in litigating a divorce since 2015. In this case Justice Sunshine found the husband was entitled to discovery on the issue of the value of any jewelry given to the plaintiff by her non-party fiancé. The fiancé’s contention was an engagement ring he provided to the plaintiff was not relevant to the divorce case. This was because jewelry given by plaintiff to another person could not be considered an engagement ring given in contemplation of marriage since in this case the plaintiff was still legally married to the defendant in the pending divorce case.

Attorney’s Fees Issue

Plaintiff’s financial circumstances, including the value of any jewelry, maybe relevant to the issue of attorney’s fees held Judge Sunshine. In this case the court upheld the trial subpoena for the fiancé to testify and to produce limited discovery related to his direct financial support of the plaintiff.

Justice Sunshine limited document discovery of the fiancé related solely to direct support and/or financial obligations paid on plaintiff’s behalf with no obligation for repayment.

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.

Joint Custody Given To Parents

Joint Custody Given To ParentsIn a case before Judge Javier Vargas, a Judge sitting in the Family Court of Kings County. A Father brought a joint custody petition seeking joint legal custody and full visitation rights with a child he had with the Mother. The Mother wanted to have sole legal custody of the child.

Joint Custody Granted

Judge Javier found it was in the child’s best interest for the parties to share joint legal custody. Each of the parties would have certain spheres of influence with regard to the child. There was evidence presented at trial. The evidence established both parents loved the child. Both of the parents had a positive healthy relationship with the child. Both parents wanted to play an active role in the child’s education and emotional development. In addition, the court found the parents had stable jobs. Both of the parents had residences which were appropriate for the child to spend time in. Both of the parents were also prepared to provide continuous financial support for the child.

Fathers Application Granted

The court granted the Father’s application for joint custody. In addition, the court ruled the Mother would have residential or physical custody of the child. The court went on to hold both the Father and Mother would share in all decision making. This included issues involving education, medical issues, religious up-bringing, residence and extra curricular activities the child would be engage in. The court reserved to the Mother the final determination on major medical and religious issues. The court also awarded the Father the final determination concerning education and extra curricular activities.

Conclusion

This is a case where there were two loving dedicated parents. Both parents wanted what was in the child’s best interest but could not work things out between each other. In this case, Judge Javier Vargas made a Solomon like decision giving the parents joint custody, allowing the child to live with the mother and having both parents involved in the majority of the significant issues involving the child but carving out specific matters each of the parents would be in charge of.

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

Parental AlienationParental alienation is a form of child abuse and family violence. Parental alienation will often appear when a child expresses reluctance or refusal to have any type of relationship with one of his or her parents based on exaggerated or untrue reasons. Often these reasons have no basis in logic or fact for the child to refuse to have a relationship with one of his or her parents. The parent who is the target of the parental alienation activities by the other parent is often demonized. He or she is undermined and presented to the child as not being worthy of the child’s love or attention.

Parental Alienation and Custody

There are various type of behavior that are meant as parental alienation. There are subtle forms of bad mouthing of one parent. The parental alienation can be a series of events or it can be related to an ongoing pattern of behavior of one parent towards the other parent. The person usually engaging in the parental alienation of the child is the individual who seeks to have custody of the child or already has custody of the child.

Reversal of Parental Alienation

In situations where there has been extensive parental alienation it is usually necessary to hire mental health professionals to address the misunderstandings and problems the alienating parent has created for the other parent. Stopping parental alienation by one parent of the other is always in the best interest of the children and their mental health.

Parental alienation is much more widespread phenomena than most people are aware of. Today both the psychological community and the legal community are aware of this issue. Corrective action to stop of this type of improper behavior should be taken immediately upon ascertaining that parental alienation is taking place.

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.

Difficulties With Parental Alienation

Difficulties With Parental AlienationParents who engage in parental alienation often get away with it. The parental alienation may also be undertaken not only by the parent but by the parents relatives, grandparents and by other family members. The alienation is designed to destroy the relationship the other parent has with the child.

Parental Alienation’s Impact On Children

Children exposed to parental alienation may seem aloof. They often have signs of hostility, disobedience, defiance and withdrawal. It is common that they refuse to have any interaction with the other parent. When questioned about their failure to want to spend time with the other parent, their responses are usually excuses which cannot be correlated to specific actions. The alienated parent may have taken no action to cause the emotional abuse of a child to cause the child to dislike them.

Parental Alienation Is Emotional Abuse of Child

Parents who alienate their children from the other parent are engaging in emotional abuse. This can damage a child’s self esteem.

Psychological maltreatment of children as a part of parental alienation can cause psychological distress to the child. It can make younger children moody and cause them to regress in learning and social situations. This can psychologically damage the child.

