Father Has Children Returned to Israel

father's rights lawyers in New YorkJudge Douglas Hoffman, sitting in a Family Court Part in New York County, recently had a case before him involving an international custody problem which needed to be determined pursuant to the Hague Convention regarding international child custody issues.  The United States is a signatory to this convention.  This convention is considered a treaty which has the same enforcement ability as a federal law.

The father took the position in this case the mother had wrongfully kept the children in New York. He argued before the court the children should be returned to their country of habitual residence, Israel.

The parties had entered into a divorce settlement agreement. The agreement was detailed and had specific clauses involving parenting time. The agreement provided the mother would have primary residential custody of the children.

Mother Comes to New York

The mother had contacted the father. They had worked out an agreement where the children would come to New York to live with her for a period of one year. She requested the children come with her to New York so she could continue her education in New York.

The father took the position, after the year expired, the mother refused to return the children to Israel. He claimed this action violated the terms of the Hague Convention. The mother took the position the children were now established in New York and they should therefore remain in New York. Judge Hoffman noted in his decision, although the children were comfortable living in New York, they had no objections to returning to Israel. Judge Hoffman found the father had established a prima facie case regarding the wrongful retention of the children in the State of New York. The judge found the father’s testimony was believable while the mother’s testimony, that the father had agreed to allow the children to spend a second year in New York, was not credible.

Judge Hoffman in his decision found the mother’s keeping the children in New York impaired and prejudiced the father’s rights to see his children which was in violation of the parties’ settlement agreement which was incorporated by reference into their 2007 divorce. The judge therefore ordered the mother immediately return the children to Israel.father's rights advocate in custody cases

Custody Litigation

father's rights lawyerIn custody litigation the court must determine which parent would be better at taking care of the best interests of the child or children. Best interests of the child or children involves which parent can provide a life situation where the child will thrive and grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically. The large majority of custody issues are resolved out of court in custody agreements between the parties. However a small number of custody matters require a judge to make a decision as to which parent would be better suited to being the residential custodial parent of the child.

Preparing for Custody Litigation

Each litigant in a custody case will seek to prove it is in the child’s best interest for the child to reside with them. In order to accomplish this goal, a litigant in a custody case should obtain documentation supporting his or her claims. This documentation should show the involvement of that parent in the child’s medical needs, school, work, after school activities, family and social events, and other issues which would lead a judge to believe that parent was the primary, caring individual involved with raising the child and promoting the child’s best interests. A parent seeking custody should show his or her residence provides appropriate accommodations for the child, is within a reasonable distance of the child’s school, and the living environment the child would be exposed to is conducive to raising a child. Photographs of the place the child will live, his room, the accommodations of the home should be available to present to the court.

Who The Child Seeks to Live With

In the State of New York, in custody battles, an attorney is appointed to represent the child. The attorney for the child is supposed to meet with the child and take into consideration the child’s desires as to who he or she would seek to live with. It is this author’s opinion the child’s position as to who should be the residential custodial parent should only be considered with mature children. Unfortunately, this is not the law in New York. I have had numerous cases where attorneys for a child have come into court and advised the court who the 4 or 5 year old they interviewed would seek to live with. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds often change their minds. Sometimes 3 or 4 times during a 15 minute span.

Support System

Parents seeking custody of a child should be able to make a presentation to the court who will be taking care of the child, supervising the child, and meeting the child’s needs 7 days a week. If the parent works, he or she must present to the court a support system which would nurture the child, protect the child, and properly supervise the child when that parent is unavailable due to employment or other reasons.

The More Available Parent

Some parents have employment situations which are more flexible than others. The parent with the more flexible position can make a presentation to the judge that he or she would be available to be there for the child during school programs, after school activities, and help with homework. Judges do take a parent’s availability to nurture a child into consideration when custody issues are presented to them.

Elliot Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer practicing law within the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years.Child custody attorney on Long Island

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

The Number of Stay at Home Dads Increases

father's rights lawyerThere are approximately 2,000,000 stay at home dads in the United States. This is pursuant to the Pew Research Center. The large majority of stay at home dads aren’t working because they are taking active roles in raising their children. In 1989 only 5% of stay at home dads were involved in raising their children. Today, more than 20% of the stay at home dads are the primary parent responsible for their children’s needs.

Illness, Unemployment and Other Factors With Stay at Home Dads

The proportion of stay at home fathers who are either disabled, unable to find work, or sick has decreased from approximately half of the stay at home dads in 1989 to about 1/3 of the stay at home dads today.

Stay at Home Dads and Father’s Rights

As women have become more successful in the workforce, more and more women are busy developing successful careers. Having a successful career and being the primary caretaker of the children usually does not work out well. So successful business women need the comfort of knowing a loving parent is staying home with the children and meeting the children’s needs. Should there be a break up in the relationship between the mother and father, stay at home dads have a significant argument to become the residential custodial parent of the children. This will give the children continuity in their lives. This is also the argument which women have been making to become the primary residential custodial parent for a century!

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer who has been representing fathers in custody cases for more than 35 years.advocate for fathers in custody cases

New York Family Court Keeps Jurisdiction Over A Child in Virginia

father's rights attorneysAn appeals court (Third Department in upstate New York) has recently held pursuant to New York Domestic Relations Law section 76-a, a Family Court located in New York State had continuing jurisdiction over a child until neither the child nor the parent of the child had a significant connection to the State of New York and there was no longer substantial evidence in New York State concerning the child’s protection.

History of the Case

Angela Lawrence and Guy Belcher had two children, a son born in 1999 and a daughter born in 2001.  They were divorced in the State of New Hampshire in the year 2005.  After the divorce, Guy Belcher moved to the State of New York.  He brought a custody case in the year 2007.  Pursuant to the decision in the custody proceeding, he received custody of his son and visitation with his daughter.  The daughter thereafter moved to Virginia to live with her mother.

Belcher eventually sought sole residential custody of his daughter in 2011.  In his petition for custody, Belcher claimed his daughter was being physically abused by her stepfather.  He also claimed the stepfather had physically abused his son while his son was visiting with his mother in Virginia.  Family Court Judge Courtenay Hall initially awarded the father temporary custody of the daughter but thereafter overruled herself.  She found the court in New York lacked jurisdiction to make any determination with regard to the case.  Guy Belcher appealed to the Appellate Division of the Third Department.

Appeals Court Decision

The appeals court held “initially, that the Family Court erroneously found, because its prior order addressed custody only with respect to the son, that the court did not have continuing exclusive jurisdiction as to the issue of custody of the daughter. ‘Child custody determination’ is defined, however, as ‘a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child’.”  This is pursuant to Domestic Relations Law section 75-a.

The appeals court took the position since a New York Family Court had entered a ruling with regard to visitation in the year 2007, it continued to have exclusive jurisdiction with regard to this matter.  The court cited in its opinion, the daughter had continued to visit with her father in New York during vacations and holidays.  The court’s decision stated “the son allegedly witnessed the abuse committed upon the daughter and was himself the victim of abuse and neglect.”  “Furthermore, the father witnessed the bruising and other injuries suffered by the daughter, and possesses evidence regarding a conversation he had with the mother following the incident in which she purportedly stated that the physical abuse was ‘no big deal and well deserved’.”


In the end, the appeals court simply felt New York was the “more appropriate and convenient forum” to make necessary decisions with regard to this case.advocate for father's rights and custody

Father Receives Custody of Biological Child and Non-Biological Child

fathers rights lawyerThe Appellate Division of the Third Department, an appeals court, recently upheld a decision of a Family Court Judge granting a father custody of his biological child and a child he was not biologically related to.

The father and the mother were married. They lived together with two children. The father was the biological father of the younger child and not biologically related to the older child. The parties entered into a separation agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, the parties agreed to have joint legal custody of the children with physical custody of the children to the mother. The father had parenting time with the children.

The mother thereafter consented to a finding of neglect regarding both children. The court at that point ordered joint physical custody of the older, non-biological child be maintained between the parties. Each party was to have custody on alternate weekends. The mother still kept the physical custody of the younger child. The father only had visitation with the younger child.

Father Seeks to Modify Court Orders

The father brought proceedings seeking to modify the visitation arrangements with regard to both of the children. In these modification petitions to the Family Court, he asked for sole custody of both of the children. The Family Court initially entered an order granting him physical custody of both children and granting parenting time to the mother. Thereafter a petition was filed by the father alleging the mother had violated the temporary visitation order of the Family Court. Thereafter the Family Court granted residential custody of both children to the father and gave the mother liberal parenting time.

The mother had appealed the last order. The appeals court held there was a sound and substantial basis for the Family Court awarding custody of the children to the father. They took this position because the father was providing a more stable home and he had shown that he was capable of taking care of both of the children’s needs.


help fathers fight for custody It is possible for fathers to gain custody of both children they are biologically related to and children they are not biologically related to!

Father’s Consent Needed For His Children To Be Adopted

Keith Jay was the biological father of twin boys. The Department of Social Services brought a proceeding against the boys’ mother. This proceeding sought to terminate the mother’s parental rights and allow the twin boys to be adopted.

Keith Jay intervened in the proceeding. He requested a court order stating that since he was the father his consent was required before his children could be adopted. The Department of Social Services took the position they were only required to provide notice to Keith concerning the adoption of his children because Keith had fallen behind in his child support payments to his children. Keith was able to show the court he had maintained regular contact with his sons. In response to the Department of Social Services contention that he had not paid his child support payments, he provided documentation to the court his tax refund was seized to pay for his child support obligations.

