Law Offices of Kristine M. Demo-Vazquez, P.C.
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What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

Many people do not realize that there are certain legally acceptable grounds on which a New York resident can get a divorce. Where previously a divorce was only granted for fault in the state, in 2010 no-fault divorces became legally possible. An at-fault divorce means that one spouse files for a divorce alleging that their spouse is at fault.

An at-fault divorce has four grounds. The first alleges cruel and inhumane treatment, where the judge looks for specific acts of cruelty that took place in the five years prior to the divorce filing. Arguments alone do not count. Cruelty must be such that it physically or mentally endangers the spouse and it is unsafe for the couple to remain married. Abandonment, the second ground for at-fault divorce, refers to one spouse leaving the house for one year or more or not having sex with their spouse for one year or more. The third ground for an at-fault divorce is imprisonment. Here, one spouse must have been in prison for three or more consecutive years and must have gone into prison after getting married. Adultery is the fourth ground. To prove this ground, a spouse must prove the other is committing adultery.

Should I ask for a child support modification?

If you are the primary custodian of your child, it is likely that you receive financial assistance from the other parent in the form of child support. The amount of child support that you receive will largely depend on the income of the other parent.

However, there are additional factors that could influence how much child support you will be entitled to. For example, if your child requires medical treatment and you are struggling with the costs, you may be able to take action so that you and the other parent are contributing to the costs more equally.

Make informed family law decisions about divorce

Many couples on the verge of a separation get through the winter holiday season for their children's sake. Rather than force the children to choose between their parents for the holidays or witness their parents end their marriage on days that should be for making positive new memories, many parents stick together and put up a brave face for their kids. However, this might be why finally deciding to take the step to the end a marriage might be even more difficult. After all, no one wants to burst their children's bubble and thrust them into uncertainty.

Children and adults both thrive on routine, and a divorce brings with it new and unchartered territory. With emotions running high, it might seem daunting to embark on this journey alone, especially when it seems like everything is on the line and one wrong decision might mean losing everything. This can pertain to everything from child custody to property division.

Grounds to invalidate a prenuptial agreement

While the benefits of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are immense when it comes to property division and debt distribution during a divorce, the document is of no value if it is not legally enforceable. Like all contracts, certain legalities must be completed so that such agreements can withstand challenges in court. Otherwise, it can be thrown out of court and New York property division rules may be applied.

The most important requirement of a prenuptial agreement to be valid is that it must be in writing. If it is not in writing, it may not be enforceable. In addition to this, it must be signed by both parties and, in the case of a prenuptial agreement, it must be executed before the wedding date in order to be deemed valid. The document must also be signed without any pressure applied to either party. That is to say that the agreement must be entered into voluntarily.

Marital agreements outlining property division can ease divorce

Though the benefits of signing a prenuptial agreement far outweigh the cons of it, many New York residents are still not prepared to enter into such an emotionally charged conversation right before tying the knot. They also believe that talking about divorce might jinx a marriage, therefore avoiding the important talk about what to do in the event that a marriage ends. However, it is important to know that married couples who forewent a prenuptial agreement can enter into a postnuptial agreement to protect their assets just as thoroughly.

A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial one, except that couples enter into it after they have gotten married, rather than before. Similar to a prenup, couples disclose all their property to one another, both separate and marital property, before entering into the agreement. While these were previously unenforceable in most states, their popularity and acceptability are both increasing, both legally and culturally.

Financial stress common cause of arguments, divorces

While the saying "money doesn't buy you happiness" may be true for many New York residents, a recent study also shows that debt might buy couples unhappiness. The study found that more than half of all couples go into their marriages with debt and 40 percent admitted that this has a negative impact on their relationship.

Not only is debt an issue, but also who the debt belongs to. The study also found that 49 percent of couples disagree on with whom the debt responsibility lies. Where debt is hanging over a marriage, couples are more likely to have poor communication and difficulty talking about finances. Couples who fight often are 30 percent more likely to divorce than those who do not. In fact, study after study has found that fighting over money is a top predictor for divorce.

How do the best interests of a child affect custody decisions?

When parents choose to divorce, the law requires that they reach a custody arrangement that outlines how they plan to care for their child, outlining their respective responsibilities and privileges as parents.

In general, courts prefer for parents to work together to reach an acceptable agreement, but the priorities of each parent are not the priorities of the court. Instead, courts focus on finding a custody arrangement that most benefits the child. Many courts insist that parents work together to provide for the child. So what impact does the best interests of a child play on the custody ruling?

We've successfully guided people through divorce for years

During their marriage, and especially if they have children, New York couples have most likely fallen into a dependable daily routine. While the routine may seem boring, it goes to establish a steady environment that both children and adults rely on. On most days, everyone knows what is likely to happen next. A divorce has the ability to completely change that scenario and disrupt the stability of everyone involved. One of the reasons many may hesitate to divorce is because they do not want that instability and uncertainty for their future.

However, once the divorce process ends and a decree is finalized, many are happy that they took the plunge and went their separate ways. There are a number of reasons marriages do not work out. Regardless of the reason why an individual ends his or her marriage, he or she should know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But what about inside the tunnel?

Managing the holidays after a divorce

Scheduling in the holiday season is complicated enough when one is married, as-one has to figure out with whose family the couple will spend time. Add in children, and grandparents are even more eager for them to come and visit, adding another layer of complexity to the celebration schedule. When parents are divorced, it gets even more challenging. However, with open communication and flexibility, it might be possible to navigate holiday season after divorce with minimal stress

The most important step divorced parents should take to make holiday planning easier is to begin planning early. Though broaching the subject can be difficult, approaching it properly can set the tone for the whole conversation. Rather than beginning by stating what one wants, its better to ask one's co-parent what they have in mind. Compromise may be possible for New York parents if they try to understand what the other has in mind rather than announcing their own plans immediately.

How can I protect my right to my spouse's retirement account?

A couple that has spent their life together in New York has probably accumulated assets throughout their marriage. Retirement accounts are often the most valuable assets they own. Therefore, figuring out how to divide these accounts can become a contentious issue during divorce proceedings, whether they are considered high asset or not. Since there may be applicable tax implications and their division is generally a complicated issue, the handling of retirement accounts during marriage dissolution is often improperly dealt with, which is why couples going through a divorce should understand the repercussions of their financial decisions.

If one party has an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) or a pension plan, then the other party is legally entitled to part of the balance as long as their isn't any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement stating otherwise. But what happens if only one spouse is working? In those circumstances, how can the other spouse protect their share of a retirement account? Through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

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