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Guide to Grandparents’ Legal Rights Regarding Their Grandchildren – Part II

lawyer for grandparents on Long IslandGrandparents: Custody or Visitation?

There are different requirements or situations where grandparents will receive custody than those situations and requirements for grandparents to obtain visitation. The “best interests of the child” is the standard utilized in New York and all other states, in the United States, when determining whether a grandparent should be entitled to either visitation or to have custody of their grandchildren. The following are some of the factors utilized by courts in New York to determine whether it is appropriate to give grandparents either custody or visitation of their grandchildren:

  • the physical and emotional needs of the children.
  • the safety of the children.
  • the ability to maintain the welfare of the children.
  • the capabilities of both the parents and/or grandparents to meet the needs of the children.
  • the level of closeness of the relationship between the grandchildren and their grandparents.
  • how long have the grandparents maintained a relationship with the grandchildren.
  • have the children been neglected or abused by their parents and/or grandparents.
  • are there substance abuse issues in the grandparents’ home or the parents’ home.
  • the ability of the children to adjust to a new home or school situation.
  • the ability of the both the parents and the grandparents to provide care, love, affection and nurturing of the children.
  • how far apart do the parents and grandparents live.
  • is one or both of the parents deceased.
  • is one of the parents in the hospital and the other parent unavailable.
  • is one of the parents in jail and the other parent incapable of caring for the children.
  • the desires of the children to live with either the parents or grandparents. (Greater weight is given to this factor when the children are older).

A Best Interest Test

For grandparents to obtain visitation or custody in New York State, they must clearly show it is in the children’s best interests they receive either visitation or custody. In addition, if the grandparents are seeking custody in New York, they must show how this will affect the relationship, if one exists, between the children and their parents.

Conclusion

Grandparents’ rights are hotly contested issues in the courts of New York. If you are a grandparent and you seek custody or visitation of your grandchildren, the best way to ensure the greatest potential for success is to hire an experienced, dedicated grandparents’ rights lawyers.grandparents attorney in New York

Grandparents’ Rights

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

Elliot S. Schlissel is a grandparents’ rights lawyer with more than 35 years experience.  He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, 1-800-344-6431 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Rights for Stay at Home Husbands

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

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

Custody Issues Cause Flight To China To Return To Dulles Airport in Washington D.C.

father's rights attorney and child custody casesUnited Airlines Flight 897 took off from Dulles Airport at 2:20 PM Eastern Standard Time. During the course of the flight the airline was contacted by federal law enforcement officers. The FBI advised United Airlines a mother on the flight was improperly taking her child back to China. Upon the flight returning, the mother was arrested on suspicion of committing an international custody kidnapping. The child was returned to the father’s custody.

The Custody Story

In 2013, a father started a divorce proceeding against a mother. Joint custody was awarded of their 4 year old son. Their son had been born in China and had dual United States and Chinese citizenship. The custody agreement entered into in 2014 specifically prevented either parent from traveling outside the United States without “express written and notarized consent of the other party, provided in advance of the trip.” The mother in this case admitted she was removing the son from the United States without the father’s consent in violation of this express agreement.

International Custody Kidnapping

It is a crime to take or attempt to take a child out of the United States and keep him or her out of the country to prevent another parent from having custody of the child. The problem is, although a parent can be prosecuted for this, in many situations it is very difficult to have the child returned back to the United States. Each and every year, there are approximately 2,000 children who are missing related to international parental kidnaping situations in the United States.

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo is experienced in representing clients in international custody kidnapping cases.father's rights advocate international custody

Custody Litigation

helping father's win custodyIn custody litigation the court must determine which parent would be better at taking care of the best interests of the child or children. Best interests of the child or children involves which parent can provide a life situation where the child will thrive and grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically. The large majority of custody issues are resolved out of court in custody agreements between the parties. However a small number of custody matters require a judge to make a decision as to which parent would be better suited to being the residential custodial parent of the child.

