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In New York and throughout the U.S., divorce and bankruptcy often go hand in hand. For many people, going through a divorce is one of the most financially and emotionally devastating experiences. Sometimes, a couple’s financial difficulties are the main cause of their divorce, and in other cases, the divorce itself becomes so costly that…

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IDV judges hear cases that involve the same parties or family where there is a family court order of protection case plus a matrimonial case, a criminal case, or both, and the main issue in each case is domestic violence. The cases must be filed in the same county, and the IDV judge must accept…

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Military parents have the same obligations as civilian parents when it comes to supporting their children financially. When they try to evade that responsibility, you may encounter special challenges because military spouses are employed by the federal government, and there are certain steps that you need to take to collect outstanding child support. How much…

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If you were preparing for divorce in early March, then the pandemic most definitely stalled your plans. When COVID-19 put New York on pause, everyone was ordered to shelter in place, and the court system was limited to non-urgent matters. If the lockdown took effect before you and your spouse had the chance to separate,…

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COVID-19 has presented practically all New York residents with economic and social challenges. Schools and nonessential businesses that cannot operate online remain closed, which means that divorced couples with children are facing parenting challenges that they could not have anticipated at the time of separation. Below is an overview of some general do’s and don’ts…

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Even when your divorce is expected, you’re going to struggle with intense feelings like anger, depression, and heartbreak. It’s hard, and maintaining your usual high performance can be difficult, especially if your divorce is contested and you’re facing weeks or months of litigation. Although you are not legally required to tell your boss about the…

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One of the biggest questions that arises in the wake of a New York divorce is: how long can you stay on your former spouse’s health insurance? If you are a stay at home parent or don’t qualify for health coverage under your current employer, then you’re likely to be worried about this issue. In…

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If you start or own a business while married, then the value of that enterprise is generally taken into account when you divorce, barring a prenuptial agreement that dictates otherwise. If you owned the business while still single, then any appreciation in value can be treated as a marital asset, while a business started while…

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How do you usually celebrate Mother’s Day with the kids? Do you and your daughter(s) plan a day at the spa? Do you enjoy a leisurely brunch or a day trip out of New York? Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented social distancing measures in place, these options are off the table this year, but that…

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Although you won’t be able to actually file for divorce until the courts re-open, you know that your marriage is over, and it’s only a matter of time before everything that characterized your married life changes. This could include where you live and how much time you spend with the kids. It will definitely include…

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A case gets to Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV Court) if the same parties or the same family has a case in family court for an order of protection plus a matrimonial case, a criminal case, or both, in the same county and the main issue in each case is domestic violence. One of the…

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IDV stands for, “Integrated Domestic Violence,” and there are special IDV courts or “parts” that hear these cases. IDV courts hear cases when one family has a criminal court case along with a family court case, a matrimonial case, or both in the same county, and the central issue in the cases is domestic violence.…

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When New York on PAUSE took effect on March 22, it affected thousands of businesses and their employees. All companies offering non-essential services were subjected to a mandatory closure, and workers whose jobs could not be transitioned online were laid off indefinitely. Consequently, businesses like hairstyling salons, theaters, gyms, and clothing stores have been shuttered…

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A divorce can be a tough, emotional, and challenging process, especially when some of the factors involved are minor children, property, pensions, and businesses. It is important to speak with an attorney before starting a divorce action, so you are aware of your rights and what you are entitled to or possibly entitled to from…

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This question is difficult to answer during the current COVID-19 situation. Everyone feels that their case is important, and as such, they should be able to see a judge and get some relief or assistance now. But, right now, the court is only hearing a list of cases, which are deemed to be essential cases.…

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The quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have had a detrimental impact on already troubled marriages. Divorce rates are going up, which shows that couples who previously enjoyed ample time apart have not reacted well to long hours under the same roof. In Xi’an, China, divorce requests multiplied so fast that appointment slots…

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When the court orders a custody and parenting time schedule, it typically meets the needs of everyone’s present circumstances. But what if an emergency–in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic–makes that arrangement unsustainable? What if you feel that it’s not safe for the kids to travel to visit their other parent? Although everyone’s situation is unique…

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Your spouse always handled the household finances while you focused on managing the home and being a primary caregiver for the children, but now you’re in the process of divorce. To your shock, a review of marital bank accounts and other financial holdings has revealed that the person you once trusted so much gambled away…

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Like every other state, New York requires parents to support their children, which is why child support orders are an essential part of every divorce settlement agreement. These orders are intended to address everyone’s needs at the time Still, if you or your former spouse experiences a significant change in circumstances later, like remarriage and…

