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White Plains Divorce Law Blog

Child custody and support: Regaining custody of your child

Of all the things that can happen in a parent/child relationship, loss of custody is arguably the most devastating. Loss of child custody can occur during divorce proceedings or as a result of a parent's alleged criminal or harmful activity. To the parent and the child, the reason why this occurred isn't nearly as important as regaining custody or, at the very least, acquiring visitation.

We and most who work in the family law field believe that children benefit from cultivating a relationship with each parent. This is so even when one parent has demonstrated instability or less-than-responsible child-rearing behaviors.

Family law: New York's approach to domestic violence

Anytime domestic violence begins to plague families in White Plains, people need real facts and real solutions. This includes any victims of domestic violence as well as the alleged perpetrator of such violence. Regardless of whether you are a victim or the accused, it is crucial to seek guidance from a family law attorney.

Each state has different laws governing how the authorities approach domestic violence accusations. Seeking counsel from a family law firm is one of the most authoritative ways you and your family can learn how New York State handles domestic violence allegations.

Here's why divorce rates have fallen

You may have heard that divorce rates have fallen in recent years, and that is true. As divorce became easier in the 1970s, the rates soared. Over the next decade or two, things sort of stabilized. The rate stayed the same. In recent years, the rate has fallen again. It's still nowhere near the pre-70s lows, but it's not as high as it once was.

Some take this to mean that marriages work more often now than they did in the 1980s or 1990s. They think that the most recent generation has figured marriage out in a new way. They are less likely to split up, after all, so doesn't that mean they stay happily married?

What will happen if divorce mediation efforts fail?

Sometimes, even the best ideas do not work out the way we expect them to. Ending a marriage by way of divorce mediation succeeds more often than it fails, but there are instances when it simply does not work for some couples.

Perhaps one spouse had unrealistic expectations about mediation and, in the end, just could not cooperate with the other spouse. The question at this point is what can you expect to happen if your attempt at mediation fails?

Getting divorced in New York with a special needs child

As you undoubtedly know, divorce is tough on children. It can cause many behavioral and emotional issues in even the healthiest child. A child with special needs may also suffer when divorce occurs and may require more personal attention from each parent during this trying time. When it comes to child custody and support, it is critical to work with your co-parent to ensure your special needs child emerges from divorce as healthy as possible.

In our White Plains legal practice, we have helped many parents with special needs children. What we have observed in these cases is the worry parents experience over how the divorce will impact their child. Our attorneys work hard to help parents find solutions that will protect their child and impose as few hardships as possible on the parents.

Who keeps your pet in a divorce?

You think of your pet as a member of the family. The court, however, does not. If you file for divorce, your pet is just another piece of property. This comes as a surprise to some owners, who would never put a pet in the same category as a car or a boat.

That's how the court sees it, though, so determining who keeps the pet is a property division issue. Some couples address this in a prenuptial agreement; others do not. Of you don't have anything in place yet, important questions that the court asks could include:

  • When was the pet purchased? Did you or your spouse buy it prior to getting married, or did you buy it together after the marriage?
  • What is your child custody situation like? Is it better for the pet to go with the children so that they can maintain a relationship with this animal that they love?
  • Who provides the pet with more care? That person likely has a stronger bond. The court may ask things like who buys the food or takes the dog for a walk more often.
  • Do you or your spouse have a lifestyle that works better with a pet? For example, maybe you stay home and you can care for it all the time, while your ex spends weeks on business trips.
  • Does one of you want the pet more than the other? You may be able to find a solution as you divide up the rest of your property.

Prenup may help you to protect your assets during divorce

As you prepare to walk down the aisle, you could not be more excited about living life with your significant other. At the same time, you already own a few assets, and you wonder what will happen to them down the road if your marriage does not work out for one reason or another.

Before you get married, it might be a wise move to create a prenuptial agreement (prenup) with your soon-to-be spouse, as this may help you to protect your separate assets. Here is a look at how prenups work in New York and whether it may behoove you to draft one.

How commingling of funds affects property division in New York

Without a doubt, property division is one of the most complicated parts of getting divorced. Even when both spouses agree on how to divide their marital property, they must still comply with the law. This means that a court might reject your agreement and make these important decisions without much input from you and your spouse.

Since New York is an equitable distribution state, property agreements must be fair to each party. For example, the spouse who earns the least or has very few separate assets typically receives a larger share of marital property.

Don't make these divorce mistakes

Divorce is new to you. When you were younger, you never thought you'd find yourself here, but it's clear to you that it is time to end the marriage.

That doesn't mean you feel comfortable with the process. It's intimidating, and you are well aware that you could make some mistakes that would impact the rest of your life. To help you, here are a few you need to avoid:

  1. Don't fail to consider what life is going to be like when the divorce is over. This is especially true with financial issues. You need to consider the changes to your income and your bills carefully so that you can plan for the future.
  2. Don't say negative things about your ex in front of your children. Remember that, first and foremost, you want to make this easier on the children. Those negative comments do not help.
  3. At the same time, don't keep the news from the kids for too long. They deserve to know, and you do not want them to find out from another source. Tell them as soon as you know it's going to happen.
  4. Don't rely on advice you get from friends. Even if they already got divorced, they do not know your situation. Their advice may not be as bulletproof as they think it is.
  5. Don't think that it's all going to happen in a few days. It may take a few months. It all depends on how complicated it is. Divorce is not a quick fix.
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