Preparing for Custody Litigation

Each litigant in a custody case will seek to prove it is in the child’s best interest for the child to reside with them. In order to accomplish this goal, a litigant in a custody case should obtain documentation supporting his or her claims. This documentation should show the involvement of that parent in the child’s medical needs, school, work, after school activities, family and social events, and other issues which would lead a judge to believe that parent was the primary, caring individual involved with raising the child and promoting the child’s best interests. A parent seeking custody should show his or her residence provides appropriate accommodations for the child, is within a reasonable distance of the child’s school, and the living environment the child would be exposed to is conducive to raising a child. Photographs of the place the child will live, his room, the accommodations of the home should be available to present to the court.

Who The Child Seeks to Live With

In the State of New York, in custody battles, an attorney is appointed to represent the child. The attorney for the child is supposed to meet with the child and take into consideration the child’s desires as to who he or she would seek to live with. It is this author’s opinion the child’s position as to who should be the residential custodial parent should only be considered with mature children. Unfortunately, this is not the law in New York. I have had numerous cases where attorneys for a child have come into court and advised the court who the 4 or 5 year old they interviewed would seek to live with. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds often change their minds, sometimes 3 or 4 times during a 15 minute span.

Support System

Parents seeking custody of a child should be able to make a presentation to the court who will be taking care of the child, supervising the child, and meeting the child’s needs 7 days a week. If the parent works, he or she must present to the court a support system which would nurture the child, protect the child, and properly supervise the child when that parent is unavailable due to employment or other reasons.

The More Available Parent

Some parents have employment situations which are more flexible than others. The parent with the more flexible position can make a presentation to the judge that he or she would be available to be there for the child during school programs, after school activities, and help with homework. Judges do take a parent’s availability to nurture a child into consideration when custody issues are presented to them.

Elliot Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer practicing law within the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. father's rights advocate on Long Island

Custody of Son Changed: Judge Finds Mother Cannot Be Trusted To Be the Custodial Parent of the Parties’ Son

Supreme Court Justice Colangelo sitting in Westchester County recently had an unusual case presented to him. In this case, the mother had paraded her son from one forensic psychologist to another. This was done in a concerted effort to destroy his relationship with this father. In addition, the mother had hired a former actress in soap operas and paid her $57,000 to help prepare her for her starring role as a witness in the custody case involving her son.

The Trial

There was a trial which lasted 18 months before Justice Colangelo. There were 25 days of testimony by the mother alone. Justice Colangelo found she was fixated on destroying the father’s relationship with the son and therefore “cannot be trusted” to make decisions regarding the parties’ son. Justice Colangelo in his decision went on to state “when left to her own devices she misused her decision making authority to trot a mentally healthy child to numerous psychological appointments clearly aimed to deprive him of a relationship with his father – a result that may have, and if allowed to recur certainly will rob [the boy] of his remaining childhood.” Justice Colangelo changed custody from the mother to the father in spite of the recommendations made by the court appointed psychologist and the attorney for the child.

Hired Forensic Psychologist

Justice Colangelo’s decision deals with the issue of parties’ to custody litigation hiring forensic psychologists to promote one parent’s arguments and with regard to the issue of trial consultants preparing witnesses with regard to their testimony. The judge found the mother was evasive during her two weeks of testimony.

Judge Colangelo indicated in his decision the mother had hired Daniel Lobel, a Westchester psychologist, and paid him $6,000 per day to prepare subjective, result oriented testimony. The judge also stated the mother had spent more than 50 hours with a psychologist, Jonathan Gould, who is a well known forensic evaluator, who helped prepare her for her interview with the court appointed forensic psychologist, Stephen Herman, from Manhattan. Justice Colangelo found the mother had met with numerous mental health professionals and a number of lawyers with regard to her desire to “deprive [the boy] of a meaningful relationship with his father.” The judge found “such a goal might have proven laudable had [the father] actually been the abusive monster [the mother] sought to depict.”

