Archive for October, 2015

The Top 3 Things To Do To Protect Your Assets Before Divorce

Friday, October 30th, 2015

1. Contact and work with a Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner: Some people think that when drafting a settlement offer for your upcoming divorce, that it is okay to consult their accountants or financial planner. The problem here is that, more times than not, these people are not well versed in divorce settlements. Therefore, you should consult a Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner, as they are certified in the financial aspects of divorce. They will explain to you the financial effects that accompany divorce settlements.

2. Open your own bank account: If you have your own, personal bank account that has existed since before your marriage, make sure to keep that money away from any joint bank accounts you may have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. So long as this money is kept separate from any other money you have combined with your partner in a joint account, you are, by all means, the legal owner of said money when the divorce is all said and done. However, if you don’t have a bank account other than your joint bank account, it is imperative that you open your own account, and start putting money it. Unlike with a joint account, your partner cannot take out money for himself or herself if it is in an account under your name. And finally, if you do have a joint account, it is wise that you contact whatever bank account is in, and limit any possible access to this account. If you explain to them the situation, that you are currently in a divorce process, they can limit overall access to this account, and in doing so, it will prevent your spouse from draining the account for themselves.

3. Establish a date of separation: When you establish a formal date of separation, your partner cannot claim part of your income, nor any new asset you acquire with this income, as theirs. A good indicator of separation is if you move out of the residence you live in with your spouse. Although it can be hard to leave your home, it is important to establish a date of separation as soon as possible. This will show that you and your partner are no longer in a working relationship, which may help protect any income you earn from this point on.

Three Things That Will Help Win A Child Custody Battle

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

1. Spend as much time with the kids as possible: In the eyes of the court, it can be very compelling if the parent that doesn’t live with the children the majority of the time during the separation, makes a conscious effort to make time to see their children, and that this time is well spent and benefits the child greatly. It makes a big impression when you show that, even though they don’t live with you, you are going out of your way to stay present in their life (or “lives” if there are multiple children in the marriage), and that you don’t abandon them. And the best way to “show” this to the court is just that; make sure you take photos of you spending time with your child/children, ranging from taking them to different events, or something as simple as quality time at home. This is a good way to provide indisputable evidence that you care about your relationship with your child. Furthermore, be present in the child’s personal life; showing up at things like parent-teacher conferences, medical appointments, sporting events, and any other extracurricular activities shows a real commitment to the child. Be familiar with the names of their friends, teachers, and caretakers. The more aware you are, or seem to be, the better your chances are.

2. Keep a detailed recording of everything regarding your children, and your children with your ex-spouse: This is something that can really work in your favor in the long run. First off, do not tell your ex-spouse you are doing this; this “journal” can be used to record every instance where the other parent violates the current custody agreement you have in place. For example, if they are late to pick-up or drop off your child from/to you, if they are intentionally sabotaging your relationship with the child, they didn’t pay the expenses for the child that they agreed to pay, or if they don’t show up to certain events your child is in, this can really help swing the child custody battle in your favor. Add this with the aforementioned spending time with the children; you look even better in the eyes of the court. If there are any payments due from the other parent that have not been paid, make sure to make a detailed note of this.

3. Make sure you attend all court dates and hearings: Now that you have done all this work to make yourself look better in the eyes of the court, don’t undermine that all by skipping out on court dates. This is hands-down the worst thing that you can do, and I have seen multiple custody battles decided on the fact that a parent “couldn’t be bothered to show up to the court”. This really tarnishes the notion that you not only don’t care about the kids, but that you also don’t care to have custody of them. In short, go to every single court date that there is.

Do Higher Net Worth Divorces Receive Higher Tax Consequences In New York?

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Divorce in general is a long, difficult, and complex procedure in almost every case. When there is more money, more assets and additional property included, it only makes things more complicated. Because of the fact that there is substantially more money involved, key divorce topics like spousal and child support and distribution of assets are all affected.

The court will look into assets such as:

– Business trips

– Real estate and other property

– Bank account(s)

– Stocks that a spouse may have in a portfolio

– 401k and other retirement accounts

– Trust funds that one or both of the spouses may have in entitled to them

Because property is being distributed and divided, and since you may have assets in your name, it is highly likely that there will be a change in your yearly taxes. You should consult a lawyer as opposed to an accountant, because they may not be as familiar with the legality as an attorney would be.

If you and your former spouse filed a joint tax return while you were married, you will now have to change your filing status as you are no longer together. In addition, when child custody has been finalized, you and your former spouse must decide who will get the tax exemption for the minor. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, factors such as who has custody and the accumulated duration of time that each parent spends with the child can be used to decide which party can claim the tax exemption.

With regard to a high net worth divorce, there is an accepted notion that it is fairly common for one of the parents to earn a considerably higher income. When this is the case, the lower-income earning spouse will often ask for alimony, otherwise known as spousal support. They may argue that they have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle, or that they cannot live off the income they earn (if they even have a job). If alimony is awarded, tax laws apply here as well. The parent who has to pay the alimony can claim the ordered amount as a deduction on their tax return. Moreover, the receiver of the alimony must report this support as part of their income on the tax forms.

Beyond alimony, there are other sources of income that may come into play during the divorce proceeding. If you sell the marital home or property that had been jointly owned during the marriage, there are capital gains taxes that must be reported. If you withdraw from a retirement fund earlier than agreed upon with your bank, there are tax penalties for that as well. Lastly, if you have any stocks, bonds, or any other types of investments that were shared assets, and you sold them, you have to claim that as income as well on your tax returns. Although these seem like routine parts of divorce, it is imperative to remember that any and all bases of income are reported for tax purposes.

Same Sex Marriage And Child Custody

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Because of how recently same-sex marriage has been passed in states, child custody battles in these instances are often case-by-case, as the legal system and the rules that apply here are constantly changing. Not unlike heterosexual marriages, it is best that you and your ex-spouse really try to come to an agreement on all the child-related issues. Custody battles in court are never a good thing, as the psychological harm done to the child, as well as the overwhelming stress it puts on both parties can be seriously debilitating.

What is important in same-sex marriage custody battles are if both parties are “Legal Parents”. Both spouses are legal parents if the child was:

– Born into the marriage, civil union, etc, and so the non-biological parent gains parental rights.
– There was a joint adoption of the child.

If both parents are considered legal parents, all child-related problems will be handled in the same manner as a straight marriage. Here, a judge will take into account numerous factors in order to determine what is in the best interest of the child.

If only one of the parents is defined as a “legal parent”, it is a very different situation. Whether it is because the state doesn’t recognize that being in a relationship with the legal parent gives you parental rights, or simply because the original legal parent never agreed to making you a legal parent, it really doesn’t matter. Most states don’t give second parents any rights at all, negating any attempt to seek legal or actual physical custody. In addition, you may not even be able to seek visitation. On the flip side, this parent will almost always not be obligated to pay any type of financial support for the child. Some states will, however, recognize that the second parent does have parental rights if there is a clear intention to establish a legitimate relationship with the child, and to raise it.

CONSULTATIONS & ADVICE

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

The initial consultation between attorney and client is an important interaction in determining the direction of a matrimonial case. It is during this consultation that Mr. Rudder discerns the particulars of the case, the history of the client’s marital relationship, and the client’s expectations and needs. Mr. Rudder, with his invaluable experience with the courts and judicial process, clearly explains the divorce laws of New York State to the client, outlines the rights, duties and obligations of the parties, both economic and parental when appropriate. In light of information provided to him potential for reconciliation (pre-commencement) may also be addressed.