What Does Senator D’Amato’s Divorce Teach Us

According to recent reports, the former U.S. Senator D’Amato has settled his divorce with his soon-to-be ex-wife Katuria D’Amato. Their divorce battle has been on-going for about two years and despite the Senator’s advanced age (he is 82 years old), there were two pre-teen children involved in the divorce.

Although, the details of their divorce are confidential, a few lessons can be learned from their divorce.

Lesson #1: In New York, all divorce pleadings and documents are confidential. Unlike most other court documents, divorce pleadings and any filed court documents are confidential. Only the parties and their respective attorneys are permitted to view any filed court documents. There are exceptions to this rule, but anyone seeking to obtain a court filed document must petition the court for permission to view the documents. However, those exceptions are very rare. Accordingly, you can be assured that your divorce documents are confidential.

Lesson #2: In the D’Amato’s divorce, the Judge first held a custody hearing. This is not unusual. Some Judges will want to have a custody hearing before considering the other issues involved in the divorce.  However, typically those custody hearings only result in a “temporary custody” ruling. Yet, regardless of whether the result is a temporary ruling, that result will have a great effect on the eventual decisions involve in the divorce. Accordingly, if there is going to be a custody battle, you want to be prepared to fight this battle from the onset of your divorce.

Lesson #3: Parties who have significant assets and money are the divorces that still take a long time to decide. We have all heard stories of divorces dragging on for years. For the most part, the Courts have made an effort to shorten the divorce process. However, the D’Amato divorce is the exception to the rule and still demonstrates that parties that have significant assets and money can spend the money to lengthen the divorce process.

If you are seeking a divorce, David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., can help you. Divorce attorney David Badanes has represented numerous clients in their divorces and can help you as well.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. We have offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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8 Most Expensive Divorces Ever

You might think that your divorce was expensive and cost you an “arm and a leg.”  However, perhaps you should consider the following divorces, which are regarded as some of the most expensive divorces ever (at least up to 2016):

Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovlev:  This divorce took 7 years and cost Dmitry $604 million.  This was a bargain, as originally, he was ordered to pay Elena $4.5 Billion dollars.

Adnan Khashoggi and Soraya Khashoggi:  They were divorced in 1982, so in 1982 dollars, Adnan had to pay “only” $874 million dollars.  In 2016 dollars, that is about $2.2 Billion dollars.

Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Hamm:  Mr. Hamm (not related to Jon Hamm, the actor), paid $974.8 million dollars to Sue Ann.  It seems that Sue Ann was not happy with this “lowly” sum and appealed to the court to get more money.  She did not win her appeal.  Harold Hamm is in the oil and gas business, so he probably will need to drill a few more oil wells to make up what he had to pay his ex-wife.

Steve Wynn and Elaine Wynn:  You probably heard of Steve Wynn – casino magnate.  This couple actually got divorced twice, once in 1986 and again in 2010.  Although the exact amount of what Mr. Wynn had to pay Elaine the second time isn’t known, it is believed to be about $1 Billion dollars.  Perhaps Mr. Wynn is a good casino owner, but, like most casino players, is a bit unlucky (at least in love).

Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Ecclestone: It seems that both Bernie and Slavica profited from their divorce.  As part of the divorce, Bernie paid about $1.3 Billion dollars to his ex-wife.  However, a few years after the divorce, Bernie received about $500 Million dollars from Slavica’s trust fund.

Rubert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv Murdoch: This was Mr. Murdoch’s second wife.  Mr. Murdoch is the head of News Corporation, so in his divorce, he gave $1.7 Billion dollars to Anna Maria – in stock to News Corporation.  It is unknown if Ms. Torv kept the stock or still has it.

Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Wildenstein:  In this divorce, Jocelyn walked away with a cool $2.5 Billion dollars AND an additional $100 Million each year for 13 years.

Vladimir Potanin and Natalia Potanina:  Mr. Potanin is a Russian billionaire (and is not to be confused with the Russian President Vladimir Putin).  Mr. Potanin is worth about $14 Billion dollars, and although the divorce is not final, he may have to fork over $7 Billion of that to Natalia.

You don’t have to be a billionaire or millionaire to get good advice from David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office.  Mr. Badanes represents clients from all ends of the economic spectrum.

The Badanes Law Office represents clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and New York City. If you need an attorney, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

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How Robert Soros Reportedly Hid $21 Million from His Wife

How Robert Soros Reportedly Hid $21 Million from His WifeThough George Soros, one of the 30 richest people in the world, might be a philanthropist, his son is less than charitable. Robert Soros reportedly hid $21 million in joint tax refunds while his wife was recovering from cancer treatments. These allegations came to light during the couple’s heated divorce trial.

