New Law Extends Child Support for Developmentally Disabled Adult Dependents

New Law Extends Child Support for Developmentally Disabled Adult Dependents

On October 8, 2021, a new law went into effect in New York that extended the age of child support eligibility for adult dependents with developmental disabilities. New York is the 41st state to enact this type of extended support. Prior to this new law, child support terminated at age 21 in New York. Now, a custodial parent can petition the court for child support for an adult dependent with disabilities up until the age of 26.

This new law is contained in NY Domestic Relations Law § 240-d and allows any custodial parent or caregiver of a developmentally disabled child who is dependent on that parent and resides with them to petition for child support. The Mental Hygiene Law defines a child with a “developmental disability” as one which “is attributable to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment, familial dysautonomia, Prader-Willi syndrome or autism,” a condition of similar resulting impairment, or dyslexia. In addition, the disability must have originated before the child reached age 22, must continue and expect to continue indefinitely, and must constitute “a substantial handicap to such person’s ability to function normally in society.” See Mental Hygiene Law § 1.03 (22).

With the enactment of this law, there are some uncertainties and ambiguities that will need to be sorted out by the courts. Parents who already have child support cases pending but not completed may be wondering whether this new law can apply in their case. Parents who have entered settlement agreements delineating support until the child turns 21 may be wondering if the new law can still be applied beyond age 21 if they have an eligible disabled child. Additionally, what happens if parents wait too long to request an extension of support as the child nears the age of 26?While there are many uncertainties, what is clear from the new law is that parents may only petition the court for the extended child support if the child has not yet reached the age of 26 and if the child fits the definition of developmentally disabled from the Mental Hygiene Law. New York law allows courts to modify prior child support orders, which means that eligible custodial parents with previous orders can petition the courts for a modification pursuant to the change in law.

Children with developmental disabilities often require assistance and support well beyond the age of majority. Parents often rely on programs and assistance through local school districts, but once the child ages out of those programs, it may be difficult for a parent to afford other means of care. This extended child support can give a custodial parent the help they need to give their child the proper means of support. It gives the parent more time to plan for the future and determine next steps for their developmentally disabled child’s care, while having financial support from the noncustodial parent along the way.

Custodial parents that are seeking to prove their child is developmentally disabled and that they are entitled to extended child support should work with an experienced family law attorney to help them navigate this process. An attorney can gather all the proper documentation and evidence needed to prove your entitlement to child support under this new law. If you find yourself in need of child support for your developmentally disabled child, contact the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg to get the support you and your child deserve. We are experienced in child support matters and will help you navigate this new law and any uncertainties that may surround it.

Divorce is a difficult process for all parties involved, especially when there are children to consider. Divorce can also have implications for other family relationships, like grandparents. As a grandparent, you may be concerned about how the parents’ divorce or separation will impact your relationship with your grandchildren. The situation can be especially difficult where one parent may not want their child being around their grandparents for whatever reason. Therefore, you might be a caring grandparent wondering how much you’ll be able to see your grandchildren again following the divorce.

Fortunately, in the State of New York, you do have options as a grandparent. Grandparents have a legal right to request visitation when they have a substantial existing relationship with their grandchildren, when one or both parents die, or when the child’s parents have interfered with their efforts to establish or maintain a relationship. Our Garden City divorce attorneys at Fass & Greenberg are here to help you navigate this challenging area of the law and obtain the best outcome possible.

What to Know About Divorce Law

As Garden City lawyers, we follow state divorce and separation law closely. Here’s what all grandparents and parents in cases of divorce need to know:

  • When it comes to grandparents seeking visitation rights, they can only do so with biological and/or adopted grandchildren. Petition for visitation cannot be filed by great-grandparents, or any other kind of relative.
  • New York grandparents only have legal recourse when they already have a relationship with their grandchild and their ability to visit and/or socialize with them is being challenged or prevented by the parents’ separation.
  • In order to file a petition, grandparents must be able to clearly show their familial connection to the child as well as show that their visitation is within the child’s best interest.
  • Visitation is not the same as custody. Grandparents only have a chance of winning custody if the child’s legal parent passes away, abandons, or severely neglects the child. If there is a surviving parent, that parent must agree (or it must be proven) that the child living with his or her grandparents is in the child’s best interests.

