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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

Appellate Court Overrules Trial Court’s Decision Giving Mother Sole Custody

father's rights lawyerThere was a marriage between Melissa C.D. and Rene I.D. in 1990. Three children were born from the marriage. A fourteen year old daughter, a five year old daughter, and a seventeen year old son. The parties lived together until October 2010.

In a proceeding in November 2010, acting Supreme Court Justice Ann O’Shea awarded Melissa sole residential custody of the parties’ daughters. She made this ruling in spite of the fact the fourteen year old child wanted to continue to live with her father. Judge O’Shea’s decision was based upon her finding the daughter’s best interests were to have no contact with her father or brother for six weeks after moving. Although Justice O’Shea awarded physical custody to Rene, she gave the parties joint decision making authority with regard to all issues concerning healthcare and education. However, in the event of a dispute between the parties Melissa was to have the tie breaking authority to make the final decision.

Children Alienated

The basis for Judge O’Shea’s decision was her ruling that Rene had alienated the older children. She found the alienation related to Rene making inappropriate comments about Melissa. Judge O’Shea found that as a result of the parental alienation of the two older children, they were “vindictive, cruel, angry and broken children.” Judge O’Shea understood the oldest daughter would not be happy with being forced to live with her mother against her wishes. However, in her decision she stated this was “temporary and far less emotionally destructive than abandoning her to an unfit parent which may leave her with permanent emotional scars.”

Appeals Court Decision

The appeals court found although Rene had made inappropriate comments with regard to Melissa, Judge O’Shea’s ruling was incorrect. They found she was “placing undue emphasis on a single factor, the father’s alleged alienation” of the two children. The appeals court found the decision was not in the oldest daughter’s best interest. The appeals court stated in its decision this would “disrupt her life by removing her against her wishes from her father and brother in Manhattan, where she had always lived, and placing her with her mother and her mother’s lover, a situation that she is not comfortable with, on Long Island, in a community that she does not know.” The appeals court felt Judge O’Shea did not take into consideration Melissa’s inappropriate behavior. The court found Melissa’s inappropriate behavior was a factor in the children’s feeling of abandonment and anger. In addition, the appeals court panel took into consideration a court appointed independent, forensic evaluator at the time of the trial had testified there was no evidence the two older children had been alienated by the father. The appeals court also advised the father to be careful as to what he says to the children in the future. His obligation will be to promote the relationship between the children and the mother.

Conclusion

advocating father's rights on Long IslandThis was a victory for father’s rights.

Social Media Websites and Divorce Proceedings

father's rights lawyersRecently questions have arisen as to whether social media websites are having an impact on increasing the divorce rates in the United States. There are many social media websites, such as MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, and numerous other ones. Increasingly, lawyers and investigators are obtaining information from social media websites with regard to spouses carrying on elicit affairs and romances during the course of their marriage. Access to an individual’s social media websites can provide all types of information concerning their social activities. In a recent survey of attorneys who are members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, it was found that there has been a significant increase in number of divorce cases which have utilized evidence obtained from material posted on social media websites by parties to the litigation.

Private Investigators Use Social Media Websites

In the old days, it was necessary to hire a private investigator to investigate the private life of a spouse who may have been committing adultery. Today, investigators instead of going into the field with a camera and/or snooping around motel rooms search through photo files, comments on walls, information on the individual’s profile pages, and all types of other information gleamed from social media websites. Photos taken from social media websites are increasingly finding their ways into court proceedings.

It is said a photo is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, the wrong photo can be the basis of a divorce proceeding. In addition, photos have been utilized by criminal attorneys in driving while intoxicated cases to show dependence on alcohol or inappropriate drinking habits. Inappropriate behavior demonstrated by material taken from a social media website can be used in divorce proceedings to document an individual would be a poor choice to be the custodial parent. This can be an effective technique to obtain evidence in child custody and child support proceedings.

In addition to the utilization of photographs in court proceedings, incriminating and/or inappropriate photographs are also used by attorneys in negotiating out of court settlements in divorce and family court litigation. There are many cases of compromising photographs on websites creating pressure in negotiations to force settlements in divorce cases.

