COVID-19 Update: How we are serving and protecting our clients.

Swearing-In-300x211Divorce is a complex process at the best of times. Couples need to come to terms on complicated matters, like spousal support (maintenance), child support, and equitable distribution. In the case of divorce litigation, when the case appears in front of a court for judicial guidance, the toughest part of the divorce can be the trial itself.

Many people prefer to avoid facing the court entirely by choosing methods like mediation for alternative dispute resolution. However, there will be cases when this simply isn’t possible. Continue reading ›

Coupledisputebacktoback-300x205A while ago, I started a blog series to introduce residents of New York to some of the realities of divorce litigation in the current time. After a break where we turned our attention to some of the family law issues during the coronavirus pandemic, we’re continuing these bullet point guides, summarizing my articles throughout the years, to continue offering an easy insight into the world of divorce and family law.

In this particular guide, we will be discussing the concepts of spousal maintenance in New York divorce cases concerning high-income earners. We’ll also discuss the contributions that individuals can make to a marriage, and how the court and judge consider them. Finally, we’ll be asking how the courts can look at marriages as economic partnerships.

High-Income Earners and Spousal Maintenance

In a New York divorce, a judge presiding over a case may ask for one or more parties to provide spousal maintenance to the other party. These payments, known as alimony or maintenance, are calculated according to specific formulas outlined by New York Domestic Relations law. Continue reading ›

Young-Couple-300x200If you have been following the recent blogs published here this year, then you’ll notice that I have been providing a selection of bullet-point lists, summarizing my prior articles throughout the years  designed to provide quick and easy information about crucial divorce topics. In the latest series, I am concentrating on matters that can arise during divorce litigation.

One of the concerns that is often discussed during divorce litigation, is the matter of spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony. These payments can be important to each spouse whose cash flow situation will change following the end of a marriage. Knowing how the New York courts determine spousal maintenance orders, and when they may deviate from set guidelines can help you when planning your divorce case.

Ordering Spousal Maintenance for Set Periods

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Couch-fight-300x200Stipulations of settlement are a sometimes confusing aspect of family law.

A final stipulation of settlement is a contract that settles all the aspects of a divorce. Both parties agree on the distribution of marital property in these cases. If there are minor children, custody and parenting time, child support, and the payment or waiver of maintenance (alimony) should all be discussed in the agreement when a marriage ends.

Stipulations of settlement, like many issues in divorce law, require careful consideration by the courts and parties in questions. While couples can often easily submit a stipulation of settlement with support from the correct divorce attorney, it’s up to the courts to decide when a stipulation should be upheld, and when it needs to be set aside upon a proper request by one side of the case.

When is a Settlement Enforceable and Valid?

New York Domestic Relations Law Section 236B(3) highlights that an agreement by the parties, made before or during that marriage, should be enforceable and valid in a matrimonial action (such as separation or divorce), if the agreement is in writing and the parties have subscribed, acknowledged or proven the agreement with the same specific formalities that would entitle a deed to be recorded..  A valid and enforceable stipulation of settlement means that the parties have subscribed to a specific agreement and are entitled to record a deed. Continue reading ›

Meditation-Coach-300x200Staying together for the kids is often not the choice people make in an unhappy marriage or relationship. For many, the best thing that can be done for both yourself and your little ones, is find a way to move on.  For others it might be continuing to work on the relationship. When the relationship with your children’s other parent doesn’t work, you need to think about how you can move forward without causing excessive discomfort for you and your child.

One common question that you may need to think about is whether it’s better to have the child living equally with you and another child’s parent. Another option could be to limit the amount of time that your child has with the other parent if the other parent might not be suitable for your child. Some parents even need to think about fighting the requests of other parents and making sure that they get adequate parenting time out of the new agreement.  What is the right choice?  What is the best process to use to get agreements or to make court orders?

Addressing Different Perspectives in Child Custody Litigation

Everyone has a different perspective and unique goals with these cases. In one of my first days at law school, my professor said something to our class. This point has stuck with me for over 26 years, and it’s something that resonates more than ever today. He was quoting a legal scholar.  He said that his wish was that he was able to put on everyone else’s glasses and see the world through their eyes.  He meant that true wisdom could come from seeing the world through all perspectives. Continue reading ›

Going through a divorce is a difficult process at the best of times, but it can become particularly complicated when Parents-Walk-300x200there are children to consider. When arranging your litigation strategy with a divorce attorney, you’ll need to think about things like who should be paying for child maintenance. There are also concerns to address about what sort of visitation and parenting rights need to be implemented for the best interests of the child.

