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Oneida County Law Blog

Legal assistance is vital when getting a divorce in New York

When a marriage is failing in New York, the couple will have emotional issues that they must get through. The realization that the union is no longer working and that a divorce might be the best option for all parties comes with certain other factors that must be considered including financial and those that come with having children. If there are children, the custody and visitation will be a worry. One spouse might be required to pay alimony to the other. Property can come into focus and be in dispute. Given the litany of concerns that arise in a divorce, having advice and guidance from an attorney is key.

When it comes to children, they are undoubtedly the most important consideration as their health, well-being and upkeep are paramount. Some parents can have an amicable agreement and navigate the difficult terrain of children, where they will live, and what the visitation schedule will be without rancor. Others are having disagreements, want custody of the children and do not have an interest in being agreeable. No matter the situation, having legal advice can avoid problems down the road.

Child custody tips for parents in the midst of a battle

If you think that a divorce is a big change for your life, you should know what the divorce means for your child. While children are resilient, they do need some sense of stability in order to thrive. A divorce throws their stable life into upheaval.

There are some ways that you can make the divorce a bit easier on your children. Think about these tips as you are working on rebuilding your life.

Can I get an annulment at the end of a marriage in New York?

For a variety of reasons, some New York State residents who are trying to end a marriage would like to have the marriage deemed invalid and perceived as never legally having happened in the first place. This is an annulment. The desire to move forward with the end of a marriage and have it annulled instead of a simple divorce has certain criteria that must be met. Knowing the justifications for this is imperative before attempting it. Under state law, there are six basic reasons for an annulment. They are: bigamy, an inability to consummate the marriage, incurable insanity, mental incapacity, marriage by force and fraud.

Bigamy is when one of the spouses was legally married to another person at the time of the second marriage. The inability to consummate means that either of the spouses was unable to have sexual intercourse due to an incurable issue at the time the couple was married. Incurable insanity must have been in place for a minimum of five years. If the person who is deemed insane is under the age of 18, the court might order the spouse who is deemed sane provide alimony to the insane spouse if the spouse younger than 18 is the one who wants the annulment. There can be no annulment if the person who is under 18 lived with and had sexual relations with the other person after turning 18 and did so of his or her own volition.

Understanding New York State child support guidelines

Sometimes the most basic aspects of a child support case are the most confusing. For noncustodial parents in New York State who have been ordered to pay child support, they might not understand how the amount is determined and why. This is essential in any case and the custodial and noncustodial parent should understand it completely. There are certain child support guidelines that the state uses to determine what is paid. This is based on how much the person earns per year. Based on the law, the noncustodial parent will not be ordered to pay an amount that is unfair.

Noncustodial parents must make their child support payments. They might owe for the past as well, going back to the time when the child was born. The child's medical needs, costs for child care and education must all be paid for. A noncustodial parent who can provide health insurance to a child through an employment-based program must do so provided it is of reasonable cost and accessible for the child. To decide on how much will be paid, the court will look at the noncustodial parent's adjusted gross income and how many children will be supported. Deductions for certain factors such as Social Security and Medicare will be made. This will help to calculate the adjusted gross income.

Key points about New York child custody and visitation hearings

In New York State, when there is a disagreement over custody and visitation of a child, it can be one of the most difficult issues to deal with. Emotions frequently become involved, the parents or other adults who are seeking custody and visitation can see their lives turned upside down, and the best interests of the children are often pushed off to the side rather than at the forefront where they should be. With a hearing centered around child custody and visitation rights, there are certain factors that must be understood.

If the parties are not able to agree, a judge will oversee a hearing. This will be referred to as an evidentiary hearing or a trial. At this proceeding, the judge will receive information about how best to serve the interests of the child. Visitation rights might also be determined at this hearing. When there is a custody or visitation hearing, there will be a judge, witnesses, a caseworker if necessary, an attorney for the child if the circumstances call for it and perhaps a guardian ad litem.

Man sells expensive artwork in midst of high asset divorce

Some New York divorces go beyond the couple simply trying to part ways and move on with their lives. There are certain circumstances that are complicated by significant assets that are in dispute. People with substantial amounts in their portfolios who choose to split with a spouse will often be concerned about how their valuable properties will be distributed. Having legal assistance with this complex situation is vital to a successful outcome from the perspective of the spouse who accrued the assets, the spouse who did not and anywhere in between.

The real estate developer Harry Macklowe is divorcing his wife of 58 years. Mr. Macklowe offered her $1 billion to part ways amicably, but she chose to file for divorce. Mr. Macklowe stated his intention to remarry another woman as soon as the divorce is completed. The couple did not have a prenuptial agreement. This has put their art collection - worth approximately $1 billion - in the crosshairs of the case. His wife controls much of the art. As the case is moving forward, Mr. Macklowe is allegedly selling millions worth in art including one painting that, by itself, is worth $35 million.

How is child support affected if I lose my job?

For noncustodial parents who are paying child support, there are times when they are not able to make the payments in full because of job loss. When a person loses his or her job and owes child support, the lack of employment does not eliminate the requirement to pay the child support on time and in full. However, the state does understand that these circumstances will inevitably arise and they are often out of the supporting parent's control. With that, it is essential to understand what legal steps to take after job loss.

First, the parent should inform the local child support office that he or she has lost the job. This is required by law and will be beneficial to understand how much is owed, what might happen if the payments are in arrears and how any enforcement actions can be precluded. Next, the parent can request that there be a review of the order. While losing a job does not terminate the requirement to pay child support, it can be modified if the circumstances warrant it. The modification should be filed in the court that issued the order.

Keeping your child supported: 3 tips for divorcing parents

A divorce is hard for everyone in a family, but for children it's a terrifying time in their lives. As a parent who loves and wants to protect your child, you should know that there are ways to help your child through a divorce.

One of the things many children believe is that the divorce is somehow their fault. Others lash out, thinking their parents no longer care about them. You may not be able to avoid all of the effects caused by what your child feels, but using these tips can help you reduce the stress your child is struggling with.

Important strategies for retirement accounts when divorcing

There are many issues that come to the forefront when a New York couple decides to get a divorce. Of highest priority is children, custody, the dividing of assets, bank accounts and the valuation of property. Next, there are other matters, like retirement accounts, that must be navigated. As the divorce proceeds or is completed outright, there are strategies that couples should take with their retirement accounts.

When a retirement plan is split between parties, it is necessary for there to be a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This is a document that will detail the division of the assets. Often, this must also be presented to the provider of the retirement plan. There are alternatives that must be remembered such as one spouse having the option to withdraw money from the former spouse's retirement account without having to pay an IRS penalty.

Factors considered when determining best interests of the child

Certain terms are frequently thrown about in a child custody case in New York and the participants might not be aware of what they specifically mean. One is the "best interests of the child." Of course, everyone involved in the case is looking out for the child's best interests, but that could be defined by a variety of factors. Knowing how the state specifically addresses the best interests of the child with parenting time, child custody and more is essential.

When the court decides on a child custody case, the best interests of the child will be a significant factor. There is not a baseline rule for what the "best interest" means, but in general it centers around what the judge in the case thinks will be most beneficial to the child and which parent or another person is best suited to provide the necessary care. New York focuses on the child's health and safety.

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