R and R DIVORCE BLOG

What Can a Divorcing Couple Do About Their Living Situation?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

What Can a Divorcing Couple Do About Their Living Situation? By Gayle Rosenblum

When facing marital trouble and considering the possibility of divorce, many couples wonder how best to handle the daily living situation while residing under the same roof. These are some of the most frequently asked questions and my answers:

To move out or not to move out? Can I? Should I?

You can move out, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should. (more…)

How to Make Your Initial Divorce Consultation Easier

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

How to Make Your Initial Divorce Consultation Easier By Debra L. RubinConsulting with an attorney for the first time about your divorce can be a difficult and emotionally-draining experience. Here are some steps you can take to make the process easier:

Bring as much financial documentation as possible: The more information you can gather about your finances, the better. Some important details to consider are:

- How much income you and your spouse earn
- What retirement and non-retirement assets you possess
- Any real estate or automobiles you hold title to
- Any businesses or professional practices in which you or your spouse have an interest
- A list of all your current debts
- Evidence of any assets acquired prior to the marriage, by gift, or by inheritance  (more…)

How Long Is This Going To Take?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

It seems that every individual seeking a divorce or legal separation has the very same question: How long will the process take?

Unfortunately this question cannot be answered with any degree of certainty until a thorough review of the circumstances of each case is evaluated. And even after all that, it is difficult to state a precise time frame.

There are cases that we have completed in one month from the time we were first retained to when the parties executed a settlement agreement. Thereafter, a judgment of divorce packet must be prepared and then submitted to the Court. It is unknown exactly when the judge will sign the divorce documents. The wait time varies from county to county.

Other cases can go on for years especially when the parties need to retain experts to determine the value of real estate or business interest(s). Sometimes it is not always in the parties’ best interest to retain a neutral expert because in the event that they cannot agree on the report, then they will each need to obtain their own expert. This is something to consider when an expert is involved.

Also, delays can arise from the parties’ themselves due to health reasons, being activated for military service or various other personal reasons. There are unpredictable events which all play a role in the delay of a matrimonial action.

Custody disputes, in particular, may require a forensic psychological evaluation of the family. It can take months to receive a final report from the evaluator.

The easiest way for divorcing couples to keep costs down and get a quicker result is to narrow the issues in dispute. Identify the issues, and try and determine the root of the problem.

Notably, a Judgment of Divorce is required to get divorced. The Judgment is a separate document from a separation agreement, stipulation of settlement or decision after trial. It can take months after the proposed judgment is sent to the Judge for signature to finalize the Divorce.  In the interim, the parties comply with the terms and conditions previously agreed to or directed by the Court.

If you are considering a divorce, contact Rubin and Rosenblum, PLLC for a consultation, and we will sit down and review the unique circumstances of your case with you.

By Gayle Rosenblum, Esq.

Rubin & Rosenblum, PLLC
445 Broad Hollow Road, Suite 210
Melville, New York 11747
Telephone: (631)462-5888
Email: grosenblum@rrmatlaw.com
Website: rubinandrosenblum.com

How Enforceable Are Prenuptial Agreements in New York?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Recent court decisions in New York State have caused uncertainty as to whether disputed prenuptial agreements are likely to be upheld. These agreements, which are contracts signed by a couple before a marriage begins, have generally been given the same strong presumption of validity as other contracts. However, decisions in two recent cases seem to run counter to tradition.

In Cioffi-Petrakis v. Petrakis, a New York appellate court affirmed the decision of a Nassau County trial judge which invalidated a prenuptial agreement signed by both parties. The agreement in dispute was signed four days before the marriage. The wife testified that she signed the agreement only after the husband verbally promised to tear it up once the couple had children.  (The written agreement itself did not provide that it would no longer be valid once the parties had children.)  Despite the three children that followed, the husband insisted upon enforcing the terms of the prenuptial agreement when marital difficulties arose. (more…)

Counsel Fees in a Matrimonial Action – Who has to pay?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Is it true that under the new legislation, if you are the monied spouse you have to pay for not only your own legal fees but your spouse’s legal fees as well?  The answer is …Yes!

In an effort to level the playing field and allow both spouses in a matrimonial action to be able to afford legal counsel, under the new law, the monied spouse will likely have to pay a portion, if not all, of the legal fees incurred by both parties. Hence, advice to both the monied and non-monied spouse, nobody enjoys prolonged litigation and outrageous legal fees, so you are better off trying to attempt a solution sooner rather than later.

