Archive for May, 2017

Can You Get Financial Support For Your Pet In Divorce?

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

When a couple has lived together with a pet, or a family has an “extra member of the house”, one or both of the spouses will have some kind of relationship with the animal, and will want pet custody. How do you think pets are handled in a divorce? Will a court award financial support? While that is often included in settlement agreements, financial support for said animal is rarely awarded.

When one party gets custody of a pet, the other party no longer has a vested interest and therefore is not going to be ordered to pay any type of support.

Historically, the court has rarely awarded some type of financial support in animal custody cases. This is due to the fact that if these payments are ordered, it will force the two parties to stay in continuing contact with each other.

Moreover, to enforce this kind of payment would be a waste of time and energy for the courts, in their experience.

Remember that pets are legally considered as personal property, and therefore it might be a good idea to include them in a pre-nuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, to at least save the time it would take to battle for them in court.

If you owned the pet yourself prior to the marriage, it could really help in your favor in lieu of a pre/postnuptial agreement.

Paul E Rudder, Esq. is an experienced divorce attorney based in New York City. If you have questions related to divorce and child custody, call 212-826-9900 to set an appointment.

Should You File A Joint Tax Return During Divorce?

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

In the spirit of tax season, a common question is whether or not spouses, who are in the process of getting divorced, should file a joint tax return, or file separate, single tax returns. There are reasons to pursue both single and joint returns, and you should consult your divorce attorney before doing anything.

First of all, you can only file a joint return if you and your spouse haven’t been officially divorced before December 31st. Regardless of whether or not you and your spouse are separated, until the final court judgment is passed that formally ends your marriage, you are married, and therefore qualify as such when filing for tax returns.

Note that orders involving monetary support also do not affect your marital status. If both spouses agree to file a joint tax return, then on the return form you should check off married filing jointly. However, if by the end of the fiscal year, you and your spouse are divorced, you must check off either the Single box or Head of household box.

While many do not want anything to do with their spouse during the divorce process, there are some benefits to filing a joint tax return. For example, when you file jointly, sometimes you are not taxed as much, depending on both incomes, as well as your individual credit. It is best that you both consult your attorneys, and tax accountants, to see if filing together is in your best interests, and will do more good than harm financially.

If you have questions regarding filing tax returns during divorce, don’t hesitate to contact Paul E Rudder, Esq. Call 212-826-9900 to arrange an appointment today with a highly-rated New York City divorce lawyer.

How Are Spousal Support Payments Affected By Bankruptcy?

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Obviously, it is would be difficult to make alimony payments if you are bankrupt – in fact, it makes it near impossible. As many divorcing couples know, alimony is what is known as a nondischargeable form of debt. This means that regardless of one’s financial situation, these debts are not alleviated from the debtor.

Along with alimony, child support is also a nondischargeable form of debt. So in almost all cases, spousal support payment requirements cannot and will not be negated through bankruptcy.

With that being said, there are two, and only two, situations in which alimony requirements can be eliminated. The first one is known as “Third Party Involvement”, and is very self-explanatory. Let’s say the alimony collector, through a written document, assigns their parent or close relative to be the one to initially collect it, and then subsequently has that relative pay them the alimony (ex-mother in law receives payment, then gives ex-spouse the alimony). In this case, a case can be made to eliminate the alimony payment requirements. The only other time alimony is nullified is in “Incorrect Alimony Classification”. In basic terms, if the ex-spouse that is making payments is mandated to send those payments to an affiliate of the other, a company or the like, then by definition, it is not alimony, as it is not pertaining to domestic maintenance, which is the point of alimony. Therefore, because it is not formally alimony, it can be discharged.

If you have questions regarding spousal support or alimony payments in New York, contact Paul E Rudder, Esq, an experienced and top-rated divorce attorney in New York City. Call Paul Rudder at 212-826-9900.

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How To Get Out Of Spousal Support?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

In most situations, some divorces result in one spouse making steady spousal support payments to their ex-partner. After a while, many paying spouses want to get out of paying more alimony. Fortunately for them, it can be possible to make changes to the alimony arrangements, but that is dependent on the terms of the divorce and recent or relevant circumstances.

Not all types of alimony are meant to be permanent. For example, if the spousal support is given so that the receiving spouse has time to receive proper training/finish their education to get a new job, the alimony should end when they are able to begin supporting themselves. If the paying spouse wants to work out a way to avoid paying alimony of any type, it must be dealt with in the court.

As well-known and popular the idea of alimony is, statistics show that only 15 percent of all divorces cases end with some sort of spousal support court order. If the spousal support is to be paid in one lump sum, this payment is not up for debate concerning reduction or elimination. However, there are ways to reduce or end alimony altogether.

Here are some of the common successful arguments used:

– You, the paying spouse, is suddenly and without choice, becomes unemployed

– An illness or the like impedes the paying spouse to work, and therefore make money

– The receiving spouse is living with someone in an intimate relationship, so they are being supported elsewhere.

There are other arguments that have been used, like declaring bankruptcy, using current inflation or your rising cost of living as an excuse for not being able to pay or intentionally trying to lower your income, but these often do not sway a judge in your favor.

How To Collect Past Due Child Support In New York?

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a parent, who is expected to pay a court-ordered child support, to not do so. Fortunately, however, there are laws in New York State in place to track such child support cases, and the penalties can range from jail time to freezing bank accounts to driver’s license suspension. In fact, both the state and federal government feel so strongly about enforcing court-ordered child support that they go after the wrongdoer in a multitude of aspects of their personal life. For example, some states actually post a picture of these parents on the Internet, along with their name, and the amount they owe in back child support.

In accordance with the New York’s Division of Child Support Enforcement, a non-custodial spouse who owes child support will be sent a notice, which thoroughly explains the child support procedure, as well as a detailed time plan for paying and everything else they need to do. Sometimes, the state will intervene with a punishment, depending on the amount owed, as well as how long they have been avoiding paying the court-ordered child support. Some of these punishments are income-cutting, cutting off unemployment, suspension of a driver’s license, and even passport rejection. More often than not, these punishments will provoke them to make the payments, but this sometimes isn’t enough, and so jail time may have to be considered after exhausting all the other options.

Although a parent cannot just shrug off past owed child support by declaring themselves bankrupt, it is also hard to punish a parent who fiscally can’t afford to pay what has accumulated. If this is the case, this parent must fill out a request for a modification of child support, which the court will take into consideration as they review their financial situation.

To get legal assistance regarding child custody and support matters, contact Paul E Rudder, Esq. today! Call (212) 826-9900 to schedule a consultation.