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Minimal Evidence Used To Prove Child Abuse Or Child Neglect By Child Protective Services (“CPS”)

family law attorney handling CPS casesWhen there are allegations of child abuse the level of evidence submitted by CPS workers and investigators can be minimal. The CPS system in New York is arbitrary, abusive, presumes child abuse or neglect in every case, and moves forward backed by the authority of New York State on incorrect interpretations of facts, and outright falsehoods. Guardians, parents and grandparents are sometimes overwhelmed when they find they have so little power and ability to contradict and counteract the actions of CPS personnel.

Family Court Proceedings Regarding Child Abuse and Child Neglect

Individuals accused of child abuse find when they go into the Family Court and expect to be able to tell their story to a judge they are confronted by judges that don’t have the time and often don’t have the patience to listen to them. CPS spends four or five minutes making their presentation and the parent then gets about two or three minutes to rebut the presentation.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Orders of Protection are given to the children based on inaccurate statements by CPS workers. The parents, guardians and grandparents find they are guilty until proven innocent even if the allegations of child abuse or neglect are spurious, mistaken, inaccurate and untrue. Many months go by with Orders of Protection pending, and Child Protective Services workers regularly coming to the door, and the innocent family members often feel overwhelmed and shocked at how they are treated by the legal system. Many family members who are accused of child abuse come into my office and tell me they didn’t even get a chance to speak in court. The events took place without them even having the ability to say even one word. Unfortunately, this happens much too often.

CPS The Do-Gooders

There are dedicated people who work for CPS who rescue innocent children from abusive situations. These CPS workers deserve the public’s gratitude. Unfortunately, I see too many situations where CPS creates nightmares for families who are loving, good natured and provide wonderful homes and care for their children. Innocent family members are threatened that if they don’t cooperate with CPS their children will be removed from the home. I see situations on a regular basis where a child will get bruised while playing with his or her friends, go to the school nurse and not remember how the bruise came to be. The school nurse calls CPS and then CPS shows up in the middle of the night at the family’s home, insists on coming in, investigating the children, harassing the parents, and scaring them to death with an implied threat that they will lose their children.

I recommend to everyone who calls me on a CPS complaint to take it seriously and to make no statements to CPS workers without having an attorney present and not let them in their home. I make arrangements to meet with CPS workers either at my office or at their office for the purpose of reviewing the allegations against family members. I discuss with them in an intelligent manner, without intimidation, that they are going to remove children from the custody of their parents.

Conclusion

Should you hear from CPS about a potential complaint, don’t let yourself become a victim. They have no right to come into your home no matter what they say. Advise the CPS worker that you are happy to cooperate with them, but you wish to retain counsel and your attorney will call them to deal with the issue. If they tell you that you are not entitled to an attorney, they are lying to you! You have a right to an attorney at every stage of the legal system in New York and the rest of the United States. Do not be intimidated, do not let them in your home. If you want to speak to them, speak to them at the front door. They have no right to search your home or investigate your home.Long Island family law attorney

Orders of Protection

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  Elliot has been representing fathers in child support hearings, custody proceedings, and all aspects of matrimonial law and family law for more than 35 years.  Elliot and his associates may be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

 

Minimal Evidence Used To Prove Child Abuse Or Child Neglect By Child Protective Services (“CPS”)

When there are allegations of child abuse the level of evidence submitted by CPS workers and investigators can be minimal. Guardians, parents and grandparents are sometimes overwhelmed when they find they have so little power and ability to contradict and counteract the actions of CPS personnel.

Family Court Proceedings Regarding Child Abuse and Child Neglect

Individuals accused of child abuse find when they go into the Family Court and expect to be able to tell their story to a judge they are confronted by judges that don’t have the time and often don’t have the patience to listen to them. CPS spends four or five minutes making their presentation and the parent then gets about two or three minutes to rebut the presentation.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Orders of Protection are given to the children based on inaccurate statements by CPS workers. The parents, guardians and grandparents find they are guilty until proven innocent even if the allegations of child abuse or neglect are spurious, mistaken, inaccurate and untrue. Many months go by with Orders of Protection pending, and Child Protective Services workers regularly coming to the door, and the innocent family members often feel overwhelmed and shocked at how they are treated by the legal system. Many family members who are accused of child abuse come into my office and tell me they didn’t even get a chance to speak in court. The events took place without them even having the ability to say even one word. Unfortunately, this happens much too often.

