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.


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

Complying With Court Ordered Visitation Orders

father's rights lawyer in New YorkOnce a court order is issued by a court of competent jurisdiction concerning the issue of custody, the parties to the proceeding are required to comply with all of the provisions of this order. This is true even if compliance with the court order is inconvenient for one of the parties. Custody orders determine who shall have parenting time with the child during the course of a year. There can be problems with schedules concerning court ordered visitation. If the parties are not able to amicably work out changes in the scheduling of the visitation they have to comply with the court order.

Failing to Comply With Court Ordered Visitation

When a parent fails to comply with a court order concerning visitation and parenting time with the child, the other parent whose rights have been impacted can take legal action to hold the other parent in contempt, have that parent sanctioned, and/or have custody changed. In those situations, the court can ask the parent who violated the prior order to pay the other parent’s legal fees.

Custody orders usually take into consideration the child’s relationship with each of the parents and the non-residential custodial parent’s rights to have parenting time with the child.

Relocation and the Impact on the Non-Residential Custodial Parent

In situations where the residential custodial parent seeks to relocate the court will take into consideration how the relocation of the child will impact on the other parent’s ability to visit with the child and maintain a relationship with the child. There is an appeals case in the State of New York called Stetson v. Feringa which provides an important example of how courts in New York look upon requests for relocation.

In this case, the parents had joint custody of their son. The son resided with the mother and the father had visitation. The father had brain surgery prior to the child’s birth. He suffered from various impairments as a result of the brain surgery. The mother had been facilitating the visits with the father and providing transportation to and from the visits.

Mother Refuses To Provide Transportation For Child’s Visits With Father

The mother met a fellow online and decided to marry him. Unfortunately she lived in New York and he lived in Oklahoma. For purposes of the marriage he temporarily moved to New York. After the marriage, the mother refused to provide transportation for the visits of the boy and his father. Due to the lack of transportation the father had no visitation with his son for about six months. Thereafter the mother brought a proceeding to modify the prior custody order. She also sought to move with the son to Oklahoma. The Family Court found the mother’s request was without merit and dismissed the proceeding. She appealed the ruling.

The Appeals Court

The appeals court rendered a decision that the purpose of the mother moving to Oklahoma was her remarriage. The court found this was not a sufficient reason to uproot the boy. They found it was not in the child’s best interests to move to Oklahoma, but in the mother’s best interests. The mother claimed she would have enhanced financial capabilities in Oklahoma, but the court found these were not significant enough to overcome the fact that it was not in her child’s best interest to move from the locale of the father.

Out of Court Resolution

If you are having difficulty concerning visitation and parenting issues with the other parent of your child, the best way to deal with this is through an out of court negotiated resolution. If you cannot speak to him or her, you can hire an attorney to deal with this issue.

help for fathers in New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer who represents clients concerning custody, child relocation, divorce, child support and other family related issues. He has been helping his clients for almost 40 years regarding these matters.

Father Granted Supervised Overnight Visitation

In a proceeding before Judge Ann O’Shea sitting in the Family Court of Kings County, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) brought a neglect proceeding against a father. They alleged the father R.S. had neglected his daughter by committing acts of domestic violence against the child’s mother. They also claim the father had violated an existing Order of Protection which had been taken out by the mother against him. During the course of this proceeding the father was granted temporary visitation. This visitation allowed him to visit with the child for eight hours on Saturdays while being supervised by his mother, the child’s grandmother.

Further Extension of Visitation

The father has now brought a further application to the Family Court asking that his visitation be extended to supervised overnight visitation.

The attorney for the child’s mother has alleged that she opposed the father having further visitation with the child. She was not comfortable with the idea of further overnight visitation. This was in spite of the fact that ACS consented to the further supervised overnight visits by the father from Friday evenings through Saturday.

The court took into consideration that the visitation with the father was going well. The mother argued the child was not comfortable with this further expansion of the visitation and therefore the father’s visitation should not be expanded to overnights.

Judge O’Shea found the expansion of the father’s visitation was consistent with the policy of the Family Court Act and ACS guidelines for determining the appropriate level of supervision regarding family visits. The court found the ACS guidelines allowed for overnight visitation and weekend visits between a parent and a child during the pendency of proceedings in the Family Court for neglect. The court further found the extension of the visitation by the father did not expose the child to negative risks concerning physical, mental or the emotional well being of the child. The court therefore granted the father’s petition extending his visitation.

