Archive for January, 2018

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Monday, January 29th, 2018

When a married couple decides that the marriage must come to an end, they are not always destined to end up battling it out in front of a judge, with attorneys at their sides. An increasingly popular alternative is mediation, both because it is far less expensive than a litigated divorce, and it is often much quicker because you aren’t waiting for court dates that are spaced out by months.

Mediation differs from a traditional divorce in court because instead of a judge having the final rule on the issues at hand, the two spouses are the ones that cooperatively come to an agreement on how assets will be divided, child custody and visitation, etc. This gives more power and control to both parties, and no one feels as if their voice and interests were not accounted for or set aside.

The role of the mediator is not to be the final arbitrator, but rather to facilitate the conversation and guide it to a final resolution. Another aspect of mediation that differs from litigated divorce is that the spouses represent their own interests, and try to work amicably with each other, instead of relying on (and paying) attorneys to communicate these interests to one another and the court on behalf of the couple.

Sometimes the agreements come easily, as the two spouses already see eye-to-eye on some of the issues. For instance, if both can agree that one should retain and live in the marital household, then there is nothing more to discuss, and that issue is solved within an hour! However, other issues, like child custody, may not be so easily resolved.  Here, the mediator can help keep emotions out of the decision process by keeping the group focused on the topic and intervening when the conversation stalls.

How To Survive Financially After Divorce

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

The divorce process itself can take a heavy toll on your finances, but when the divorce is finalized, some think that it marks the end of their finances being drained away. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all for a majority of people. In fact, many former spouses have to pay alimony and child support for years after getting divorced. But even for those who aren’t required to make payments to their ex, the standard of living drops in the wake of divorce, and changes to their finances and ways of spending need to be made. By planning out the spending changes you need to make, and preparing for the financial hurdles you are about to face, you can survive financially after divorce.

Obviously, since the number of people bringing income into your household went from 2, to 1, a new budget needs to be developed in order to fit this new financial lifestyle. Things that were a luxury before are now things you will have to question as to whether they are wants or needs. This type of thinking, wherein you categorize expenditures based on how they will benefit your life, is a good way of developing a proper budget. Unfortunately, immediate post-divorce life often forces us to limit our spending to more needs than wants.

It is important to point out that your life does not have to be like this forever after you get divorced, but until you have become familiar with how to balance your finances, you can learn how to appropriately spend on wants. Moreover, there are so many resources to help develop a budget, both in person and online, that even if you don’t know what the first step might be and you don’t have to begin this process alone.

Some people find that selling marital property that they were awarded in court is a good way to bolster their finances, in the immediate aftermath of the divorce whether it be liquidating assets, or a home they used to share with their former spouse. It is important to consider what you can and can’t afford to keep.

Surviving financially doesn’t mean you have to get another job, but it might mean you have to get a job, depending on the status of your savings and other personal assets you have.

What Happens When You Disagree Which School Your Child Will Go To?

Monday, January 15th, 2018

The answer to this question depends heavily on the type of child custody each parent has, or doesn’t have for that matter. Broadly speaking, the child will go to school based on where the custodial parent resides as that will usually be in the child’s best interest (remember that this is the most important factor to the court whenever handling anything to do with children). However, when legal custody is shared between the parents, most educational decisions are to be mutually agreed on, as that falls under the scope of legal custody. If an agreement cannot be made either outside of the court or in mediation, the court will be have to make a decision on this topic as well. However, in instances where one parent has full legal custody, they have the right to make final decisions about school-related issues.

Because the court has the best interest of the child in mind, they are often compelled to have the child remain in the school/school district they were enrolled in prior to the divorce, as to not disrupt everything in their lives, and keep a sense of normality and familiarity. If the parent that gains legal custody lives in the school district the child was already in, then typically that child will remain at that school. If both parents have moved out of the school district, and have joint custody, they must agree on the new school. If they cannot, the child will either remain in the current school, or whichever school district the residential parent lives in.

The answer to the question posed in this blog, as stated earlier, depends largely on what the circumstances are surrounding the custody of the kids. If only one parent has legal custody, then they have the discretion of which school the child goes to. If it is shared, and the parents cannot agree, the court will have to weigh in and make the final decision.

Paul E. Rudder, Esq. has a unique advantage in negotiating custody disputes. If you need an attorney to represent you, call 212-826-9900 to schedule an appointment.

The Most Common Mistakes To Avoid When Getting A Divorce

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Just like many other things in life, there are many myths and tips about divorce that are shared and fly around, most of which are unsubstantiated, and if followed, can lead to disastrous mistakes – sometimes with permanent consequences. What might have worked for your friend that just got divorced may or may not work for you, and if they aren’t a divorce attorney, it is probably best to take what they say with a grain of salt. With that being said, although most divorces have their own twists and variables, the divorce system has been in place for a while, and there are a few general guidelines that anyone getting a divorce should adhere to. Here are 3 common mistakes that you would be wise to avoid making:

  1. Don’t act on emotion.

I want to start with this mistake because I don’t only feel it is the most present mistake in almost every divorce, but also I feel it is the one that often has the most short-term impact. The divorce process is going to make you feel a range of emotions, most of them “negative”, like anger, fear, resentment, and I find rage to be a common one as well. However, these emotions need to be kept out of negotiations, because they only serve to cloud your mind and prevent you from amicably coming to an agreement. Moreover, it is important to carry yourself in a manner that doesn’t lead the court to have a cause for concern. For example, if you and your spouse have a toxic and rather aggressive relationship, it is feasible that you might get into a text/email exchange, and before you know it, you are writing profanity-ridden messages that they can then bring to court and portray you as a raving lunatic. If you have children, and want to be awarded custody, an incident such as this can hurt your chances.

