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Father’s Rights in 2018

From an historical prospective, mothers have been given the benefit of the doubt with regard to who would Father and daughter holding hands together.receive custody of the children. Today, however, this is not the case. Fathers are winning more and more custody cases. The courts can no longer assume the mother is the more appropriate parent to have custody of the parties’ children. The law in New York is gender neutral. In more and more custody cases the courts are carefully weighing the children’s best interests. This has led to fathers receiving custody in a larger percentage of the litigated custody cases.

Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody

If one parent is awarded sole custody by the courts in New York they have complete authority with regard to making all significant decisions in the children’s lives. In joint custody situations both parents have access to the children and both parents are supposed to communicate and cooperate with each other regarding significant decisions concerning the children’s lives. However, even in joint custody situations one parent is the residential custodial parent and the other parent is the non-residential custodial parent. The children live with the residential custodial parent. They attend schools located near the residential custodial parent’s home. In cases of joint custody sometimes one parent is given the ability to be the tiebreaker should the parents disagree on a particular issue involving the children’s health, education and welfare.

Equal Time with the Children

Our office strives to provide fathers whether they are the sole custodial parent or in joint custody situations with the ability to spend as much time as is practical with their children. Fathers are a resource for their children. Children who have two loving parents develop better than children who only have limited access to one of their parents. Fathers provide children with a unique prospective to help them turn into well rounded individuals.

The law firm of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP have more than 100 years of combined legal experience in representing fathers in custody cases, support proceedings, downward modifications of child support, changes in custody proceedings and visitations proceedings. Our office offers free consultations and our phones are monitored 7 days a week. We can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 and 631-319-8262. We have offices in Nassau, Queens and Suffolk Counties. You can e-mail us at

Joint Custody Ordered by Court

Close Up Of Father And Sons Reading Story At Home

In a case in Westchester County Justice Susan M. Cateci sitting in the Supreme Court divorce part held both the mother and father should have joint legal custody of the parties’ children. During the course of the matrimonial lawsuit, the mother testified on multiple occasions the father engaged in both physical and verbal abuse of her. She claimed these incidents occurred while she was pregnant and also in the presence of the parties’ two (2) children. The father denied any history of domestic violence. However, the court found the mother’s testimony was credible and the judge believed there had been a history of domestic violence between the parties to the marriage.

The Judge’s Decision

Justice Cateci found the father was a loving parent. She also found he was interested in promoting the children’s best interests and he was involved in the children’s upbringing. The judge believed he should continue to play a significant role in the children’s lives. The judge felt he should be consulted with regard to decisions effecting the children’s health and wellbeing. Judge Cateci found the mother should have the final decision making authority but ordered she consult with the father about all significant issues concerning the children. In addition he ruled the parties should use the services of a parenting coordinator.


Even in cases where the father has been involved in domestic violence concerning the mother, he can still be very involved in his children’s lives and have a beneficial impact on their health and general well being.

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer who has for more than 3 decades has been representing fathers in custody proceedings throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He is available for free consultations and can be reached at 800-344-6431.

VIDEO: Joint Custody Cases

Elliot discusses a joint custody case.

Father Given Sole Legal and Physical Custody of Child

Close Up Of Father And Sons Reading Story At Home

A husband and wife were married in 2005. They had two (2) children born from the marriage. In 2015 a lawsuit for a divorce was commenced. During the divorce case Family Court offenses were filed by the parties each seeking Orders of Protection against the other. In addition, Orders of Protection were sought for the two (2) children who were 8 and 10 years old.

Justice Stacey D. Bennett sitting in the Supreme Court matrimonial part of Nassau County agreed to the request by the parties to transfer the Orders of Protection from the Family Court and consolidate these family offense petitions with the current divorce action which was before her.

Both Parents Seek Custody

Both the husband and the wife sought custody of the parties’ children. The custody issues focused around the wife’s alleged mental illness and her inability to take care of the children.

Judge Bennett awarded the father sole legal and physical custody of the children. She found he was the more suitable parent and it was in the children’s best interests to reside with their father.


Fathers can obtain custody of their children! Too often fathers come to me and start our discussions with: I understand it is almost impossible for a father to get custody. That is nonsense. The law in New York State is gender neutral. More and more judges are enforcing the law as it was written. The purpose of the gender neutral custody law in New York was to treat both fathers and mothers fairly and give custody, in contested custody situations to the parent who is best suited to take care of children and who would promote the children’s best interests.

