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Articles Posted in Divorce

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

Continue reading ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Phone-call-300x216Currently, as I’m writing this blog, the Darren Shapiro Law and Mediation Office is still doing business, albeit since the governor ordered 100% of the workforce must work from home, I am working from home by phone, email, skype, zoom, and whatever works. Even before the order, we were taking as many steps as we can to protect our clients, and the people who come to us for help. This means not only ensuring that we follow all precautions for health and safety, but also supporting everyone adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Since it seems, for now, people need to avoid meeting your divorce attorney or mediator in person, but you still have options. For new clients, we have always, and will continue to provide initial consultations, with up to the first half hour free, that are available either over the phone, skype, zoom, or other digital means. If you want to discuss your case, you can connect with me over the phone, via email, or schedule an appointment for a video conference, we will make different arrangements work.

Dealing with Mediation and Litigation

Currently, divorce mediation can still be done via phone or video. We can initiate Skype videoconferencing, Zoom, audioconferencing, or possibly other sessions for people since we will not be able to attend a mediation session in person. This option has been used in the past by our office for those who were unable to attend meetings due to distance, work or travel commitments. Payments can also be collected via email, text, or over the phone. We can use encryption in emails to protect your personal data. Continue reading ›

Finger-Pointing-300x200There are a lot of complicated components in family law that need to be addressed when a divorce takes place. That’s one of the reasons why I’m creating this bullet point guide, to help people find the answers to the questions that are most important to them.

In today’s guide, we’re going to be looking at the guidelines in place for things like health insurance and medical expenses when dealing with divorce.

 

Ongoing Health Insurance Benefits in Divorce

In most cases under New York Domestic Relations law, the courts will consider any assets accumulated during a marriage as “marital property”. However, this can leave a lot of things open to speculation. For instance, a question that often arises is how your divorce lawyer can ask a court to address pension and healthcare benefits in a divorce.

  • Typically, pension benefits can be subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. The pension benefits that a party accrues when married can be seen as a marital asset. However, the portion of benefits of obtained before the marriage and after the filing date of the divorce action isn’t considered an asset of the marriage. Pension plans, however, often contain more than just provisions for future financial compensation. These plans often provide for continued health insurance too.
  • While courts consider pension plans in equitable distribution, that’s not always the case for health insurance coverage. Courts issued an opinion a few years ago that a husband/s pension plan of lifetime healthcare coverage wasn’t a marital asset, and that it shouldn’t be split between the husband and wife. The court also noted that the wife wouldn’t totally lose out in this matter, because “loss of insurance benefits” would be considered in the equitable distribution analysis of other assets.  Keep in mind also, as part of the Automatic Orders involved with a litigated divorce, health and other insurance benefits that were in place before the filing date of the divorce must continue while the divorce is ongoing unless an agreement or court order is made to the contrary.

Continue reading ›

Arms-Crossed-200x300Welcome back to our bullet point series addressing some of the biggest issues that people face with divorce litigation. If you’ve ever considered a divorce before, or you know someone who has been through the process, you probably have some questions about how everything works. This bullet point guide is designed to give you a better insight into what you can expect.

In this part of the series, we’re going to be looking at things like the costs incurred in a Queens, Nassau or Suffolk County, New York divorce, and the different options available to suit your budget. We’ll also address agreements and strategies that can speed up your divorce, and how money can come into the discussion when you’re planning your divorce.

The Costs of a Divorce in New York

One of the biggest concerns that clients have when it comes to figuring out how to plan their divorce, is how much everything is going to cost. Beyond your divorce attorney fees, filing for divorce isn’t free. The court filing fees are approximately $370.00. At the same time, there are expenses like marital debts to think about too. So, how much is everything going to cost? Continue reading ›

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