  1. Being stubborn beyond reason.

For some, the idea of compromising and meeting their spouse halfway in negotiations sounds absurd (especially if you feel that they never met you halfway). But let’s face it: you are going to get nowhere if you are unwilling to even consider what you soon-to-be ex has to say in terms of negotiations, and unless you want to spend months upon years in litigation battles and spend a fortune on legal fees, its time to put down your fists and work towards some kind of middle ground. Not only will it help the entire process move along much faster, but the court, and hopefully your spouse, will see that you are willing to cooperate, and might be more willing to give you some of what you are looking for. Also, your children will benefit by a speedy divorce process that isn’t filled with drama and repetitive battles.

  1. Retain a divorce attorney.

I’ve spoken about it before in my article titled “Why You Have To Think Twice About Doing A Do-It-Yourself Divorce”, but I will repeat it again. Short of using a mediator to settle your divorce, representing yourself in a divorce trial is a terrible, terrible idea. To drive this point home, most divorce attorneys will not represent themselves in their own divorce, because they understand how poorly it can turn out (talk about practicing what you preach!). There are so many documents that need to be filed with the court, so many records that you need to both send to and receive from your spouse’s attorney, and so much legal jargon you would need to be familiar with, you really are better off retaining a divorce attorney to handle this for you. These can be difficult enough when you aren’t dealing with an emotional roller-coaster, so throw in all the sleepless nights and erratic feelings, you are bound to make many, many mistakes, and the divorce proceedings are the very last place you can afford to be misrepresented, and to be making mistakes that may not be fixable later on.

What Is A Post-Nuptial Agreement And Why You Need One?

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

A post-nuptial agreement establishes the process of dividing the couple’s assets in the event of a divorce or legal separation and the expense of spousal support that one partner will pay to the other if the marriage ends. It might be suitable when conditions change amid marriage due to career changes, legacy, childbirth, adoption and other factors.

It explains what will happen if the marriage comes to an end. If it’s not present, after a long and costly trial, the attitude of benefits will be resolved under state law, as construed by a judge. To ensure post-nuptial agreement is legitimate, assets of both the partners should be disclosed. Most importantly, something of the reverence must be exchanged to support the legality of the agreement and should be represented by a legal counsel.

Postnuptial agreements must meet the accompanying essential necessities:

– Oral postnuptial agreement won’t be viewed as authentic. It must be in a written form.

– Both sides to a postnuptial agreement should have consented to the arrangement intentionally and purposefully. Any sign that one partner forced or debilitated the other into marking it will make this understanding invalid and void.

– Full and reasonable revelation is another component of substantial postnuptial agreement. Once both parties go under this agreement, both of them should completely disclose their benefits, liabilities, and pay. This is a basic point to comprehend on the grounds that this agreement is intended to illuminate how resources, liabilities, and support would be taken care of if the marriage ends.

– Postnuptial agreement must not be inconceivable. A postnuptial understanding that is obtrusively uneven or generally unreasonable toward one party, in light of the certainties and conditions, won’t be enforceable.

– Postnuptial agreements must meet the prerequisites of the laws of the parties’ condition of home. Also, to make it valid, the two parties’ signatures should be authenticated.

The most widely recognized sort of postnuptial agreement spells out how some of the benefits and liabilities would be separated in case of a divorce. This additionally addresses divorce settlement or spousal help and frequently incorporates arrangements expressing that one companion defers the privilege to such help in return for certain marital property, which includes property gathered or brought by any of the partner during their marriage.

It can likewise just accommodate how the couple’s property and different resources would be partitioned in case of either life partner’s demise. As a rule, this kind of agreement is intended to surpass a will or state laws, giving companions certain property rights.

Another kind of postnuptial agreement spells out how child custody, child support, and spousal help would be dealt with in a separation and accommodates the division of the couple’s advantages and liabilities. This agreement may later be fused into the divorce announcement and can limit time and cost in a separation situation.

To maintain a strategic distance from any future or present questions about resources and liabilities of every life partner, it is a smart thought to set up a Post-Nuptial agreement. Contact a family law attorney for assistance.

Top Things To Ask For In A Divorce Settlement

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

A divorce isn’t just a separation of two people; it also includes a separation of their possessions and assets. By and large, most divorce “battles” are centered on the division of property, because both parties often feel entitled to what they assumed was theirs during the marriage. This often brings out the more vile and cruel attitudes and debates, as getting a divorce is hard enough, and no one wants to lose some of their property as well.

First, if you have children, you should fight to be given child custody. This is a very emotional part of the divorce settlement, but I find it to be the one that should be addressed first, so it isn’t festering in the background as the process unfolds. Even if you are not granted full custody or physical child custody, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plead your case for favorable visitation rights. First of all, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as permanent custody, nor are visitation hours set in stone. By being consistently present in your children’s life, you not only continue to build and maintain a relationship with your child, but you show the court and everyone involved that you are committed to staying in your child’s life, you want to be present, and you deserve a favorable modification to the current custody agreement.

The other big thing to ask for in a divorce settlement is the family home, which, although possible, can sometimes have a few strings attached. Many spouses hold tight to the marital home with a vengeance, because the idea of being forced out of their home isn’t even an option.

It is important to note that in most cases, you will have to buy out your spouse’s right to the home, as you are both entitled to the home you both lived in. It is also important to consider if you can afford the house, after potentially having to pay your spouse. Some people decide to refinance their home, but of course that is not without its risks as well. With your lawyer and accountant, weigh the pros and cons between keeping the house you are familiar with but may prove to be a financial burden, or ask your spouse to buy out your equity in the home, and you can use that to buy a new residence.