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Suffolk County Family Law Blog

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. 

Alcoholism and divorce

Even in a best-case-scenario, divorce has the potential to get messy. This is all the more true when one or both spouses in a divorce struggle with alcoholism. If you are considering divorcing an alcoholic spouse, you may have many questions about how his or her behavior may affect the process, and how you can keep that behavior from becoming the centerpiece of the process.

It is important to remember that divorce, although innately personal, is more like the dissolution of a business relationship than breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend. If you choose to seek the guidance of an attorney (which you should consider strongly), you can rest assured that your attorney's job is not to judge your circumstances, but to represent your interests and help keep the matter professional.

Are you prepared for gray divorce?

If you and your spouse are over 50 and are considering divorce after more than 20 years together, you may be part of the growing trend of gray divorce. While no one should have to stay inside an unhappy marriage no matter how long it has persisted, the reality of the matter is that divorces between couples who have been together for a long time are usually significantly more complicated than those between younger, less established couples.

While each couple's circumstances are different, many of the moving parts remain the same. If you and your spouse have been together for more than 20 years and are over 50 years old, then there is no clear, simple way to split up. After this much time as a married couple, the court will demand that property division fairly represent both parties, and ongoing alimony is very likely.

Shared parenting may be best for child development

When children are involved, divorce is rarely easy. Custody battles can destroy families for years to come after a divorce is final, leaving the children at the heart of the conflict with a great deal of unnecessary pain and, in many cases, uneven maturation. If you and your spouse are approaching divorce and want to protect your children from harm, you need to think long and hard about a custody arrangement that is truly best for them.

In many custody disputes, it is difficult to approach the idea of shared parenting. Divorcing couples rarely enjoy the idea of remaining more involved than absolutely necessary with their soon-to-be exes, but according to recent research, shared parenting is often far better for children's development.

Think twice before moving out of your house during divorce

There are many reasons that people move out of their houses during divorce, even if they do not want to. For example, suppose you got home one day, and your spouse said, “I am filing for divorce. You need to get out. Go now. I have packed your bags.” In a confused daze, you left.

Or perhaps you are the one who filed, and you feel guilty about it. You decide to move out. However, moving out can be a mistake, whatever the reasons are behind it and whatever your financial affairs look like.

Yes, you can save your business from your divorce

As a business owner facing a divorce, you have some very tough decisions in front of you. The good news is that it is possible to keep your business intact through your divorce, but the less pleasant news is that doing so usually requires making some very serious sacrifices.

If you and your spouse are divorcing on relatively amicable terms, you might consider presenting them with a postnuptial agreement that allows you to keep the business without having to divide it up in the divorce negotiation. However, in the absence of this possibility, you must prioritize the business over virtually all other assets if you hope to save it.

How property is divided in divorce

Divorce can be a difficult realization for millions of people, even for those who are exiting a strong marriage. There are times when people realize marriage isn't for them or that they no longer want to be married to each other. Here's a brief discussion on how property is divided in divorce.

The state of New York operates under the rule of equitable distribution, which means that all the marital property will be divided equally among the divorcing couple. This is done by a judge, who will make the determination based on the earning power of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted and who earned the property being divided.

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