How Grandparents Can Get Visitation Rights Approved

As any experienced divorce lawyer will tell you upfront, the petition has a chance of being denied should one or more of the child’s legal parents object to the visitation. Parents have a right to control their child’s upbringing and courts will often defer to their decision if found to be in the child’s best interests. During the court process, the grandparents will have the burden of establishing that they have a legal right to request visitation. When one or both of the child’s parents have died, the grandparents automatically have the right to do so. However, when the parents are alive, a Court must find that granting the grandparent visitation rights is in the best interests of the child and that there is a strong, healthy pre-existing relationship between the grandparents and the child.

In order to achieve the best possible outcome, our experienced Garden City divorce attorneys recommend that you be able to supply as much proof as possible concerning your presence in the child’s life. As you get ready to file your visitation petition, you’ll want to document the following:

  • Specifics about the child’s life, including their age, address, school activities, friends, hobbies, etc.
  • The grandparents’ history of being in their life, including how often they normally visit, what holidays they spend with them, or any vacations they’ve been on together. Anyone looking to prevent the award of grandparent visitation would need to show negative experiences here.
  • The child’s personal wishes (if they are old enough to articulate them) about what they want and who they want to see from their family. This can go a very long way in shaping the case as a whole.
  • The grandparents’ relationship(s) with the child’s parents. Positive or negative, it’s important to clearly state your side of the story. This will be your opportunity to make your voice heard.

In addition to all of the above, you’ll also want to get a mental health assessment. Preferably done for everyone involved, this will help show who is mentally fit to be in the child’s life.

Contact Your Garden City Lawyers Today

You’ll generally have to wait until after the divorce ruling (and any custody hearings) have concluded before any petition for or against visitation is filed. That said, don’t wait too long to seek legal help. Even if you’re just starting to look into divorce attorneys, it’s a good idea to start looking at your options ahead of time when it comes to grandparent visitation.

Contact Fass & Greenberg Family Lawyers in Garden City, NY today to learn more about your rights as a parent or grandparent in divorce. Even when it feels like part of your family is being torn apart, we’ll help you do what’s best for the children.

money support

A divorce is a very difficult and stressful event in your life. The divorce will be less complicated if you don’t share children with your ex because you don’t have to be concerned with complicated issues like child custody and child support.  However, a divorce can still greatly affect your money situation. If your ex was the higher earning spouse, you could be entitled to spousal support or spousal maintenance. A divorce lawyer Garden City can help you receive the money you are entitled to.

What Is the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Maintenance?

Temporary (or pendente lite) support is paid while the spouses are still married. The court awards spousal support based upon an immediate application, and allows a support proceeding to be initiated by a married person because spouses have a legal duty to support each other. The Court will make their initial determination based upon preliminary evidence, oftentimes prior to any business valuations.  Often, the temporary, or pendente lite award is greater than the award to the non-monied spouse at the conclusion of the case.  Permanent maintenance, on the other hand, is paid after a divorce. It is almost always for a specific time period, and rarely for life.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated?

The court uses a formula to determine the amount of spousal maintenance you are entitled to after a divorce. A family lawyer Garden City NY can use this formula to give you an idea of what amount you should be fighting for. Courts consider the following factors in setting the amount and duration of maintenance:

  • Your money and property and your ex’s: The court will consider your spouse’s income and yours if you have any. They will also consider property owned by both of you. If you have other financial resources or sources of income such as a trust fund or an inheritance, your spousal maintenance award will be much lower.
  • The length of your marriage: The longer you are married, the higher your spousal maintenance award will be. If you lived with your spouse for several years before getting married, the judge will take this time into consideration.
  • Your arrangement: If you didn’t work for most of your marriage because you were taking care of your spouse and your home, your spousal maintenance award will be higher. The same is true if you had a job where you earned significantly less than your spouse. Garden City divorce attorneys will present proof of your arrangement or income disparity in court to ensure a higher award that meets your needs.
  • The age and health of you and your ex: The court will consider the age and health of you and your ex. If either of you is old or in poor health, the spousal maintenance may be higher.
  • Your present and future earning capacity: The court will look at what you are currently making, if you are working. They will also consider the amount of money you can make in the future to support yourself. For example, if you got married young and put off college to care for your spouse and your home, your award will be larger because your chances of gainful employment are low. Your ability to become self-supporting in the future will affect the amount and duration of maintenance awarded.
  • Your ex’s present and future earning capacity: The amount of money your spouse makes has a lot to do with your spousal maintenance award. In New York, there is an income cap of $192,000.   However, in high income cases, the Court can be persuaded to make an award in excess of the cap, if a genuine need can be demonstrated.
  • Domestic violence and spousal misconduct: If you were a victim of domestic violence or a similar type of spousal misconduct and this misconduct is making it hard for you to get a job or it has inhibited your earning potential, the judge will consider this when determining your spousal maintenance award.
  • Opportunities that were delayed or overlooked for the marriage: If you didn’t go to college for the sake of putting the necessary time into your marriage, it will affect your reward. The same is true if you were offered a lucrative promotion and you turned it down because it would take too much time away from your marriage.
  • Tax consequences: In the past, spousal maintenance was considered income which had to be listed on your federal and state tax return. The amount your ex pays was a tax deduction. The law changed in 2018, and all spousal support in any agreement made on or after January 1, 2018 is not taxable on a federally filed income tax return, but can still be taxable on the New York State returns, unless agreed otherwise.
  • If you are getting divorced and you feel you are entitled to spousal support and/or spousal maintenance, the experienced attorneys at Fass & Greenberg can help. We specialize in divorce law in Garden City, NY and will work hard to ensure you receive the award you deserve. To schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys, give us a call today.
Custody battles