CPS The Do-Gooders

There are dedicated people who work for CPS who rescue innocent children from abusive situations. These CPS workers deserve the public’s gratitude. Unfortunately, I see too many situations where CPS creates nightmares for families who are loving, good natured and provide wonderful homes and care for their children. Innocent family members are threatened that if they don’t cooperate with CPS their children will be removed from the home. I see situations on a regular basis where a child will get bruised while playing with his or her friends, go to the school nurse and not remember how the bruise came to be. The school nurse calls CPS and then CPS shows up in the middle of the night at the family’s home, insists on coming in, investigating the children, harassing the parents, and scaring them to death with an implied threat that they will lose their children.

I recommend to everyone who calls me on a CPS complaint to take it seriously and to make no statements to CPS workers without having an attorney present and not let them in their home. I make arrangements to meet with CPS workers either at my office or at their office for the purpose of reviewing the allegations against family members. I discuss with them in an intelligent manner, without intimidation, that they are going to remove children from the custody of their parents.

Conclusion

Should you hear from CPS about a potential complaint, don’t let yourself become a victim. They have no right to come into your home no matter what they say. Advise the CPS worker that you are happy to cooperate with them, but you wish to retain counsel and your attorney will call them to deal with the issue. If they tell you that you are not entitled to an attorney, they are lying to you! You have a right to an attorney at every stage of the legal system in New York and the rest of the United States. Do not be intimidated, do not let them in your home. If you want to speak to them, speak to them at the front door. They have no right to search your home or investigate your home.father's rights advocate in New York

An Appeal of An Order of Protection May Continue After The Order Expires

father's rights attorney Long IslandThe New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York, recently ruled that the appeal of an Order of Protection which was issued by the Family Court can continue even after the Order of Protection expires. The Court of Appeals unanimously rendered this decision because they held the order, even after it expires, can carry “significant enduring consequences.” The decision by the Court of Appeals allows individuals who are unfairly named in an Order of Protection to have the opportunity to move forward with their appeal even when the Order of Protection has expired. Court of Appeals Judge Abdus-Salaam wrote in the Court’s decision “the appeal is not moot if an appellate decision will eliminate readily ascertainable and legally significant enduring consequences that befall a party as a result of the order which the party seeks to appeal.”

The Actual Case

The name of this case is the Matter of Veronica P. v. Radcliff A.. Veronica P. filed an application in 2009 for an Order of Protection against her nephew Radcliff A. She claimed he grabbed and pushed her in her apartment located in Manhattan. They were both living in the apartment at the time. The Family Court in New York County ruled Radcliff’s actions constituted second degree harassment and it gave Veronica a two year Order of Protection. This Order of Protection required Radcliff to stay away from her and not assault, intimidate or threaten her. Radcliff brought an appeal. Unfortunately, during the pendency of his appeal, the protective order expired. This was due to the fact the protective order was only for two years and appeals can take much longer than two years to be heard by the Appellate Courts. Judge Abdus-Salaam wrote, in the Court’s decision, the very fact the Order of Protection was taken out against Radcliff may lead another Court to readily discern Radcliff committed the offense. In addition she stated “armed with that information, the Court in a future case may increase the severity of any applicable criminal sentence or civil judgment against respondent [Radcliff].”

Long Term Impact of Orders of Protection

Judge Abdus-Salaam also stated in her decision the unchallenged presence of the Order on Radcliff’s record might lead an opposing party in a future lawsuit to use this protective order to impeach Radcliff’s credibility. The protective order is also likely to increase the chances that Radcliff would be arrested if he is accused of similar conduct in the future. In addition, it also may cause Radcliff to receive harsher penalties in the future if accused of similar conduct.

Orders of Protection can create “severe stigma. It can impact on business contacts, social acquaintances and other members of an individual’s family.”

