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New City NY Family Law Blog

Helping same-sex couples understand their custody rights

Parental rights are vitally important to couples in New York, whether those couples are same-sex partners or heterosexual parents. For same-sex couples, though, there are likely to be even more questions about custody issues when it comes to a divorce, separation or parting of ways. The legal team at Johnson & Cohen understand the custody questions same-sex parents have and can offer much-needed support and guidance.

In New York, there is no formula for child custody; custody decisions which are decided by the court are done so in light of each situation's unique circumstances. One factor the courts will consider in a custody dispute, among many others, is the fitness of each partner as a parent. Thus, it can be critical for those involved in a custody dispute to present appropriate evidence regarding their ability to care for their child. The attorneys at Johnson & Cohen have represented many same-sex partners in child custody cases and are familiar with the best ways to present evidence while protecting the child's interests.

Simple steps can help prevent financial drama in a divorce

It's a well-known fact that the cost of living is high in New York. As a result, the cost of just about everything often tends to be a little bit higher in the New York metro as well. Divorce, however, doesn't need to be as expensive as some may assume it to be. There are several key financial steps New Yorkers can take in order to lessen the financial impact of a divorce.

Since many divorce legal issues are financial in nature, it can benefit either party to a divorce to thoroughly organize their finances before filing. This usually entails locating and reviewing all of one's important financial documents, such as credit card statements, tax returns, bank statements and retirement account paperwork. In addition, if valuable items are subject to property division, it is helpful to have up to date appraisals of these items on hand.

What New York court do I go to for divorce & family law issues?

Navigating any type of court system is rarely easy. When it comes family law in New York, it can be quite confusing to figure out which court one utilizes for their family legal issues. One of the most basic questions that New York residents may have about family law is which court resolves family-related situations.

In New York, the Supreme Court -- and only the Supreme Court -- handles divorce cases. Accordingly, the only people who can grant a divorce in New York State are judges on the state Supreme Court. In order to obtain a divorce, married couples need to go to the Supreme Court in the same county in which they or their spouse reside. Couples cannot get divorced in family court, although New York's family court system can decide upon a multitude of divorce-related matters, such as child custody and visitation, child support, paternity and spousal maintenance.

The contents of a valid prenuptial agreement

Couples in New York who are considering entering a marriage likely have plenty of questions for their partner, such as where they will live, how expenses wil be split and will they have children together. There are countless additional questions New Yorkers may wish to ask their partners before tying the knot. In many cases, a prenuptial agreement can help answer these, but it's important to know what can and cannot be included in a marital contract.

Some may already know that a valid prenup can be a great tool for stopping alimony disputes before they start, or resolving them once underway. A prenuptial agreement can do much more than that, however. A solid contract can protect assets in a variety of ways, from keeping family property within the same family to making sure children from a prior relationship are provided for. A prenup can be an integral part of an individual's estate plan, in addition to other documents such as wills and trusts.

Could a major website hack lead to more divorces?

New York residents meet their spouses in countless different ways, from being set up by friends to meeting by chance to using online dating sites to meet that special someone. Still, while the internet can be used to bring people together, it can also be used to drive them apart. Recently, a website that functioned as a way for married people to meet each other was hacked, which means users of the site have reason to worry their infidelities could be exposed. What does this mean for divorce in New York?

Some might assume that if their spouse's infidelity is exposed and undeniable, the non-cheating spouse will "win" the divorce case - receive a larger settlement, get custody of the children, etc. However, the hacking of "Ashley Madison," the website specifically designed for affairs, may not necessarily lead to a rash of divorces in New York or elsewhere. First, every spouse deals with infidelity differently; some may seek a separation rather than divorce, some may choose to forgive and forget and some may consider divorce.

The right approach for grandparents in a child custody case

Child custody disputes are among the most difficult cases in New York family law. Whether they come as part of divorce proceedings, some time afterward or in the context of parents who were never married, these disputes cut to the heart of parents' relationship with each other, their individual relationships to their children and even to parents' conception of what kind of person they want to be. However, it is not just parents who may become involved in a child custody dispute.

Does the SSA recognize same-sex couples?

Many residents of New York rely on various benefits from the Social Security Administration in order to make ends meet. As a result, many spouses and family members of these residents also rely on these crucial benefits. As the definition of family continues to evolve and become more inclusive, many local residents may wonder if they qualify for such benefits.

As with all families in New York, same-sex couples must grapple with a host of often confusing legal issues, including divorce, separation, prenuptial agreements and custody issues. There are also many other financial issues to contend with when partners either decide to become a family or decide to part ways. Social Security benefits are one of these important issues that may need to be addressed.

Family law: New York definition of marital property may surprise

When two New Yorkers decide that their marriage has come to an end, usually they will prepare to separate and potentially divorce. Both of these actions, though, can involve many complications, not least of which is the prospect of property division. The distribution of property can be highly stressful for both parties, particularly if it is a high asset divorce. Still, no matter how much property a couple has, it is important to first understand what is considered marital property in the state of New York.

Why is it important to know the definition of marital property? This is because marital property is the property which is subject to division under the law. A New York family lawyer can explain in detail the differences between marital property and separate property, but in general marital property is any property that either spouse obtained during the marriage. This time period is typically defined as the period between the date of the marriage and the beginning of the divorce action.

Financier and former model in Manhattan divorce dispute

Of all the couples who call Manhattan home, many of them are high earners and have amassed significant wealth either together or apart. As a result, there are often divorce disputes over property, child custody, child support and alimony when these couples part ways.

Recently, a financier and a former fashion model have made the news for their heated divorce actions. The pair had married in 2003 and had both a prenuptial agreement as well as a no-litigation clause in their marital contract. The prenup had specified custody of the daughter they have together, a child who is now 10 years of age. The pair broke up in 2007 and their divorce was completed in 2013, but child custody has not been a smooth process.

Can a non-custodial parent's visitation rights be denied?

After a divorce or breakup, a parent's relationship with children is important regardless of whether that person is the custodial or non-custodial parent. For non-custodial parents, visitation rights are a crucial opportunity to maintain the special bond between parent and child. If a child custody dispute arises, agreeing on visitation rights can also be a key part of resolving conflict between parents and keeping the children in a stable environment.

Non-custodial parents are likely to have a lot of questions about visitation rights in New York State. One common concern is whether visitation rights can be denied to a parent. Usually, visitation rights are included in a court's child custody decision. If they are not, the law generally implies that there exists a right to visitation in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. In essence, visitation rights arise out of the fact of parenthood. Thus, there is often a strong presumption by the court in favor of visitation rights.

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