Question #64: I got married in accordance with Islamic laws and not the state laws on New York. I have a marriage certificate from the Islamic Center of New York. My wife, who was a christian woman when we got married, has changed her believes to become athiest. We are currently going through a divorce and would like to know if I can exercise the religious marriage certificate and not the laws of the state of NY regarding the custody of the childern??

The marriage is recognized by New York State as a legal marriage

although it was purely a religious one but if you or your wife meet the residency

requirements of New York, your divorce will be subject to New York Law

and any child custody agreement will have to be approved by a New York Court.

If you wish to discuss mediating the divorce as an alternative to litigation, please

call me at 212-370-1660. It may be the solution to your dilemma.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. / Divorce Solutions

Question #70: My husband of 22 years has asked for a divorce. We have a 13 year old daughter. He does not want to go through lawyers because he thinks it will cost too much. I don’t think I can afford not to have a lawyer. He is a corporate pilot for an international insurance company. He has been cheating for the last 10 years with flight attendants, hookers and women he picks up in bars while away. He stays in touch with them on a regular basis through text and email and has bought gifts, flown them places and given them money when asked for. I found this out about 2 years ago, but tried to work it out. I work, but he is the breadwinner in the family making about 110k more than me. This ye It may seem like a lot, but it doesn’t go very far in Hudson County when you consider rent. I was the bread winner for about the first 10 years of our relationship and marriage. I put my career on hold for 5 years to stay home with my daughter when she turned 2. I went back to work when she was 6 weeks old. I am a freelancer in the fashion industry. After coming back full time 5 1/2 years ago, I’ve had to work my way back up in the industry. It’s still a work in progress. He is normally flying to Europe and Asia for a week to 3 weeks at a time. He thinks we should have joint physical custody. I think I should have primary physical custody and he can have generous visitation. His schedule is very erratic. Sometimes he works for a month straight with a couple of days off, sometimes he is off for 2-3 weeks. Is it possible that he will be granted joint physical custody? I’d like to mediate, but this is a sticking point for me. Also, as the spouse making less money, I cannot afford to pay for a 2 bedroom apt. based on my salary and 1/2 child support alone. I will need alimony as well. What can I expect in this situation?

With regard to the issue of custody, since your spouse is away for long periods of time, it seems reasonable to assume that a judge would award you residential custody, assuming there are no other issues involved.
And if you two are able to continue to communicate, the Court would allow for joint custody ( meaning you would both have to consult each other on major decisions affecting your child like schooling,
Medical issues, religion, etc.)
If you are awarded residential custody, your spouse would have to pay child support to you.
With regard to spousal support, the Court would look at the incomes of both of you and your style of life during the marriage,
Ask you both to prepare a Statement of Net Worth and decide how much and for how long you should receive such support.

This could all be done by mediation, rather than litigation at a much less expensive cost, with less tension and grief.
If you are located in the NYC metro area, call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for an appointment to discuss the matter further.

Leonard Weiner, Esq.
Divorce Solutions
206 East 38th Street
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10016
212-370-1660

Question #64: My question is this; My wife took my kids on vacation august of 08 and never came back. She registered the 4 kids in school and moved in with her parents. Then rented a house. She has a depression problem etc… and said she needed help with the kids. She has a large family that said they would help. We were in the middle of a separation when she did this. I was going to have her arrested for kidnapping but it would have been bad for the kids and i was talked out of it based on she mental condition. I fly back and forth every other weekend for the past two and a half years to see my kids and its costing my a small fortune. She wont sign or agree to anything regarding a Divorce. How does the law look at this ? After a certain amount of time cant I go for some kind of automatic divorce based on abandonment ? its going to be three years this august . Thanks

You do not indicate where your wife moved with the children. Is she in the United States or is she overseas?
In any case , you have grounds for divorce and you should insist on a return of the children to New York so that you’ll be able to have regular visits with your children.
Please contact me at 21 2-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. /Divorce Solutions