Our bullet point guides have been on hold for a while. However, the issues surrounding litigation for children will be particularly important now that we are beginning to return to work from the offices and courts are allowed to accept new filings for divorces in the New York Supreme Courts or child custody and parenting time issues in family court (they were not deemed essential during the New York on pause order) after COVID-19. If the court deemed any single matter “essential” then children litigation issues could be heard prior to the reopening for which we are in Phase 3 now on Long Island at the time I am writing this blog.

In today’s bullet point guide, we’ll be focusing exclusively on some of the issues that may need to be addressed during divorce litigation when children are involved. Continue reading ›

At the time of writing (mid-June 2020), Long Island just entered the second phase of the “reopening” strategy, following the COVID-19 pandemic. The second phase began on the 10th of June 2020, soon after New York City entered phase 1 on June 8th, 2020.

Professional services and law firms, like mine, are now part of the business that are able to return to the office during phase 2. According to the executive orders of New York State, we can start meeting with people again at the office, if phone or video consultations are not selected by the client or potential clients. Throughout the pandemic, my services have still been available with clients and potential clients. However, many of my conversations have taken place over Zoom or phone calls. As we enter phase 2, though we are able to speak to clients in the office, safety protocols will be in place.

We will be adhering to social distancing requirements and wearing masks for safety. Additionally, we will adhere to safety and sanitization practices as required. For those of you who would prefer to maintain remote conversations at this time, we still offer phone, email, mail, Zoom, and other services. We have been doing litigation and negotiation consultations about divorce and family law issues or divorce mediations by phone and Zoom with couples during the pandemic as well as for pre-nuptial, post-nuptial, divorces, and separation agreements. We plan on continuing these services going forward. Continue reading ›

Unhappy-couples-300x200The recent issues caused by COVID-19 have surfaced some common questions about family court cases, and what kind of issues require immediate attention. For instance, if a person was removed from their home because of a temporary order of protection, would this require an immediate hearing to ensure that each person is the case is properly protected?

For related people, and people who have been in an intimate relationship before, the Family Court can offer order protections when someone has a claim to being a victim of a Family Offense. The concept of a “family offense” can be difficult to understand, as there are many different levels to family offense cases. A broad description for this matter would identify family offenses as specific acts defined by Penal law and committed against members of “family”.

Family, defined by the New York Family Court Act, can include everything from obvious family relationships, to boyfriends, girlfriends, and people with children in common. The term “family” might also refer to people living in the same household. A person seeking an order of protection would need to file a petition with the Family Court and highlight the offenses that were allegedly committed by the “family” member. Continue reading ›

Video-Call-300x200Even in challenging times, when the courts aren’t operating as normal, our lives continue to progress, with various unique concerns to consider. Throughout New York and Long Island today, there are many people struggling with things like child custody concerns and making decisions about parenting rights. Unfortunately, at the time of the writing of this blog during the coronavirus pandemic, since the courts are closed for new filings right now (except for cases deemed essential and emergency matters), it can feel as though you’re stuck in limbo, unable to make progress.

The good news is that people in search of new solutions for the best interests of both themselves and their children can still get help using a family law and divorce mediator like myself. Mediation has always been a useful mode of alternative dispute resolution for couples who prefer to maintain an amicable relationship with the other parent to their child or spouse in a divorce. However, mediation also has other benefits. For instance, for unmarried couples, it can be a useful way to discuss issues that need to be addressed when ending a serious relationship, particularly for couples with children. For married partners, mediation can also offer a more reasonably priced and quicker way to get the courts to approve an order that’s suitable for both you and your partner, without exposing yourselves to litigation. Continue reading ›

Selfie-Mother-300x200At the time of writing this blog, the New York Courts are still only willing to accept new cases that it deems essential to help reduce interactions in the times of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This means that many issues have been put on hold for the time being.

In cases of child custody or divorce, it’s common to feel as though all of your issues are essential. However, the court may not be willing to hear them unless they can see a reason for the case being an “emergency”. One thing that is generally not dealt with, at this time during the coronavirus pandemic, as an emergency is child custody and parenting cases. However, there’s always a chance that a court could choose to accept any particular case as an emergency or essential when considering an application.

Recently, I’ve received a number of calls from parents looking to limit parenting time or that are concerned that they are not getting their parenting time because of COVID-19. The starting point in this situation is to remember that if an order already exists for custody and parenting time for a parent, then the starting point for any analysis is that order. There should be a presumption that this order is the proper custody and parenting time that should happen. However, if there are health concerns posed by the pandemic, for example, there might be exceptions.

Addressing Parenting Time In Difficult Circumstances

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