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Father’s Obligation to Pay Child Support Eliminated by Appeals Court

father's rights lawyerThe Appellate Division for the Second Department, an appeals court, in the Matter of Coull v. Rottman, 2014-1516, held a father who had been prevented from seeing his son by the child’s mother no longer would be obligated to pay child support.

In this case, the father had last visited his son in February 2010. During the period of several months thereafter, the father would go to the pick up location on his parenting time days. The mother either would not show up, or would show up and the son would not leave the car.

Mother Extremely Hostile to Father

The mother took the position when she appeared in Family Court of extreme hostility towards the father. She stated on more than one occasion that she would never let the child spend time with the father. She said she would do “whatever it takes” to keep her son away from his father. Based on the mother’s intransigence and refusal to cooperate with regard to promoting the father’s relationship and visitation with his son, the appeals court suspended the father’s child support obligation. The court took the position that where the custodial parent prevents all reasonable access as to a child, the child support obligations may be suspended.

Father’s Visitation Suspended

It should be noted the mother’s cross motion in this case was granted and the father’s visitation was suspended. The child showed great hostility towards the father at the time of the court’s hearing. The court took into consideration the son was 13 years old and even though he had participated in therapy for a number of months to develop a relationship with his father, he was “vehemently opposed” to any type of parenting time between himself and the father.

Conclusion

This is a victory for fathers who have their visitation interfered with. But it is also a loss. As the expression goes, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. The same is true with children. Children who have been so alienated by one parent against the other sometimes cannot be therapeutically reunited with the other parent. Hopefully over time the father in this case will redevelop his relationship with his son.father's rights advocate on Long Island

Child Support Provision Declared Invalid and Unenforceable

child support assistance for fathersJustice Jeffrey Sunshine sitting in the Supreme Court Divorce Part in Kings County presided over a case where the husband moved for a declaratory judgment that the provisions of a judgment of divorce concerning child support payments were invalid and unenforceable. A referee had addressed these issues. The referee found the child support payments of $400 per week should be paid by the husband to the wife. This determination was based on 25% of the husband’s adjusted gross income payable concerning his two children.

The husband alleged in his application to the court this provision did not contain necessary language under the Child Support Standards Act and pursuant to the New York Domestic Relations Law. Wife argued in her papers the support provision was valid and enforceable. She stated the parties knew their rights relating to the Child Support Standards Act and the Domestic Relations Law.

Justice Sunshine found the husband had made a prima facie showing the provision regarding child support was invalid and therefore unenforceable pursuant to New York Domestic Relations Law Section 240(1-b)(c). He stated in his decision that support payments under this section of the law must be based on the combined parental income not only on one parent’s income. Judge Sunshine went on to state the final judgment of divorce only reflected husband’s adjusted gross income. The wife’s income was not taken into consideration at the time of the calculation of the child support. He therefore ruled there was too much ambiguity to speculate on what the combined income of both parents were. He therefore declared the child support section of the judgment of divorce to be invalid and unenforceable.

Conclusion

The child support breakdown must be specifically set out in divorce settlement agreements that are part of the Judgment of Divorce.father's rights lawyer

Constructive Emancipation Leads To Early Termination of Child Support Obligation

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He has been representing fathers in child support hearings, custody proceedings, visitation agreements, and all aspects of matrimonial law and family law for more than 35 years.  Elliot and his associates may be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Constructive Emancipation

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  He represents fathers in all aspects of matrimonial and family law including child support hearings, visitation, divorces, and custody proceedings.  Elliot and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Disabled Father Awarded a Reduction in Child Support Obligation

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  His office can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Father Overpays Child Support and Receives a Credit

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Court Terminates Father’s Child Support Obligations

child support assistance for fathersIn a case before Support Magistrate Elizabeth Bloom, sitting in the Family Court of Nassau County, a father brought a petition to terminate his child support obligations. In his petition, the father plead that his two daughters had been constructively emancipated from him and as a result he sought to end all of his child support obligations. He had not seen either of his two daughters since 2007. The father claimed the mother had defamed him in front of his twin daughters. She had told them he had engaged in extramarital relationships with other women. This information caused the girls to be alienated from him.

Mother Claimed Daughters Didn’t Want to See Their Father

The mother contended the father had not contacted his twin daughters since 2009. She took the position it was solely the children who did not want to have contact with him. She claimed she did not create the situation.

Support Magistrate Bloom in her decision stated pursuant to the doctrine of constructive emancipation a child who is of employable age can be constructively emancipated from the father. She found the father’s testimony to be truthful. She also took into consideration the evidence showed the mother had exhibited hatred towards the father. In her decision, Support Magistrate Bloom found the children were supporting the mother’s position against the father. She found the father’s conduct did not amount to a reasonable basis for the children to refuse to have contact with the father.

Constructive Emancipation

Support Magistrate Bloom ruled the children had constructively emancipated themselves from their father. They had taken this action without just cause or reason. They had refused to have any contact with him or allow him visitation. The father’s petition to have his child support obligations terminated was granted.Father's Rights Attorney on Long Island

Business Expenses Improperly Used to Avoid Child Support Obligations

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  He can be reached at 1-800-344-6431 or by email at schlissel.law@att.net.

Father Challenges Child Support Arrangement

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Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a father’s rights attorney.  He can be reached at 1-800-344-6431 or by email at schlissel.law@att.net.

Father Seeks to Provide Child Support In the Form of Eggs, Produce and Vegetables

In a case from Upstate New York, Justice Robert Muller sitting in Essex County, New York, Supreme Court had a new and interesting argument presented to him. The case involved a wife who had left the marital residence with the parties’ three children. Two other children of the parties continued to reside with the father.

Custody Issues

Justice Muller was presented with custody issues within the confines of a divorce case. The mother wanted child support for the children living with her and spousal maintenance (alimony). There were arguments made between the husband and the wife with regard to how much each party was earning. Eventually the court ruled the husband should pay the wife temporary maintenance in the sum of $370 per month.

Father Lives on a Farm

The husband advised the court there was a farm located on the land where the marital residence was located. He sought to have the maintenance paid to the wife in the form of meat, eggs, and vegetables from the farm. The father requested the court allow him to pay the child support and maintenance with regard to the various items grown or maintained on the farm.

Judge Robert Muller found this to be an interesting argument. However, the attorney for the father was unable to produce any precedent which authorized one party to pay maintenance and child support payments with food instead of money. The father’s request to pay the child support payments with food was denied.

Conclusion

For those of us who live in the Metropolitan New York area, this seems like a humorous case. However, in Upstate New York, in rural communities, where cash flow on farms can be difficult to obtain, the argument of getting credit for providing food, eggs, produce, meat and vegetables to a spouse to allow her to feed her children, is an interesting argument. Although I don’t believe the entire child support payment should be allowed to be made in food, it is not inconceivable a court in Upstate New York might someday allow child support payments to be made, with regard to parties living on a farm, with a portion of the food, produce and meat raised on the farm.

Elliot Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney. He represents fathers in divorces, custody and child support proceedings. father's rights advocate on Long Island