Social Media Website Used for Flirting

In 2008, a study was done entitled “The Pew Study of Internet and American Life.” One of the interesting results of this study was it was found that 20% of all adults interviewed in the study who maintained online social media websites stated they had flirted with others on these websites.
Jason Krafsky has written a book called Facebook and Your Marriage. In his book, he claims that spouses need to set limits on what they utilized social media websites for. He recommends in his book spouses share passwords and user names. He suggests this so they can each check what each other is doing on social media websites. He specifically recommends spouses do not maintain communication on social media websites with ex-lovers. He claims this can lead to misunderstandings and have a negative effect on the marital relationships.

finding evidence to help husbands in divorceElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer practicing in the Metropolitan New York area. His office represents fathers on issues concerning child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and the division of property in divorce proceedings.

Child Abuse and Child Protection Services Agencies – Part I

Most child abuse allegations coming into the Child Protection Services (CPS) on Long Island and Association for Child Services (ACS) in the City of New York come in by anonymous phone calls on child abuse hotlines. On a national basis, about 3.5 million reports of child abuse are made each and every year. Child protection agencies are supposed to sort out which of the claims being made are credible and which are phony or trivial. The large majority of states have a screening process to determine which claims of child abuse should be followed up and which should be ignored.

Child protection agencies have the job of seeing to it children are protected. However, what child protection agencies shouldn’t do is intervene in the private lives of families where there is actually no child abuse. Unfortunately, in the State of New York, child abuse investigative agencies err on the side of caution in almost all cases. Part of the reason for the overly aggressive behavior of child abuse investigators has to do with the fact that they are forced to make significant decisions regarding the health and welfare of children with limited information being provided to them.

Child Abuse Investigations

Upon receiving information about an alleged case of child abuse or neglect, the child protection agency may start an investigation, assign a social worker to look into the family circumstances, suggest counseling to families, and/or bring a proceeding in the Family Court in the State of New York for child abuse or child neglect. These proceedings can result in the removal of the child from the custody of the parent.

The issue that investigators and social workers for child protection agencies have is determining whether parents are mistreating their children or is this a situation where the parents are just trying to do the right thing.

father's advocateElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer. His law firm protects parents from improper findings of child abuse and child neglect.

Enforcing Rights of New Fathers

father's rights lawyerParental leave for the birth of new children should be for both mothers and fathers. Presently birth mothers are entitled to ten weeks of paid vacation leave upon giving birth. When men and women adopt children, both the man and the woman are entitled to parental leave. Unfortunately, if you are the biological father of the child, you are only entitled to two weeks of parental leave.

Biological Fathers Are Second Class Citizens

At a time when men and women have equal rights to custody and equal rights to parenting time (visitation with their children), it is time men have equal rights also to parental leave when they are fortunate enough to have child come into this world. Most employers do not provide parental leave for new fathers. In families where both the mother and father work, sometimes it is more practical for the father to stay home and take care of the newborn child than the mother. Currently there are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination against fathers who have the responsibilities of taking care of young children. Should it be considered sex discrimination if an employer provides paid leave for a mother to take care of a newborn child but doesn’t provide for paid leave for a father in the same situation?

Men Raising Children

Men taking responsibility to help raise a newborn child are acting outside of the normal gender roles for men and women. When a man takes time off from work to spend time with a newborn child it helps him bond with the child. To make a woman equal to a man in the workplace requires the man also be equal to the woman with regard to benefits and responsibilities.

advocating new father's rightsElliot S. Schlissel, Esq., is a father’s rights attorney. He has represented fathers for more than 35 years with regard to protecting father’s rights in divorces, custody and parenting time issues.

Custody Changed Where Mother Alienated Children Against Father

father's rights lawyerReferee Dean Richardson-Mendelson, sitting in the Family Court of Rockland County, recently had a very disturbing case presented to him involving parental alienation of three children by a mother against their father. In this case, the father sought to modify a previously entered Judgment of Divorce. The settlement in the divorce case had granted both the mother and the father joint legal custody of the parties’ three children. The father now sought sole legal custody and sole physical custody of all three children due to the mother’s relentless program of parental alienation of the three children against the father.

Father’s Parenting Time in the Judgment of Divorce

In the original Judgment of Divorce the father was granted parenting time on alternating weekends. In addition he had two dinner visits with the children during the week. Pursuant to the Judgment of Divorce the father had parenting time on alternating holidays in addition to the standard weekly visitation.