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In New York state, noncustodial parents are required to support their child financially until they turn 21 or become emancipated. In the latter circumstance, the child is treated legally as an adult instead of a minor, which means that: They can make decisions and act on them without parental consent They can sign contracts and…

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A recent Businesswire article stated that 44 million Americans owe student loan debt. If you are one of them and you file for divorce in New York, then who is responsible for paying it off? It actually depends on when you took out the loans. If you received them in your name while you were…

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Rising costs of living and years spent pursuing post-secondary education have resulted in many children living with their parents well past the age of 18. When families are intact, they can work together to reach a financial understanding, but when the parents are divorced, it raises questions about child support. In New York State, you…

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While money issues are a leading cause of marital breakdown, they can also make it hard to start over after a divorce. In fact, an estimated 15% of couples choose to legally separate instead of divorce due to concerns over the damaging effect that dissolution can have on your income, expenses, and credit score. There’s…

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You may not have cared much about Valentine’s Day in the past. All those throwaway cards, overpriced roses, and less-than-spectacular chocolate may have struck you as flagrant consumerism more than anyone else. Now that you’re divorced, your feelings may be different, because Valentine’s Day is now a reminder that you’re alone, with no one to…

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No engaged couple likes to think that their upcoming marriage may not last. You may worry about offending your fiance(e) by suggesting a prenuptial agreement, but if you own a business, it may be worth it to risk hard feelings in order to protect the company’s future. The hard reality is that a contentious divorce…

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When you’re a stay-at-home parent or only work part-time, filing for divorce can be more stressful than normal. When you have little to no income, how can you afford a divorce attorney who will ensure that you get your fair share of the marital estate and, if necessary, spousal maintenance until you’re on stronger ground…

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When you file for divorce in New York, all property acquired while you were married is subject to an equitable division and distribution. This includes real estate, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and, to the surprise of some couples, pension benefits earned while you and your spouse were still together. If you are divorcing on amicable…

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QDRO is an acronym for “qualified domestic relations order.” If you file for divorce in New York and one spouse has a retirement plan through their workplace, a QDRO provides the other spouse with the right to receive a specified percentage of the payable benefits. A QDRO can be applied to various types of retirement…

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For many people, divorce leads to long-distance parenting. According to the National Center for State Courts, nearly one-quarter of the nearly 18 million children of divorce have a parent living in another city. In addition, an estimated 75% of single mothers will move at least once within four years after divorce or separation. As a…

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It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been divorced: the holidays can be a challenge, especially when you have kids who are enthusiastic about the latest iPhone or video game. As the last week of December draws closer, the financial and emotional pressure can be considerable. Fortunately, there are ways that you can give your kids…

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If you’ve owned a smartphone for long, then you know that there’s an app for practically everything, and post-divorce holiday shopping is not an exception. Buying gifts for friends and family can be fun, but there are a couple of downsides: you’re likely on a budget and when you’re buying for the kids, you want…

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One of the hardest—and most emotional—aspects of separation and divorce is child custody during the holidays. In many cases, it won’t be possible for your children to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah with both parents. How can you keep the holidays special when only one parent is with them when they unwrap their gifts on Christmas…

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Family heirlooms are generally antiques or jewelry that have been passed down from one generation to the next. We cherish them because they make us feel connected to where we come from. That blue porcelain water jug in your bedroom? It once belonged to your great-grandmother, who used to wash her face with it before…

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For families, Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year. Everyone gets together around a dinner table heaped with roast turkey and all the trimmings, happy to put their smartphones away and enjoy a meal that has been a cherished tradition for generations. For some of us, this is one of the few…

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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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When you get married, it legally changes your financial situation. Now everything you earn or acquire becomes marital property, unless a third party gifted or bequeathed something exclusively to you. When you intermingle your finances after marriage, how does it affect your debt liability? If your spouse has student loans, credit card debt, and other…

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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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No one likes sitting in traffic for hours at a time, but New Yorkers don’t typically have a choice. According to a 2017 survey, the average round-trip commute for those who work in the city comes to nearly 58 minutes. That’s around nine minutes longer than the national average of 49 minutes. Several studies confirm…

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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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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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In 1991, a book came out called Divorce Hangover. It was about the emotional pain and turmoil that often accompanies divorce and suggested that like an alcohol hangover, it would eventually pass and leave you ready to cope with life again. The book acknowledged that divorce was a life-changing experience that aroused strong emotions like…

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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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When you suspect your spouse of being unfaithful, it can be tempting to check their email, especially if you discover the password without their knowledge. You probably know that it’s an unethical thing to do, but are you aware that it might also violate federal law? One Chicago woman, Paula Epstein, put an auto-forward on…