Question #62: My husband is in an awful custody visitation situation. In February he received temporary custody of his son in our county Onieda county, because there was some issues at home and his son asked him to talk to mom about staying at our home. Mom is from Bronx county where the child resided at the time. When my husband tried to talk to her about the issues she said take him he is your son if he wants to live with you he can forget he has a mother and can never come back, she and her live in partner also told his son the same thing, so my husband brought him back home and filed a petition for custody stating what mother said and so he would be able to attend school. We had a court date March 21 set for custody and in between several calls from mom harassing and her family also then she changed he mind a week and a half before our court date up here and filed in supreme court habeas corpus that my husband was holding and concealing the child and refused to return him. The supreme court had my husband served for a court hearing to bring himself and return the child on March 18. The court and lawyers up here and her lawyer and the supreme court were disputing that we already had a court date here and my husband had an order of temporary custody. The judge in the supreme court in ny, ny said she didn’t care and my husband was to attend her court date and to return the child he kidnapped according to her court clerk when we called. The Judge down in supreme court received all certified copies of custody order and papers from the court in our county. They ( the court law guardian, husbands lawyer and his ex wife’s lawyer decided we could hold a court date over the phone between the two courts to come to an agreement. So March 17 they did the over the phone hearing and my husband’s lawyer and his sons law guardian told my husband his son said he changed his mind and they agreed upon him returning his son and said that he no longer needed to appear in NY, ny supreme court that since his son was returned it was settled and there was no court date. My husband was to go to our original court date in Onieda county for visitation which they could not settle on the 17th because the mother and her lawyer did not want to give my husband any visitation. when we showed up to court on the 21st my husband’s lawyer and his sons law guardian explained to the judge the circumstance and he only said he wasn’t modifying original custody order to visitation, that he made the order for custody and asked for the judges number in NY,ny and reset a court date and told us we had to have her served for new court date. When we returned home we had an order in the mail from supreme court that his son had a child advocate lawyer assigned by the judge in ny, ny in the matter of visitation and custody of his son and we were to call that lawyer when we received the order to see if he wanted to interview all or any members of the household, so confused we called. The order was dated March 16,2011 , the cover letter was dated March 18,2011 and the order at the end had for the parties and the counsel to appear in this court on March 18,2011 9:30 am and the post mark from the post office was dated March18,2011. So us being very confused we called as it said and the lawyer from the order said he had already spoke to Joshua in court on March 18,2011 that they still held the court proceeding. We don’t know what to do, we don’t know if they can do that and no one seems to have any answers for us, not the courts here and the courts there said he will just have to wait to see what the papers say from there court when we receive them in the mail. Can my husband fight this since he did not get any chance to speak in court at all ,to dispute anything, say what he wanted or defend himself.

It seems clear from the information you have provided that your Attorney should be more intensely involved in resolving this conflict regarding which court has jurisdiction over the custody of your husband’s son and who shall be the resident parent going forward. Do not allow yourselves to be subject to a default judgment by not appearing. Have your attorney resolve this jurisdiction matter and make sure he understands that is his responsibility to make sure you are not in default and that you have an opportunity to appear before whichever court is finally determined to have ultimate jurisdiction over this matter.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. /Divorce Solutions

Question #57: My husband and I are about to be legally separated….what do I say to my 4 year old son? I have residential custody of my children and am moving out in 2 wks. HELP?

You should try to explain to him on his level that you and his dad are going to be living separately and he will be staying with you . That this decision had nothing to do with him and he is not to blame for your separating.
That you both love him very much and you are both going to take care of him and
provide for him just as you have up till now.

He will be seeing his dad regularly and that you and he will just be fine .

If you find that you and/or your son are having a hard time adjusting ,
I strognly suggest you seek an experienced counsellor to help.