Court Grants Sole Legal Custody and Physical Custody to Father

Referee Dean Richardson-Mendelson found the mother had systematically over a period of time, engaged in parental alienation of the children. Her actions were of such a nature to prevent the father from having a relationship with his children. Referee Richardson-Mendelson found the mother’s actions were systematic and designed to sabotage the father’s relationship with his children.

The Court noted in its decision the children maintained a negative view of the father that was not related to the actual reality of the parental situation between the father and the children. He further found the distortion in the relationship between the children and the father was caused by the mother’s relentless campaign of negatively influencing the children against the father. The court ordered a change in custody of two of the three children. Unfortunately, the court found that the third child was so indoctrinated by the mother to hate her father, he was concerned that she would run away.

parental alienation assistanceElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer representing fathers throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years with regard to custody, visitation and divorce related issues.

Child Support: Are You Paying Too Much?

father's rights lawyerIn the State of New York, the non-residential custodial parent must pay child support to the residential custodial parent. There are specific requirements in New York concerning how much child support the non-residential custodial parent must pay. Generally speaking, the non-residential custodial parent must pay the residential custodial parent 17% of gross wages, less FICA, for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children and 35% for five children or more.

The parent paying the child support is entitled to deductions for the amount he is paying in spousal maintenance (alimony) or child support for another child. In addition to paying these prescribed child support amounts pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act (a federal law enacted in all 50 states), the parent must additionally make contributions towards child care expenses and health care expenses.

Change in Financial Circumstances

Your child support expenses do not change if you lose your job, get downsized, become too ill to work, or retire before the child reaches the age of majority. To reduce your child support expenses, you either have to enter into an agreement with the other parent and have that agreement So Ordered by a judge or you have to bring a petition in either the Family Court or the Supreme Court (if you were divorced or a matrimonial action is pending) to reduce your child support obligations. The court can only award a reduction of child support starting on the date you brought your initial petition to the court. The child support reductions will not be retroactive to the time that you had the change in your financial circumstances which caused you to bring the application to court to reduce your child support expenses.

Child Support and Father’s Rights

Many fathers who have dealt with the Family Courts in the State of New York have come to the conclusion when the mother seeks custody of the children, the Courts tend to favor the mothers. Fathers need to be very aggressive when bringing an application to reduce child support payments. The best manner for a father to handle these matters is to hire an experienced dedicated father’s rights lawyer to represent him in these proceedings. There are a variety of technical aspects to downward modifications of child support a father must satisfy to convince a judge to reduce his child support obligations.

Father Loses His Job

Just because a father loses his job does not automatically entitle him to a downward modification of child support. The father must prove in court the loss of the job was not because he had done something wrong and also show the court through documentary evidence he has used due diligence to obtain other employment.

Is There Fairness in Child Support Orders?

I have been practicing law for more than 35 years. There are numerous times each month where I am presented with a case where the standard rules concerning child support may be unfair to a father paying child support. Since each case has its own unique circumstances, my office provides a roadmap as to what is necessary for the client to be successful in a proceeding for the downward modification of child support. We help gather the evidence and prepare the client for the necessary court appearances. If the case is properly prepared and properly presented a court will usually grant the downward modification of child support.child support attorneys

Distribution of Pensions and Retirement Assets in Divorces

fathers rights attorneysIn the State of New York, the distribution of assets accumulated during the course of a marriage is dealt with under the theory of equitable distribution. If the parties cannot amicably resolve issues concerning their assets in a divorce, the assets of the marriage which include, cars, houses, personal property, cash, investment assets, pensions and retirement accounts, are equitably distributed by a judge. The equitable distribution of retirement assets, pensions, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs, can be a complicated process. Sometimes these assets need to be evaluated by a pension evaluation firm or an actuarial firm to determine the portion of the pension asset which was accumulated during the course of the marriage.

Retirement accounts the parties accumulate during the course of the marriage are considered marital property subject to equitable distribution. This is true even if only one spouse has a pension and the other spouse didn’t work. When there are retirement assets such as pensions, 401(k)s, or 403(b)s, which accumulated during the course of a marriage, it is necessary to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (hereinafter referred to as a “QDRO”). The purpose of a QDRO is to provide the administrators of the retirement asset with a breakdown as to how the benefits shall be paid between the employee and the non-employee spouse. QDROs also eliminate, minimize and/or distribute, the taxes that are to be paid between the parties when the deferred compensation assets are received.