Melissa Soros, the wife of Robert, testified in the Manhattan Supreme Court on January 15th of 2016 about her harrowing cancer treatments. The mother of two reported that during her intensive rounds of chemotherapy and subsequent recovery, she stopped paying attention to the family’s finances as she was more focused on her treatment. As she mentioned in an interview, “I had to concentrate on healing myself, on staying alive.”

Melissa’s treatments took place in 2008, and from 2010 to 2011, Robert Soros put approximately $21 million into his own personal HSBC account. Robert claims that he had an oral agreement with his wife. The agreement was that he would keep the $21 million in tax refunds as he was the one who initially paid the taxes. The trial over these refunds continues into February and it appears this divorce will be anything but easy.

Robert Soros is reported to have a net worth of $350 million and Melissa Soros seems interested in bringing that number down.

Original article can be found here:


Hilary Duff and Ex-NHL Star Mike Comrie Officially Divorced After 2 Years

hilary duff and mike comrie officially divorcedAfter two years, Hilary Duff’s divorce has finally wrapped up. Hilary Duff, aged 28, married former NHL player Mike Comrie, aged 35, in August of 2010. However, four years of marriage later, the couple separated in 2014. Ms. Duff would formally file for divorce in February of 2015. With the start of this New Year, came the finale of the couple’s divorce.

Ms. Duff and Mr. Comrie had signed a pre-nuptial agreement before their marriage in 2010. The terms are not certain, but it most likely has had a significant bearing on the terms of their divorce.

Ms. Duff retains ownership of the couple’s Beverly Hill Mansion (as well as any other shared property). However, she will have to pay Mr. Comrie $2,408,786 dollars for his equity share of the mansion. Mr. Comrie will also be keeping his Mercedes G-Class SUV, his Bentley coupe, and some assorted jewelry. As for the couple’s child, Luca, the parents will have joint physical custody with a mutually agreed upon parenting time schedule. The parents will equally divide any costs related to their child. There are no alimony payments.

Although, the exact terms of the pre-nuptial agreement are not known, it most likely effected the financial aspects of the divorce. In New York, a pre-nuptial agreement cannot dictate child custody issues or child support issues.

See original article here:


Divorce Between Actor Jeremy Renner and Sonni Pacheco Now Final

According to both People Magazine and TMZ, who procured official court documents, the divorce between actor Jeremy Renner and model Sonni Pacheco is now over. The divorce lasted just ten months but is complicated by the fact that they have a two year old daughter.  Some comments from the Badanes Law Office on this matter:

  • His child support is based on his income and income making ability.
  • He is not paying spousal support (alimony), most likely because the marriage was only 10 months. The same result would probably occur in New York, although the new spousal maintenance law may give a different result as it is strictly based on income.
  • Articles online states he is not losing any of his property because the marriage was so short. In New York, when it comes to property the length of the marriage would not matter. All marital assets would be equally divided. However if his property was deemed to be his separate property, then he would get to keep it.

The New Year is a common time for divorce, and the Badanes Law Office can help answer your questions if you are thinking about your options. Feel free to reach out to us.

Custody Issues Around South African Girl “Ntombi” Living In Chris Rock’s House: What It Means In New York

Celebrities don’t have perfect lives. Life is complicated for them too, especially when personal issues like divorce, adoption, and custody are surfaced and reported by the media.

crock-daughter-sports-gameAccording to an article by the NY Daily News on 11/24/15, comedian and actor Chris Rock began divorce proceedings with his wife 11 months ago. He has, on record, sought joint custody for his two biological daughters. However, the legal issues we are exploring below relate to a seven year old girl named Ntombi. While not Rock’s biological daughter and never officially adopted, it is reported that she lived with the Rocks in their New Jersey home since 2008, when she was an infant.

Apparently Chris Rocks “says he has not seen the child since he and estranged ex began divorce proceedings a year ago.” Given the divorce and lack of adoption papers, what custody and adoption issues are at play? How do they relate to a similar case that may present itself in New York?

Here are some of our thoughts:

  • In New York (Rock’s case is in New Jersey), if a child is legally adopted, then you have the same responsibilities to provide child support.
  • The Court would also have to determine which parent gets custody of the adopted child.
  • If a child is not legally adopted, and the biological parents cannot be determined, the Court could order that you have adopted the child.
  • Divorcing parents would also have to determine their respective parental rights as it pertains to an adopted child.
  • The article states that the Divorce was filed in December 2014. In New York, a contested divorce typically takes between 18 months to 3 years.
  • If paternity is a question, the court would order a paternity test to determine if Rock is the biological father.

