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Sparks fly in New York deli owners' high asset divorce

New York's Carnegie Deli is a famous institution, well-known for tasty lunchtime fare that New Yorkers have enjoyed for years. More recently, though, the deli has been in the news for a family law dispute between the owners of the Midtown eatery.

After over two decades of marriage, the owners of the Carnegie Deli are now going through a high asset divorce. Previously, the judge in their case had ordered the wife to pay her currently estranged husband more than $11,000 per month in maintenance. In any high asset divorce, it's not unusual to encounter a dispute over alimony or spousal maintenance, and this case is no different. The wife had motioned for the judge to throw out that order but he has since refused.

Understanding the need to support a spouse post-divorce

Manhattan family law courtrooms are used to disagreements over countless topics. In New York State, divorce legal issues can run the gamut from child custody between unmarried couples, same-sex divorce issues, asset division, spousal support and more. The last item in particular is notorious as a source of contention between divorcing couples, and it can linger far into an individual's post-divorce life.

For any divorcing spouse, it's helpful to understand spousal support in New York. Often known as alimony, spousal support is an order that is part of the property division process. Just as judges consider dividing assets in an equitable manner, so too will they consider the request that one spouse help financially support the other during and after a split. While spousal support is commonly a concern when only one spouse worked outside the home, it can also be paid if both spouses earned an income during the marriage.

Child custody disputes can happen to any parent

In last week's blog entry, readers were acquainted with the ongoing legal saga of former Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford. New York residents are likely used to hearing about child custody disputes that arise between two high-profile people. After all, those who live their lives in the public eye naturally endure more stress as a relationship unfolds.

Still, it's important for divorcing New Yorkers to know that a child custody dispute can actually happen to anyone. No spouse can control the thoughts, feelings or actions of the other parent. In fact, during an emotionally heated divorce it's often hard to control one's own emotions. For example, if the other parent decides -- during or after the divorce -- that he or she wants to relocate with the child, a whole host of custody-related issues can arise. Often, the first parent is unsupportive of the relocation plan and may react out of fear that he or she could lose quality time with the children. This could take the form of stalling legal proceedings, threatening the other parent or even interfering with visitation.

Another chapter unfolds in actress's child custody dispute

In New York State, countless residents were born outside the United States. This can present legal complications when these residents marry, divorce and navigate child custody issues. The ongoing child custody dispute between actress Kelly Rutherford and her foreign-born ex-husband recently made the news again when Rutherford reportedly rushed out of a Manhattan federal courtroom.

Rutherford's ex and the father of her two children was born in Germany. According to Rutherford, the father's visa was revoked and following that it has been a legal nightmare for her. The two children, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old, are U.S. citizens, as is Rutherford. However, a judge has ruled that the two youngsters will be sent to live with their father in Europe as early as this month.

Who benefits from a prenuptial agreement in New York?

As many New York family lawyers are well aware, there are countless misconceptions about marriage, divorce and the laws relating to both. Just regarding prenuptial agreements alone, there are many preconceived notions that can hinder a person's ability to benefit from a prenup. In New York State, the marital contract outlines the division of assets upon divorce; thus, it can help almost any married couple in significant ways.

While prenuptial agreements are almost always a useful consideration if one has significant income or a high net worth, they can be used to secure the property rights of anyone wishing to protect assets just in case of divorce down the road. For instance, a prenup can benefit someone entering a marriage while studying for a potentially lucrative career, such as someone currently earning a degree in medicine, engineering or other high-earning fields. In addition, a prenup can safeguard someone who may be on the receiving end of an inheritance at some point.

Can one spouse simply exit the co-op after divorce?

One of the biggest and most pressing question during the property division phase of divorce is usually who gets to keep the family home. In New York State, there are countless types of residential setups, from penthouses in the city to sprawling multi-story homes in the suburbs. One type of home that presents complicated issues when it comes to divorce is the residential co-op.

According to an attorney who is familiar with representing co-ops dealing with spouses locked in a dispute, the situation is frequently quite tricky. Often, one spouse will want to transfer his or her shares to the other spouse and move out. However, in order to get shares that were once held jointly into the hands of just one spouse, careful documentation is required. Essentially, the co-op needs to know that the one spouse is capable of affording payments on his or her own; this may require spouses to present their divorce paperwork to the board.

Spousal support can be temporary or long-term in NY

Many believe that spousal support in New York State and elsewhere only goes into effect after a divorce is final. While this can indeed be true, in New York spousal support can also be paid during the time in which a divorce is still pending.

Typically, spousal maintenance in general occurs when two spouses are divorcing and one spouse is a higher earner than the other. It is common when one spouse has stayed at home to care for children or to support the other spouse's career for several years, but it can apply in many other situations as well. Like many other family legal issues that come up during divorce, alimony is highly contingent upon the unique circumstances of each marriage. At the same time, awards of spousal support are made using state guidelines, calculations and formulas that apply to many different families.

Bringing up a prenup's value easier the second time around

Planning for a wedding is always a huge task, but planning for a second wedding can have an even more overwhelming list of to do's before the "I do." Usually, grooms-to-be and brides-to-be will be somewhat cautious about blending finances the second time around. After going through a divorce in the past, many couples will be understandably hesitant to dive right in to a second marriage without the proper planning beforehand.

Couples who are re-marrying in New York are often more open to the idea of a prenuptial agreement. While these agreements can benefit those getting married for the first time or the fourth, they are especially valuable to those marrying someone who earns more or less than they do. According to a recent report from U.S. Trust, of women who remarry, about three out of ten brings in more assets than their future spouse.

Despite gay marriage gains, struggle for benefits continues

Residents of New York have seen many victories in the fight for gay rights over the past decade. Most notably, New York is among the states that have legalized gay marriage; as such, it is a state in which any same-sex couple can get married and divorced the same way any other couple would. Still, the evolving legal landscape is often confusing for same-sex partners as well as for heterosexual couples when it comes to divorce, rights and domestic issues.

Recently, the U.S. federal government announced that it would be granting more benefits to same-sex couples. The announcement came about a year after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are indeed entitled to benefits at the federal level. However, for some gay widows and widowers, obtaining certain benefits, such as pension benefits, from both private companies and federal employers has been an uphill battle.

What makes a judge throw out a prenuptial agreement?

One of the biggest nightmares of any divorcing New Yorker occurs when a prenuptial agreement is disputed. Since prenups are often formed to protect assets and property interests, it can be jarring to realize the protections found in the document may not endure scrutiny. While no one wants to be involved in a prenuptial agreement dispute, sometimes they are necessary if interests and rights are to be maintained during and after divorce.

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