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Real Estate & Family Law Blog

Can I Get A Divorce In New York State?

Living in New York does not necessarily entitle you to file for a divorce in a New York Court. In order to determine whether you can obtain a divorce in New York, you need to find out if New York courts have jurisdiction over your divorce action. The first step is to see if you or your spouse satisfy the residency requirements set forth in Domestic Relations Law Section 230. To start a divorce (commence an action) in New York you must satisfy one of the following residency requirements: The marriage ceremony was performed in New York State AND either spouse is a resident of the state at the time of the commencement of the action AND has resided in this state for a continuous period of one year immediately prior to the commencement of the action The couple lived as husband and wife in…Read More

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody and Visitation?

Domestic violence affects millions of Americans every day. Courts have now become more familiar with domestic violence and the detrimental consequences it has to victims, families, and society. Accordingly, Courts factor the presence of domestic violence in households when making child custody and visitation decisions. There was a time when the Courts did not have to take into account domestic violence when making determinations of child custody. However, Domestic Relations Law Section 240(1)(a)(4) was revised in 1996 and now the Court must consider the effects of domestic violence when making decisions about custody and visitation. Specifically, domestic violence against either a parent or a child, even if such violence was not committed in a child’s presence, is factored by the Courts. Although this law requires that domestic violence be considered in custody and visitation cases, only specific and identifiable instances of domestic violence will be…Read More

Changing Child Support In New York

Child support awards may be changed under certain circumstances in New York. Child support is determined pursuant to a written agreement or by a Court order, after the Court determines the appropriate amount. Usually child support orders are issued in association with a divorce. Although sometimes these child support arrangements are final, child support can be modified in certain circumstances. In fact, the legislature and the Courts have established standards when reviewing child support orders to determine whether a child support order should be modified. An upward modification of support is where a party petitions the Court for more support. A downward modification of support is where a party petitions the Court for a decrease, suspension, or termination of support. There are different standards the Courts use to decide whether or not to modify a child support order. The standard depends on how child support…Read More

Recessions and Divorce Rates: In Good Times and in Bad

Many people believe that financial stress is the number one reason why couples divorce. But divorce rates have actually declined during our recent recession. Although you may find this fact odd, a decrease in divorce rates during economic recessions is actually a trend. Divorce rates decreased during the Great Depression, the 1990-1991 recession, as well as the most recent recession. In fact, economists regularly predict a decline in the divorce rate during recessions and spikes in the divorce rate during times of economic improvement. So why do divorce rates decrease during recessions? Do divorce rates decrease because couples are willing to do more to make their marriages work during times of economic hardship? Many economists and divorce lawyers speculate that divorce rates decrease during recessions because couples can’t afford divorces during difficult economic times. Rationales for postponing a divorce include waiting until married couples can…Read More

Same Sex Marriage Comes To New York

A flood of engagements have taken place since June 24, 2011. The occasion is the legalization of same sex marriage in New York. Many same sex couples who have been in committed relationships for years but who have been awaiting New York’s legalization of gay marriage have finally taken a leap of faith, become engaged, and are planning their weddings. Although New York previously recognized same sex marriages that were legally performed in other states and New York Courts even granted divorces to same sex couples who were legally married in other states, same sex marriage was prohibited in New York until June 24, 2011 when the Marriage Equality Act passed the State Senate by a vote of 33-29. Same sex marriage was legalized by the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo. And as of July 24, 2011, same sex couples can be married…Read More

Child Support 101: How Much will I Pay or Receive for Child Support?

If you want to know how much you will have to pay for child support or how much you will receive in child support, the first step is looking to the New York Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). The CSSA determines how much child support must be paid and to whom it must be paid. You must first determine whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent. Generally, the custodial parent is the parent that has physical custody of the children the majority of the time. For example, if a father has visitation with the children every other weekend and one night during the week and the mother has custody of the children the remainder of the time, the mother will be considered the custodial parent and the father will be considered the non-custodial parent. If the parents have equal physical custody of the children,…Read More

Social Networking: Your Posts Can and Will be Used Against You in a Court of Law

A recent case demonstrates that your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites can have a substantial impact on your divorce or family law matter. Richmond County Supreme Court Justice, Catherine DiDomenico, held that an ex-wife’s previous temporary spousal support award of $850 a month was to be reduced to $400 a month. The Court’s original award of $850 a month for support was based on the Court’s finding that the ex-wife was unable to work due to injuries she suffered in a car accident. However, her ex-husband went back to the Court with pictures of his ex-wife belly dancing, as well as posts stating that she had been dancing every day for years. Although the ex-wife contested the pictures by stating that she wasn’t the one belly dancing and was merely standing by her friend, the Court did not buy her story.…Read More

“Finally, New York has Brought its Divorce Laws into the 21st Century”

In the fall of 2010, former Governor Paterson exclaimed with relief that New York has finally joined the 21st century, following the rest of America, by adopting a No-Fault Divorce law. So why was the former Governor happy about New York’s No-Fault Law? A No-Fault Divorce enables a married couple to obtain a divorce without placing blame or fault on one of the spouses for the failure of the marriage. Moreover, some legal experts in the matrimonial field assert that the No-Fault Divorce law will make breaking up “easier” to do. How can getting a divorce be easy? What does No-Fault Divorce mean to you from a practical standpoint? Until 2010, if you were seeking a divorce you had three options. Your first option was to establish fault against your spouse, which meant proving cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment for a continuous period of one…Read More

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