Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney with more than 45 years experience representing fathers in all aspects of divorce, family law, equitable distribution and litigation.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Who Gets the House When There Are Children?

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Elliot S. Schlissel has been representing fathers for more than 45 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.

Equitable Distribution of a Pension

father's divorce attorney Long IslandAn appeal was brought by a husband from a Supreme Court judgment ordering equitable distribution of the parties’ marital assets. The Appeal’s Court found the lower court correctly ordered equitable distribution of two joint bank accounts and the parties’ stock portfolio. These they found were indeed marital property.

Separate Property vs. Marital Property

The Appeal’s Court agreed with the position taken by the husband that the Supreme Court failed to properly consider what part of his pension was marital property and what part was separate property. The Appeal’s Court found that the husband had proved the starting and ending dates of his employment with the United States Postal Service. In addition, he had proved the date of the parties’ marriage. This allowed the Court to determine the portion of the pension which was earned during the course of the marriage and would be considered marital property. The portion of the pension that was earned prior to the date of the marriage should be considered separate property.

Marital Home Husband’s Separate Property

In addition, the Appeal’s Court found the judge in the Supreme Court had also made a mistake in finding that the parties’ residence was marital property, and because of this awarding 50% of its appraised value to the wife. The Appeal’s Court found the home was separate property and it could not be transformed into marital property related to contributions of the wife to its maintenance and upkeep. Since the house was purchased by the husband prior to the marriage it was his separate property and not subject to equitable distribution.

father's rights attorney in New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney representing husbands and fathers regarding issues concerning custody, spousal maintenance, division of assets and all other matrimonial and Family Court issues throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

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.

Rights of the Stay at Home Father

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

Wife Awarded 100% of Assets Due to Husband’s Failure to Produce Documents

Elliot S. Schlissel, Family Law Attorney  1-800-344-6431; or schlissel.law@att.net

Wife Tries to Set Aside a Prenuptial Agreement

A husband and wife entered into a prenuptial agreement several weeks prior to their marriage. The wife has brought a proceeding to set aside the prenuptial agreement based on coercion and duress. In her moving papers, she advised the court she trusted her husband and signed the agreement because he told her to do so. She also claimed she didn’t understand what she signed because no one explained the agreement to her. In addition, she claimed she could not read or write in the English language well enough to understand the legalese contained in the prenuptial agreement.

Wife Represented by Counsel

The attorney for the husband argued the wife had misrepresented what transpired. To start with, she was represented by an attorney of her choosing. Her attorney testified at a hearing that if he had felt the wife did not understand the agreement or understand him, he would have hired an interpreter. All of his negotiations and discussions with her were in the English language. He had no reason to believe she did not understand him when they were talking together. And he believed she understood the agreement that was executed.

The Court’s Decision

Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine sitting in a divorce part in Kings County found the wife’s allegations that she did not understand English, “patently incredible.” He stated in his decision she obtained a degree in English while living in Russia. She taught Russians to speak English while living in Russia and also taught Russians to speak English while living in the United States. The wife had executed the agreement at its end. She had sufficient opportunity to meet with her attorney. There was no evidence she was defrauded into signing the prenuptial agreement or duress was used in motivating her to execute the prenuptial agreement. Justice Sunshine found no reason to set aside the prenuptial agreement.


This is an example of a wife trying to convince a court to set aside a prenuptial agreement based on nonsensical arguments. The purpose of prenuptial agreements is to lock in the parties’ financial responsibilities in order to avoid litigation at the time of separation or the death of one of the parties. In this case, it looks like the wife decided she was not satisfied with what she was getting in the prenuptial agreement so she took a shot at setting it aside. Unfortunately for her she had no valid reason to set aside the prenuptial agreement.assistance for fathers in divorce litigation

Wife’s Application in Divorce Lawsuit to Punish Husband Fails

dad's attorney on Long IslandIn the case of Steineger v. Perkins, special referee Louis Crespo sitting in a Family Court Part in New York County had a case before him in which a plaintiff wife alleged that her husband had failed to produce documents necessary for the prosecution of divorce and therefore should not be allowed to present evidence with regard to financial issues regarding the case. The wife brought an application to preclude the husband from offering any evidence or testimony of any type at the trial concerning financial issues. In addition, she brought an application for attorney’s fees and monetary sanctions against the husband. She claimed the marital estate held millions of dollars in it. She also claimed the defendant’s allegations that these funds were his separate property was untrue.

Separate Assets

The defendant husband took the position that yes he had millions of dollars in separate assets. These assets were all accumulated prior to his marriage to the plaintiff and were not subject to equitable distribution in a divorce.

Special Referee Crespo, in his decision, found the testimony of the wife, plaintiff, did not support her claim her husband had intentionally failed to produce documentation of his assets. He also didn’t find she had been prejudiced by the husband’s actions. Special Referee Crespo reached the decision the wife did not meet her burden of proof in showing her husband had purposely or willfully failed to produce documents or that he was engaging in the type of conduct which would prevent him giving testimony or introducing evidence at the time of trial. The court noted in its decision since the wife had not met her burden of proof she was not entitled to preclude the husband’s introduction of financial testimony into evidence. In addition she was not entitled to either attorney’s fees or monetary sanctions against the husband.