The end of a marriage or a relationship is often hard on both parties. Breakups are difficult and painful, and things get even more complicated when there are children involved. Some parents are able to agree on who will have custody of the children and may have an idea regarding the visitation schedule. Unfortunately, some parents are less cooperative and cannot agree on custody, which results in custody battles. This is a situation where you will need the help of Garden City divorce attorneys to ensure the best outcome for you and your children.

What are Custody Battles?

A custody battle is a legal fight between parents who have broken up, are divorced, or are in the process of getting divorced. When the parents cannot agree on who will get primary custody of the children, a custody battle begins. If you believe that you and your ex won’t be able to reach an agreement regarding child custody, you will need to hire a family lawyer Garden City NY. There are several ways a lawyer can help fight for your rights and help you win your custody battles.

1) Inform You Of Your Parental Rights

Most people don’t know much about family law, but once you enter a custody dispute it is important to become informed. A divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights as a parent. They can also help you understand relevant terminology, such as the difference between physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about a child’s care, including things like medical decisions or religious upbringing. Joint legal custody means that both parents have the right to make major decisions about the child and must do so together. Physical custody refers to the responsibility for the actual physical care and supervision of the child. Joint physical custody means that the child lives with each parent for an equal amount of time. Understanding your rights and custody options can help you better decide how you want to proceed with the custody battle and develop a proper legal strategy.

2) Develop a Legal Strategy

When deciding custody cases, family court makes its decisions based on the best interest of the child involved. The best interests of the child refers to the factors that the Judge considers when deciding what will best serve the child and who is best suited to take care of the child. The attorneys at Fass & Greenberg can help you to create a legal strategy to prove that living with you is what is in your child’s best interest.

Your lawyers will use evidence such as your home environment, your schedule, your children’s school schedules, proof of the strong emotional bond between you and your children, how much time you spend with your children, and, if possible, the wishes of your older children. They will also use any relevant evidence against your ex in hopes of proving that living with you will be best for your children.

3) Coordination With Outside Professionals

Custody battles can get nasty, particularly when parents begin to accuse one another of mistreating the children, substance abuse, or neglect. If your custody battle seems to be heading in this direction, Garden City lawyers can coordinate with outside professionals who can help.

Your lawyer can request that the court appoint an Attorney for the Children (“AFC”).  They are lawyers appointed by the court to represent the children.  It is their job to investigate the circumstances in your home and your ex’s, and to interview the children.  The AFC’s sole purpose is to advocate for the children, but in certain circumstances, they will be required to substitute their judgement for the children if they determine that a child is incapable of advocating for him or herself.  Your lawyer can also get a child psychologist on board to talk to your children and testify on your behalf. They might also hire a private investigator to help prove any allegations against your ex. Coordinating with outside professionals is an essential component to succeeding in your case.

4) Present Evidence In Court

Most judges will send parents to mediation before the custody case goes to court. This gives the parents a chance to agree on the custody arrangements on their own. If mediation doesn’t work, the case will go before a judge, and you will need a lawyer concentrating in family law to present your case. Obtaining an experienced attorney gives you the best chance of success. There are court procedures and rules of evidence that must be followed and that an experienced attorney will know how to navigate. Your lawyer will present your case using the evidence gathered to convince the judge to rule in your favor. A lawyer will also cross-examine witnesses presented by your ex in hopes of negating any claims against you and proving that living with you is in the best interests of the children.