Original Article: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/chris-rock-bizarre-custody-question-african-girl-article-1.2445027

Durham Judge Reprimanded by N.C. Supreme Court After Telling Parents They Were “Acting Like Idiots”

According to the News Observer, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has ordered a public reprimand against a judge, James T. Hill, after he made inappropriate comments in the Courtroom during a child custody hearing.

The article states that Hill “failed to follow applicable law when handling the disruptive behavior…” and that “he did not follow proper procedure…” when he found the mother in contempt of court.  Athough the judge is well respected by many, it was his language and failure to follow procedure on this particular date that led to the reprimand.

A video of some of the courtroom drama can be seen in the below link, as well as full details of what took place. Our comments are as follows:

  • The issue before this court is a dispute between custody and support.   Although, the Judge’s reaction was not typical, the dispute is very typical.  Oftentimes, parents will be fighting over custody, visitation and child support.
  • I have never heard a New York Judge call the parties idiots, but, I have often hears Judges state that the case is not about the parents but is about what is in the best interest of the child.
  • New York Judges will also state that they do not want either party to say anything negative about the other party.
  • In New York, custody proceedings are not videotaped.

Article: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article43481352.html

Actress Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez Both File For Divorce

Halle Berry and her husband of two years, Olivier Martinez, filed for divorce within days of each other, according to an article in the New York Daily News. Ms. Berry filed using pseudonyms, but Mr. Martinez used their legal names. The couple share a two year old son, Maceo, over whom they will both be fighting for custody. This is Ms. Berry’s third marriage. She has a daughter from a previous relationship.

In New York, all divorce and family court matters are confidential. This means that only the parties and their attorneys are allowed to view the filed papers. However, the actual divorce or family proceedings in court are open to the public.  There are some limited exceptions, as one example, the Judge can close the courtroom to protect the children.

When you file for divorce, you are supposed to use your legal name. The court could throw out your summons and complaint if the wrong name is used. However, the court, with a proper reason, could allow you to file under a pseudonym.  But, it is up to the court to grant that.  Most likely just being a celebrity would not qualify to allow you to file under a false name. The reason would have to be to protect yourself, your family and your children.

The couple is now waiting to hear whose petition will be heard. For more information see:



Over 50? Why Many In Your Age Bracket Are Seeking Divorce

According to a recent New York Times article, more men and women over the age of 50 are getting divorced than ever before. Even as the divorce rate for other age groups remains steady or declines, these ‘silver’ or ‘gray’ divorces are on the rise, and for those over the age of 65, the rate is even higher. There are several reasons for this increase. First, those other the age of 50 are often in second marriages and face more financial hardships and the stress of blended families. Second, people are living longer, and are more selective about with whom they spend their time. And third, becoming separated no longer holds the stigma it once did, making it more socially acceptable to be divorced.

Also, it seems women are more likely to leave the marriage than men; men would prefer to stay in a so-so marriage so as not to rock the boat. Women are now more empowered, liberated, and able to get what they want. They are taking the risk to break up the marriage to find love or be content on their own. Women are realizing that staying together for the kids, especially when these kids are older and have left home, is no longer satisfactory. Despite the financial uncertainty that may follow a divorce, divorced women can spend time exploring their interests and newly found freedom.

According to David Badanes, a renowned divorce attorney on Long Island, there has indeed been an increase in married couples over 50 looking for a divorce. He finds that this can be attributed to no-fault divorces making it easier for either spouse in a long marriage to obtain a divorce. Additionally, for married couples whose children are grown, the divorce will only involve financial issues such as how to divide the marital assets and alimony (spousal maintenance). Ultimately, divorce mediation may be a good alternative for some older spouses facing a contested divorce.

For more information on silver divorces, please see:


Divorced Or Living Together? The Catholic Church May Show You More Mercy

Roman Catholic bishops attended a three week assembly (synod) on family issues, and although they were divided at times they ultimately produced a consensus document that gave Pope Francis support on his vision of a merciful church. They were decidedly opposed to gay marriage, saying it cannot even be compared to traditional marriage. However, they remained open to Catholics who divorced but remarried without an annulment of their first marriages, and to those living together without being married.

Pope Francis wants the church to keep up with the changing social landscape and morphing family structures. As more people divorce and are living together, and as gay marriage becomes the law of the land, the Catholic church must stay relevant while adhering to its core values. Pope Francis had signaled that he wanted to bring divorced Catholics back into full communion with the church, but the bishops at the synod instead wanted more participation with the church, and to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, because each situation is so different.

For more information on the outcome of this global assembly, please see: