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 45 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 for a free consultation.

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.


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

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.


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.


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 45 years.  Elliot and his associates may be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to

Custody Legal Battles – Part II

father's rights attorney on Long IslandCustody Issues Before Litigating

Discuss settlement possibilities with your attorney and the realistic potential you will be successful if you take the custody case to trial. Custody battles can be emotionally taxing and expensive. Unless you are willing to fight the battle to the end and pay the expenses related to the battle, you should consider settling and obtaining the best possible parenting time access situation with your children.

Child Support and Custody Issues

It is extremely important the court not feel you are litigating the issue of custody to avoid paying child support. If the court feels the custody battle is a camouflaged issue involving child support it will have a devastatingly negative effect on your possibilities of obtaining residential custody of your children. It should be pointed out in New York, even if you settle a case with both of the parents having equal time with the children, the parent who earns more money will pay child support to the other parent.

Settling and Schedules

Work out your schedule prior to discussing settlement on custody and parenting time issues. Know what your schedule is. See if your family and friends’ can provide a support system. Have a back up system to help you take care of your children in the event you have an emergency, either related to work situations, illness, accidents of family members, or health issues involving yourself.

Parenting Time Schedule

The standard parenting schedule for the non-residential custodial parent is every other weekend, every other holiday, one or two dinners during the week and access on Father’s Day and the child’s birthday. If you are going to settle the case, negotiate for more than the standard visitation schedule. Customize the parenting time you spend with your children to deal with your work and life circumstances.

It is important you take into consideration the interaction your children have with your parents (their grandparents) and other family members. Children enjoy spending time with their cousins and other children of a similar age to them. Make sure your home is set up to provide a stimulating atmosphere for the children when they spend time with you. Children get bored very easily. You need to carefully take into consideration the children’s needs to be entertained, excited, and intellectually challenged.

Cordial Relationship With The Children’s Mother

This is a topic I have spent many hours discussing with my clients. You may be getting divorced because the children’s mother is a lousy human being. You may be divorcing her because you hate her guts. You also may be divorcing her because you consider her to be simply a pain in the butt. However, she is still always going to be the mother of your children! When the case is over, the court proceedings have finished, and the lawyers are gone, you are going to need to deal with her. This may require more character, patience, and reasonableness than you even needed to use when you interacted with her while you were married. Take into consideration your communication with the children’s mother promotes the children’s best interest. Put your children’s best interests over and above the anger, anxiety, and problems you have with their mother. Deal with her as best as you can. Even if you litigate a very nasty custody battle, at the end of the day you are still going to need to deal with her. Get used to it. For the sake of your children, put your pride, anger and aggravation aside!child custody lawyer

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

Wife Denied Child Support: Court Found Father the Custodial Parent

father's rights attorneys and advocatesJustice Matthew Cooper sitting in the Supreme Court Divorce Part in New York County, recently had a case before him involving dueling issues regarding child support. In this case the wife had sought temporary custody of the parties’ child. She also brought an application for a temporary award for spousal maintenance, child support and in addition asked she be awarded temporary attorney’s fees in this divorce case. The husband brought his own cross application. He also asked for temporary custody. He opposed all other aspects of the wife’s application.

The Judge’s Decision

Justice Cooper found the issues concerning custody were premature at this time. In his decision, Justice Cooper stated there were no exigent circumstances presented in this case. A custody determination would not need to be done on a temporary basis. He found custody was an issue to be determined after a full trial. He therefore denied both the motion by the wife for temporary custody and child support and the cross motion by the father.

In addition, Justice Cooper found, based on where the child spent overnights, the child spent more time with the father than with the mother. Therefore for purposes of determining child support he found the father was the residential custodial parent. This was another reason for turning down the wife’s request for child support.

Temporary Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Justice Cooper went through the mathematics concerning the statutory temporary spousal maintenance awards. He found that $3,506 was the mathematical amount the temporary maintenance award law required. However, he found based on a variety of factors under New York Domestic Relations Law, it was appropriate to make a downward deviation to prevent injustice. He therefore awarded the wife temporary spousal maintenance of only $650 per month. This was the same amount the father had previously been paying her on a voluntary basis. In addition, he awarded the wife $5,000 in attorney’s fees.


Fathers should not be shy about litigating issues of custody. Fathers have equal rights to obtain custody of their children.father's rights advocate on Long Island

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

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