If you cooperate with the court and provide the appropriate information, courts won’t punish you.

father's rights advocate Elliot S. Schlissel represents fathers in custody cases and with regard to issues regarding child support. He has been referred to as the dad’s attorney.

Why Do It Yourself Divorces Are a Bad Idea

father's rights lawyersThere are a number of companies advertising on the internet do it yourself divorces. These companies are usually run by paralegals or individuals with computer experience. Generally the individuals involved with these companies are not lawyers. The companies provide forms which they claim were developed by attorneys. They claim that these forms are all you need to handle your own divorce.

Do It Yourself Divorce Forms Not Appropriate in All Cases

The forms by the do it yourself divorce companies may be accepted by some courts. However, these forms do not provide a divorce specifically designed for the circumstances of you and your family. These do it yourself divorce companies do not provide legal representation or legal advice. Sometimes by utilizing these forms you can do more harm than good to your family situation. Numerous individuals who have used these pre-prepared forms have made significant mistakes that cost them money, lost custody of their children, and resulted in their being forced out of their home.

Amicable Divorce

The large number of couples using these divorce forms are generally on good terms. They use these forms with the hope of saving money. However, very simple, uncontested divorces are those which are the least expensive to hire an attorney to handle.

Protecting your assets, receiving custody and/or visitation with your children, keeping your home, are among the more serious issues that you should utilize an attorney to protect your interests regarding. There are numerous assets subject to equitable distribution in divorce cases. These assets include homes, individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, pension plans, 403(b) plans, businesses, professional licenses, stocks, bonds and all types of other assets. Using pre-prepared divorce forms won’t help you protect your rights to a portion of these assets.

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance can be expensive. There are specific rules in New York with regard to each spouse having availability of medical insurance in the event of a divorce. Medical insurance is also important for your children. Divorce kits won’t help you concerning this issue.

Hidden Assets

Has your spouse provided you with information with regard to all of his or her assets? You are entitled to this information. You are entitled to receive a net worth statement from your spouse disclosing all of his or her assets.

Debts are another issue in a divorce. Who is going to pay the credit card bills, the personal loans, and the car loans? The divorce laws in New York deal with the allocation of these debts. An attorney who handles divorces would be in a position to see to it that your rights are protected concerning issues involving the payment of debts.

Child Support, Spousal Maintenance, Visitation and Custody

If you have children it is extremely important to protect your children’s rights to live up to the standard of living they experienced during the course of the marriage. Custody issues and visitation issues are very complex. If your spouse gets custody of your children will she be able to move to California, New Zealand or Puerto Rico? A properly drafted settlement in divorce will see to it that your spouse cannot move the children so far away that would interfere with your visitation.

There are numerous other issues such as Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, college expenses for children, child care expenses, day camp expenses, uncovered medical, dental, orthodontia, and so on.

Elliot S. SchlisselConclusion

I hope this article has opened your eyes as to why attorneys are important in representing clients in divorces.

Husband Awarded 50% Equitable Distribution of Family’s Assets

In a recent case in Queens County, a wife had brought a divorce case against her husband. She was successful in the divorce proceeding and the husband appealed. The Appellate Division Second Department (an appeals court) reversed a decision of the Judicial Hearing Officer. The case was sent back for a retrial on the issue of husband’s contributions to the marital estate related to his request for equitable distribution of the marital assets.

Appeals Court Decision

The Appellate Division in its decision had said the Judicial Hearing Officer’s decision was “patently unfair” to the husband. The wife’s position in the second trial was basically the same as in the first. She presented legal argument her husband should not receive equitable distribution of the marital assets. She claimed he was “lazy and did odd jobs.”

The court, after a hearing, found the wife was the moneyed spouse. She was working as a micro-biologist and received a substantial income. During the course of the marriage, the husband took care of the parties’ marital home. He also raised the parties’ son. In addition, he found parcels of real estate that needed to be fixed up as investments.

Decision After Rehearing

Judge Pam Jackman Brown sitting in Kings County held the husband had made significant non-economic contributions to the marital estate. As a result of the husband’s non-economic contributions, the parties were enabled to live a “lavish lifestyle.” She also found the husband’s actions helped promote the wife’s career. Judge Jackman Brown went on to find in her decision the parties’ wealth and lifestyle related to the husband’s insight with regard to the acquisition of lucrative buildings that resulted in significant profits. She concluded the evidence supported the husband’s request for a 50% share of equitable distribution of all of the marital assets. This is based on his non-economic contributions to the home and raising the parties’ child.


assistance for fathersStay at home dads can play important rolls in their marriages entitling them to significant equitable distribution of the parties assets in a divorce.

Elliot Schlissel and his staff of father’s rights lawyers have been protecting father’s rights for more than 45 years.