Judge Abdus-Salaam went on to state “perhaps more importantly, potential employers may ask respondent whether an Order of Protection has ever been entered against him, and he may be ethically or legally bound to answer in the affirmative, significantly curtailing his chances of getting a job.”

Conclusion

Many Family Court judges in the Metropolitan New York area grant Orders of Protection to women based on either false allegations, flimsy allegations, or greatly exaggerated allegations against men. The Court of Appeals’ ruling now gives men an ability to purge their record long after the Orders of Protection have expired. This is an excellent decision protecting men’s rightsfather's rights advocate on Long Island

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

Family Court Cannot Amend Criminal Order of Protection That Didn’t Deal with Custody or Visitation

father's rights lawyerAn issue was presented as to whether a Family Court judge could modify a Criminal Court Order of Protection. The reasons for modifying the Order of Protection did not relate to custody or visitation issues. Upon review, the Family Court stated they did not have the authority to modify this Order of Protection.

The Order of Protection

An Order of Protection had been issued by a Family Court Judge in Westchester County. The husband was required to stay away from the wife and the marital residence. However, the Family Court Order had a provision which authorized the husband to live in a basement apartment located at the marital residence. There was a claim the husband violated the Order of Protection. A Town Justice had issued a new Criminal Court Order of Protection. This Order of Protection prevented him from having any contact whatsoever with his wife. Within the confines of this Criminal Order of Protection there was terminology which required that he stay away from her home. Unfortunately for the husband, the Criminal Court Order of Protection did not state he had a right to continue residing in the basement apartment located at the marital residence.

Family Court Refuses to Intercede Regarding Criminal Court Order of Protection

The husband brought an Order to Show Cause to the Family Court. He asked the Family Court to intervene and allow him to move back into the basement apartment at the marital residence. The Family Court issued an order saying it did not have authority to modify the Criminal Court Order. The Family Court took the position they could only modify Orders of Protection that dealt with custody and visitation issues concerning children of the parties.

helping fathersElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer. For more than 35 years, Elliot and his aggressive, dedicated attorneys have been representing fathers regarding orders of protection, child support, child custody and visitation issues throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Knowledge of Order of Protection Sufficient Even When Service Was Improper

father's rights attorneyIn a case before Judge John Hecht, sitting in the Criminal Court of Kings County, he was presented with a situation where an Order of Protection, initially granted in the Family Court, was improperly served on man named Jakubowski. The service of the Order of Protection was made by the party who sought to be protected by the Order of Protection. This was in violation of the service of the Order of Protection requirements.

Violation of Stay Away Order of Protection

Criminal charges were brought against Jakubowski. He was charged with criminal contempt and harassment. The criminal complaint alleged that he had made a gesture indicating a throat slashing with his fingers which was in violation of the stay away Order of Protection granted by the Family Court. Defendant, Jakubowski, moved in Criminal Court to dismiss the proceeding based on facial insufficiency. His attorney claimed he did not have knowledge of the Order of Protection because it was served by a party in violation of the service requirements concerning an Order of Protection. Jakubowski’s attorney argued his client’s alleged improper throat slashing gesture did not amount to a threat of harm under §240-26(1) of the New York State Penal Law.

Knowledge of Order of Protection Enough

Judge Hecht, in his decision, stated the issue concerning the Order of Protection was whether or not Jakubowski had notice of its existence. The Judge’s decision was since Jakubowski had actual notice of the existence of the Order of Protection, even though it was improperly served, the criminal contempt allegation was valid. The Court took the position Jakubowski had knowledge of the existence of the Order of Protection and he intentionally disobeyed it. Even though the statute concerning the Order of Protection was not complied with due to the manner of the service, the actual knowledge of the existence of the Order of Protection by Jakubowski was sufficient to satisfy the allegations he had committed criminal contempt by violating the Order of Protection. The court also denied Jakubowski’s application to dismiss the harassment charge for facial insufficiency.

Conclusion

In the event an Order of Protection is taken out against you, and you become aware of the existence of the Order of Protection, you need to comply with its requirements. This is true even in the event it is not properly served upon you.

advocate for fathersElliot Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney representing fathers concerning Orders of Protection, child support, child visitation (parenting right issues), and all other issues concerning divorce and in Family Court proceedings.