If you are getting a divorce and you and your ex cannot agree on the custody arrangements for your children, contact Fass & Greenberg. Our lawyers are experts in family law and will work hard to get the judge to rule in your favor. To schedule a free consultation, give us a call today.

divorce in new york

When contemplating a divorce in New York, you must first understand the basics of the divorce laws in your state.  In New York, the Supreme Court is the only court that handles divorce proceedings. The spouse who initially files for the divorce is the Plaintiff, and the other spouse is the Defendant. Here is a breakdown of what filing for divorce entails:

Residency

Initially, if you are looking to file for divorce in a New York court, you must be able to prove residency. There are a few ways to meet the residency requirement:

  • Both you and your spouse are current residents of New York State when filing for divorce and the grounds for the divorce occurred in New York State.
  • You or your spouse have lived in New York State continuously for at least two years prior to filing for divorce.
  • You or your spouse have lived in New York State continuously for at least one year prior to filing for divorce and (1) you were married in New York State, or (2) you lived in New York State as a married couple, or (3) the grounds for your divorce occurred in New York State.

Grounds for Divorce

You must allege a ground or reason for your divorce. Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law Section 170, there are seven grounds on which you can be granted a divorce in New York:

  1. Irretrievable breakdown of the relationship for a period of at least six months (also known as a “no-fault divorce”)
  2. Cruel and inhuman treatment
  3. Abandonment
  4. Imprisonment of 3 or more years
  5. Adultery
  6. Divorce after living separate and apart pursuant to a legal separation agreement or judgement of separation for one year or more.

Preparing and Filing the Required Forms

There are many forms that must be filled out during the divorce process in New York, which vary if you have children.  Garden City divorce lawyers, Fass & Greenberg, LLP., can help you figure out what forms are necessary for your situation. You will need certain information to complete the forms, such as your name and address, copies of your marriage certificate and any agreements that you have reached with your spouse, a list of the property owned by you and your spouse, debts incurred by you or your spouse, and a copy of any Orders for Protection that may exist. Once you have gathered the relevant information, filled out the proper forms, and made sure that they are correct and complete, the next step is to go to your county clerk’s office and file a Summons and Complaint. Some courts allow you to file electronically using NYSCEF, depending on the county you are filing in. This is all important information that the divorce attorneys at Fass & Greenberg are privy to and have a great deal of experience in.

Serving the Forms

Next, your spouse must be served with the divorce paperwork in person. This service must take place within 120 days of filing the divorce paperwork. There are some rules that must be followed for the service to be proper, such as that you cannot serve your spouse personally. Instead, another individual who is a New York resident and is at least 18 years old must serve the papers on your spouse.

Your Spouse’s Response `          

If your spouse agrees to the divorce, they must complete a form and return it to you within 40 days of receiving the divorce papers. If your partner does not answer, it is assumed that they have defaulted. However, if your spouse files an answer disputing anything in your divorce papers, the divorce becomes contested.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

Divorces can be either uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce is one where the opposing spouse agrees with all aspects, i.e., grounds, finances, custody, etc., of the divorce. Often in these cases, the two spouses have worked out some sort of settlement agreement that details all of the important issues. On the other hand, a contested divorce is one where the spouse does not agree to the actual divorce, and/or child custody or finances.  The spouse could disagree with the division of property, how child support or custody was decided, or they could plainly just not want to get a divorce. Contested divorces can become very complicated, so it is important to contact Fass & Greenberg, LLP., experienced divorce attorneys, to obtain the best outcome should you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement.  

Regardless of the type of divorce, a judge will not sign the judgment of divorce until all issues are worked out, including financial and parenting issues. An attorney can help you navigate the best way to come to an agreement on these issues, whether that be in court, through mediation or arbitration, or through a written agreement.

Obtaining A Court Date for Your Case

The next step is to get your case on the court’s calendar if your spouse agrees to the divorce or defaults by failing to answer. You must fill out the remaining appropriate forms to get your divorce case on the calendar and then file the relevant documents with the clerk once completed. The court will issue a divorce decision if the judge approves.