VIDEO: Wife Seeks to Set Aside Prenuptial Agreement

NY Fathers Rights Lawyer Elliot Schlissel discusses a case in which a wife sought to set aside a prenuptial agreement.

We Know Who the Mother is, But Who is the Father?

father's rights lawyer in New York

Mother’s carry their children to term so we know who they are. However, the identity of the father may not be obvious.

Paternity Proceedings

Paternity actions are designed to establish who is the father of the child. These proceedings are brought in the Family Court in the county where the child resides.

If a mother brings a paternity proceeding against the father in the Family Court, the father can either consent to a ruling he is the biological father or he can challenge the mother’s request to have him named as the biological father. If the father disputes the mother’s claim the Family Court will order DNA testing to determine whether he is the biological father of the child. The DNA testing is in more than 99.99% accurate with regard to establishing whether the man who is the subject of the paternity proceeding is the actual biological father of the child.

DNA Testing

If the DNA testing comes back with a negative result indicating the father does not share DNA with the child, the paternity proceeding will be dismissed. If the DNA test comes back with a positive result the court will enter an order of filiation establishing the man is the legal father of the child. In this situation the father would then be Attorney Elliot Schlisselentitled to visitation and/or possibly asking for custody of the child. The downside is the father will then be obligated to provide child support for the child. In addition to basic child support obligations the father may also be required to provide medical insurance for the child.

The law offices of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP have been representing clients in paternity cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area for man than 30 years.

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The Wife Denied Equitable Distribution: The Property Was Acquired Prior to the Marriage

Child holding parents finger

In a case before Supreme Court Justice Pam Jackman Brown, sitting in Queens County, Supreme Court, a husband brought a lawsuit for divorce against his wife, claiming irreconcilable differences. The wife sought to have equitable distribution of assets in the divorce case. The husband claimed all the assets the wife sought were accumulated by him prior to the marriage. Justice Brown found there were no joint assets accumulated by the parties during the course of the marriage and therefore the wife was not entitled to equitable distribution for the property she claimed were marital assets.

Common Law Marriage Argument

The wife presented an argument that she had a long term relationship with her husband which took place prior to the marriage. She therefore claimed the assets that were accumulated by her husband during their relationship prior to the marriage should be considered marital assets subject to equitable distribution.

Justice Brown ruled against the wife. She found there was no documentary evidence showing wife contributed financially to the assets which she alleged were subject to equitable distribution and acquired by the husband prior to the marriage. Justice Brown found the wife did not sustain her burden of proof to show a constructive trust was created between the parties before the marriage. Justice Brown gave the wife a $10,000.00 lump sum equitable distribution award related to the marital residence.


Attorney Elliot SchlisselOnly assets accumulated during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution in the State of New York. All other assets are considered separate property of each of the parties and are not considered assets of the marriage.

Father’s Application to Compel Visitation Denied

Man and child sitting in a hammock

In a case before Justice Sharon Gianelli sitting in Supreme Court in Nassau County, Justice Gianelli found the issue of custody had been settled prior to trial. The mother would have physical custody of the child. The father would have parenting time with the child. However the child refused to spend parenting time with the father. Justice Gianelli found the child refused visitation with his father. This was in spite of the fact the parties had participated in therapeutic visitation through Hofstra University for over a year.

Counseling Not Working

Judge Gianelli’s ruled the program at Hofstra University which involved efforts to motivate the child through counseling to resume parenting time with the father was counterproductive and no longer in the child’s best interests. Justice Gianelli found there was a history of both physical and verbal abuse. However, the father refused to acknowledge his abusive behavior. As a result of the father’s abuse of the child, the child was resistant to spending time with his father.

The Child’s Mother Made Efforts to Facilitate Visitation

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Justice Gianelli also found the mother made affirmative and sincere efforts to facilitate the relationship between the father and child. In addition, she found the father failed to show by words or actions he would pursue a healthy course of conduct which would serve the child’s best interests. She therefore ruled the evidence failed to establish the child’s refusal to have parenting time with the father was a result of the mother alienating the child against the father. She therefore denied father’s application to compel visitation between the child and him based on the fact that it was not in the child’s best interest.