Divorce Mediation and its Benefits

Mediation is one of the least recognized methods of resolving divorce matters but is extremely efficient and cost effective. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) held in an informal setting, where the divorcing parties can resolve their differences without the stress or cost of a formal court proceeding. And for many people, mediation can help avoid the difficulties inherent in the court system. Continue reading “Divorce Mediation and its Benefits”

When is Spousal Maintenance Appropriate?

When you’re stuck in a marriage you no longer want to be in, it can be easy to feel trapped, especially if your spouse is the primary breadwinner for your family. Even when divorce seems like a reasonable choice from an emotional standpoint, the potential expenses (such as legal fees), on top of the loss of shared income and marital property, can be a massive deterrent against seeking separation from your partner.  This is exactly why the law of equitable distribution, child support and spousal maintenance were created.

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How is Child Custody Adjudicated in Family Court?

One of the most contentious issues that can come up in any family court case is that of child custody. Obviously, most parents want to be involved in their child’s upbringing, but when the issue of child custody is being adjudicated, there are no guarantees. Moreover, anyone who isn’t familiar with family law may be confused about how a court comes to a determination about custody in the first place.

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Getting Divorced Later in Life Can Impact Retirement

When a couple gets divorced, the initial thoughts are usually centered around who receives the tangible assets?  Parties may readily consider the house, the car, bank accounts etc., but what is often forgotten is the impact divorce may have on your retirement plan. The longer the marriage, and the closer the parties are to retirement, the more the retirement plan can be disrupted. 

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Why Get a Prenup or Post-Nup

When most people are getting married, they’re not thinking about the possibility of a divorce. A decision to marry is generally primarily based upon love and affection, not finances. However, the NY State views marriage as a financial contractual union.  In light of the fact that roughly 40 to 50% of all marriages end in divorce, it makes sense to consider the financial ramifications in the unfortunate event of divorce.   Although generally an unpleasant topic during the period of time that you are excited about starting a life with your partner, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may save a great deal on legal fees and time in the future while lessening the stress of wondering what will happen to your finances in the event of divorce.

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The Divorce Process Can Take Many Forms

The decision to get divorced can be one of the most difficult and traumatic experiences two people may go through.  When one thinks of a divorce, they may picture a courtroom filled with attorneys arguing.  However, what most people do not realize is that there are several ways to go about the divorce process.  Over the last decade, the divorce processes of mediation and collaborative divorce have grown in many jurisdictions to be a costeffective and more efficient manner to obtain a divorce.  There are advantages and disadvantages to court litigated divorces (traditional), mediation and collaborative divorce.  

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Jeff Bezos to Divorce Without Prenup

Founder and lead shareholder of Amazon.com Inc., Jeff Bezos, and wife, Mackenzie, have recently announced via social media that they will be divorcing after 25 years of marriage. Recognized as the wealthiest man in the world, Jeff Bezos possesses a net worth of nearly $137 billion, most of which he acquired during the course of his marriage. Many have been wondering what the outcome will be, considering that Bezos did not have a standing prenuptial agreement in place. As a result, the terms of their divorce may vary depending upon the state in which they dissolve their marriage. 

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Common-Law Marriages in Non-Participating States

common-law marriage is a union between two people that is formed without a marriage license or wedding ceremony. Contrary to what many believe, obtaining a common-law marriage is not as simple as cohabitating for a prolonged period of time, though the determination of marital status varies from state to state. In many instances, to establish a marriage within a common-law state, the couple must be officiated by the state court.

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How New Tax Laws Will Affect Divorcing Couples in 2019

With 2018 ending in a few weeks, unhappily married couples who are thinking of splitting up should consider the tax consequences of waiting until after the new year. 

Under the new tax law enacted by Congress and the Trump administration, the rules regarding alimony will be different. Under the new law, the person who pays the alimony (otherwise known as maintenance in New York State) will no longer be able to write it off their taxes(deduct it from their income); meanwhile, those who receive alimony will no longer have to declare it as taxable income. If the paying spouse wishes to avoid this scenario, it is wise for to file for divorce before the end of the year. Those couples who already divorced will be grandfathered in — which means they will not be subjected to the new alimony law — unless they decide to modify their agreements next year. 

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Spousal Support Shift Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

President Donald Trump promised hefty tax changes prior to his inauguration. One substantial tax change under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act concerned the deductibility of spousal support.

Prior to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), those receiving spousal support (alimony) were forced to claim the proceeds as taxable income, while those paying the alimony were allowed to deduct the payments from their taxes. However, under the new statute, it is reversed. Now, those that are receiving the alimony are able to deduct the alimony given by their former spouse from their taxes, while those paying the alimony will have to include it on their taxes. The change becomes effective after December 31, 2018.
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