Overall, it is best to engage the services of the divorce lawyers at Fass & Greenberg. They understand the intricacies of New York divorce proceedings and can help you navigate issues as they arise along the way. It’s always best to go the safe route and hire an experienced attorney for the most successful outcome in your divorce.

bankruptcy and divorce

Divorce and bankruptcy can both be overwhelming and stressful situations, and dealing with them at the same time can be very daunting.  However, planning ahead can make both your bankruptcy and your divorce less complicated and less expensive with the assistance of Garden City divorce attorneys. The decision to file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce depends on the circumstances, such as where you reside, how much property and debt you have, and the type of bankruptcy you want to file.

Which Comes First: Bankruptcy or Divorce?

Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy before or after a divorce is an important initial question and will depend on the circumstances surrounding your divorce and debts. The following are some aspects to consider:

  • Whether to File Jointly or Individually

Deciding whether to file bankruptcy jointly with your spouse or individually can help you decide if it is best to pursue the bankruptcy or divorce first. If you want to file jointly, then you would file bankruptcy first, while you and your spouse are still married. It is common for divorcing couples to file bankruptcy together because it is more efficient. A married couple filing jointly will file a “joint petition” that includes both spouses’ financial information in one set of paperwork. Some of the advantages that come with filing a joint petition include:

  • The bankruptcy will wipe out both spouses’ qualifying debts.
  • It decreases the number of matters the divorce court has to decide.
  • Declaring bankruptcy together is less expensive than filing bankruptcy separately.

While it is an option, married couples are not required to file jointly. If one spouse requires

bankruptcy protection right away, an individual petition may be the best option. Therefore, if you choose to file bankruptcy first, filing individually is an option also.

If you are considering filing for divorce first and bankruptcy second, each spouse may find it easier to qualify for bankruptcy individually after the divorce due to a joint loss in income. However, when it is possible, and if they can still communicate with one another, many couples find that filing for bankruptcy together before a divorce makes the process go more smoothly and can help to streamline debt and property split difficulties, lowering the cost of your divorce fees. Meanwhile, the costs for combined and individual bankruptcy filings are the same. Discussing your options with a divorce lawyer is the best way to determine which process is more effective for your circumstances.

  • Division of Property

When a couple jointly wipes away their debts through bankruptcy, it simplifies the property division process in their divorce. However, before you file a combined bankruptcy, be sure to check that your state provides enough exemptions to safeguard all the property you and your spouse hold. If you file jointly, certain states enable you to double your exemption amounts. Therefore, if you own a lot of property, filing a joint bankruptcy may be a preferable option if you can double your exemptions. If you cannot double your exemptions and have more property than you can exempt in a combined bankruptcy, filing independently after the property has been divided in the divorce may be more favorable. Also, bear in mind that if you file for bankruptcy while your divorce is continuing, the automatic stay will prevent the property partition process from proceeding until the bankruptcy is finalized.

  • Marital Debt

In a divorce, determining which debts should be assigned to each spouse can be a

time-consuming and expensive process. Furthermore, a divorce ruling that requires one

spouse to pay a specific debt does not affect the other spouse’s responsibilities to that

creditor. Attempting to collect from your ex-spouse, on the other hand, usually entails paying more money in fees to pursue them in court. As a result, filing for bankruptcy and wiping off both couples’ combined debts before a divorce may be in both spouses’ best interests.

Which Type of Bankruptcy Should I File?

Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 are three different types of bankruptcy and it is important to understand which one is the best choice for your situation. Deciding which type is best for you may come down to factors such as income, household size, and what sorts of debts you owe. Here is a breakdown of the different types:

  1. Chapter 7: This type of bankruptcy is a liquidation plan designed to eliminate unsecured debts such as credit card debt and medical expenses. It typically involves agreeing to liquidate your assets so that you can pay off as much debt as possible. Once that is done, the remaining debts are dismissed. Some assets can be exempt from liquidation. This type of bankruptcy is quick and can usually be completed within a few months. Eligibility to file for this type depends on your income. If your income is below the median for the state where you are filing, you are likely eligible, and if it is higher than the median, you must pass a test to determine if you are eligible.
  2. Chapter 11: This type is often used for reorganization of a business, because the debtor restructures and creates a plan to pay back their creditors. This is a lengthy process that requires a court-appointed trustee overseeing the debtor’s plans and can take years to complete.
  3. Chapter 13: This type of bankruptcy requires you to return a portion of the entire debt via a repayment plan. The plan must be submitted to the court and approved. It is a lengthy process that could run for three to five years. Typically, the debtor pays off priority and secured debts in full (taxes, auto loans, etc.), but other debts may only be partially paid (medical bills, credit card debt, etc.). Remaining debts can be dismissed at the end once the repayment plan is successfully completed.

