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New City NY Family Law Blog

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.

Protecting your rights in a high asset divorce

Why is it important to have an experienced attorney in a high-asset divorce? In any New York divorce case, much may be at stake. Parties to a divorce often understandably worry about the outcome of child custody proceedings or a dispute over who gets to keep the family pet or items of sentimental value. In a high-asset divorce, in addition to these common concerns there may also be significant financial matters at stake. In a high-asset divorce, it is important to ensure each party's rights are protected.

The law firm of Johnson & Cohen, LLP represents clients in Westchester and Rockland counties as well as throughout New York City. As a result, they are highly familiar with not only the nuances of New York divorce law but also with the intricate layers of wealth their clients have accumulated over the years. Dividing this wealth is rarely simple or easy, as spouses often have retirement accounts, family businesses, artwork, jewelry, real estate and investments. In addition, local families may have family trusts which come with their own sets of rules and priorities.

Domestic partnerships are still an option in New York

Since the passing of New York's Marriage Equality Act in 2010, many same-sex couples have exercised their right to marry in the state. While many couples have tied the knot already, many who are thinking about getting married may not understand all of the legal issues involved. One issue that both same-sex couples as well as heterosexual couples might encounter is the option of a domestic partnership.

What many New Yorkers may not realize is that it is still possible to obtain a domestic partnership in the state of New York. Moreover, this option is available to all types of couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex. The main difference is that there is a relatively smaller set of rights and privileges involved in a domestic partnership when compared to a marriage.

The importance of prenups in subsequent marriages

Getting married is always a happy occasion, and this may be particularly true when marrying after a prior marriage did not work out. Couples in New York who are marrying for the second or third time generally have a lot to look forward to, but also much to be concerned with as they prepare for their big day. Due to the need to protect assets when entering a subsequent marriage, many couples consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

A well-drafted prenup can address many of the legal issues that arise during both marriage and divorce. Moreover, a prenup can tackle the topics unique to marrying for the second time. For instance, if both parties already own homes, will one home be sold as they move in together? Will any furniture need to be sold? What about vehicles? Another aspect of marrying again is overall financial compatibility. Since spouses may have experienced this type of incompatibility in their prior marriages, it's a good idea to review various scenarios, such as how to pay for a child's college education, together during the formation of a prenup.

Family law: how do separation agreements, judgments differ?

When spouses in New York decide that they can no longer live under the same roof, they may consider a separation. At times the separation is a precursor to divorce but, in other instances, it may be needed before a reconciliation can occur. Many times, though, spouses don't know for sure how their separation will end. Thus, both spouses may have lots of questions about the legal nuances of separation in the state of New York.

If a spouse is looking up separation in New York online, for example, the individual may encounter two different commonly-used terms on the subject: separation agreement and judgment of separation. These are two different forms of separation and spouses can learn more from an experienced family lawyer. Since a separation will almost always involve multiple family law issues, a family lawyer can explain how the separation process works and how it will impact related concerns.

In New York visitation rights not linked to child support payment

In most New York divorce cases, parents understand that, despite their own feelings toward the other parent, it's good for their child to have an ongoing relationship with both parents. In some cases, though, parents may wish to keep the child from visiting the other parent, especially if the other parent has not met his or her child support obligations. Is there a link between child support and visitation rights in New York State?

In general, child support is paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Thus, child custody usually needs to be determined before child support arrangements are made. For various reasons, though, a non-custodial parent may not make his or her monthly support payments. In such instances, the custodial parent cannot prevent the other parent from visiting solely due to not paying child support. Since the custodial parent may understandably be upset, it's easy to see how a child custody dispute can arise from these circumstances.

If one has a prenuptial agreement, does one need a lawyer?

Many New Yorkers are likely well aware of the value of a solid prenuptial agreement. After all, many high-asset divorce cases take place in Manhattan, and many residents in the New City and Rockland areas have sizable assets to protect. Some may assume that because prenups can resolve or prevent many divorce disputes, legal guidance isn't as important as the prenup itself. In reality, skilled divorce attorneys can make a crucial difference in how well a prenup can protect assets, address important issues and forestall drawn-out battles.

From the initial prenuptial agreement draft through enforcement if necessary, the attorneys at Johnson & Cohen LLP have the know-how to ensure a smooth and secure process. Attorney Martin T. Johnson was admitted to the New York bar in 1981, and has received multiple honors and awards in his decades of family law experience. Mitchell Y. Cohen was admitted to the New York Bar in 1986 and has also accumulated numerous awards and recognitions. Moreover, at Johnson & Cohen there are additional family lawyers whose experience and dedication add up to an impressive roster of results.

Actor's Manhattan divorce negotiations ongoing

Last week, the topic of protecting assets was reviewed in relation to the benefits of securing solid legal representation. Recently, a very public high-asset divorce has come into the spotlight. In this case, both former partners and their respective lawyers are understandably concerned with protecting significant financial assets.

Actor Richard Gere and his actress wife, Carey Lowell, began their divorce last year, which was filed by Lowell. It has been reported that the pair has resolved the child custody matter of their teenage son, but the property division aspect of their divorce has yet to be finalized. The duo, who were husband and wife for over a decade, were recently in the Manhattan Supreme Court. Gere's fortune is estimated to be around $100 million.

Protecting property rights in a high asset divorce

New Yorkers going through a divorce often view the process as confusing, overwhelming and inherently adversarial. A divorce, even a high asset divorce, doesn't have to be that way, however. When a party to a divorce understands their and their former partner's rights under the law, the entire process can run more smoothly and become much more manageable.

In a high net-worth divorce, the fair distribution of property is often of the utmost concern. The state of New York uses what is known as "equitable division" to divide marital property. Under this type of system, marital assets aren't necessarily divided into two equal-sized parts and distributed to each spouse. Instead, a judge will consider a variety of factors in order to arrive an equitable outcome. These factors include each spouse's income and assets at the beginning and end of the marriage, whether there are children and which spouse will be the custodial parent, the anticipated financial needs of each spouse and so on.

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