Father a Caring Man

Justice Colangelo went on to state there was no evidence presented at trial that the father was anything other than a caring, responsible man who recognized the need for both parents in the child’s life. Justice Colangelo found the mother’s behavior to be “inimicable” to the welfare of the child. The mother’s arguments that the child needed to be protected from his father were completely without merit.

Justice Colangelo in his decision went on to state “absent the imposition of some stringent boundaries on [the mother’s] prerogatives and conduct, based upon her actions to date, [the child] will surely spend the remainder of his childhood being prodded and probed by a constant parade of mental health professionals seeking to find something wrong with a healthy child who needs only a true, loving relationship with both parents.”

It should be noted the mother has appealed this decision.helping father's get custody of their children

Court Orders Change in Custody Due To Mother Interfering With Father’s Visitation

custody and visitation attorney on Long IslandThere was litigation in the Family Court between a father and a mother. The father alleged the mother had acted in an obstreperous manner, had interfered with his visitation with the parties’ children in violation of court orders and had created a situation which made it extremely difficult for the father to have visitation. The father claimed the mother’s disruptive, antagonistic behavior was not in the children’s best interest and was having a negative impact on the parties’ child.

A trial was held in the Family Court. The mother had declined to have an attorney and had represented herself during these proceedings. At the end of the Family Court trial, the Family Court Judge found there had been a change in circumstances to the extent a change in custody was warranted due to mother’s interference with father’s visitation rights. The mother appealed this proceeding.

Appellate Court Decision

The Appellate Division for the Third Department (an appeals court) upheld the Family Court’s order finding the mother in contempt and changing custody to the father. The Appeals Court found the mother had violated a prior court order with regard to the father’s visitation rights. The court also found the transfer of sole custody of the child to the father was indicated in the circumstances due to the mother’s contentious behavior. The Court found the mother was aware of the terms of the Family Court order giving the father visitation and she intentionally refused to comply with this court order.

The mother had argued she was denied her right to counsel due to the fact she represented herself. However, the appellate court found she was given the opportunity to retain an attorney and declined to do so. The court also found the mother had engaged in obstructionist behavior during the course of the Family Court trial and her responses to questions were evasive.

The appellate court affirmed the decision of the Family Court giving the father sole custody.

Conclusion

This is a major victory for father’s rights! A mother’s obligations when she is the residential custodial parent is to promote a loving, warm relationship between the children and the father. Interference with a father’s visitation rights is appropriate grounds to change custody from the mother to the father.father's rights advocate and custody modification attorney

Grandparents and Obtaining Visitation With Grandchildren

Most grandparents seek to have warm, loving relationships with their grandchildren. However, sometimes the parents themselves don’t get along. In other situations, one or both of the parents have a falling out with the grandparents and punish them by preventing the grandchildren from seeing them.

Filing A Lawsuit to Compel Grandparents’ Visitation

In the year 2000, the United States Supreme Court, in a case called Troxel v. Granville, dealt with a case involving grandparents’ rights in the State of Washington. The grandparents brought suit for visitation with their grandchildren. In this case the United States Supreme Court held that parents “[have a] fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” This has been interpreted as to whether a grandparent will be able to see his grandchildren is solely up to the parents.

New York Law On Grandparents’ Visitation

New York is in the forefront of states in the country with regard to granting grandparents visitation rights. The first step is for the grandparents to bring a grandparents’ visitation rights proceeding in the Family Court in the county in which the child or children are located. The grandparents can allege various arguments to establish it would be in the child or children’s best interests that the grandparents receive visitation with them. Some of the arguments which can be made by grandparents concerning this issue are as follows:

  • The grandparents have previously acted in a capacity as custodial parents for the grandchildren.
  • The grandparents have had a long and loving relationship with the grandchildren over a significant period of time. Depriving them from interacting with their grandparents will have a negative impact on the grandchildren.
  • One or both of the parents of the child or children are lacking in the basic ability to deal with issues of the grandchildren. The grandparents have the capacity to deal with these issues.
  • In some cases, grandparents can even show it will be harmful to the grandchildren to deprive them of maintaining the existing relationship with their grandparents.

