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Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

OCA Reports Backlog of Divorce Cases


What is being done to expedite divorce cases in New York?

It is widely known that most states allow No Default divorces in which neither spouse needs to prove the other spouse did something wrong. Before the no fault law was approved in New York in 2010, a couple needed to prove grounds for a divorce such as adultery, domestic violence or cruelty. Of course, these are still valid reasons for divorce, but now either party only must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least 6 months.

In short, this streamlined process makes it easier for a couple to end a marriage, and more couples are splitting up, which is reportedly causing a backlog of cases in the New York courts. According to statistics compiled by the state Office of Court Administration, there were about 4,500 pending contested divorce cases in New York City last year, a 10 percent rise since 2011.


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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Primer on Enforcing Child Support Orders


What can I do if my ex-spouse fails to make child support payments?

In a divorce involving minor children, child support issues can become contentious, particularly when a parent fails to make court ordered payments. In this situation, it is crucial to have a matrimonial attorney by your side who can take legal action in Family Court to enforce the child support order.

How is Child Support Determined?

The courts in New York consider a number of factors when making child support determination such as the child's standing of living while the parents were married, the income of the parent with primary custody of the child, and whether one parent is paying alimony to the other. The court also looks at each parent's income as well and the health, medical and educational expenses of the child. Child support payments are typically made on a monthly basis in an amount stated in the child support order.


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

New Study Finds Most Divorces Happen After the Holidays


When do most divorces occur?

A recent study suggests that certain times of the year are harder on a marriage.  Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated divorce petitions filed in Washington state between the years 2001 and 2015.


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

New York State Court of Appeals Rules to Expand the Definition of Parenthood


Who can seek custody of a child in New York?

New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, recently issued a monumental ruling that expands the definition of parenthood.  Under the new law, caretakers that are not related either biologically or through adoption to a child will still have standing to seek custody and visitation rights.  The ruling will have a significant impact for parents, especially same-sex couples, and brings New York into line with mainstream beliefs in the United States that parents need not be related to their children by blood, adoption, or marriage.

The case that brought about this important law change involved a same-sex couple that announced their engagement in 2007, though same-sex marriage was not permitted at the time in New York.  One of the partners later became pregnant with their child through artificial insemination.


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Broken Engagement – Who Gets The Ring?


You and your partner are happily engaged and have spent months tirelessly planning a beautiful and elegant wedding.  The invitations have been sent out to all of your friends and family and the honeymoon is finalized.  To your shock, your partner tells you that the relationship is over and cancels the wedding.  Who gets the diamond ring? 

Every jurisdiction has certain elements that it uses to determine which party is legally entitled to the ring.  Sometimes, the court’s decision will turn on the issue of whether the engagement ring was a “gift.


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Things You Should Consider Before Asking for a Prenup


Should I ask my fiancé to sign a prenuptial agreement?

Millennials have been dubbed a “prenup generation.”  Prenuptial agreements are more popular than ever, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).  Their survey of 1,600 divorce attorneys revealed an overall increase in prenups during the last three years, with most clients electing to sign a prenuptial agreement in order to protect their separate property.  Many millennials watched their parents or grandparents get divorced and want to save themselves from the cost, time, and heartache of arguing over assets.  Before you ask your future spouse for a prenup, consider the following:

Prenuptial Agreements Are About More than Divorce

Asking your fiancé for a prenup is not an easy topic to broach, but handling the matter delicately can lead to a thoughtful conversation that may benefit your relationship in the long term.


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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

With No Prenup, Billion Dollar Macklowe Divorce Turns into Heated Battle How important is a prenuptial agreement?


The divorce between New York real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda has become increasingly contentious as the couple battles over the billions of dollars at stake.  Harry and Linda Macklowe wed 57 years ago.  They did not sign a prenuptial agreement.  Earlier this year, Harry Macklowe reportedly filed for divorce from his wife amidst rumors that he was dating another woman.  Now, the couple is expected to duel it out to receive their share of the substantial property and wealth at stake, which includes over $1 billion in art alone.


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Friday, August 5, 2016

Imputed Income & Child Support Obligations


What can you do when your spouse tries to circumvent the law during or post-divorce proceedings?  Spouses often resort to this tactic in order to avoid their child support payments and obligations.  

Child support payments often consist of school costs, child care, and medical care expenses, and must be paid by the non-custodial parent until the child’s twenty-first birthday.  An attorney can estimate what you will owe by relying on the designated percentages under “New York’s Child Support Guidelines.”  For example, the percentage of a spouse’s income that is set aside for one child is 17%, for two it is 25%, and for three it is 29%.  However, any excess income over the threshold of $136,000, may be allocated differently.


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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Depp/ Heard Divorce Involves Claims of Domestic Violence


How will Heard’s claims of domestic violence affect her divorce from Depp?

People get divorced for a variety of reasons. These include incompatibility, adultery and abandonment. But, sometimes things take a more dangerous turn and domestic violence is involved. When domestic violence becomes an issue it can have a major affect on the way the divorce turns out. A recent example of this is that of major movie star Johnny Depp and his current wife, Amber Heard.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pre-Nuptial Agreements - What Couples Should Discuss Before Tying The Knot

A pre-nuptial agreement, also referred to as an antenuptial agreement, is typically an uncomfortable subject for couples planning to get married.  That is because it is a contract between both spouses under the Domestic Relations Law that anticipates a divorce.   However, this type of contract is worth the seemingly uncomfortable discussion.  It can save you and your spouse the substantial time, expense, and emotional turmoil of having to argue over terms and protect your property in the event of dissolution of marriage.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cohabiting After Divorce - A Growing Trend


Is "birdnesting" -- sharing a home after divorce -- a practical solution or terrible idea?

Celebrities do it. Regular folks do it too. More and more divorced couples from all walks of life are "birdnesting," an arrangement in which a husband and wife share and rotate in and out of the same home even after their marriage has dissolved.

Birdnesting as a Solution to Financial Pressures

Financial exigencies sometimes play a role in the decision to birdnest. When a house is heavily mortgaged or when a spouse is having career difficulties, sharing it can prevent financial losses or foreclosure and the disruptive impact these events would have on children.


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