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Divorce has an uncanny way of bringing our most private circumstances to light. Even when the split is an amicable one, details like personal finances, a child’s special needs, and other intimate information take center stage so that they can be addressed and future plans made. Therefore, it’s an alarming thought that your family, friends,…

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When a couple divorces in New York and cannot agree on how to divide marital property, the court will make a decision using the state’s equitable distribution laws. But before any dividing can occur, it has to identify separate vs. marital property. Separate property consists of assets and debts that belong to one spouse only…

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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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If you draw up a prenuptial agreement in another country, will its terms be enforced in New York state? In 2008, the New York Court of Appeals answered this question in Van Kipnis v. Van Kipnis. Gregory and Claire Van Kipnis were married in Paris, France, in 1965. He was a U.S. citizen who had…

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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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At one time, New York was a common law property state, meaning that all assets titled in the name of one spouse belonged to them after divorce. This created so many financial difficulties, especially for women who gave up careers to raise a family, that in 1980 New York passed the Equitable Distribution Law, which…

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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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There are different types of marital agreements in New York state, including divorce settlement agreements, marital separation agreements, and stipulations of settlement. What they all have in common is that their contents must valid by statute if the parties want to enforce them. This condition was confirmed by the New York Court of Appeals in…

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If you are filing for divorce in New York and have a retirement plan or are eligible for a pension, then you will almost certainly hear the term “Majauskas Formula” during your case. A 1984 New York State Court of Appeals case titled Majauskas v Majauskas established the right of one spouse to the other’s…

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When you file for divorce in New York, all property acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution, meaning that you divide it in a way that’s equitable, or fair. Until relatively recently, this property was mostly money, real estate, assets like cars, furniture, and jewelry, and even businesses. These days, it’s different. Thanks…

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Decluttering is challenging in the best of times, but tackling your home in the wake of divorce can be especially hard, not to mention emotional. Where do you start dividing the remnants of your married life? How do you transform your home from a marital nest into a single person’s abode when you can’t afford…

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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 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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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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When you wake up in the morning and check your phone, sometimes you wish you hadn’t. Your ex is telling you that the kids “don’t seem happy” whenever he sees them. Your best friend posts pictures from your last girls’ night out all over Facebook, tagging you with captions like “Free at last!” You suspect…

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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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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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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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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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What was Thanksgiving like before the divorce? Was there a huge roast turkey on the table, finally ready for eating after tantalizing everyone with its aroma for hours? Were there last-minute rushes to the grocery store for extra cranberry sauce or whipped cream? Was it all topped by a feeling of togetherness as everyone gathered…

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All good parents have one thing in common: they love their children deeply. Therefore, one of the worst things a parent can experience in a contentious family law case is an accusation of child abuse. Imagine that you are going through a divorce from a vindictive spouse. They are accusing you of all kinds of…

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You and your spouse had an amicable divorce, in which you agreed to joint legal custody of your young son, Brad. The schedule called for him to spend every other weekend with you.  For years, both you and your son looked forward to these weekend visits. When the weather was pleasant, you enjoyed outdoor activities…

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We live in a highly mobile society today, so it is not unusual for divorced parents to want to relocate to a different city, state, or country with their children for personal or work-related reasons. While some noncustodial parents view such a move as beneficial for the children and reluctantly give their blessing, others vehemently…

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Few things are more distressing for a parent than struggling to support their child financially. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many divorced parents throughout New York State. A child support order was included in the terms of the divorce, but their former spouse is chronically late or even refuses to pay at all, saying…

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We’re in the home stretch where August is concerned. For kids, this is a bittersweet month for two reasons: one actual and one potential. In the first case, they only have a few weeks of freedom left before heading back to school. In the second, they may also be coping with their parents filing for…

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If a recent divorce has made you a single parent, then you may be tempted to give up your dream of home ownership. You’re living on one income instead of two, making it difficult if not impossible to make a significant down payment. Don’t give up just yet! There are several local and national home…

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There’s something about publicly announcing your divorce that makes everything seem so final. This is it. There’s no turning back. Before announcing such a life-changing event to friends and family, think about what you want to say. Even if the marriage didn’t end on the best of terms, then resist the urge to share the…

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Not long after you and your spouse separated, he was laid off from his job. Now that you’ve filed for divorce, he seems determined to remain unemployed, although he insists that he is actively looking for the “right” job. This scenario happens a lot. To reduce the amount of spousal or child support they might…

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When a couple divorces or separates, the court looks at their respective incomes to decide how much child support to award or whether spousal support is called for. When both spouses are employees, calculating income is a relatively simple matter of checking W-2s. When one or both parties are self-employed, things get complicated. Statistics show…

