Appeals Court Sets Aside Decision Giving Mother Sole Legal and Physical Custody of Child

A mother had brought a Family Court proceeding requesting sole custody of the parties’ child. The parties had initially been granted joint legal and shared custody of their child. They had also agreed to a “corrected” custody order. The Family Court after a fact finding hearing rendered a decision which found the father had twice violated the prior joint custody order. The Family Court therefore ordered the mother have sole legal and physical custody. The court had noted the father had failed to comply, pursuant to his own testimony, with the provisions of the joint custody order. The court therefore found they should not disturb the finding he was in willful violation of the court order. Based on this willful violation, the Family Court granted the mother’s petition giving her sole legal and physical custody of the parties’ child.

The Appeal

The father had appealed the Family Court’s decision. The Appellate Division of the Third Department, an appeals court, found the relationship between the mother and the father was not so acrimonious as to prevent them from having joint custody. The appeals court also noted the father’s basis for seeking sole custody stemmed not from an expressed inability to get along with the mother but was instead related to her stability. She had documented mental health and alcohol dependency issues. The appeals court in its decision stated neither the father nor the mother showed a sufficient change in circumstances which would cause the modification of the original custody order. The Family Court was therefore mistaken in awarding sole legal and physical custody to the mother. The appeals court reinstated the original joint custody order and sent the case back to the Family Court to work out the details.


Courts are becoming more and more attuned to protecting father’s rights to maintain relationships with their children.father's rights advocate

Relocation Issues

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney who has been helping fathers maintain relationships with their children for more than 35 years.  He and his associates represent fathers in all aspects of matrimonial and family law.  Elliot can be reached for consultation by calling 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to

Father’s Parental Rights Terminated

father's rights advocateThe Family Court rendered a decision which granted a Department of Social Services (DSS) petition to revoke a suspended judgment against a father and permanently terminate his parental rights. The father appealed this decision to the Appellate Division of the Third Department (an appeals court).

The father had voluntarily given custody of his child to the Department of Social Services. In addition, he allowed a judgment for a one year order of supervision to be entered against him. Pursuant to this court order, he had to comply with certain terms and conditions established by the Department of Social Services for him to get his child back. Unfortunately, the father did not comply with the Department of Social Services’ requirements. The Department of Social Services took legal action and received the child from the father’s care and put the child back into foster care. Thereafter the Department of Social Services brought a proceeding claiming the father permanently neglected his children and as a result stated he was unfit to be a parent of this child and his parental rights should be permanently terminated.

The father, through his attorney, claimed his failure to undergo counseling with his fiancé was an inconsequential violation of the court order. These inconsequential violations should not result in the permanent termination of his parental rights to his child.

The Court’s Ruling

The Family Court ruled he was given sufficient opportunity to satisfy the conditions of the original suspended judgment. The court went on to state his failure to make meaningful effort to address the issues which caused his child to be taken away from him in the first place and placed in foster care caused the appellate court to find no basis to reverse the decision of the Family Court judge terminating the father’s parental rights. The court found that terminating the father’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest.


If the Department of Social Services either through Child Protective Services (CPS) or the Administration of Child Services (ACS), brings a proceeding for child neglect or child abuse against you, you should take it seriously. They have the power to bring proceedings to remove your parental rights and permanently take your children from who protects fathers

Mother Prevented From Removing Child From The Country

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He has been representing fathers in all types of family law matters and divorce issues for more than 35 years.   He and his associates work diligently to help fathers in custody cases, visitation proceedings, and in handling relocation issues to allow the fathers parenting time with their children.  Elliot can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Grandmother Gets Visitation of Child Moved to Florida

The Family Court of Rensselaer County, New York, granted a grandmother’s petition for visitation with her grandchild who had moved to Florida. The grandmother brought a petition for visitation concerning her grandchild. She claimed the mother and the grandchild had significant connections with the State of New York. She was able to present substantial evidence that the grandchild’s present and future welfare existed in the State of New York.

Mother Fights Grandmother’s Petition

The mother challenged both the grandmother’s right to have visitation with the grandchild and claimed the New York Court did not have jurisdiction to even hear the case. The Family Court of Rensselaer County, after hearing the case, decided the grandmother would have unsupervised visitation with the grandchild even though the grandchild was currently living in Florida.

The Mother Appeals

The mother appealed the case to the Appellate Division of the Third Department (an appeals court). In her appeal the mother claimed the Family Court should have dismissed the grandmother’s petition because New York did not have jurisdiction to handle the case. The Family Court judge rendered the decision to hear the case based on the fact New York was the home state of the grandchild for six months prior to the grandmother’s commencement of the visitation proceeding. The court took note the child moved to Florida only two months before the proceeding in the Family Court was initiated.

The Appeals Court affirmed the decision of the Family Court giving the grandmother visitation. The Appeals Court ruled the Family Court had both jurisdiction over the grandchild and the mother of the grandchild.


This is a case involving a grandmother living in Rensselaer County, New York obtaining unsupervised visits with her grandchild who now resided in the State of Florida. This case is an example of protecting a grandparent’s rights to maintain a warm and loving relationship with her for grandparents seeking visitation

Malicious Mother Syndrome

In divorce situations, cases exist where the mother seeks to do more than just alienate the children from the father. In these cases, the mother takes action to have a negative effect on the father’s life. Examples of actions which can be considered Malicious Mother Syndrome involve making false allegations the father sexually abused the children: taking action to have third parties harass and/or assault the father; making up vicious lies and stories about the father and taking action to have a negative impact on the father’s employment.

