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Oneida County Law Blog

Can social media be used as evidence in divorce cases?

Taking a picture or posting a status update on a social media website could be one of the worst decisions a divorcing couple could make and one which has the potential to completely change the outcome of the divorce. Many New York residents do not realize that information shared on social media can be used as evidence by and against parties in all issues such as child custody, support, alimony and property division.

Emails and texts are not only admissible; they can even be subpoenaed as evidence. This means whenever something is revealed through a text message but has not been revealed in court, it can be introduced through the personal messages.

Are low-income couples more likely to divorce?

We all have heard the adage "money can't buy happiness," but can it keep a marriage together? A study released late last year seems to indicate that it does.

New York residents may not be surprised to hear that the study found that money played a big role in whether a couple will remain together. The study found that the divorce rate was higher for the unemployed. The study proposed that many people are unwilling to remain married to someone who has an unstable income. Additionally, some may find that someone who depletes family savings by running up credit card bills or medical bills is someone who is a drain on resources and not likely to stay married for long.

Unmarried fathers and child custody concerns

Imagine you discovered yesterday that your ex-girlfriend whom you haven't seen for about seven months just had a baby. You're pretty sure that the baby is yours, and you want to claim your rights as a parent. What can you do?

As an unmarried father who is no longer dating the mother of your child, you need to act fast to secure your parental rights.

Can I take steps to smooth out my divorce in the New Year?

The holiday season can bring about a tumultuous fluctuation of emotions, with many people viewing the holidays as the final straw that breaks a marriage. In fact, this could be why many consider January 1 "Divorce Day" due to the increase in queries about divorce as soon as the year starts. Many want to start the New Year with a new personal start as well, and there are some steps that a divorcing New York couple can take to try to make the process as smooth as possible.

First, despite the temptation to put everything on social media, those considering initiating, or currently going through, a divorce should try to stay away from it as much as possible. Many are not aware that everything put up on social media could be admitted into divorce proceedings, which means that any comments made about children, friends, or the divorce itself, could become detrimental to one's case. Similarly, it could be beneficial to study state laws about divorce. For example, knowing which laws apply to supporting documents during the divorce and to alimony, high value asset division, and child support can be critical to reaching a favorable resolution Understanding the relevant law can help prepare people for the type of questions to ask experts and the type of documents they should start gathering to support their position.

Lawyers can help modify support awards to avoid conflict

Despite divorce severing the marital tie between a New York couple, the relationship with their children remains intact. Divorced parents often have to go the extra mile to ensure their children's needs, both financial and emotional, are met in the aftermath of their split, but keeping their best interests at the forefront is crucial while they adjust to going from one familial unit to two. Child support and custody arrangements also reflect this, whether agreed upon between the parties or decided by the courts.

When courts issue child support orders, they consider a number of factors, including how much each spouse earns and the children's daily expenses. This means parties have an opportunity to present evidence as to the legal points they are raising in an attempt to sway the court to rule in their favor. In these situations, it is helpful to have the assistance of an experienced legal professional who has served the community for decades and who knows how to get the best possible outcome given the facts at hand.

What are the penalties for nonpayment of pay child support?

Taking care of one's children is a life-long obligation, whether the parents remain married to one another or not. When a couple divorces, the court often awards child support payments to be paid by one parent to the other--generally the one who is given primary physical custody of the child. When there is a failure to pay child support, there can be legal and administrative consequences.

In New York, various enforcement actions can be taken to recover child support from the person who has fallen behind on payments. Enforcement action encompasses both collecting past dues and also ensuring future compliance with the order. Administrative actions are pursued first. When child support payments fall behind, the support order can temporarily increase by a maximum of 50 percent of the amount ordered by the court until the person is caught up with their payments. Delinquent parties' bank accounts or other financial assets could be seized to satisfy support payments that are past due if the amount is at least $300 and the amount is equal to or more than two months of delinquent payments. Driver's licenses can also be suspended if the amount is more or equal to four months worth of payments. Depending on the amount, the enforcement action gets more severe, including denial of new and renewed passports if at least $2,500 is owed in past payments.

What is the standard of living maintained after a divorce?

When a couple is married in New York, that usually means that they are living in the same residence, making mortgage or rent payments on that place, and splitting income and expenditures in some fashion or the other. Yet, the funds that are used to pay these expenses usually come out of the same pool. When a couple divorces though, they are suddenly in a situation where the expenses are doubled, with two houses to run and maintain, but the incomes and assets are either the same or halved. For example, if one partner was working and the house was running on his or her income and then he or she divorces, that partner may then have to pay alimony to support two houses.

As mentioned previously on this blog, the courts usually award spousal maintenance or alimony to one party, to be paid by the other, in an effort to balance out financial disparities for a certain period of time. One of the factors the court considers when making such a determination is the standard of living enjoyed during marriage, as the alimony payment may be adjusted so as to allow a receiving party to maintain that same standard of living post-divorce. But is this outcome even possible, given the scenario outlined above?

Tips to readjust visitation schedule during holidays

The parenting plan is an important document for parents post-divorce, as it outlines important aspects of child rearing that the parents agree on, child custody, and visitation schedules. Perhaps most importantly in this season, the plan can also dictate division of holidays. Many couples use different methods when deciding who will spend which holiday with the children. Some use an alternating method that basically means one parent has a holiday one year and the other parent gets it the next year. Another approach is to split time on the same day so that children get to spend it with both parents. But what if there is no parenting plan or one parent wants to make a change to it? Negotiation is key in this situation.

When requesting a change in the joint custody schedule, the parent making the request must realize that it is highly possible their request will be denied. Approaching a negotiation with regard to these matters means being ready to accept a "no" without letting it destroy the holidays for everyone. Keeping that in mind, it is also essential not to divulge a change in plans with children without confirming anything with the other parent. This puts too much pressure on the children and ruins the holiday for them when promises are not kept.

How a divorce could affect your retirement

For many years, divorces seemed to be much more common in younger couples. However, in recent years there has been a marked increase in the number of couples divorcing at or after retirement age, even after decades together. These so-called "gray divorces" can have major consequences for both you and your spouse, including changing what happens in your retirement.

While you probably no longer have to worry about the impact of your divorce on your children, there are many other concerns unique to later-in-life divorces. For some people, retirement-age divorces mean waiting many years longer than planned to fully retire. For others, living independently may no longer be an option after the financial fallout of the divorce.

What is the value of a non-marital agreement?

New York residents may be aware with the commonly perpetuated myth that the younger generation is hesitant to get married, but this is not entirely true. It is more accurate to say that they are waiting until they are older before tying the knot, as20 percent of people aged 18-30 were married in 2016 compared to 40 percent of Baby Boomers when they were the same age.

Additionally, the younger generation is more likely to live with their partner before getting married. Some experts even point to this as a reason for a lowered rate of divorce. Living together allows the couple to determine if they are compatible or not in the long run. But what happens if, after one of these couples marries, they later decide to divorce? Couples who have lived together for a number of y Simply put, these individuals would be subject to the state's property division and alimony laws.

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