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Those of us who watched I Love Lucy (or the reruns, anyway) will remember the separate beds in Lucy and Ricky’s bedroom. While this concept will seem prudish and outdated to most couples today, for others it is an arrangement that could help a difficult marriage. A National Sleep Foundation survey carried out in 2015…

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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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Father’s Day is a vibrant celebration of the relationship between dads and their children. Although the reason why Father’s Day is so special does not change after divorce, the way you celebrate the day may be different than the years before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing- you all have an opportunity to share and…

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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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You married your foreign-born spouse in good faith after the government initiated deportation hearings against him, but two weeks after the marriage, he was deported anyway. For a while you both remained in touch, and you even hired an attorney to help him come back to the U.S. Then he disappeared. No phone calls, no…

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If you’re like many people, then you had to make a lot of financial changes after divorce. If you didn’t know how to budget before, then you learned quite quickly. Things are especially complicated if you’re a stay-at-home parent. Although you are definitely working full-time, being a parent doesn’t come with the paycheck it deserves.…

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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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People today move around a lot more than they used to. If you’re in the U.S. military, then this is especially true. If you were divorced in New York and move to another state for work or personal reasons, will the divorce be recognized there, allowing you to remarry if you meet someone else? Yes,…

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You’ve discovered that your spouse has been having an affair for months and feel confused, angry, and betrayed. After a while, you decide that the marriage is irretrievably broken and want a divorce. How will your spouse’s adulterous behavior affect the divorce process? Before 1967, adultery was a major factor in a New York divorce…

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At first glance, it seems like an unusual custody arrangement. Every two weeks, Sandra packs a small suitcase, kisses her young son and daughter goodbye, and moves out of her Bronx home for three days while her former husband, Joe, moves in. After those three days are up, Joe drives home to Queens and Sandra…

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You are in the midst of a divorce when you receive an ominous notice from your mortgage lender. Due to financial difficulties, you and your spouse have had a hard time keeping up the monthly payments. Now you have a possible foreclosure to deal with in addition to the end of your marriage. If you…

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You may have received many valuable gifts from friends and family during the recent holidays. Each one either came with a tag bearing your name or was handed to you directly by the giver. This means that it was meant exclusively for you, but if your marriage ever ends, it’s possible that the gift could…

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Under ideal circumstances, you and your spouse will accept that you’re better off apart than together and be willing to work with one another to make the split as painless as possible. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world and you may be married to someone who is aggressive, controlling, and even an outright narcissist.…

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When you’re newly divorced, Valentine’s Day is one of those celebrations that can make you feel worse about being single. Everywhere you go in the city, lace-trimmed pink or red hearts are in store windows, roses and chocolates are central sale items, and romantic dinners for two are advertised in all the restaurants. You may…

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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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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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The first New Year’s after divorce is always difficult. Now that you and your spouse are no longer together, how are you going to handle the parties and social events that have been a New Year’s tradition for so long? Avoid them entirely? Talk to your ex and find out which ones he’s attending so…

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Ending a marriage is not a decision that anyone should take lightly. When you file for divorce, the financial and emotional effect on the rest of your life is immediate and far-reaching. Because it is so important to be sure that the marriage is irretrievably broken before initiating divorce, New York law supports an alternative…

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The holiday season is always difficult for divorced parents and their children. Parents have to let go of old grudges and bad memories so that they can work together and make the season special for the kids, who may be feeling sad at the realization that their family is now divided. Young children can be…

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When your child hands you yet another note from the school, you know without even opening it what it contains. Jane has not been doing all her homework assignments again, and the slacking off occurs on school nights when your ex has parenting time with her. You’ve talked to him about this already, and he’s…

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Now that your divorce is finalized, you’re preparing to return to work after years as a homemaker. Depending on what industry you want to work in, you’ll have to brush up on your skills—and your resume. Decide what jobs interest you If you want to work in a particular industry, then state this objective on…

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Divorce is a confusing and stressful time for anyone. There are so many areas that need to be addressed: legal, financial, and of course emotional. To make matters worse, everyone is giving you advice, a lot of it conflicting. How will you handle it all? The answer is: you don’t. At least not by yourself.…

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If you have recently filed for divorce, then you will also want to consider changing your estate plan in the process. The New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law 5-1.4 addresses the effect of divorce, annulment, or  judicial separation on estate planning documents such as wills, and if certain steps are not taken, then your…

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When you file for divorce, you expect your life to change. You will no longer be living under the same roof as your former spouse, your standard of living may be different, and many social routines will change. What you may not anticipate is how your FICO score will be affected. The simple act of…

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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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