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The New Spousal Maintenance Law In New York

divorce attorneyIn late 2015, the law in New York concerning spousal maintenance (alimony) changed. The following are some excerpts from this new statute:

  1. The new law establishes a $175,000 income cap with regard to determining how much spousal maintenance (alimony) should be paid.
  2. The new law establishes formulas which cause the non-custodial parent who is the “monied” parent already paying child support to pay less in spousal maintenance. When applying the formula for spousal maintenance, it is deducted from the parent’s income before calculating child support payments.
  3. Courts now have more discretion to deviate, make modifications or changes to the guidelines to deal with situations where the payment of spousal maintenance would be inappropriate or unjust.
  4. The law eliminates something called enhanced earning capacity as a marital asset in equitable distribution of the assets of the family. Enhanced earning capacity could be a degree such as a doctor holds, or a lawyer holds, which entitles them to earn more money by practicing their profession.
  5. The duration of the spousal maintenance now specifically relates to how long the parties were married for.
  6. Spousal maintenance ends when the person receiving the spousal maintenance remarries or dies.

Conclusion

The new spousal maintenance law will provide benefit to the monied spouse who is paying the spousal maintenance and also, sometimes, child support to the custodial parent who also happens to be the non-monied spouse.father's rights lawyer in New York

Mother Given Sole Custody of Children

custody attorney for fathersIn a case before Supreme Court Justice Sharon Gianelli, in Supreme Court Divorce Part in Nassau County, Judge Gianelli granted residential custody to a mother in spite of the fact the father has a nicer home, greater financial resources, space in his home for the children and he was retired which gave him a significant amount of time to spend with the parties’ children.

Irreconcilable Differences

The divorce case was based on irreconcilable differences pursuant to Domestic Relations Law section 170(7). In the lawsuit the mother sought sole custody of the two minor children of the parties. Justice Gianelli found “children are not grocery items”, stating that “charting a course to meet their best interests was a ‘nuanced undertaking’.”

Father Unreasonably Rigid

Justice Gianelli found the father had a pattern of unreasonable rigidness and inflexibility. She found further he showed his negative feelings towards the mother which motivated his actions. Instead of acting in the children’s best interests, the judge felt he acted in a manner to show his anger and dissatisfaction with his spouse.

Justice Gianelli found she was not convinced the father would work towards developing a healthy relationship between the children and their mother. Judge Gianelli also took into consideration the attorney for the children had recommended the mother receive sole custody of the children because this was in the children’s best interests. In addition, Justice Gianelli found co-parenting pursuant to a joint custody arrangement was not feasible in this case. In the end she awarded sole residential custody to the mother because she found it was in the children’s best interests.

Conclusion

Fathers who seek to obtain custody of their children must be careful. In addition to providing the children with an appropriate place to live, the father must show that he respects the mother’s relationship with the children and acts in a manner to promote the children’s relationship with their mother. Fathers should be aware courts take into consideration, it is in the children’s best interests to have good relationships with both parents. Conveying to the children negative impressions of the other parent is considered to be disturbing behavior by judges when deciding who should receive custody of the children.

father's rights attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.

Who Gets the House When There Are Children?

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

Elliot S. Schlissel has been representing fathers for more than 35 years in all aspects of family law and divorce law.  He and his associates are available for consultation.  To schedule a consultation, please call 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Judge Awards Custody of Sons to Wife and Daughter to Husband

custody attorney for fathersJustice Leonard Steinman sitting in a Supreme Court Matrimonial Part in Nassau County recently had a case before him where the husband claimed the wife had turned his sons against him. He also claimed the wife was trying to turn his daughter against him too. During this divorce case the wife argued the husband was a deadbeat father. She claimed he attempted to “starve” her and the children by intentionally taking action to have his income reduced. Justice Steinman found the sons had “by deeds and words vociferously proclaimed their hatred of their father.” He also noted the daughter had also expressed some hostility towards her father.

Wife Interferes With Father’s Relationship With His Children

Justice Steinman found the wife had intentionally prevented the father from maintaining a loving relationship with his sons. The court had appointed a forensic evaluator in the case. The forensic evaluator concluded the wife had contributed to the boys’ “disenfranchisement” with their father. The forensic evaluator took the position that an award of custody to the mother would result in the sons’ having no relationship whatsoever with their father. The forensic evaluator took the position that an award of custody to the mother would result in the father having virtually no contact with his sons. In addition, the evaluator found the daughter would also eventually adopt the same position as her brothers and it would be impossible to establish a visitation arrangement between the father and his daughter.

Judge Steinman awarded the mother residential custody of her sons. He took this position because if he tried to award the father custody of his sons, it would only foster more hatred between them. However, he found it was in the daughter’s best interest to separate her from her brothers and from her mother. For the purpose of allowing the father to maintain a relationship with his daughter, he awarded the father legal and physical custody of his daughter.

Conclusion

This is a very unusual decision. Judges do not like to break up brothers and sisters. Here the judge had no choice. The mother’s actions would have turned the daughter against the father and he would have lost his relationship with all three children had the judge not taken this action.father's rights attorney

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

Custody Litigation

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

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer with more than 35 years of experience representing fathers in all aspects of family law and divorce.  He and his associates are available to discuss the details of your particular situation.  Please call him at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net to set up a consultation.

Child’s Surname Changed to That of His Father

child custody attorney on Long IslandIn a case before Supreme Court Justice Eugene Faughnan from Madison County, New York, a father sought to change the last name of his son. The father claimed he had had custody of his son since the boy was three months old. The mother only had eight hours of supervised visitation each week. Justice Faughnan found the father’s requested name change would promote the child’s best interests. In addition, Justice Faughnan found the mother had failed to come forward with any sustainable objection to the father’s request to change his son’s last name to his.