BE STRONG! It will work out if you and your spouse keep the child’s best interest
in mind.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq/Divorce Solutions

Question #55: I have been married for one and a half years and together for two and a half. My husband recently sold his house in peekskill new york. He put down money on a new house located in Massachusetts. After he received the check for the house he sold he left and did not take my son or myself. I have no money and no place to go. I have put myself in a motel for a couple of days. I don’t know what to do. Can you please tell me what i am entitled to. I really don’t know what to do. This is a mentally abusive relationship with a man who is bi polar. If you may have any advice as to what I can do it will be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Go to the department of social services in your area and ask for an attorney to
help you sue your husband for spousal and child support and abandonment.
Or try calling the local bar association in your county and ask for the matrimonial department
and see if someone there can assist you.

Good luck!

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #53: In need of advise, I live in NY State left marital home1 year ago because of constant fighting and verbal abuse to each other,not a healthy environment for a child and was effecting her behavior. I thought I was doing the right thing by giving my daughter age10 a choice to decide for herself whether to stay or come with me when explaining that I was leaving. She decided to stay with father at that time because he never worked and I was the one working 2 jobs, therefore better relationship with father. I took her feelings into consideration when leaving, I was the the one always diciplining her and he let her run the show, I am stable and involved in new relationship and would like her to be with me,also trying to figure out a separation agreement but uncertain how to handle this because of her being with him, can I just take her and let him go for custody? How much damage did I do to myself by giving an 10yr old a choice? What would my chances be of getting physical custody if he was the one to play the mother role while I was out there playing his role?

You did hurt your chances somewhat by allowing your child to choose to stay with her father. The Courts will
not want to upset a custodial situation which seems to be working . You cannot just take the child away without
first working it out with your spouse. The courts would not look kindly at such an act.
You will have to convince the court that your family environment is much more stable for the child than your spouse’s
and it would be in the best interest of the child to be with you.

If you are living in the NYC metro area, I strongly suggest you call me to arrange a meeting between the 3 of us to discuss mediating the custody and separation issues. You will have a much better chance of success in mediation , it will be faster, cheaper and less emotionally draining than litigating in court.

Call me; I can help!

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #51: I live in NY State and have a 15 year old daughter who lives with her mother. I was incarcerated for approximately 13 years; however, within those 13 years I was able to maintain a relationship with my daughter in which my mother (maternal grandmother) would bring her to me on visits. I am now out of prison and have established a strong bond with my 15 year old daughter. (My prison conviction was for robbery, but I am now a changed man). This is the problem. My daughter has been able to visit me every other weekend and stays for the weekend. This has been going on since I was released from prison. I have a fiance, who has three daughters of her own, 16, 10 and 5 years old. My fiance has a great relationship with her children and shows them an abundance of love. My daughter felt comfortable enough to tell me and my fiance about the treatment and neglect she receives from her mother. She has also expressed a desire to live with me and my fiance, and has ran away from home more than once. She does not get along with her mother, and has threatened to run away if she is forced to continue living with her. (My ex is very verbally and emotionally abusive). During a recent telephone call to my daughter, my ex informed me that my daughter has been acting up and she believes that her behavior is a result from being around me, my fiance and her kids. This is truly false! We show my daughter an abundance of love when she is with us, and my step children are great kids. My ex is just using any kind of excuse to stop visitation. Father’s Day is around the corner, and my ex is not allowing my daughter to visit with me anymore. She has absolutely no right to stop my visitation based on false pretenses. It appears that she is upset and jealous that my fiance maintains a special bond with her kids, and my ex just does not possess those motherly skills. Me and my ex were never married. I am going to take her to court for visitation, and was wondering if I would be able to file for custody, considering the fact that my daughter is 15 years old and clearly expresses a desire to live with me. Please help…what are my options!!??

