Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Discussing Uncontested Divorce With Your Spouse

How should I broach the subject of uncontested divorce with my spouse?

Obtaining an uncontested divorce in New York can offer cost effective and timely closure to your marriage.  In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse are in control of deciding vital issues such as distribution of assets, child custody, alimony, and more.  By agreeing to some of the most important terms of your divorce, the proceeding can move forward without the stress that so often accompanies a divorce.  Divorce is a sensitive topic, and many individuals may be reluctant to broach the subject of an uncontested divorce with their spouse.  The following is a list of talking points that can prove useful in starting the conversation about an Read more . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Divorce Rates Decline in New York City

Why are fewer New Yorkers getting divorced?

Divorce filings are down eight percent in New York City, according to court records.  Divorce filings within the five boroughs dropped from 27,756 in 2015 to 25,616 last year.  Manhattan had the most divorces, with 11,274, followed by the Bronx at 4,667.  All boroughs except the Bronx experienced fewer divorce filings.  While the rate of divorce in New York remains on par with the national average, it does appear fewer NYC couples are heading to divorce court.
Read more . . .

Monday, January 23, 2017

Contested Divorce—How Long Will It Take?

How long should I expect my complicated divorce to take in New York?

A contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot agree on some or all of the major divorce issues, such as custody, division of assets, alimony, and the like.  Contested divorces can be complex and contentious, leading to stress for both spouses.  If you and your spouse are at odds in your divorce, you may be wondering just how long your contested divorce will take.  The time frame for a contested divorce can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case.  Some factors that will impact your divorce timeline include:

  • Whether you are willing to go through mediation;
  • If there are children involved;
  • Whether one spouse is seeking alimony;
  • The amount and nature of the property involved; and
  • How many issues you and your spouse disagree on.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DIY Divorce: Do or Don’t?

Should I get a divorce without a lawyer?

More people today are considering divorcing without the help of a lawyer.  Several major websites exist that advertise preparation of your divorce forms without even consulting with a lawyer.  While do-it-yourself divorce may save you money in the short-term, there are several potential drawbacks that you should consider before deciding to go it alone, including:

  1. Paperwork errors:  DIY divorce papers are not tailored to your specific state or circumstances.  As such, you need to proceed with caution before using standard forms that you may find online.  These forms might contain critical errors that will get your filing rejected.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What Happens to Frozen Embryos After Divorce?

Who gets custody of frozen embryos after a divorce in New York?

Actress Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family” is battling with her ex Nick Loeb over the fate of their frozen embryos.  The important case may set legal precedent in a field marred with uncertainties.  Vergara and Loeb went through the process of in-vitro fertilization in 2013.  Multiple frozen embryos were created and two were implanted into a surrogate, but the procedures failed.  In 2014, the couple broke up—but their relationship did not end amicably.
Read more . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Divorcing Harry and Linda Macklowe Battle Over $1 Billion in Art

How is property divided during a divorce in New York?

New York real estate developer Harry Macklowe is divorcing his wife of 57 years, Linda Macklowe.  The couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage.  Now, the divorcing spouses are dueling it out to determine who will receive what out of the billions of dollars in marital property at stake. 

Among the couple’s assets is one of the most valuable private art collections in the industry.  Linda and Harry Macklowe own a massive postwar and contemporary art collection with an estimated value of over $1 billion.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grounds For Divorce

Did you know that you need to have a particular ground, or reason, to bring a divorce?  The seven grounds for divorce in New York include: (1) “Irretrievable Breakdown” of the marriage, (2) “Cruel and Inhuman Treatment,” (3) “Abandonment” by your spouse, (4) “Imprisonment” of a spouse, (5) “Adultery,” (6) “Judgment of Separation” or “Decree of Separation,” or (7) a “Separation Agreement,” which may result in a “Conversion Divorce.”  Once you have a valid ground, you may litigate your action in the Supreme Court for your region. 

The typical category that most parties fall under is “Irretrievable Breakdown of the marriage” because no fault is needed to be proven.  Typically, the marriage must have “broken down irretrievably for at least six months.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Divorce And The Distribution Of Your Assets

Will you lose the home that has been in your family for decades?  Who will be obligated to pay your spouse’s credit card debt?  Does your spouse have any right to a bank account in your name?  Do you have to share the accrued interest in your personal business?  These common questions often race through the minds of spouses anticipating divorce.  An attorney can answer your questions in detail, so you can feel secure in knowing which assets you are entitled to.

If you and your spouse cannot arrive at a mutual agreement, your assets will be distributed via the court’s discretion.  The word “equitable” is often misinterpreted to mean “equal,” but that is a misnomer.

Read more . . .

Monday, April 25, 2016

How Divorce Mediation Allows for Mature Discussion

What are the alternatives to divorce litigation?

There are many reasons why marriages end in divorce: financial problems, falling out of love, extramarital affairs or other difficult situations. In the end, problems often arise between spouses because they fail to communicate, and being an effective communicator is really a matter of listening. Because contentious divorce litigation does not foster listening, many couples today are choosing other alternatives.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Primary Reasons for Divorce

Why do marriages so frequently result in divorce?