Things that you should consider to help keep legal fees down – don’t stop paying what you have been paying throughout the marriage.  If you are the monied spouse, who customarily paid the marital expenses in connection with your home, living expenses, food, clothing, etc., continue to do that, otherwise you may be faced with a motion and Court intervention.  That doesn’t mean that there will not be any Court intervention but it will certainly help keep legal fees down.

Make good faith attempts to identify the issues and reach a resolution.   (more…)

Legal Separation: What is it really about?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

What exactly is a Legal Separation?

Many individuals believe that simply living separate and apart from your spouse constitutes a legal separation. However, that is not the case. If you are considering a legal separation, not living under the same roof isn’t enough. A legal separation is two individuals living separate and apart pursuant to a written Agreement, known as a Separation Agreement. That Separation Agreement covers all issues that would be included in a Divorce, such as:

- Equitable Distribution of Assets and Liabilities
- Custody and Visitation of Children
- Child Support
- Spousal Support/Maintenance
- Life Insurance
- Medical Insurance
- Payment of Counsel Fees

If you wish to divorce on the basis of a legal separation, can that be done right away or is there a waiting period?

The individuals have to wait a minimum of one year and comply with the Separation Agreement. Then, and only then, if either one of them chooses (it doesn’t matter which one), a party to the agreement can file for divorce with the Court.

Can you wait more than one year to file for divorce? (more…)

Do I have to live with my spouse during a divorce?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The answer to that question really depends upon the individual factual circumstances of your case.  Generally, unless your spouse voluntarily vacates the marital residence and establishes another home, which would provide a legal basis to keep your spouse out of the marital residence, the court will normally not direct your spouse to leave.

The only exception would be if it is determined that his or her presence in the house creates an unsafe or improper environment.  Basically, what the courts will look at for practical purposes is whether or not there has been violence or threats of violence.  If that has occurred, it will generally provide a legal basis to get your spouse out of the marital home during the divorce action.

The other option if there is ongoing domestic violence or threats of domestic violence, is to go to Family Court and seek an order of protection excluding your spouse from the marital residence. Note, however that there are different types of orders of protection, and not all orders direct the spouse to leave the home.  The Family Court is very wary of being used as a “sword” to gain leverage in a divorce proceeding.  Depending on the judge and the allegations against your spouse, the court can do one of 3 things:

1. Decide that you are not entitled to an order of protection at all.

2. Decide that you are entitled to an order of protection that merely directs your spouse to refrain from improper conduct but allows him or her to stay in the house.

3. Direct your spouse to vacate the home and stay away from you and the home. (more…)

Do You Need a Prenuptial or Post-nuptial Agreement?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements.  They are frequently mentioned in the context of celebrity divorces, where one of the spouses has sought to protect his or her significant assets in the event of a divorce.

The major difference between the two agreements is when it is executed. A prenuptial agreement is executed before a marriage.  A post-nuptial agreement is executed at any time after the marriage.  There is no time restriction as to when two individuals can enter into a post-nuptial.

Basically both prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements protect preexisting assets or assets that are to be received in the future such as those through employment, educational degrees, professional licenses, gift or inheritance by the titled spouse.

In first marriages, the individuals themselves, being just or only a couple of years out of school, more than likely don’t have much personally to protect except for their educational degrees and professional licenses as well as assets that they already received from an inheritance or gift. (more…)

Your Children – Should They Be Involved in Your Divorce?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The most important thing to understand as a parent going through a divorce is not to involve your children. No matter what the ages of your children, they should be left out of the divorce process to whatever extent possible.

Children will be more or less aware of what is transpiring depending on their age. A 12 year old might ask questions that a 3 year old would not think about. Do answer their questions briefly and in an age appropriate manner, but most importantly, assure them that both of their parents love them. Parents must recognize that the divorce is between them, and that their children are innocent bystanders, not active participants.

Unfortunately, what frequently happens is that both parents become so embroiled in the emotion of the divorce process that they temporarily lose the ability to focus on what is best for their children. At times, parents will speak of adult matters either directly to or in the presence of their children. Sometimes parents will use their children as pawns to try to “get back” at the other parent, without realizing the harm that they are causing the child. (more…)

Collaborative Law

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I had the pleasure of taking additional training in the area of Collaborative Law this past week. This is an excellent process for divorcing parties who are desirous of avoiding the emotional and economic costs of the litigation process, ending their marriages in a civilized fashion, and achieving a result fashioned by both. Since each party has a legal representative, it also creates a level of comfort for both parties, where one may feel “overpowered” by the other in a mediation setting.