Everyone’s situation is different and there are many factors to weigh when considering both bankruptcy and divorce. Contacting the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg law firm is always the best initial move if you find yourself facing the prospects of both divorce and bankruptcy. They can handle the intricacies of divorce, help you avoid any unnecessary stress, and ensure you make the smartest moves for the best chance at efficient and successful outcomes in both your divorce and bankruptcy proceedings.

legal separation

Over the years, many New York couples have decided on separation instead of a divorce. It can be a better decision for a variety of reasons, including: uncertainty about getting a divorce, personal or religious reasons, the desire to live separately but remain married, stay on your spouse’s health insurance, or file joint tax returns.  However, it is important to keep in mind that you are still legally married after obtaining a legal separation, and therefore you cannot remarry.

The legal separation can last eternally, lead to a reconciliation between the parties, or lead to a divorce. After one year has passed since signing, either party can approach the court to convert the legal separation to a divorce. Whatever the reason or outcome may be, this procedure is just as formal as acquiring a divorce as official disclosures and agreements come into play and it is essential to obtain the services of a Garden City family lawyer.

Two Ways to Obtain a Legal Separation

One way to become legally separated from your spouse is to file an action for separation. This process involves proceeding through court, basing the separation on grounds similar to those of a divorce. Also, the parties resolve any issues of the marriage similar to the way you would in a divorce. At the end, you will receive a Judgment of Separation ordered by the court.

The more common method of obtaining a legal separation is to enter into a separation agreement with your spouse. A separation agreement is a written contract that attempts to resolve many of the issues that are typically addressed in a divorce, such as child support and custody, spousal maintenance, and property division. This allows spouses to handle matters amicably, make their own decisions on these important matters, and avoid the court’s involvement.

Residency

If both you and your spouse are residents of New York State at the time of filing for the legal separation and the grounds for the separation arose in New York, then residency is satisfied. However, if that is not the case, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • At least 1 of you has been living in New York State continuously for at least 2 years prior to filing.
  • At least 1 of you has been living in New York State continuously for at least 1 year prior to filing and you got married in New York State OR you lived in New York State when you were married, OR the grounds for separation occurred in New York State.

Drafting a Separation Agreement

A separation agreement handles many of the same issues that would be resolved in a divorce. This includes any issues pertaining to children of the marriage, if any, and would involve provisions for custody and parental access time, child support, and possibly college education and support. Both spouses must provide complete and comprehensive financial disclosures and have a fiduciary obligation to be fair and honest; if they do not submit full and comprehensive financial information, the contract may be invalidated later.

A separation agreement in New York can form part or all of a later divorce agreement, which is why it is crucial that both parties have legal representation and provide complete financial disclosure before signing. Even if a party contests the future divorce, the terms of the separation agreement, to the extent that they handle child-related and financial issues, would be legal. However, it is important to note that when parties sign a separation or divorce agreement that includes child-related provisions, the court always has the jurisdiction to modify or change those provisions of the contract at any time. The logic is that because the children were not parties to the agreement, the court has the authority to change any clauses that are not in their best interests. Following the completion of the separation agreement, one of the parents or the children can ask the court to change the parts dealing with the children, giving evidence to indicate why one or more contractual clauses are not in the children’s best interests.

How Garden City Lawyers Can Help

Some couples that separate in New York try to draft their agreement without the help of attorneys, believing it will save them time or money. However, the expense of hiring an attorney is worth it to ensure the best results for your family and the safety of your assets and finances. In addition, a separation agreement in New York must be completed with formalities that an attorney can help you satisfy. Also, attorneys can provide you with important information and advice, such as the fact that temporary reconciliation with your spouse could invalidate your separation agreement, depending on the provisions of your separation agreement. The family lawyers at Fass & Greenberg are highly skilled and experienced at legal separation issues and can help ensure that you make the best decisions to protect yourself throughout the process.

divorce

Divorces are often complicated, but there are things you can avoid to help make your case go more smoothly. It is important maintain a humble attitude throughout divorce proceedings, regardless of what your spouse may say or do. Failing to adhere to the following advice can be detrimental to your case and create more issues in the future. Although you may have already heard many of these rules, lawyers will constantly reiterate them because of the impact they can have on your case.