Seized Tax Refunds Satisfy Child Support Obligations

Judge Ellen Greenberg, sitting in a Family Court Part in Nassau County, held the tax refunds that were seized, which belonged to Keith, did satisfy his financial obligations to make child support payments for his children. Judge Greenberg took the position that she saw no distinction between involuntary payments of child support through a wage garnishment order or the seizing of tax refund checks and the voluntary payments of child support by a father. She therefore concluded even though Keith had never shown any interest in becoming the custodial parent of his children he is deemed to be the father of the children and his consent would be required before the children could be adopted.

custody assistance for fathersElliot Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area with regard to child custody and child visitation proceedings.

Joint Custody Does Not Relieve Both Parents From Paying Child Support

father's rights lawyerWhere the parents have joint or shared custody, involving each of the parents having equal time with the children, both parents are not relieved of their obligation to pay child support. Most parenting plans designate one parent as the primary residential custodial parent. This is necessary especially in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. School districts will look to parenting plans and divorce settlement agreements to establish the primary residential location of the child. The reason for this is that school district want to know who will be responsible for providing schooling for the child or children.

Parent With Greater Income Pays Child Support

In the case of Bast v. Rostoff, the New York State Court of Appeals in 1998, dealt with the issue of an equally shared custody arrangement and obligations to pay child support. In this case both parents requested the court to have the other parent pay them child support. The Court of Appeals (the highest Court in New York State) ruled in shared custody situations, the parent with the greater earned income is by the very nature of earning more money than the other parent deemed to be the non-custodial parent for child support purposes. This causes the parent with the greater income to pay child support payments to the parent with the lesser income. This is an example of the expression “no good deed goes unpunished.” Work hard, get educated, get a good job, earn more money than your spouse, and even if you have 50% of the visitation you still have to pay child support!

custody and child support advocates for fathersThe father’s rights lawyers at the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel, represent fathers throughout the metropolitan New York area with regard to issues involving child support, custody and divorce.

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

Wealthy Father Doesn’t Have To Pay Child Support

father's rights attorneyIn a recent decision an Appellate Court in New York State held a father who has custody of his son during the majority of the year has no obligation to pay child support to the child’s mother even though the father has in excess of $20 million in assets and the mother had no income!

In the case of Rubin vs. Della Salla 350047/09, the Appellate Division (an appeals court) of the First Department held Anthony Della Salla who has custody of his son 56% of the year is the child’s custodial parent. Since he was the child’s custodial parent, he cannot be ordered to pay child support even though the mother is penniless and he has $20 million in assets.

History Of The Case

The couple was never married. The child was born in 2003. The couple broke up in 2007. The boy lived with his father most of the time. During the 2008-2009 calendar year, the parties reached an agreement wherein Della Salla took the boy to school most school days and had custody of him most weekends and holidays.

In the year 2009, Ms. Rubin filed an action against Della Salla seeking sole custody and requesting he pay child support. Rubin had been unemployed since 2001 and had no income. Della Salla had voluntarily been providing her with money. However, he reduced the amount of money he had been giving her in 2008 to force her to obtain employment.

Initial Pendent Lite Support Order

Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gesmer had originally granted the application brought on by an application for Pendente Lite Child Support (temporary child support motion). She ordered Della Salla to pay $5,000 a month in child support. He had complied with this order.

A trial was held and Judge Gesmer awarded Della Salla residential custody of the child during the school year with Rubin having custody on alternate weekends and Thursday nights. Rubin also had legal custody concerning educational and medical decisions. In the summer, the schedule was reversed. Della Salla would have custody on Thursday nights and alternate weekends and Rubin would have custody the rest of the time. All vacations were evenly split.

Della Salla made an application to the court to dismiss Rubin’s claim for child support. He argued if he was the custodial parent he could not be compelled to pay child support. Justice Gesmer denied the motion. Both of the parties appealed. The Appellate Division in the First Department affirmed the custody finding. They found Judge Gesmer was mistaken in granting Della Salla’s application for child support. Since the son spent 56% of his time with his father and 44% of his time with his mother, the father was the de facto custodial parent. The court stated under the CSSA’s (Child Support Standards Act) plain language, “only the non-custodial parent can be directed to pay child support.”

Victory For Father’s Rights

The Appellate court made the right decision. Child support should only be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. In this case, the mother sought to punish the father for his success. The purposes of child support is not to subsidize a mother’s life. Child support should only be used to help support the child while he or she is living with the custodial parent. This case is a significant victory for father’s rights.advocates for fathers