In A Divorce: When Does One Thousand Dollars Not Equal One Thousand Dollars

Assume that I owe you $1,000.00 (One Thousand Dollars), I could pay you back as follows:

  1. One Thousand Dollars in one lump sum in one month’s time.
  2. Two payments of Five Hundred Dollars.
  3. Five payments of Two Hundred Dollars.
  4. One Thousand Dollars in one lump sum, but I’ll pay it five years from now.
  5. One Thousand payments of One Dollar.

Most people would recognize that the fourth and fifth options are not fair and although each one adds up to One Thousand Dollars, because of inflation and the time-value of money, it is not really One Thousand Dollars.

This illustrates the “time-value” of money. In other words, money today is worth more than money tomorrow. As time goes on, inflation reduces the value of your money. So, even if I pay you $1,000 in five years (as an example), its real worth would be something like $950 – $990, depending on inflation and other factors.

Therefore, in a divorce, when you are making or accepting payments, you have to take into account the time-value of money. Typically, if you owe money, it is better to pay it over time (this assumes that there is no interest payments). Alternatively, if you have to pay money and have to pay it in one-lump sum, you can argue that because your money today is worth more than money in the future, that you deserve a discount in what you pay.

For example, if you have to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) and your payments come out to $1,000 per month for 5 years, for a total of $60,000, then you might want to agree to pay a lump-sum of $55,000. Your argument would be that a lump sum payment of $55,000 is worth more than 5 years of payments, with each payment of $1,000.

Pre-payment of amounts owed can work in many situations, not just for a payment of spousal maintenance. However, typically, you cannot pre-pay your child support obligation.

If you are considering getting divorced or are seeking a new divorce attorney on Long Island, then David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can help you.  David Badanes can explain how the time-value of money can help your situation.

If you need an attorney to represent you in your divorce, call David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702 or email me at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Getting Divorced: Should You File Joint or Separate Tax Returns?

If you are getting divorce or recently divorced, one of the many questions you will have is, “Should I file my tax return separately or jointly?”

Most accountants will tell you to file a joint tax return as you will pay less taxes than if you both file a separate return.  If you and your soon-to-be-ex use the same accountant, you can have the accountant calculate your tax return by first using a joint tax return and then calculate your tax returns by using two separate returns. Your accountant can then explain the difference in taxes between the two alternatives.

There might be good reasons why you want to file two separate tax returns. If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is filing false or misleading information, then filing a separate tax return will protect you. Filing a separate tax return may also help you qualify for more financial aid for college or for more government programs.

However, if you are going to file a separate tax return, you might have to take into consideration the Court’s viewpoint on whether or not you can file separately.  Since, filing separately most likely will result in paying more taxes, a Court might view this as “wasteful”.  If you are unsure and want to file a separate return, you or your attorneys should request the Court’s permission to file a separate return.  In that application, you should be prepared to inform the Court on the monetary difference between filing a joint return and two separate returns.

If you have children and you are going to file two separate tax returns, you need to determine who is going to claim the children as an exemption (also known as a deduction).  Each exemption could be worth thousands of dollars.

Since each person’s financial situation is different, before making the decision on whether to file a separate or joint tax return, it is imperative that you talk to an accountant (or other tax professional) before filing your taxes.  You also need to inform your divorce attorney on what you want to do.

If you are seeking a divorce and have questions on your taxes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website at www.dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and he has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Divorce and Rising Gas Prices

Every day, it seems that gas prices are getting higher and higher.  Even, if gas prices go down a bit, it is likely that in the future, the price you pay for gas is going to be more than the price you paid more than a year ago.

How does inflation or the rising price of gas affect your divorce?  For example: What if you have been divorced for several years, can you request additional child support or additional spousal maintenance (alimony) due to the increase in the cost of living?  What if you are the parent responsible for transportation expenses, are you able to get a modification of your child support obligation?

Whether or not inflation will be a basis for obtaining a change in child support depends on a few factors.  Typically, you have to show that the cost of living has gone up by more than 10% (since the time your order went into effect or the last time it was increased).  If your child support order is through the Support Collection Unit, then they will typically automatically compute whether or not there has been more than a 10% increase in the cost of living.  When the cost of living has increased by more than 10% (cumulatively), the Support Collection Unit, will also automatically increase the amount of child support that you either have to pay or that you receive.