The Name Change Was In The Child’s Best Interest

Justice Faughnan held the sharing of a surname by a child and his father he lived with was a legitimate issue. He found that it minimized “embarrassment, harassment and confusion in school and social context.” The judge in his decision found the father obtained custody of the child shortly after birth. The mother only had supervised visitation because of her prior misconduct. In addition, Judge Faughnan found the mother had never provided the child with any financial support. The court therefore was satisfied the father had met his burden of proof for the proposed name change and that this name change would be in the child’s best interest.

father's rights lawyer in New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer. He represents fathers on custody, paternity, visitation (parenting time) cases in both the Supreme Court during divorce proceedings, and in the Family Courts. He practices law throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Father Given Custody of Special Needs Child

child  custody attorney for fathersA father, J.M., sought custody of his special needs child who had autism. He claimed the child should remain with him because he had been a primary caretaker since January 2012. The wife cross-moved for custody. She claimed the husband was unfit and sought custody of G.M. She denied various family offense charges which had been brought against her and that she used illegal drugs.

The Divorce Case

Justice Catherine DiDomenico sitting in the Supreme Court in Richmond County was assigned to handle this divorce case. After reading the facts and circumstances of the case she found joint custody was not an appropriate option. She held the relationship between the father and mother was both acrimonious and volatile. In her decision, she found the child’s teacher had stated G.M. had thrived while she was temporarily in the father’s custody. In addition, a forensic evaluator who investigated the circumstances and events of the relationship between the mother, the father and G.M. recommended the father should have physical custody and the mother should be granted parenting time.

Mother Failed To Abide By Court Orders

In addition, the court found the mother refused to follow court orders. She further found the mother disrespected authority and had issues over a long period of time concerning prescription drugs and illegal drug usage. The judge found based on these circumstances and the fact that there was domestic violence between the father and the mother, the father was the more suitable custodial parent for G.M. Her decision stated in this case there were “two imperfect parents.” She found both of them used marijuana on a regular basis. She found the father had tested negatively for marijuana use for a longer period of time than the wife. She also found the father was better suited to create a relationship between the mother and the child if he was given custody. She therefore entered a decision awarding the father sole legal and physical custody.

father's rights attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney. He has been helping fathers obtain custody of their children for more than 35 years.

Notice of Divorce Through Facebook

father's rights lawyersSupreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper, sitting in New York County, was faced with a dilemma concerning serving a man with notice of his divorce. The wife in this case brought a proceeding to serve her husband with divorce papers by giving him notice on Facebook. She claimed there was no other viable means to serve him. He did not have an address and he was unemployed.

Justice Cooper noted this was a case of first impression. His research indicated federal courts had, on several occasions, allowed service of process through the social media website, Facebook. However, the federal courts had also conditioned this upon service by an alternate method too.

Wife Unable to Serve Husband Through Other Means

Justice Cooper found the wife had submitted evidence she was unable to personally serve the husband after using due diligence. His whereabouts were unknown and it was impractical to serve the husband by any other method.

Breaking New Legal Ground

Justice Cooper stated this method of service of legal documents represented a “radical departure from the traditional notion of what constitutes service of process.” He found the wife had demonstrated the husband had regularly logged onto his Facebook account. He also found the wife had access to the husband by text messaging him. Justice Cooper granted the wife’s application to allow her attorney to serve the husband by notifying him on Facebook that he was effectuating legal service of process upon him. The attorney had to do this repeatedly for several weeks, or until acknowledged by the husband that it was received.

Conclusion

In the past, if you couldn’t be found, you couldn’t be sued for divorce. After this decision, even if you are hiding out and can’t be found, should you go on your Facebook account you can still be served in a divorce lawsuit.

father's rights advocate in New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer. He represents fathers in divorces, custody cases, child support proceedings and all other family related matters.

Challenging Unfair Orders of Protection

father's rights attorney Long IslandA woman can simply go into court, make a presentation, and under certain circumstances, obtain an Order of Protection against you. You may find out about the Order of Protection when you get served by a sheriff with the order. So, what do you do? What you shouldn’t do, is violate the terms of that Order of Protection. Even if you feel it is based on false, inaccurate, or even made up allegations, you would be committing a criminal act if you were to violate an Order of Protection.

Taking Quick Action

Temporary Orders of Protection can be set aside if quick legal action is taken. In the event the accusations made against you are untrue, or there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, you can be successful in setting aside Orders of Protection. In certain circumstances you may be able to show you were not even present when the alleged event took place. Alibi witnesses can be utilized in these situations to convince the court you were not involved in the alleged incident.

You can also show the court the purpose of the Orders of Protection did not relate to the individual taking the order out against you fearing for her life, health, or well being. You may be able to show the other party’s application for the Order of Protection was part of a legal strategy involved in either a custody or divorce case. Sometimes, Orders of Protection are preliminarily taken out to get a step up on the other individual in these types of proceedings.

Fighting Orders of Protection

The best way to fight an Order of Protection is to hire a qualified, experienced attorney who handles divorce and family law cases. Attorneys who do this type of legal work are generally familiar with litigating issues involving Orders of Protection. At the time you interview a prospective attorney regarding an Order of Protection, you should discuss with him or her the level of experience they have in handling these types of proceedings.

Order of Protection proceedings can be brought either in the Family Court or in the Supreme Court during the course of a marital dispute. The sooner you contact a qualified Order of Protection defense lawyer, the more likely you will be able to succeed in getting it dismissed. father's rights advocate in New York