New York Fathers' Rights: Dads Often Fighting An Uphill Battle
UPDATED: February 13, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Regardless of whether you live in Manhattan or Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Westchester or Brooklyn counties, New York fathers often fight an uphill battle when it comes to child custody issues. Fathers' rights advocate, Elliot Schlissel, explains New York fathers' rights concerning child custody, visitation and orders of protection.
NY Attorney Elliot Schlissel
Elliot Schlissel, a New York fathers' rights attorney who has been practicing law for over 30 years and represents clients in the metropolitan New York area and Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties, says that if a father says that he wants custody of his child, he should have an equal ability under the law and before the courts to obtain that custody. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. He explained:
That might happen if you were judging both parents on a scale of one to ten and the father was a nine and the mother was a four. Unfortunately, if they're of similar circumstances and similar abilities, it is presumed that the mother will always be given custody.
Regarding issues of visitation, it is in the child's best interest to have relationships with both parents. However, when mothers use the child as a means of getting back at the father, limit access to the child, make it difficult for the father to see and communicate with the child, they are engaging in something called parental alienation syndrome. This is where they turn the child against the father.
Schlissel says that the long-term result is that the child has no relationship with their father, they're deprived of the father's presence and that is not in the child's best interest. However, he says that the kicker to this whole situation is that support and visitation are not related to each other:
Even though a father may have no visitation with his children because he is being prevented from seeing them, even if the children have been turned against him and curse him out every time they see him – he still has to pay child support and that's simply unfair. Fathers' rights is about dealing with the unfairness some fathers face in some situations before the courts in New York.
NY Orders of Protection often discriminate against men
Schlissel says that another example of unfairness in many of the courts in the metropolitan New York area and surrounding counties such as Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Westchester and Brooklyn concerns NY Orders of Protection (sometimes referred to as restraining orders) – which he says also often discriminate against men. He explained:
If a woman goes into court and says, 'The father of my child, or my boyfriend or my husband, and I have had a dispute and I feel threatened and unhappy and I'm concerned about my safety,' without really providing any specific details of the incident, she is awarded an order of protection. The sheriff then serves the father and tosses him out of his house.
He shows up in court and says, 'Look, I'd like to have a hearing,' and they say, 'Fine, we can have a hearing. We'll schedule it in three months.' Now, he's been done an incredible injustice and it may take many months to straighten out. During that period of time, his life could be destroyed. He could be forced to live outside of his house, he could be deprived of all of his personal possessions and from seeing his child.
What can you do?
If you are a father and have been treated unfairly concerning child custody, visitation and orders of protection, you can fight back. Contact an experienced New York fathers' rights lawyer to discuss your situation and evaluate what options are available to you. While it may seem as though the deck is stacked against you, it doesn't have to be if you have the right representation.