However, if your child support order is not through the Support Collection Unit, then it is up to you to demonstrate to the Court that the cost of living has increased by more than 10%.  You would have to file a petition to Family Court to get an increase in child support.

Since gas prices are just one component of inflation (or the cost of living), increased gas prices, by themselves, may not be sufficient for obtaining a modification of child support, spousal maintenance or for transportation expenses.

Another basis to obtain a change in your child support is to show that the child support order is more than three years old.  Here, you might be able to get an increase (or decrease) in child support, simply because the last change is more than three years old.  If your child support order is more than three years old, then even if the cost of living has increased less than 10%, then you may be able to get an increase in child support.

In summary, no one likes paying more for gas, however, the increase in the price of gas may not be enough to qualify for a change in your child support or spousal maintenance.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office provides real world advice and can help you in your divorce.  If you need an experienced divorce attorney, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site at www.dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and he has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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The Three Most Important Things to Know About Your Contested Divorce Case

If you are involved or going to be involved in a contested divorce, you need to know the three most important things about your case.

#1: Always follow the Court’s Orders: In a contested divorce, the Court – meaning the Judge – will probably issue various Orders. It is imperative that you follow the Court’s Orders. Every Judge wants their Orders to be followed. Disregarding a Judge’s Order will almost always get you “in hot water”. You could be held in contempt, face court fines or pay your spouse’s attorney’s legal fees.

#2: Never argue with the Judge: If you disagree with what the Judge is saying or doing, arguing in Court will typically make things worse. Let your attorney argue for you. You can certainly let your attorney know that what the Judge is saying or doing is “wrong”. The Court is used to a divorce attorney advocating (arguing) for your benefit. However, it is a rare Judge that wants to hear a party arguing themselves. Even, if you are representing yourself, although you may present your facts and legal arguments, arguing with the Judge is still not recommended.

#3: Consistently being late to Court or not going to Court at all. If you are required to be in Court (or in a virtual session), then you must: (i) attend; and (ii) be on time. No Judge wants to be waiting for you to arrive or told that you will not be arriving (unless you have a very good reason).  Even worse, if you are consistently late or absent, the Court can impose sanctions and penalties on you. Show up and be on time.

During a divorce, it is important to make sure that you follow the Three Things in this blog. Not following court orders, arguing with the Judge and/or being late will only hurt your case and worse, can lead to fines and for you to pay your spouse’s attorney’s fees.

If you are seeking a divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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How An Order of Protection Affects A Divorce Case

An Order of Protection, also known as a Restraining Order, may be issued against you or your spouse before or during a divorce. An Order of Protection can affect your divorce case in many ways.

In New York, an Order of Protection can be a criminal matter or a civil matter. If it is a criminal matter, the case will be prosecuted as a crime and the District Attorney’s office will most likely serve as the prosecution. As with any criminal case, the District Attorney has to show that you committed the crime by the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In contrast, if the case is a civil matter, then the burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence”, which essentially means that you prove your case by greater than 50%. Another difference is that there is no District Attorney who prosecutes the case. If you are the accuser, you either have to hire an attorney or you can prosecute the case yourself.

There are also two types of penalties granted in an Order of Protection, they are: (i) a “Refrain From” action(s); and (ii) ‘Stay Away”.

A Refrain From will state what actions or laws you should “refrain from”. Typically, a Refrain From order will state that you are to refrain from harassment, disorderly conduct, assault and a whole litany of other illegal acts.

A Stay Away Order will typically order you to stay away from the residence of the victim, the victim’s employment and other places the victim usually is.

Obviously, if a Stay Away Order is granted and you have to move from one residence to another, this could have profound consequences in your divorce. Not only will you need to find alternate housing in addition a court can take into account domestic violence (i.e. the Order of Protection) in its award of spousal maintenance and child custody.

Although, a Refrain From Order does not automatically result in relocation, it also has serious consequences. If you violate a Refrain From Order, then you could be immediately arrested and face imprisonment and fines. Similar to a Stay Away Order, the court can take into account the Refrain From Order in its award of spousal maintenance and child custody.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have helped many individuals who have been a victim of Domestic Violence or who have been falsely accused of Domestic Violence.