Father’s Rights

Fathers have an important role to play in their children’s lives. Where a child has two loving, dedicated parents, the child’s life is enhanced. Granting the father, in this case, expanded visitation with his child was in the child’s best interest. Family Court judges should do everything in their power to promote father’s rights to have relationships with their children in all situations where it is shown that the father is having a positive impact on the children’s lives.Long Island CPS defense for fathers

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

Father Given Sole Custody Due To Mother’s Interference With His Visitation Rights

father's rights lawyerThe Appellate Division of the Third Department, an appeals court in Upstate New York, recently rendered a decision affirming changing custody from the mother to the father based on the mother’s interference with the father’s rights to visit with the parties’ child.

The parties had initially entered into an agreement whereby the mother was given an award of sole custody. In addition, she was given a one year stay away order of protection against the father.

Father Files Petitions

The father filed a violation petition and custody petition in the Family Court. He alleged the mother had been continually interfering with his parenting time with the parties’ child. There were hearings in the Family Court. The Family Court judge found the mother had not complied with the visitation provisions in the court’s custody orders. The Family Court ordered the custody changed from the mother to the father. The father was given sole custody of the parties’ child. The mother filed an appeal.

The Decision on Appeal

The Appeals Court unanimously affirmed the changing of the custody of the child from the mother to the father. The Appeals Court found the mother had frequently violated the terms and her obligations under the prior court orders requiring her to cooperate with regard to promoting the relationship between the father and child and by refusing to give him his parenting time with the child. Instead of complying with the court orders for long periods of time, the mother simply refused to give the father visitation with the child. The mother intentionally violated court orders on a regular basis.

The Appeals panel took into consideration the fact the mother’s fitness to care for the child had deteriorated. In the end, the appeals court found it was in the child’s best interest to give the father sole custody.custody assistance for father's on Long Island

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.


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

Obtaining Custody for Children Born to Unmarried Fathers

father's rights lawyer in New YorkPaternity Proceeding

In the State of New York, a father can sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the time a child is born. The acknowledgment of paternity specifically states that I am the father of this child. If an acknowledgment of paternity isn’t executed by the father at the time of the child’s birth, the first step in obtaining visitation rights or custody is to file a paternity proceeding.

The Paternity Proceeding

The paternity proceeding is fast and simple if the mother simply says, yes he is the father. However, if the mother disputes the fact he is the father or there is a question in her mind as to who the father is, the court in New York will order DNA testing to ascertain whether this man is actually the father of the child.

Custody Petitions and Visitation Petitions

Once paternity is established, the next step is to file an application for custody or in the alternative for visitation with the child. These petitions are filed in the Family Court in the county where the child is located. This petition can ask for sole custody, joint custody, or just simply for visitation. After the petition is filed, the court will make arrangements to serve the child’s mother. The two of you will then have to appear in court on the return date of the petition.

Establishing That You Are The Superior Custodial Parent

If you seek custody of your child, you must show it is in the child’s best interest you be named the residential custodial parent. In addition, you can show why the mother should not have custody of her child. Issues the mother has with drug abuse, child abuse, child neglect, prior history of drug abuse, criminal records, and associating with inappropriate and/or violent individuals can be the basis for your asking for custody of your child.

Visitation With Your Child

If you simply seek visitation with your child, and you have no negative history which would prevent you from having visitation rights, the usual visitation regimen given by the Family Courts in New York is every other holiday, every other weekend, and one dinner during the week. Also, fathers are given access to the child on Father’s Day and the child’s birthday. In addition, the child should be entitled to telephone and Skype contact with the father on a regular basis.


Children have two parents. They should have relationships with both parents. This helps them grow up to be well meaning, well balanced adults.father's rights advocate on Long Island

Fathers Have the Same Rights in Custody Matters as Mothers

father's rights attorneysThe law in New York is gender neutral. Fathers currently have the same rights to have custody of their children as mothers, in Family Court custody proceedings as well as in the Supreme Court in divorce proceedings. For fathers to win custody cases they must carefully prepare their cases to assert their father’s rights. The area of father’s rights law is a growing area of the law in many states. Fathers who want to have an active role in their children’s lives need to be prepared to fight for their father’s rights. Father’s rights lawyers have an expertise in the presentation of custody cases on behalf of fathers.

Tender Years Doctrine

One of the doctrines utilized in the past that prevented fathers from obtaining custody of young children was the Tender Years Doctrine. This doctrine advocated mothers were better suited to provide the love and care for young children. The laws that currently exist in the State of New York are gender neutral. The law no longer recognizes mothers have any superior right to have custody of a child at any age. The standard as to who should receive custody of the child is based on the child’s best interest.