Parental alienation can deprive a child of the love most parents want to give their children. Should you be confronted by a situation involving parental alienation it is strongly suggested you retain a Family Law Attorney with an expertise in dealing with these types of issues. The attorney should be contacted as soon as there are signs of parental alienation. The longer the parental alienation takes place, the harder it will be to reprogram and reeducate the child to love, respect and spend time with the alienated parent.

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.

False Allegations of Child Abuse In Parental Alienation

False Allegations of Child Abuse In Parental AlienationFalse Allegations of child abuse or child neglect of the other parent are sometimes made by an individual seeking to deprive the other parent of custody and/or parenting time with the child or children. If this happens, it is important to immediately go to court to obtain court orders causing the person making the false allegations to enter into counseling and to take parenting courses. An order of protection can also be applied for to prevent the parent from continuing to take this action.

Parental Alienation

Most parental alienation is done intentionally creating problems with the child or children and the relationship with the other parent. However sometimes one parent is alienated by the other parent through negligence and misbehavior without an intentional scheme. Parents who engage in alienation and improper conduct in front of the child will continue to do it if they get away with it. They have to be made to pay a penalty or be confronted with this negative behavior.

Family Courts In New York

The way Family Courts in New York work deal with this issue is for one parent to file a petition alleging improper conduct by the other parents’ towards the children. The conduct is delineated in the petition and the petition can be submitted as an emergency petition. In many instances the Judge will then ex-parte, meaning without the other parent present to defend themselves, issue an order of protection to protect the alienated parent and children. The sheriffs office often serves the petition with a copy of the order of protection granted by the court and information with regard to the next court date. When the parent under the order of protection appears on the next court date, if the courts are busy the case may get adjourned for months at a time. The parent subject to the order of protection can demand an immediate hearing with regard to the allegations. Even though courts are busy, the person subject to the order of protection is entitled to an immediate hearing.

A person improperly accused of domestic violence against the other parent or child must act aggressively and fight for his or her rights. There is an expression, “God helps those who helps themselves.” Our legal system tends to works slowly. It is important for a person who is improperly the subject of allegations of improper conduct to assert their rights vigorously as quickly a possible.

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.

Defending CPS and ACS Investigations Involving Allegations of Sexual Abuse

The Investigation

Defending CPS and ACS Investigations Involving Allegations of Sexual AbuseNumerous individuals are considered mandatory reporters. The individuals considered mandatory reporters include guidance counselors, teachers, nurses, doctors, therapists and police officers. These individuals are required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS) or Association of Child Services (ACS). Any individual can place an anonymous call to CPS or ACS and report activity involving child abuse or child neglect of any type. Almost immediately after these calls, if they are thought to be credible, an investigator is sent to the home where the alleged child abuse of child neglect took place.

False Reports Of Sexual Abuse

ACS and CPS manuals only mention issues involving false child sexual abuse reports. However, child protection investigators and police officers are not trained in the area of false sexual abuse investigations. When sexual abuse allegations are made and they are usually assumed by the investigators to be true. What is not taken into consideration is the dynamics of the relationship between the patents. Also not taken into consideration are the age and susceptibility of the child to false statements which have been placed in the child’s head and rehearsed by one parent against another.

Therapy Problems

In cases involving child abuse CPS and ACS sometimes recommend victims to enter into a sexual abuse treatment program. These programs have two types of therapies. Directive and non-directive play therapy. Play therapy involves a child playing with an anatomically detailed dolls, puppets drawings and sand trays. Unfortunately these types of therapies can be misguided. They can potentially treat a non-sexually abused child as a victim of sexual abuse. This can be the cause of adverse child experiences in children.

What to Do If Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

The first thing an individual should do if accused of child sexual abuse is to hire an attorney to defend these types of allegations. The accused person should not be interviewed without consulting with an attorney who has an expertise in this area of the law.

The Presumption of Guilt

CPS and ACS will presume the allegations children make are true. They believe whatever the child states even if it is impractical. It must be pointed out approximately 95% of all child sexual assault allegations have no medical findings or trauma. The standard in Family Courts is what is in the child’s best interest. It is often found in the child’s best interest to take no chance and even a wrongly accused person should be prevented from having further exposure to the child who was allegedly sexually abused. In many cases Father’s and Step-Fathers are falsely accused of child sexual abuse. Judges are educated to be cautious. The standard isn’t truth or innocence when there are sexual abuse allegations. The standard is what is in the child’s best interest. Judge’s are often concerned about being accused of failure to protect innocent children. Unfortunately this can trample the rights of the accused father.