If you need a Long Island divorce attorney to help you navigate through a Domestic Violence case and your divorce, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. Call 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Why Adultery Can Still Matter In A Divorce

Since, 2010, New York has been a no-fault divorce state. This means, that for the vast majority of divorces, you do not have to allege any grounds (meaning reasons) why you want to get divorced.  Prior to this law, one of the most common grounds that was cited was adultery. Now, it is extremely rare for adultery to be stated as one of the grounds for your divorce. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule.

One of the main exceptions, is if there is a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial that states that if a spouse commits adultery, then the other spouse may get more assets or more maintenance. This would be a very good reason why you would need to cite adultery as one of the grounds.

Indeed, in a recent case, this is exactly what happened. The parties had a post-nuptial agreement, that stated if the husband engaged in adultery, that he would have to give to the wife 80% of all the marital assets. When filing for divorce, the wife made sure to state adultery as one of the causes of divorce.

There are two other main areas where adultery can still matter. First, if the adulterous spouse spent large amounts of money on the “other person”, then this may be deemed to be wasteful spending and the innocent spouse may be entitled to monetary compensation. For example, if the spouse took the “other person” on an expensive vacation, the amount of money spent on this vacation would most likely be considered wasteful spending.

Adultery can also matter when it comes to the amount of spousal maintenance that is awarded.  In considering the amount of maintenance, a court can take into account if a spouse had an affair. Although, this is technically available, most courts do not take into account adultery when setting the amount of spousal maintenance.

It is also important to know when adultery does not matter. In deciding child custody, whether or not, one spouse committed adultery, will have little to no effect on which parent gets custody or the amount of time that a parent gets with a child.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provide real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you suspect that your spouse has committed adultery, contact the Badanes Law Office to see what your rights are.

If you are contemplating getting a divorce on Long Island, and need an attorney to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. We have offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Top Seven Tips For Living Together While Going Through A Divorce

This can be extremely challenging for both parties. In New York, unless there is domestic violence, you most likely still have the right to live in the same residence while the divorce is ongoing.

Here are seven tips on how to live together while going through a divorce:

#1 – Do not violate the “Automatic Orders”:  In New York, in every divorce, there are the “Automatic Orders” that apply to certain activities. As with any Court Orders, if you violate the Automatic Orders, you could be facing Contempt of Court. So, what are the Automatic Orders, a review of them requires its own article/blog, however, in summary: (i) you can’t sell any property during the divorce; (ii) do not change any of your retirement accounts; (iii) do not incur unreasonable debt; (iv) do not remove your spouse or children from any existing medical insurance plans; and (v) do not change the beneficiary on any life insurance plans.

#2Avoid each other – as much as possible: Although, you will be living under the same roof, this doesn’t mean that you have to interact while you are in the same house. You should be sleeping in separate bedrooms. Establish a different morning routine, so you do not have to eat breakfast together or even see your spouse. Same for dinner, eat out or eat separately. In the evening, make sure you are in a different room than your spouse. Bottom line, avoid your spouse as much as possible.

#3Do not get angry and do not react: Although, you will try to avoid your spouse, invariably you will spend some time with your spouse or “bump” into them, while living under the same roof. It is also very likely that your spouse will either say or do something that is intended to get you angry. You must not get angry or respond. There are many techniques to avoid getting angry. One technique is to simply walk away; another is to count to ten. Whatever you need to do to avoid getting angry or to react, do it.

#4Keep track of your expenses and bills: It is extremely important to keep track of your expenses and bills. You will need to provide this documentation to your attorney.

#5Do not bring your new partner into the household: Virtually every Judge would frown upon you bringing a new partner into the household. See your new partner outside the house.

#6Keep a log (diary): While going through your divorce, it is a good idea to keep a log (diary). The log can just be a simple summary of what happened that day. The log may prove to be very useful in your divorce proceeding.

#7Record and Video: In New York State, you can record and videotape your interactions with your spouse, provided that you are part of the interaction. So, if you have a phone with a camera and video capability, then you may want to record and video all your interactions with your spouse.

Getting divorced is hard. Living with your spouse during your divorce can make your divorce even harder. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have the experience to provide you with the advice you need while going through a divorce.

If you need a Long Island divorce lawyer, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. Call 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Top Four Tips To Secure Your Phone And Computers During A Divorce

Your phone and computers have lots of private and important information. It is absolutely essential that if you are going through a divorce, that you secure your phone and your computer.

Here are the top four tips on how to secure your phone and computers during a divorce.