Grandparents’ Rights in Divorces

When the parents of children get divorced, it is possible to include in the settlement agreement statements giving access to the children to the grandparents. Grandparents’ visitation rights therefore can be specifically built into separation agreements or settlement agreements in divorce proceedings.

Conclusion

Grandparents are unique and they don’t live forever. The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren can have a significant affirmative impact on their grandchildren’s lives. The love and devotion grandparents have for their grandchildren, coupled with their sense of worldliness, is not something to be underestimated. Courts should be extremely reasonable in granting grandparents access to their grandchildren.grandparents' rights advocate in Metropolitan New York

The Trial of a Custody Case – Part I

father's rights lawyers on Long IslandWinning Custody Trials

Custody disputes are personal. They involve children. Your children. They can be expensive, aggravating, and frustrating. They are not as simple as who is the better parent.

Parents Can Be Imperfect

No parent always does the right thing in every situation. Even the best most dedicated parents have flaws, faults and issues that can be brought up to a court. Attorneys preparing for custody litigation must deal with parents’ strengths and their weaknesses.

Arguments That It Is In The Children’s Best Interests That You Receive Custody

Your custody case should have a theme based on the theory the children’s best interests are better served with you receiving custody of them. This theme must be developed to deal with specific facts involving you and your children. This must also be developed to show giving the other parent custody would not be in the children’s best interests.

Why A Parent Seeks to Have Custody

There are many reasons why parents want custody of their children. Your attorney should discuss with you your real motives for having custody of your children. Be advised, avoiding paying child support is not an appropriate reason for wanting custody of your children.

Client’s Conduct in Custody Lawsuits

If you are involved in litigating a custody case, you must assume the other parent is trying to find “dirt” on you. You should be careful as to what you say and what you do. You should avoid writing things down on paper. Don’t be surprised if the other parent is trying to intercept your phone calls, read your emails, and speak to your friends, relatives, paramours, and neighbors about information to be utilized in the custody trial against you.

Evidence in Custody Trials

Custody matters are brought in front of judges. There are no juries in custody cases. There are generally two types of evidence submitted at custody proceedings. Documentary evidence which involve documents of a certain type and nature that can be presented into evidence and live testimony of witnesses. It is often necessary to have a live witness testify to get documentary, written, evidence into the record. The rules regarding the presentation of evidence are quite complicated. This is a matter you should discuss in detail with your attorney prior to the trial as to which documents will be presented and how those documents will be presented into evidence.

Witnesses must present facts. These facts should be about the child’s life and how one parent or the other has had an affirmative or negative impact on the child’s life.custody litigation attorneys

Halle Berry Paying $16,000 Per Month For Child Support Payments

father's rights attorneys and advocatesHalle Berry has been involved in a long, drawn out litigation involving child custody and child support. She was recently ordered to pay $16,000 in child support payments to Gabriel Aubrey with regard to supporting the parties’ six year old daughter, Nahla. This child support has to be paid by her each month until Nahla is 19 years old or graduates high school, whichever event should occur first. In addition, Halle Berry was ordered to pay $300,000 in legal fees to Gabriel Aubrey and $115,000 in retroactive child support payments. It is reported these sums are pursuant to a settlement of a case involving Ms. Berry and Mr. Aubrey which had been pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

History Between the Parties

Halle met Gabriel in 2005. Halle Berry is an Academy Award winning actress and Gabriel Aubrey is a Canadian model.

Relocating to France

At one point during their legal battles, Halle Berry brought a proceeding to relocate her daughter to France. She was unsuccessful in this proceeding. At the present time, both Berry and Aubrey have joint custody of the parties’ six year old daughter. However, Aubrey is the residential custodial parent.

Last year, Ms. Berry gave birth to another child with her current husband, Oliver Martinez.

father's rights lawyer on long islandElliot Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney. He represents fathers in custody litigation, child support litigation, and issues involving visitation rights and parenting time.