Conclusion

If there are allegations of improper sexual conduct involving a child, an individual exposed to these allegation must immediately retain an attorney that has an expertise in defending against ACS and CPS investigations of this type.

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.

Sexual Abuse Allegations and Custody Issues.

Custody battles can be very nasty undertakings. Sometimes inappropriate allegations of sexual abuse of a child are made. Even when these allegations are either unfounded or untrue they can create major problems during the custody litigation. The allegations of sexual abuse can be subject to Family Court action, Supreme Court action in divorces and also Criminal Court penalties.

Many of the cases involving allegations of sexual abuse involve children ages from 3 to 7 years old. Children during these ages are easily impressionable. They can become tools for parents in protracted divorces and/or custody cases in the Family Court. Children can be convinced to say virtually anything in these situations. They can be convinced to say things to investigators related to alleged inappropriate sexual activities.

Defending False Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Children

Unfortunately when a person is accused of sexual abuse of an infant there is a presumption guilt. It is difficult on a psychological and practical level to deal with a false allegation of the sexual abuse of a child. In a situation involving these allegations it is extremely important to retain an attorney or law firm who has prior experience in dealing with child protective services and agencies who do the investigation concerning these matters. Unfortunately the first step usually, taken by a court when there are allegations of sexual abuse of a child is to bar that parent from having any unsupervised contact with the child or children. A parent is usually only given supervised visitation, at best, during the entire pendency of the investigation and trial process. Unfortunately this can sometimes go on for years.

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.

The Fathers Parenting time Suspended until he is vaccinated against Covid-19

The Fathers Parenting time Suspended until he is vaccinated against Covid-19Justice Matthew Cooper sitting in Supreme Court in New York County recently had a case before him involving an issue of parental access for a non-vaccinated Father. There was a pending divorce case. The Mother had custody of the parties child. The Father had supervised parenting time. The Mother insisted the supervisor be vaccinated and he or she would need to submit to a test for each access period with the child to see if the supervisor had Covid-19.

Fathers Parenting Time Suspended Until He Was Vaccinated

Justice Cooper had granted the Mother a temporary restraining order which suspended the Father’s parenting time with the child until he submitted himself to be vaccinated. Justice Cooper rendered the decision based on it was not in the child’s best interest for the child to be with his Father while the Father was unvaccinated. The child at this point was too young to receive a vaccination for Covid-19.

The child’s preschool required any parent participating in pick-ups or drop-offs or all other school activities to be vaccinated. The Father had taken the position that he refused to be vaccinated. Justice Cooper found the Father’s arguments against vaccination did not support the child’s best interest. In the alternative, Justice Cooper offered the Father to submit to regular Covid-19 testing, but the Father refused.

The Mother’s application to suspend the Fathers parental access to the parties child was granted until he complied with Justice Cooper’s temporary restraining order which restrained him from spending time with his child until such time as he was vaccinated.

u>Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for parents with children is a new issue that has not been previously dealt with in the courts in New York.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

This Thanksgiving, we are immensely grateful, that with all the changes in our world, we have friends and family with whom we can gather. Let us take time this year to live in gratitude for the bounty we experience all around us.

Mother’s Relocation Denied; Fathers Granted Custody

Mother’s Relocation Denied; Fathers Granted CustodyIn this case a Mother appealed from an Order granting Father’s application to change a prior custody order. The Mother and Father has joint legal custody of the parties child. Mother was the primary residential custodial parent. Father had parenting time with the child.

Mother Seeks to Relocate

Mother brought an application to relocate with the child. She sought to move to West Virginia. She claimed her new husband lived there. Father brought a cross petition requesting he be named as the primary residential custodial parent of the parties child. The Family Court denied Mother’s relocation application. They also granted Father’s request for primary physical custody. The Family Court found the Mother gave little attention to the impact the relocation of the child would have on the child’s relationship with her Father. The court also found there was no evidence supporting her claim the relocation of the child to West Virginia was based on an improved financial circumstance that would exist in West Virginia.

The Appeals Court Decision

The Appeals Court in their decision stated the Family Court’s findings were supported by a sound and substantial basis on the record. The determination by the Family Court judge denying Mothers request to relocate with the child was affirmed. The Appellate Court found the Father could financially support himself and the child. The Court found he maintained a suitable residence to live in with the child. The Court took into consideration the Mother was financially dependant on her present husband. They also noted Mother had previously relocated. The Appeals Court held the Family Court did not make a mistake in awarding the Father primary residential custody of the parties child.

Conclusion

In this case, both the Judge in the Family Court and the Appeals Court agreed the Father was the proper parent to have primary physical custody of the parties child. This case is a good example of a Father asserting his equal rights to have custody of his child.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been helping fathers obtain custody of their children for decades.