#1 – Change ALL your passwords:  In order to prevent your spouse from accessing your phone and computers, you must change all your passwords. Indeed, it is probably a good idea that BEFORE you start your divorce, that you change all your passwords. When changing your passwords, you want to make sure that you do not pick new passwords that your spouse could easily guess. It is highly recommended that you buy a password management system. There are many to choose from, for example: iPassword, Keeper, RoboForm, McAfee, LastPass. Make sure you also install a new passcode on your phone.

#2 – Encrypt your text messages: Your text messages are ripe for stealing. There are a few “Apps” that will encrypt your text message, such as WhatsApp and Signal.

#3 – Encrypt your computer’s hard drive: Even if you change your passwords, your computer’s hard drive may still be accessible. In order to prevent someone from taking your hard drive and copying what’s on it, you need to encrypt your hard drive.

#4 – Never leave your computer alone: Never leave your computer alone or where you spouse has access to it. If you must bring your computer home, then lock it in a home safe or lock it in your car (assuming the temperature of the car is not too hot or too cold).

If you are going through a divorce, you want to make sure that your computer and phone is secure. If you need advice about your divorce or you are seeking a divorce attorney on Long Island, then call or contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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I’ve Been Served With Divorce Papers – Now What?

Many divorces are started in January.  If you have just been served with divorce papers (in New York called either a “Summons With Notice” or a “Summons” and a “Complaint”), then this is what you need to know.

First, the “Summons With Notice” or a “Summons” combined with a “Complaint” is the formal and legal way of informing you that your spouse wants a divorce. Those documents will also state (or should state) what your spouse is seeking (e.g., child support, spousal maintenance).  However, these requests (which in legal terms are called a “demand”) will be very general in nature.  For example, if there are children involved, it will probably state something like this: “Awarding Plaintiff custody of the children”.

Second, the “Clock is ticking”, this means that in New York, you typically have twenty (20) days to formally respond to the Summons. What you should do is immediately search for a divorce attorney.  You do not want to wait until your time runs out. Once, you have determined which attorney you want to hire, your attorney will respond to the Summons.

Third, although your attorney will respond to the Summons, you will stay have some work to do.  Your attorney will guide you through the process, but you will need to obtain financial documents and provide your attorney with the facts and documents of your case.

Fourth, if you feel overwhelmed, seek out professional mental health.  Although, receiving the divorce papers may be a shock, most likely you knew that your marriage was failing.  However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, sad or depressed, it is important to speak to a mental health professional.

When served with divorce papers, the important thing to remember is not to panic.  Your divorce attorney will help you through the legal process.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. know that receiving divorce papers can be disconcerting.  David Badanes has the experience to help you through the process and to make sure that you are protected.  Contact David Badanes today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com to schedule a free consultation. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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4 Ways High Net Worth Divorces Are Different

Scott Fitzgerald famously stated that “the rich are different from you and me”, to which Ernest Hemingway responded “Yes, they have more money.” Clearly, they were both stating the obvious. It is also true that couples who are “rich” (have a high net worth or a high income) usually have different concerns when they are going through a divorce.

Here, are a couple of ways that the high net worth divorces are different:

  1. Complex Compensation Packages: Many high-net-worth individuals have complex compensation contracts. For example, in addition to their base salary, they may earn various stocks or percentages of a company.  In these situations, it is important to identify all the income streams that are available to each of the spouses.
  2. Complex Tax Considerations: High wage earners and high net worth spouses typically have complicated tax considerations. The selling of assets may trigger capital gains.  For high net worth individuals, it is extremely important that the divorce attorney work with an accountant to make sure that potential tax obligations are considered in any divorce settlement.
  3. Child Support and Spousal Maintenance: Typically, in a high net worth divorce, one spouse will be the high wage earner. The standard child support and spousal maintenance (alimony) formulas may not result in a fair and equitable solution for high net worth divorces.  The divorce attorney must be able to demonstrate that in a high net worth divorce, that the standard formulas do not adequately compensate the spouse who earns less money.
  4. Financial Advisors: In a high net worth divorce both spouses should obtain their own independent financial advisor.  The spouse who is not the high wage earner may need a financial advisor to assist him/her in managing the amount of money or assets that they will be receiving in the divorce.  The high wage earning spouse will want their financial advisor to assist him/her in handling the reduction in their financial portfolio.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have the experience you need in handling your high net worth divorce.  To discuss your situation, contact them at: (phone) 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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