Malicious Mother Syndrome and Parental Alienation Syndrome

Malicious Mother Syndrome goes beyond Parental Alienation Syndrome. The theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome has the mother turning the children against the father. This very often can relate to the mother interfering and/or preventing the father from having visitation or a loving relationship with the children. Malicious Mother Syndrome is different from Parental Alienation Syndrome because this involves attacking other aspects of the father’s life, health and well-being beyond the father’s relationship with the children. Malicious Mother Syndrome involves campaigns against the father. In many cases of Malicious Mother Syndrome, the mother tries to manipulate third parties to hate the father based on information and stories which are untrue or greatly exaggerated.

Inappropriate behavior common to both Malicious Mother Syndrome and Parental Alienation Syndrome involve the following actions taken by the mother

  • alienating the children from the father
  •   interrupting the father’s visitation with the children
  • preventing the children from having telephone or internet contact with the father
  • convincing the children the father doesn’t love them
  • making up lies about the father and convincing the children these lies are true
  • engaging in excessive litigation for the sole purpose of creating problems in the father’s life

Dealing With Malicious Mother Syndrome

The best way to deal with Malicious Mother Syndrome is to go on the legal offensive. Bring applications to the court showing the judge what the mother is doing and the negative impact it is having on the children and the father’s life. To be successful in these endeavors, it is important to hire an experienced attorney who has the time, the resources, and the knowledge to bring, through litigation, the mother’s improper activities to the court’s attention. If the attorney you are using is unsuccessful or unable to handle the matter, you should find a more experienced, more capable attorney to bring these inappropriate actions to the court’s for fathers on Long Island

Dueling Custody Petitions

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney who has been representing fathers for more than 35 years in all aspects of family law court proceedings.  He handles custody matters, visitation agreements, divorce cases, and child support issues.  Elliot and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Custody Legal Battles – Part I

father's rights attorneyIn a situation where you are a father who has had an active relationship with your children, and you are now facing a divorce, what should you do to maintain your relationship with your children? To start with, you should do everything in your power to maintain the relationship you had with your children while your marriage was intact after your marriage breaks up. This means you should spend as much quality time with your children as is reasonable. To become the residential custodial parent, showing you are the nurturing parent involved in your children’s daily lives is extremely important. You should seek to have, at a minimum, equal parenting time with your children. If your custody issues are going to be litigated before a judge, you must develop a strategy so you can demonstrate to the court you are involved in the children’s activities on a daily basis. You must show you have a support system, which will help take care of your children while you are working or unavailable. You must provide the court with a realistic presentation demonstrating how you having custody of the children will be in the children’s best interests.

Finding the Right Lawyer

If you are a father who seeks custody of your children, you must choose an attorney who understands your motivation and your desires. Fathers are currently entitled to equal rights to obtain custody of their children. However, even though on paper fathers have equal rights to obtain custody of their children, statistics indicate there is still a bias within the legal system favoring mothers. The attorney you choose to represent you should have experience regarding father’s rights issues. He or she should have a history of representing other fathers in custody disputes. You do not want an attorney who is just getting started and using you as a guinea pig in his efforts to develop a winning strategy on father’s custody cases. Before hiring an attorney, read about the attorney online. Look into his or her previous experience in representing fathers in custody cases. Check to see if he or she has published articles with regard to custody issues concerning fathers.child custody attorney

Attorney for the Child

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He represents fathers in custody litigation, child support litigation, and issues involving visitation rights and parenting time.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Co-Parenting Post Divorce

helping father's win custodyGoing through a divorce can be very stressful. This is true even when the divorce is settled out of court and not litigated. When the parties to the marriage have children, a parenting plan is often recommended to promote the children’s best interests. Parenting plans deal with issues concerning parenting time, child support, and where the children will live. Parents’ chief concern regarding their children should be their children’s stability and mental and physical health.


After a divorce is concluded, the parents must maintain a high level of communication with regard to their children. Issues such as the children’s schoolwork, their daily routines, their social and sports related schedules, as well as how they are doing in school and their behavior should be discussed between parents. Co-parenting involves parents working together for the health and well being of their children. The following are a variety of suggestions to help parents successfully develop post divorce co-parenting schemes:

  • all major decisions should be based on the children’s best interests and not promoting one parent’s interests over the other
  • the parents should consult with each other with regard to significant issues regarding how the children are raised
  • the parents should try to maintain cordial relationships with each other
  • the parents should not use the children as messengers between them
  • the parents should each promote the other parent’s relationship with the children
  • neither of the parents should denigrate or talk badly about the other parent in front of the children
  • each parent should take into consideration and have respect for the other parent’s parenting style
  • each parent should keep the other parent informed concerning their children’s daily activities
  • each of the parents should avoid conflicts which are played out in front of the children
  • each of the parents should avoid questioning their children with regard to their relationship with the other parent
  • parents should make decisions based on the children’s best interests
  • each of the parents should be flexible with regard to the other parent’s scheduling needs
  • parents should be cooperative and consistent concerning child support payments

Parents who strive to incorporate the aforementioned bullet points into their parenting plans will have a greater level of success in co-parenting their children. The primary beneficiaries of their success will be the health and general welfare of their children. In essence, parents simply need to put their love of their children over and above all other needs and conflicts between each other.  father's rights advocate in custody proceedings