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Suffolk County Family Law Blog

Steps to take when getting a postnuptial agreement

Although divorce happens in every state, New York has a relatively low divorce rate when compared to other states. In fact, an article in Business Insider found that New York City itself had the lowest rate of divorce out of any major metropolitan city in the United States.

While most couples familiarize themselves with prenuptial agreements prior to the marriage, most people remain unaware of postnuptial agreements. Such agreements serve the same function as prenups, except a couple obtains one after they are already married. There are a variety of circumstances where couples realize they require an agreement, and it is important for them to go through the process properly so a court recognizes the agreement in the event of a divorce. 

Protect your medical practice with a prenuptial agreement

If you are a physician with your own practice, a divorce could threaten to dismantle everything you've built. If you fail to create protections for your practice ahead of time, you could face the unpleasant or unfeasible task of attempting to keep the practice afloat in the face of divorce obligations. Fortunately, with proper preparation, you can protect your practice from divorce, if you act quickly.

The most widely preferred way to protect any business from being subject to property division as marital property in a divorce is through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that allows both spouses to classify certain property or even future property as personal and not marital. This means that even if you do not yet have a practice, but plan to build one once you get through medical school or residency, you can protect your future practice from a potential divorce.

Billionaire's son's divorce may mean selling of art collection

High-asset divorces often come with complications that less affluent marriages and divorces never even consider. Such is the plight of Robert Soros, the son of billionaire George Soros, who is currently negotiating over an art collection with his spouse. If the couple cannot come to a fair agreement about the value of several pieces of art, a judge suggests that they may have to sell them.

Art, unlike many other tangible assets, is very difficult to value, and the value of some pieces may vary significantly depending on who is appraising it. In the case of Soros's divorce, his wife wishes to keep several pieces from the collection, but if they cannot agree on the value of these pieces, the court may force them to sell the art and split the proceeds.

How to prepare financially for an impending divorce

Most spouses contemplating divorce assume it is simple enough to file. In the state of New York, you will need to fill out paperwork containing information related to the grounds for this separation. 

However, if a spouse is planning on divorcing his or her partner, then it is a good idea to take care of a few financial matters first. Before serving any paperwork to a spouse, it is good to get financial records in order. This will make things tremendously simpler during the actual divorce proceedings. 

Understanding separate property in divorce

When it comes to dividing property in divorce, where you choose to divorce often affects how the division plays out. Each state maintains its own laws that govern how divorces proceed, from what causes for the divorce are allowable to how alimony is calculated.

Several states use community property guidelines to determine how couples divide marital property. Under community property guidelines, all marital property must be divided equally. New York, and the majority of other states, use equitable division guidelines, which require that marital property be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Does this mean that everything you and your spouse own is up for grabs? No, generally divorces only divide up marital property, and leave separate property alone.

Do you know how to prepare for a child custody hearing?

Many parents find themselves facing the unpleasant prospect of a child custody hearing to determine what role they will play in raising their child. Custody hearings are a very small window of time to establish who you are as a person and as a parent before a judge, so it is very important plan for a successful custody hearing.

The biggest mistake that many parents make before a custody hearing is not preparing properly. As a parent, you want to enter the courtroom with a solid understanding of the relevant laws in your state, as well as have a good understanding of the local child custody system and the likely outcomes of your particular case. In most instances, it is easiest to gather this information and make sure you understand it by working with an experienced attorney in your area.

Tracking data getting more use in divorce cases

With the advent of smartphone apps that collect location data, such as Uber and others who use the technology, many divorce battles have begun to use tracking data in the courtroom to provide some data to support infidelity claims. While this does create a new frontier for proving a spouse's whereabouts at a given time, courts in New York are urging spouse's to not spend too much time, effort or money using these records.

It is certainly reasonable that a person who suspects their spouse of infidelity might want to obtain cellphone tracking data to "prove" (and that is a rather loose use of "prove") that their spouse was indeed cheating or engaging in some other distrustful act, a judge simply cares much less about such things than the spouse does. New York divorce courts place far less weight on matters like fidelity than they have in decades past.

What to do about child custody and the holidays

The holidays are one area that you and your divorcing spouse should consider when drawing up a co-parenting plan. (If either of you contests the divorce and it is likely to result in a trial, a judge may be the one to decide on holidays and other critical child custody issues.)

As long as you and your spouse work collaboratively, you two are in control and able to consider a wide range of options. Here is a look at what some couples successfully do as far as holidays go.

Does my behavior affect my custody dispute?

When you and your spouse decide it's time to divorce, the hardest part is often coming to a fair agreement about how to handle child custody. Every parent wants the best for his or her child, but in the middle of a custody battle, it is often difficult to differentiate between what is best for a child and what is ideal for a parent. In order to create a truly beneficial custody arrangement, it is important to keep the big picture in mind and always be careful how you interact with your spouse about parenting issues.

Something that many parents fighting for custody of children do not grasp well is that how things look to the outside world, and the court in particular, is very important. Even if you don't do anything wrong as a parent, you can still hurt your case by remaining neutral or technically staying out of trouble. Remember, a court's primary concern with a custody arrangement is what is best for the child, not what is fair to a parent. If you want to build a strong case that you deserve a particular type of custody, you should be aware that how things appear is very important.

Importance of a prenup before a second marriage

Many marriages in the United States still end in divorce, but divorce does not signal the end of marriage entirely for a person. In fact, the United States Census Bureau reports that 17 percent of U.S. adults have married at least twice. 

A lot of mistakes can end a marriage, but one mistake no one should make for a second marriage is neglecting to get a prenuptial agreement. It can be easy to assume that after someone has already been married, he or she knows what to do. It can be easy to think that this new marriage will last. However, that is not always the case. It is better to be prepared for anything and sign a prenup before a second marriage. 

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