QDROs

QDROs are very complicated court orders. The process to obtain a QDRO usually involves providing a pension analysis firm or actuarial firm with all of the necessary financial information related to the pension or deferred compensation plan. These firms analyze the portion of the asset accumulated during the marriage and the portion accumulated prior to the marriage. After clarifying this information, they draft the QDRO and forward it to the attorneys for the respective parties. The attorneys thereafter check the QDRO to make sure it is accurate and submit the QDRO to the judge handling the divorce for his/her signature. After the QDRO is executed by the judge, it is served by the attorneys on the administrators of the retirement accounts referred to in the QDRO. QDROs are important to see to it that the parties to a divorce obtain the retirement benefits they are entitled to. These benefits will become very important down the road when they will help pay for living expenses during the respective party’s retirement.father's advocate

Change of Circumstances Necessary for Court to Change Custody

fathers rights lawyerIn a case in Westchester Family Court decided in August 2013, Judicial Hearing Officer Howard Spitz dealt with competing applications by both the mother and the father to modify a So Ordered Stipulation of Settlement granting physical custody to a child’s mother. Both the father and the mother filed petitions with the Family Court seeking to have custody changed to sole custody for them.

Forensic Evaluator Appointed

The Court ordered an independent forensic evaluator be appointed. The evaluator was ordered to write a report concerning the competing custody petitions. The report of the forensic evaluator called the mother a “restrictive gate keeper.” The report by the forensic evaluator recommended the court grant the father sole custody.

The attorney for the mother hired an independent expert to provide his own forensic report. The expert hired by the mother’s counsel, testified there were deficiencies and major flaws in the report of the court appointed evaluator. Judicial Hearing Officer Spitz found there were “errors of omission by the court appointed independent forensic evaluator.”

Failure to Prove Change of Circumstances

Judicial Hearing Officer Spitz in his decision stated neither the mother nor the father were able to establish a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a change or modification of the custody arrangement worked out in the 2008 Stipulation of Settlement.

Judicial Hearing Officer Spitz’s decision found the child was well adjusted, didn’t have anxiety, and was a good student. His decision stated giving one parent all decision making authority and awarding that parent sole custody was not in the child’s best interest. Both the father’s and the mother’s petitions were denied. The court did change decision making authority from the mother to the father concerning all issues involving education and financial matters.advocate for fathers

Center for Urban Families in Baltimore Helps Fathers

fathers rights lawyerBaltimore has a program run by the Center for Urban Families designed to help fathers reestablish relationships with their children. The Center helps fathers find jobs as part of their programs. Since its inception, hundreds of fathers working with the counselors in this program have learned to become more responsible parents and reestablish relationships with children whom they had abandoned.

Joe Jones, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the program, recently stated “what we want to do is get these people above ground and back into the mainstream.” In addition to helping fathers find jobs, the Center takes action to end what Joe Jones refers to as “the cycle of father absence.” The Center seeks to break the cycle of fathers not being responsible for their children.

Children Raised Without Fathers

In 2012, the American Community Survey which was undertaken by the United States Census Bureau showed approximately 19 million children across the United States live in homes without a father.

Many men who come into the Center grew up in homes without fathers. Studies show children who are raised without fathers have a greater likelihood of parenting children during their teens. In addition, children raised without fathers have higher instances of drug abuse and being involved in criminal activity, pursuant to the National Father Initiative. It is the goal of the Center’s Responsible Fatherhood Program to provide men the support system and the basic tools they need to become responsible parents for their children. The program teaches fathers a variety of parenting skills including how to be financially responsible for their children.

About the Founder – Joe Jones

Joe Jones’ father left when he was 9 years old. Jones became a drug addict. He spent more than 17 years taking drugs, selling drugs and committing crimes to support his drug habit. When Jones was 21 years old he had a son. He took no responsibility for the child. In 1986, Jones was convicted of a variety of drug related criminal offenses. He was placed in a residential rehabilitation program. After completing the program, Jones went to Baltimore City Community College and obtained an Associate’s Degree. He worked for a series of non-profit organizations in Baltimore. During this time he realized there were no programs to help fathers. In 1992, he founded the Men’s Service Program at the Baltimore Department of Health. Seven years later he founded his own non-profit organization, The Center for Urban Families. He took this action because he felt he needed to give something back to the community for helping him restart his life. Jones claims to become a better father, you need to become a better man!

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