In making decisions in custody cases, courts review many relevant factors. They base their decision on what is in the best overall interest of the child. Although mothers still win more custody cases than fathers, fathers have made significant inroads in recent years in obtaining custody of children.

Joint Custody

Joint custody arrangements can be negotiated between the attorneys for the father and the mother. Joint custody arrangements involve the sharing by both parents of duties with regard to the raising of the children. Joint custody allows the children to be close with both parents and have the love and affection of both a father and a mother on a regular basis.

Parenting Time

The more modern term for visitation with children is referred to as parenting time. Today, parenting time plans (which used to be called visitation agreements) can be worked out to set up mutually agreeable visitation schedules that take into account the employment of both the father and mother, the needs of the children to attend school, see doctors and dentists, and the transportation issues involving the children participating in extra curricular activities in after school programs. Parenting schedules can be flexible to allow the parents to work out last minute changes in their employment schedules and unforeseen matters that prevent them from utilizing their time with the children.

Child Support

The parent who receives custody of the child is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. Even in joint custody situations, there is a residential custodial parent designated in the parenting agreement. The non-residential custodial parent must pay child support to the residential custodial parent.


The best way to evaluate your situation is to contact an attorney that handles father’s rights cases to discuss the feasibility of your goals and to obtain a road map as to how to achieve those goals.advocate for fathers

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

Fast Track in Nassau County Family Court for Reuniting Parents and Children

father's rights attorneysNassau County has a new program to reunite children who have been taken away from their parents. This new program was set up by Nassau County Family Court Supervising Judge, Edmond Dane. The program is specifically designed to reunite parents with children under the age of 5. The fast track program is called “Babies Can’t Wait.”

Babies Can’t Wait

The program has been set up in conjunction with the Nassau Family Court, the Nassau County Department of Social Services and Adelphi University’s Institute for Parenting. Adelphi’s parenting institute is a private organization that is designed to promote relationships between children and their parents.

The program is designed to reduce risk, in cases involving either child abuse or child neglect, that children will be harmed. It tries to establish a secure caregiver for infants. There is a preference in the program for biological parents.

The program uses a team approach. The team is comprised of assigned attorneys, family members, an infant mental health specialist from Adelphi, a court facilitator, a deputy County Attorney, and foster care workers who will meet monthly before Judge Dane.

Judge Dane has stated he hopes the new program will be successful in reducing terminations of parental rights. The program also seeks to keep children under the age of 5 out of foster care.

Judge Dane has stated “when a child is taken from a parent, regardless of age, there is trauma.” He further stated “separation affects bonding and attachment especially with babies.” The program is designed to engage parents from the beginning and monitor their progress more often. It is the intent of the program to speed negotiations and result in quicker resolution of infant related cases.

Adelphi University

Adelphi University is providing joint therapy for parents and children. These therapy sessions focus on interaction and care of the children. The therapy sessions allow for additional visitation between the children and the parent.

The Prior Social Service Program Involving Removed Children in Nassau County

Without this program, when the Department of Social Services removes a child from a home, the parent or the child’s guardian has to go to the Family Court and file a petition for a hearing. The Judge then makes a determination at the time of the hearing whether the child faces an imminent danger. If the judge determines that the child faces an imminent danger, the child is not allowed to go home.

The case is then adjourned and a Fact Finding Hearing is held to determine if the child has been abused or neglected. In the event there is a finding of either child abuse or child neglect by the judge an additional hearing called a Dispositional Hearing is held. A Dispositional Hearing can be equated to a sentencing hearing in a criminal case. As a result of these hearings, an investigation is initiated by the Department of Social Services. This investigation takes a number of months and sometimes as long as a year.

Permanency Hearing

After the investigation a Permanency Hearing is held. The purpose of this hearing is to determine long term what shall happen to the child. Should the child be given back to the mother? Should the mother or father’s parental rights be terminated? Should the child be given to a guardian?

Babies Can’t Wait Program

Under Judge Dane’s Babies Can’t Wait program a Fact Finding Hearing is finished in as little as a month and a half. The Permanency Solution for the family would be decided within a year. Judge Dane claims “the longer you let a trial linger the less your chances of success. We want to make sure the focus is on the services rather than the abuse allegation.”

Judge Dane takes the position if the parents deserve it, he wants to give them an opportunity to improve the situation and get back into a relationship with their children.

Hooray for Judge Dane!father's rights assistance