If your daughter , it is a mature , 15-year-old and can express herself well, she is at an age where the court will listen to her , and if she desires tolive with you, the court will seriously take that into consideration. If there is abuse involved, the court will seriously consider changing custody , especially if you can show that you now have a strong family environment for her to grow in and that you have the financial means to take care of her.

You should find experienced, matrimonial counsel to assist you in this matter. Do not leave this to self-help.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #50: I am a 31 years old mother seeking advice how to obtain legal custody of my 8 years old son. My son and I live in NY. He has been living with me since birth. I don’t really know how the system works in regards to choosing which parent should get custody of the child. I have been recieving child support since 2004 in the amount of $127 biweekly. That is all I’ve recieved from him since then nor have I asked him for anything more. Hardly ever he would buy things for my son. Once in a blue moon he would buy clothes for him but other than that, child support is all I recieved. He and I have a verbal arrangement of taking my son every other weekend. Our arrangement is for him to pick him up on a Friday and bring him back on Sunday. However, when this Friday comes, it almost always turned out to an arguement because he always finds reason not be able to pick him up. Majority of the times, I get my son’s weekend bag all packed ready for him to come pick him up but leave my son hanging. Most often, I ended up covering for him just not to disappoint my son. Because of this I have lost respect for him. Whenever we come to a discussion, I lose my temper and find my self using profanity. I am afraid that he might have recorded our conversations and use this against me to obtain legal custody of my son. Just last week, I decided to go to family court looking for informations how to increase my child support. I came to find out that he has been making almost 70,000 a year for the past 3 years and all I’ve been recieving is $127 biweekly. So, on that day, I filed for an increase. I am saddened for this information I just received because all this time he’s been making this much money, not once he spent a dime for his birthday since my son was 3 years old nor not once did he bothered attending any of his birthday party. To make a long story short, he has filed for legal custody. He claimed that I am always busy and that I don’t have that much time to spend with him as well as not providing him enough care. I admit, I am always busy. I am a single mother, a student, and also have a day job, but despite of all of this, I still manage to sit down with him at least 4 nights a week to do homeworks. My mother does the other night. I am not always there to pick him up from school but I take him every morning. I also manage to take him on vacations, something that his father never did. What can I do as a mother to keep my son.

I strongly suggest that you and your husband come to mediate this matter of child custody and child support, as well as all the other matters that are involved in separating. Mediation will provide both of you the opportunity to do what is best for the child. It is less expensive, and less emotionally traumatic, and you will not have to make court appearances or be subject to the decision of some uninterested judge.

In any case, you should not go to court without experienced, legal, matrimonial counsel. You must consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney to discuss your particular case and to advise you on how to proceed. The fact that you work during the day and that your mother takes care of the child is, in itself , not determinative regarding child custody. You did not mention it , but I assume your husband is also working and cannot devote his daytime hours to the care of the child himself either.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, I strongly suggest you call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #45: I’ve been together for 12yrs and married for 8yrs with my wife. We have two children (6,10yrs). My wife wants the divorce and I’ve oppossed it because I’m trying to remediate the situation. She cheated 6 yrs ago and again on july 06 and Mar 06. the reason I still want her is because she will take my kids away and she will cause me to move out of the house and sell this house and another property. She earns 3x less than I. In other words she will take me to the poor house. I could not afford everything we now have or live on my own once we divorce. I will have to pay child support and spousal support and private school. I earn in the mid 60,000. Can I have an opportunity to gain sole custody of the kids since I’ve been a good father and want the family together for the kids sake?

You may be able to convince the court that your having sole custody of the children and remaining in the family home is in the best interests of the children based on the fact that your wife has been cheating on you and the family continuously over the past six years , and does not seem to be acting responsibly. It will all depend on the judge’s opinion .

I strongly suggest that you consider divorce mediation as opposed to litigating this matter in court. In mediation, you and your spouse will be able to decide just how to manage your affairs without having a judge who does not know you or your family intervene in your personal matters.
If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area , please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for us to meet together to discuss this matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions