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

Articles Posted in Trials

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Welcome back to our second set of bullet points for the divorce and litigation series guide. If you read my previousHurt-Couple-300x204 blog, you’ll already know that I’m using this several-stage guide as a way to provide quick and useful information about divorce litigation to anyone who might be considering starting their own case. These guides will act as a source of quick-fire knowledge when you have questions that you need to answer as quickly as possible.

In this part of the series, we’ll be looking at relocation clauses and how they work when it comes to child custody agreements made in litigation. I’ll also touch on the concept of separation agreements, and when they’re helpful in a divorce case.

Relocation Causes Agreed To in Divorce Litigation

Family law is made up of many complicated areas, from maintenance, to equitable distribution. However, there are few aspects more stressful for most families than deciding on divorce with custody and visitation times. Continue reading ›

If you’ve been staying tuned with my blog recently, then you’ll know that I’ve been creating a list of blogs highlighting Colleagueslaptop-300x200key points in divorce mediation. These guides are designed to give you easy access to important information about mediation in a bite-sized package. Now, I’m going to be looking at more traditional divorce representation, that in which the lawyer is representing a client as their advocate, in a similar fashion, highlighting key points for you in an easy-to-read format.

This is the first of what is likely to be a number of lists about divorce litigation, and it will be looking distributing debts and assets, the concept of filing for divorce, maintenance, child custody, child support and more.

Divorce and the Latest Distribution Laws

One of the major issues that couples need to address when getting divorced, is how they’re going to handle the distribution of assets. This includes dividing not just important assets like belongings and the family home, but also deciding who should be responsible for debts after the marriage is over. Continue reading ›

Swearing-In-300x211Assets aren’t the only thing that may need to be distributed between two parties when a divorce takes place. Some couples need to think about distributing their debts too – particularly when there is a dispute about whether the couple agreed to take on those financial commitments together or not. In order to prove to the courts of New York and Long Island that a debt should be split, parties must provide some crucial information. Most commonly, the courts will require some evidence that the debt was incurred either for the benefit of the other party, the household, or with the other party’s permission. This is a way that something may be considered marital debt, rather than just “individual” debt.

In most instances the debt that exists at the time of filing the divorce will be open to consideration by the courts. Usually, any debts that are taken on after the divorce case is filed won’t have any traction in the case. However, I have found some exceptions to this rule. For instance, in the case of G.T. v. A.T., 43 Misc. 3d 500, 501, 980 N.Y.S.2d 255, 256, the court was prepared to consider any debt incurred when the divorce was ongoing. However, the court ended up ruling that it was not going to distribute the debt that was incurred during the pendency of the divorce, simply because neither side was able to show evidence that the debt was made with the other’s permission.

In the case above, the plaintiff had a discover card in their name and a Visa and Mastercard in the name of the defendant. The two parties had accrued debt on all of the cards during the pendency of the case. However, as no evidence was available to suggest that the debt was incurred for the benefit of the other spouse, or with the other spouse’s permission, that debt was not be treated as marital debt. My experience is that if post filing expenses or debt is going to be an issue that the parties would want to attempt to get a Pendente Lite Order from the court. This is an order that provides for payments to be made for support and expenses while the divorce is ongoing. Continue reading ›

Contact Information