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Family Court

In a New York domestic partnership? Learn about your rights here

man woman couple

While many couples continue to affirm their commitment to one another by getting married, others opt to enter into a domestic partnership. New York State defines a domestic partner as anyone who meets one or more of the following criteria: Enters into a legally-recognized domestic partnership Is registered as a domestic partner with their employer…

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New York paternity laws

man and child

In New York, when a child is born to married parents, the presumption is that the husband is the legal father. When the parents are unmarried, it gets complicated. The law does not assume that the mother’s current boyfriend is the child’s father, and steps need to be taken before the putative father receives parental…

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Can you modify your own custody agreement?

child custody concept

Technically, yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Once a New York family court has issued a custody order, you and the other parent are bound by its terms unless you apply for a modification, which is generally granted only if you can demonstrate that circumstances have changed significantly since the order was…

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Proving adultery in a New York divorce

wood people gavel courthouse figures

Last year, the New York Post ran an article revealing that Ashley Madison, the portal that connects cheating spouses, is as popular as ever despite a catastrophic data breach in 2015. The article stated that the company’s US revenue increased by 17% in 2016 and over half of its active users are female. Until 1967,…

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Spousal misconduct in a New York divorce

illustration man woman question marks

Your spouse was unfaithful to you for over two years, although you only learned about it a few months ago. You’re hurt, angry, and wondering whether her actions will have any impact on the outcome of the divorce. Will she lose her bid for custody of the kids? Receive less of the marital estate? Has…

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Handling “back to school” as a divorced parent

woman and children back to school concept

Back-to-school season is stressful for parents as well as kids, but when you’re recently divorced, the challenges can be amplified. How will you split the cost of school supplies? Who will go shopping for them? Will both of you accompany the kids to the bus stop or drive them to school? The back-to-school transition is…

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Getting divorced? Here’s what you should know about insurance

figures in house and hands

If you’re in the process of divorce, then there are multiple demands for your attention. You’re talking to your spouse about child custody and support, sorting through marital assets, and separating your finances. There’s a lot to manage, but don’t let insurance fall under your radar. One area many divorcing couples overlook is life insurance.…

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What lawsuits are not stopped by bankruptcy?

scales of justice head in cloud

When someone files a lawsuit against you, you may be tempted to declare bankruptcy, especially if it involves a debt you can’t afford to repay. While bankruptcy can stop a lot of creditor lawsuits, such as collection actions by credit card companies and mortgage providers, some proceedings are not impacted by the automatic stay. Below…

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What is a “walkaway” spouse?

man taking off wedding ring from finger

When a couple divorces, it’s rare that both spouses make the decision together. In most cases, there is one person who has already gone through an “emotional” divorce and wants to make the split legal. They say they want to divorce, often to the shock and confusion of their partner. This individual is what is…

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How to celebrate Father’s Day as a divorced dad

father holding child

Normally you look forward to Father’s Day, but if this is the first time you’ve celebrated it since your divorce, then you may be wondering how you’re going to manage. These feelings can be even more difficult if you are the noncustodial parent or you share custody but the kids live with their mom. Sometimes,…

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New York’s equitable distribution law explained

marriage rings

When you divorce in New York today, Domestic Relation Law Section 236 requires the marital estate to be divided equitably. In this sense, “equitable” means fair as opposed to equal, although New York family court judges strive to divide assets in a manner that gives each spouse what they need to pursue an independent life…

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Common law marriage in New York

living together in hosue concept

New York abolished common-law marriage in 1933, and other states soon followed suit. Today, only a dozen or so states recognize common-law relationships. They include Texas, Utah, Montana, and Rhode Island. This division raises some important family law questions. If you and your spouse had an officially-recognized common-law marriage in Texas (for example), and you…

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Valentine’s Day after divorce

valentines day shirt - proud to be single

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for the first time in years, you’ll be single. You try to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter, that the entire day is just an overblown social ritual, yet you suspect that you will be either buying a ticket for the Anti-Valentine’s Party in Brooklyn or avoiding…

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Mental illness and divorce in New York

mental illness head concept

Although New York still recognizes fault-based divorces, it differs from states like Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas in that incurable mental illness is not one of the accepted grounds. When one spouse’s mental health condition causes them to behave erratically and aggressively toward their family, the other spouse typically cites extreme cruelty, which is grounds for…

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How divorce or separation can affect your taxes

woman with taxes tablet calculator

If you were separated or divorced in 2018, then there will be certain tax implications, the most basic of which is your filing status. If you are separated but have not received a final divorce or legal separation decree, then you are considered married for the entire year for tax purposes and must file as:…

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If you can’t say anything nice…

woman quiet concept

While some divorces are amicable and involve couples that are committing to treating each other fairly, others wouldn’t be out of place in an old Roman Coliseum. Both spouses are angry and determined to include a pound or two of flesh in the property distribution agreement. Venting is a common byproduct of this hostility. Although…

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How to reduce holiday shopping stress as a single parent

presents for family under tree

If you’re a newly divorced single parent, then the holidays can be more stressful than usual. You have to coordinate the holiday visitation schedule with your former spouse, plan your traditional Christmas dinner, and buy gifts for everyone. If the divorce left you with a lower household income than last year, then you might be…

