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New York City Divorce Blog

Property division and equitable distribution in New York

Assets are a frequent topic for dispute in a New York divorce, especially when it is a high-profile couple with significant assets. Those assets can include real estate, retirement plans, valuable artwork, motor vehicles and much more. When the couple decides to end the marriage, there will inevitably be disagreements as to how the property is allocated. The concept of equitable distribution is one of the most important issues for the parties to consider. Given the frequency with which these issues are misunderstood, having a grasp of them beforehand is key to a successful resolution of the case.

While the couple is married, the spouse that earns income or brings certain assets into the marriage has the right to manage them in any way they see fit. However, when there is a divorce, it is different. The identity of the person who owns the property is a factor, but there are other issues that will be weighed as the divorce moves forward. It will be up to a judge to decide how to divide the assets in an equitable way. This does not necessarily mean it will be split 50-50 or the property will remain with the person who technically owns it.

What if my former spouse does not pay child support as ordered?

When there is a divorce in New York and the couple has children, it is common for the custodial parent to receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent. It is important that these payments are made on time and in full. Unfortunately, many supporting parents do not keep up with their payments. This can leave the receiving parent unsure of how to proceed to get those payments. This is where the Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) can be of help. Because a dispute over child support can be so contentious, it is always wise to have legal assistance from an experienced lawyer.

If there is a need for help with child support, a custodial parent or guardian can get it from CSEU. It makes no difference what their income is, if they are getting financial assistance, or if they are immigrants. For some, there are domestic issues that make it safer for the receiving parent to have their address hidden, this can also be done when seeking child support payments.

How can prenuptial agreements affect a divorce in New York?

When there are concerns about a business, significant assets or one prospective spouse being substantially wealthier than the other, it is not unusual for couples in New York to enter into prenuptial agreements before they get married. If the marriage comes to an end, these agreements are prone to dispute. Either side can complain about the contents of a prenuptial agreement and even call the entire document into question. For people who have a prenuptial agreement and are getting a divorce, there are important legal facts that should be understood.

A prenuptial agreement can list what will be separate property and marital property and it can state what the spousal maintenance will be. To be valid, the agreement must: be considered fair; have been signed through free will; have had full financial disclosure; have been agreed to after consulting with independent legal counsel; and there must have been a third person to serve as a witness.

Upstate New York Mayor faces domestic abuse allegations

In New York City and across the State, domestic incidents are common. It is unfortunate that people who are involved in a relationship will get into a dispute that turns physical, but it happens quite often. These incidents can happen to anyone. When a person is confronted with domestic abuse, they might not be aware that there are legal methods to deal with the situation. Having legal assistance from a law firm that is experienced in helping those with a domestic violence complaint can be useful to end the abuse.

According to a recent report, the mayor of an upstate New York town is facing allegations that he has been abusive toward his estranged wife. Shawn Morse is the Mayor of Cochoes and has been separated from his wife because of domestic abuse complaints. State Police have been investigating it amid calls for his resignation from his elected position by other prominent political figures. Morse and his wife met at a restaurant recently to talk about their separation agreements when they reportedly began to argue. According to her, it became physical and he spit at her. She called local law enforcement and statements were taken. Charges have yet to be filed. Morse has denied the allegations.

Why getting along with your ex can be hard on your kids

In most senses, getting along with your ex after divorce is an admirable goal. It allows the two of you to co-parent successfully, working toward what is best for the children, rather than what you want on your own. It also helps to keep both of you involved in the child's life in meaningful ways. Some parents have joint birthdays or Christmas celebrations or even vacations, for example.

However, as much as this level of civility and cooperation can be good, it can also be hard on your kids. After all, they may be hoping for you to get back together.

What are child support percentages and how is income gauged?

Child support is vital for children to achieve their maximum potential and be cared for properly in New York. When a couple divorces, one of the biggest divorce legal issues they will face often centers around child support. This is an issue rife with the potential for disputes and hard feelings. Every case is different and the circumstances of the parents can vary. For example, if it is a high-asset divorce, a low-asset divorce or anywhere in between, the amount that will be ordered will obviously differ. However, there are certain guidelines that the state will use when deciding how much will be paid. It is crucial to understand these rules.

There are percentages that the state uses to decide how much of the supporting parent's income must be paid for child support. If the couple has one child, it is 17 percent. With two children, it is 25 percent. With three children, it is 29 percent. For those with four children, it is 31 percent. And people who have five or more children will need to pay 35 percent or more.

Is a contested or uncontested divorce the better choice for me?

For New Yorkers, divorce is often a difficult process rife with emotions and concerns about the future. However, some couples can agree on the issues that need to be settled as they take steps to end the marriage and do not need a drawn-out process. This exemplifies the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce. Before deciding on which is better for the situation, it is important to grasp the basics for each.

If one of the spouses does not want to divorce, it is a contested case. If there is disagreement as to the legal reasons for the divorce, it will be contested. And, if there is disagreement as to how the children, the finances or property from the marriage will be handled, it is a contested divorce. With a contested divorce, the judge will want details as to what the sticking points are. It will be necessary to go to court.

What are the different types of child custody in New York?

One of the most contentious issues when a couple in New York ends a relationship is who will have custody of the children. Before anything else it is critical to know the basics of child custody and that includes the two different possibilities. There are two areas of custody that should be understood: legal custody and physical custody. When trying to determine where the child will live and what the agreement will say, knowing the difference between the two is crucial.

The parent who has legal custody will be allowed to make all the important decisions regarding the care of the child. That can include religious observance, medical care and more. Should there be a decision that the parents will have joint legal custody, these decisions will be made together. The living arrangements are irrelevant in such a case - the parents will decide together. Should a parent be given sole custody, then that parent will make the decisions.

How do best interests of the child affect custody and visitation?

When parents in New York have decided to part ways as a couple, there are frequently concerns as to how child custody and visitation rights will be allocated. While many factors go into the decision, one of the most important will be the "best interests of the child." This is a key consideration and the factors that enter into it should be understood as the case moves forward.

When assessing the best interests of the child, there are no foundational considerations that are applicable in every case. The cases will be considered on their own merits. Generally, the judge will assess all the factors and seek to ensure the child is cared for in the best possible way. The paramount concern is the child's health and safety. Neither parent will be favored over the other. The key is what will be best for the child.

Reinvent yourself: Moving forward after divorce

Your marriage is ending, and you're just not sure what you're going to do. You always assumed you'd stay married, have children, grow old and retire. It's what your parents did. It's what everyone expected of you.

Now what? Your life hasn't played out how you planned, so what do you do next?

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