  1. Avoid Approaching a Divorce Without a Lawyer

Divorces can become lengthy and complicated, especially if it is a contested divorce. One wrong move or statement can lead to a massive loss for you, so contacting a divorce attorney is a crucial first step in your journey. No matter how simple things may appear initially, reaching out to the Garden City divorce attorneys is always the safest move. The divorce attorneys at Fass & Greenberg are privy to the dos and don’ts of divorce battles and will guide you on the right path to prevent any devastating slip-ups that could lead to asset losses, have a negative impact on child custody, and much more.

  • Avoid Hiding Assets

Never destroy, waste, hide, change, collateralize, or otherwise do anything to impair the title or value of any property, or destroy or alter any papers, even when interim orders have been imposed. If you have any questions about how to deal with current property or existing paperwork, you should check with the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg to protect your assets.

  • Avoid Incurring More Debts

Never take on unusual obligations or liabilities, even if interim orders have been placed (e.g., purchase clothing in large quantities, an expensive vacation, etc.). Increased spending will often be used against you by the judge, who will usually establish an overall “just and right” split of the property and debts before ordering you to be entirely accountable for any unexpected liabilities. In addition, divorce is an expensive process so it is important to be smart with your finances so that you can set yourself up for a successful post-divorce life.

  • Avoid Settling Early

The rule that prohibits using evidence of settlement conversations between attorneys at trial does not apply to settlement negotiations between spouses. As a result, evidence pertaining to such settlement negotiations could potentially be used at trial. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not discuss a settlement with your spouse until given permission from your attorney. The divorce attorneys at Fass & Greenberg can guide you through the settlement process to help you make the best choices at every step along the way.

  • Avoid Badmouthing Your Spouse

Judges and juries are not fond of one spouse disparaging the other in the presence of the parties’ children. Many parents have lost custody of their children as a result of this behavior, which can and will psychologically harm a child. Both parents contribute to their children’s self-esteem and psychological well-being. Child psychologists warn that criticizing the other parent will eventually backfire on the criticizing parent. As the child grows older, they begin to form their own opinions and see the other parent in a new and more positive way. As a result, the critical parent is eventually resented by the child. Where it is safe to do so, supporting your child’s relationship with their other parent is a positive factor that is considered by judges in these cases, so it is always best to keep negative comments about your spouse to yourself.

Why You Should Get a Divorce Lawyer

Playing it safe and consulting the Garden City lawyers at Fass & Greenberg law firm will always get you on the smoothest path to divorce. The attorneys will take on as much of the pressure as possible so that you can continue on with your everyday life. Contested divorces come with many difficulties that can wear you down, but the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg are trained to handle these proceedings and fight tooth and nail to get you the most favorable results. Contact the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg to ensure that you avoid making any of these critical mistakes in your divorce process and to help you achieve the best outcome possible.

couples dating

Ending a marriage with divorce is one of the most difficult things a couple could go through. It can be mentally exhausting and emotionally overwhelming, especially with the drastic changes that are about to happen. 

The proceedings may also take longer than expected, particularly when one of the parties is opposed to the divorce.  This is why it’s important that you consult with one of the attorneys at Fass & Greenberg, LLP., divorce lawyers in Garden City NY. They can help facilitate a smooth flow of proceedings for a speedier resolution. 

While your divorce lawyers in Garden City take care of the legalities, you can focus on your own well-being, as well as arranging the final details for the separation. In some cases, it also opens up opportunities to meeting new people, and in some cases, dating.

Is this okay, though, and would it not negatively impact your divorce case?

Dating While Divorcing

Affairs of the heart tend to be arbitrary and complicated. It’s not something that you can necessarily plan for, and often takes you by surprise. Timing is everything when it comes to making it work, though, and this same timing could potentially have an effect on your official return to single status. 

Technically speaking, there should be no problem with casual dating while going through a divorce. After all, commencing a divorce proceeding does not necessarily mean the rest of your life comes to a halt.   However, clients must take heed that, a significant change in your relationship status could inevitably impact the results of your divorce case. Our advice to clients about dating is simple: be discreet.

While it is something personal, because it could impact your ongoing case, you should consider informing your family lawyer Garden City NY about these new developments in your life.   This is particularly important if your spouse is not being amicable or even hostile during the proceedings.  Finding out about a “significant other” could complicate the proceedings, particularly if finances are involved.   While dating, keep in mind that in a matrimonial action, all financial information is relevant and discoverable.  For instance, if the payor spouse takes a significant other to dinner, or buys a present with a credit card, the non-monied spouse can find out about it if they seek production of the credit card statements.  That can and often does present credibility issues when the payor spouse claims they cannot afford to pay adequate support.