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A virtual Christmas with the kids

holiday lamp and hat

What’s worse than not having the kids for Christmas? Not having them AND being out of the state or even the country over the holidays. Thanks to an increasingly mobile workforce, this scenario will be a reality for many divorced parents this season. It’s not a happy prospect, but remember one thing: the technological advances…

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When should children testify in family law proceedings?

gavel and figurines

When custody disputes occur, New York judges attempt to resolve the matter without putting the child in the position of having to choose between their parents. In some cases, however, input from the child may be necessary to give the court the information it needs to make the best decision, so a “Lincoln hearing” will…

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Who owes MasterCard? Debts in a New York divorce

credit card

When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you expect that all marital assets will be divided according to New York’s equitable distribution system. But what about the MasterCard bill you ran up together? The line of credit you took out a few years ago that is now at its limit? The student loan you…

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YouTube: Your best friend after divorce

film reel informational

Before divorce, your spouse may have been the one who balanced the household budget, trimmed the hedges, and fixed the occasional leaky faucet. Now that you’re single again, well-meaning friends are probably sending you the contact information for their favorite accountant, landscaper, or handy person. If you’re like most people after divorce, you’ve prepared a…

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Virtual visitation in child custody cases

video chat with child

Thanks to global trade expansion and an increasingly mobile workforce, more divorced parents are relocating to new cities, states, and even countries. According to the National Center for State Courts, nearly 35 million children in the U.S. have divorced or unmarried parents and approximately 25% of them have a parent that lives in a different…

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Apps for co-parenting? They exist!

various apps

Technology is often blamed for situations leading to divorce: social media addiction, flirtation on Tinder, and other gadget-based rudeness and infidelity have all been cited as reasons for relationship breakdown. There are times, however, when technology makes your life easier, especially after divorce. The co-parenting apps listed below all make it easier for you and…

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How to make your kids feel more secure during divorce

mother hugs son

When their parents divorce, children often wonder what went wrong and whether or not they might be to blame. These anxious and confused feelings are heightened when one parent moves out, splitting the household and causing them to see that parent less often. Although there is no way to ease the pain of divorce completely,…

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Tips for single parents going back to school

father children toys working

Children are not the only ones who experience back-to-school excitement and jitters. Divorced parents do too, especially if they have been a stay-at-home mother or father for years and need to brush up on their skills before looking for a job. As the workforce and employer expectations change, many people go back to school to…

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Establishing paternity in New York

DNA for paternity concept

Fatherhood includes certain obligations and rights. Once a child’s paternity is established, the father has the right to see him or her and be actively involved in his or her life. Even if he elects not to do so, then he still has both a moral and legal obligation to support the child. When a…

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Ways that a criminal record can affect your child custody case

court

It’s common knowledge that a criminal record can have a detrimental effect on your life. Not only are there immediate penalties such as significant fines and possible incarceration, but you also face long-term complications such as restricted employment options, loss of access to public benefits, and even challenges when you seek custody of your children.…

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Four tips for summer parenting time

As the last day of school before summer break approaches, we feel a more pressing need to confirm vacation plans for the summer. For divorced parents who have agreed to establish their own vacation schedule, this can be as difficult as it is exciting. We would love to take the kids to Disney World in…

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Child support arrears

Parents are obligated to support their children even if their relationship comes to an end. When this happens, the typical arrangement is that the non-custodial parent pays child support to the parent who retains primary custody, with the amount calculated to cover the children’s needs and help them enjoy a lifestyle similar to the one…

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Four tips for summer parenting time

mother and child

As the last day of school before summer break approaches, we feel a more pressing need to confirm vacation plans for the summer. For divorced parents who have agreed to establish their own vacation schedule, this can be as difficult as it is exciting. We would love to take the kids to Disney World in…

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Bankruptcy and child support

money bill

Imagine this scenario. Your ex has been ordered to pay you child support after your New York divorce, and she does—approximately half the time. As the months pass, many payments are missed and the amount of back child support due to you increases. Then you find out that she has just filed for bankruptcy to…

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Who will provide health insurance for my children after divorce?

divorce and health insurance

When you and your spouse divorce, most situations that you maintained as a family unit will have to be restructured. These include living arrangements, finances, and even health insurance, the latter of which is a special concern if you have children. Technically speaking, medical insurance counts as a form of child support. Making it available…

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Where do gifts fit into New York divorce settlements?

marital property - gifts

When divorcing spouses divide assets, gifts often become a subject of dispute, especially if they are valuable ones. Under New York law, gifts to either spouse from a third party (e.g. a friend or family member) are the separate property of the recipient, but there are ways that they can become part of the marital…

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Hidden assets during divorce

divorce assets

When two parties divorce, the ideal scenario is for both spouses to agree to a fair and equitable division of marital assets. That’s not always the way it happens, however. Spouses have been known to hide assets from each other in order to avoid having to share them. This is often the case when one…

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How to appear in Bronx Family Court telephonically

family court appearance

Sometimes circumstances leave you unable to attend your upcoming appearance date in Bronx Family Court. Perhaps you now live in a different state or even country, or an emergency has come up, forcing you to be out of New York when court is in session. Provided your absence is for a valid reason, you may…

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How to minimize stress for kids during divorce

stress of divorce

Once the decision is made to end your marriage, you’ll likely feel a powerful surge of emotions: grief, anger, sadness, maybe even relief. Chances are that your children are feeling just as strongly about the way their lives are about to change. How a child will react to the news of parental separation will vary,…

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