No matter what the statistics report about the high rate of divorce, couples still seem determined to take that walk to the altar, each believing that they will be the pair to defy the daunting odds and bond for life. It is true that the peak rates of divorce have diminished from 50 percent during recent decades to 42 percent in the present. This may indicate that more and more couples, though not always able to achieve ongoing wedded bliss, seem to be taking their vows with their eyes open wider to the possibility that their marriage will require not only commitment, but hard work.

While the tabloids would have us believe that extramarital affairs are at the root of most marriage dissolutions, according to 100 experts at YourTango, a media company focused on romantic love, this is not actually the case. Reviewing the evidence of 100 break-ups, the following causes of divorce have been isolated.

[1] Communication Problems -- According to these pundits, most marriages dissolve because of an inability to communicate. It appears that nearly any problem, even straying from the marriage bed, can be solved if the paths of communication remain open.

[2] Marrying for the Wrong Reasons -- Sometimes one or both partners get roped into marriage for inappropriate reasons.  We have all heard the sad tales of couples "having to get married" because the woman is pregnant, but what about the couples from strict backgrounds who marry in order to have sex?  Other poor reasons for marriage include: because of one's age, because parents or friends encourage the union, for money, because time-consuming, expensive preparations have already taken place, or because you are in love with the idea of being married.

[3] Submerging Oneself in One's Partner -- The poet Theodore Roethke said, "Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other."  Two often, infatuation leads to one partner "drowning" in the other, losing sight of his or her own interests, values, desires, and visions for the future. For many such couples, the person who has become submerged finally reaches a point where divorce is necessary for the individual to survive.

[3] Neglecting the Partnership -- It is not uncommon for married couples to pull away from the friends and activities they most enjoyed before they tied the knot. This can be especially true if they have children and become caught up in their individual roles are parents, neglecting to nourish themselves as a twosome. For many couples who lead lives like these, by the time the children leave the nest, the parents find there is nothing left to hold them together.

[4] Not Having Clarified Issues Beforehand -- Each member of a couple has grown up in a different (sometimes very different) household. Unless issues about household chores, finances, tidiness, discipline of children, sexual intimacy, vacations, etc. have been discussed prior to marriage, there is likely to be discord after the honeymoon.

[5] Lost Intimacy -- The interplay between romance and sexual intimacy is usually fine premaritally, but may be more difficult to balance when there is less time for relaxation and foreplay during the marriage. Couples must learn to accommodate varying libidos if the marriage is to survive.

[6] Expecting Your Partner to Become the Person You Envisioned -- Everyone has seen the sitcoms in which criticizing, blaming, nagging and bribing are presented as part and parcel of marriage. Though it is true that some amount of complaining is inevitable, the person you married will change when he or she feels the need to, not when you expect capitulation. This is where the ability to communicate becomes so essential.

[7] Financial Disagreements -- There is no question that when finances become tight, marriages become strained. Couples also have serious difficulties, however, when they are not in difficult economic straits. Spending and saving habits have to be discussed and agreed upon if a marriage is to have a stable foundation.

[8] Lack of Physical Intimacy -- The sexual underpinnings of most marriages are extremely important, but so are the smaller intimacies expressed by handholding, gentle kisses, warm hugs, easy caresses. If physical intimacy is limited to the bedroom activities, the sense of estrangement can become unbearable for one or both parties.

[9] Absence of Time Together as well as Time Apart --While it is important for couples to maintain a sense of their identities are individuals and spend time independently of one another, there is also a need to do pleasant things together, things that both enjoy.

[10] Inability to Resolve Conflicts -- Many therapists teach couples how to have productive arguments in which each person feels not only heard, but respected for his or her opinion. A third party can be very helpful in setting up ground rules to keep disagreements from becoming name-calling events or escalating to abusive words or behavior. 

If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage and divorce seems to be on the horizon, you would be wise to contact a fine family attorney promptly to guide you through the process.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Handling Your Finances During Divorce

What are some tips for dealing with your assets during a divorce?

We know you think it will never happen to you, however 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Moreover, divorces are messy, both emotionally and financially. A divorce could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and other expenses related to the terms of the divorce agreement such as alimony and child support. Why should you let it cost you any more as a result of mishandling assets? You shouldn’t. Here are some tips to help you determine what assets are in play and to assist you in dealing with them.

You might think that dealing with your assets during your divorce is above your head. However, the simple solution is to talk to a financial advisor or even a certified divorce financial analyst that specializes in this area. 

Even if you did not handle  the money while you were married, now is the time to get familiar. The best way to do this is by reviewing tax returns. Tax returns will divulge what assets you and your spouse have. If you know your spouse has an asset that is not listed, he or she might also be trying to hide it from the divorce court. Once you become familiar with the information on the tax returns, you should then turn to non-paper records. We live in a digital world and many financial records are now stored electronically. You should to get comfortable with this medium.

At some point, you are going to have to determine what you will need to live as a single as opposed to in a couple. Be realistic and understand that you may have to shift things around to suit your new lifestyle. 

Most importantly, try to be civil. It is always the case that much more can be accomplished when the parties are willing to work together without malice.

If you are facing a divorce and have considerable assets, you should speak to an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. 

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