Here are some other ways dating could affect your divorce proceedings:

Alimony/Maintenance

This is temporary financial support provided by the higher-earning spouse to the other. The objective of providing alimony (or spousal maintenance)  is to ensure that the lower-earning spouse, if at all, would have the means to rebuild their life as a single individual. This is especially important for those who may have had to stop working or slow down in their careers in order to give more focus to marriage and raising a family. 

If you’re seeking alimony, dating can affect the court’s judgment if you move in with your new partner. This is because you now have somebody who can help give the assistance you need. It’s not going to be an automatic denial of alimony, but it could significantly impact the court’s view of how much financial assistance should be granted to you. 

Child Custody

The other crucial element in a divorce is child custody. In any custody hearing, the best interests of the child are given utmost priority. Getting into a new relationship while this hearing is ongoing could present certain complications.

Previously set agreements could be revoked by your spouse if they become further antagonized by this development in your life. In some cases, it could even be used to show proof or indicate poor parenting.

That is why Garden City divorce attorneys would advise you to exercise caution and prudence when getting into a new relationship, and especially when you update your change in relationship status publicly. 

The last thing you would want is for the divorce proceedings to put a wedge on your new relationship as well, not when you’re trying to start your life anew. For this, Garden City mediation attorneys can help.

It is to your benefit to consult with Garden City lawyers when it comes to these legal matters affecting your matters of the heart. Law firms like Fass & Greenberg can help you navigate through the divorce proceedings, so you can finally and truly move on with your new life after the divorce.

annulment

For two people to marry, the law states that it is necessary that they do so freely and make a conscious declaration.  If either of the two circumstances does not occur, it is impossible to create a legitimate marital bond. Similar to a divorce, an annulment terminates a marriage. The difference, however, is that an annulment takes a step further by declaring a marriage invalid or void, making it as if the marriage never happened.   To help clarify the difference, and see if your situation qualifies for an annulment, you need to consult with Garden City divorce attorneys, Fass & Greenberg, LLP. 

Who Can Request Marriage Annulment?

Unlike divorce or separation, marriage annulment can be requested by individuals  other than the spouses themselves. The following parties can request an annulment of a marriage if they have reason to believe the marriage is invalid:

  • Either spouse.
  • Anyone who has a legitimate and direct interest. For example, a Father or Mother who is aware of the marriage of a minor daughter.
  • The prosecutor’s office.

Grounds for an Annulment and Their Time Constraints

According to Domestic Relations Law § 140, New York recognizes six grounds for annulment as detailed below. Time constraints related to when you can file for an annulment vary depending upon what grounds you are requesting the annulment:

  • A spouse’s former husband or wife is still alive and that former marriage is still in force
    • An annulment action on this ground may be maintained at any time during the parties’ lifetime.
  • A spouse had not reached the age of consent at the time of the marriage
    • The ability to obtain an annulment on this ground expires if the spouses continue to freely live together after they both reach the age of consent.
  • A spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity
    • Where the mentally ill person is not restored to sound mind, the court may allow an annulment action on this ground to be maintained at any time during the lifetime of both of the parties to the marriage.
  • A spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse
    • The physical incapacity must be continuing and incurable, and the action for annulment must be commenced within the first five years of the marriage.
  • A spouse obtained marriage consent by duress, coercion, or fraud
    • For the ground of fraud, the spouses can waive the ability to claim this ground if they continue to live together after becoming aware of the fraud. For the ground of duress, New York law does not allow the court to annul a marriage on this ground if at any time before the marriage, the spouses voluntarily lived together as a couple.
  • A spouse was incurably mentally ill for a period of five years or more
    • If the mentally ill spouse has a period of sound mind and the parties continues to cohabitate as a married couple, the court considers the marriage valid and waives the ability to obtain an annulment on that ground.

How a Lawyer Can Help

A lawyer can help guide you through the process. A lawyer will file a lawsuit before the court of the domicile of one of the spouses to declare the marriage null and void. As long as you contact an attorney within the specified time frame, a lawsuit can be filed on your behalf. Of all the Garden City divorce attorneys, Fass & Greenberg is a law firm that can help you resolve your marriage annulment.

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