In a Divorce, Should You File Your Taxes Jointly?

If you are in the middle of a divorce and it is not finalized by December 31st, then you can still file a joint tax return. You are still considered “married” by the IRS if your Judgment of Divorce is not signed by December 31st. So, in some situations, all your divorce papers could be filed, prior to December 31st, but, if the Court (Judge) has not signed them, by the end of the year, you are still legally married.

In most situations, by filing a joint tax return, you will pay less in taxes than if you filed a separate tax return. Yet, there are some reasons why you might want to file a separate tax return, even if you are still legally married. As one example, if you believe your spouse is committing tax fraud, then it probably would be wise to file a separate tax return.

You always have the option to file a separate tax return during the period that you are still married. However, as stated above, you most likely will have to pay more in taxes compared to if you filed a joint tax return. This is because some tax deductions, credits, and other benefits are not available or are limited when you file separately.

So, in general terms, most likely you should file a joint tax return until your divorce is finalized. However, you should always consult with an accountant or tax attorney, before deciding whether or not to file a joint tax return or a separate tax return.

As with all areas of divorce, David Badanes explains the different tax consequences that occur in a divorce. If you are thinking of getting divorced, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or contact us online.

Working Dads and Divorce

If you are a working dad and facing a divorce, here is what you need to know to protect your rights.

  1. Keep working. If you quit your job, the court will not reduce your child support obligation. Furthermore, you will need the income.
  2. Open a new bank account. You will need access to your own funds. Although you will most likely need to keep paying the monthly expenses, you are permitted to open up your own new bank account.
  3. Reduce your expenses. Where possible, reduce your expenses and save what you can. You may soon be facing child support and maintenance payments that will strain your budget.
  4. During the divorce process — don’t move out of the house.
  5. Once the divorce is over, if you must relocate from the marital home, then you should find a place to live as close as possible to where your children will be living.
  6. Stay involved with your children.
  7. Make the most of your time with your children. This does not mean that you have to be a “Disneyland Dad”. Find activities that you both you and your children enjoy.
  8. Make a budget.

If you are a working dad, then divorce may be very difficult. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented numerous working dads and helped them in their divorce.

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Stay at Home Moms and Divorce

If you are a Stay At Home Mom and thinking of getting a divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, you need to know what your rights are.

You need to know that the courts will recognize your contribution as the caregiver for the children.

As a stay at home mom, while the divorce is in process you may be eligible for temporary child support and temporary spousal support.

Most likely your spouse will be required to pay some or most of your attorney fees.
Here are some other things you should know or do:

  • Keep a log (diary) of your daily and weekly caregiving duties with the children.
  • Determine what the monthly expenses are, including, the mortgage, utilities, car expenses
  • Determine how much support and money you will need after the divorce.
  • Open up your own bank account
  • Get a copy of the important financial documents

If you are a stay at home mom, you face specific challenges. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented countless stay at moms and helped them in their divorce.

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Long Island Divorce: Should I Fight To Keep The House?

You may have an emotional connection with your home, however, deciding whether or not to keep it, requires a financial analysis of the pros and cons of keeping the home versus selling it.

The first thing to consider when deciding to fight for the house is whether or not you can handle the financial obligation by yourself. Keep in mind that keeping a house is more than just paying the mortgage. You will also have to pay the real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs and utilities associated with the house. In addition, most likely you will have to buy-out your spouse’s share of the house. This may require you to obtain a new mortgage.

Another factor in determining whether you should stay in the house: How long do you plan on staying in the home? Do you only need to stay a few years, for example, until the children graduate from high school? Or, do you plan on staying for a longer period of time? In either scenario, you need to make sure that you have enough funds to sustain the financial obligations of living in the home.

Although, typically you will need to buy-out your spouse’s share of the house, there are situations, where you can trade-off the value of the home for another asset. In many divorces, you can trade your share of retirement assets in exchange for the share of the value of the home. As an example, if the home is worth $500,000, and there is no mortgage, you would normally have to pay $250,000 to your spouse for his/her share of the home. However, if your spouse has a retirement asset (or other assets), that equal or exceed $500,000 in value, then you could waive your share of the retirement asset, provided your spouse waives his/her share of the house.

Yet, even when you can trade a retirement asset for exchange for a house’s value, you need to consider if this trade-off is worth it. By foregoing a retirement asset, you may not have enough money in retirement.

If you have questions regarding your home, property rights and your divorce, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has personally represented hundreds of clients in their divorce. Contact the Badanes Law Office’s at 631-239-1702, or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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New York Divorce Cost Saving Tips

If you are considering starting a divorce, or your spouse served you with divorce papers, you need to hire an attorney to represent you.  However, there are a few tips on how you can save money in the divorce process, they are:

  1. Make a List of Questions Before Seeing An Attorney. Before seeing a divorce attorney, make a list of questions. This will help you to focus on what questions you have.
  2. Identify Your Three to Five Most Important Issues. There are a lot of issues in a divorce, however, most likely, your most important issues are limited to three or five. By focusing on the most important issues, you can save time and money.
  3. Get Your Financial Records. Your attorney will need your financial records. Before seeing an attorney, it is a good idea to start getting those records now. At a minimum, you should get: tax records, bank records, retirement records, mortgage information and debt information (credit cards etc.).
  4. Save and Print Your Text Messages. In many divorces, text messages can provide excellent evidence. Make sure you save and print those text messages as soon as possible.
  5. Get Your Own E-Mail Address. By having your own secure e-mail address, you will be able to efficiently communicate with your attorney. There are several companies that provide free e-mail accounts (e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.)

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. has represented hundreds of clients and have helped them with common-sense tips on how to save money. If you are considering a divorce, need to hire an attorney, or are thinking of switching attorney, then you need to hire an attorney that will personally handle your divorce, that you can trust, knows the law, and represent you zealously.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you and will answer all your questions about the divorce process.  Contact us today at 631-239-1702 or email David at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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What Cats Can Teach You About Divorce

Yes, you read that right, cats can teach you something about divorce. As someone who has watched several cat videos, their behavior offers lessons for us humans on the divorce process. So, what can cats teach us:

  1. Cats don’t listen to other cats. Cats are not pack animals, they don’t blindly listen or follow what other cats do. When going through a divorce, your family and friends may give you lots of advice on how to handle your divorce. They may mean well, but, all too often their advice is not helpful. It is better to listen to your attorney’s advice.
  2. Cats can take care of themselves. Most cats are pretty independent and are good at taking care of themselves. In your divorce, you may need to learn how to take care of yourself.
  3. Cats are tough. If you have watched those cat videos, you are probably amazed at what cats can endure, and come out as if nothing happened to them. You will need to apply this advice in your divorce. A divorce can be very stressful and you may be faced with some difficult issues. Like a cat, you need to be tough and find a way to be successful, no matter what a divorce throws at you.
  4. Cats don’t need expensive jewelry or anything expensive. You buy a cat a cute little cat toy, and most likely it will play with the box it came in. Cats make do with what they have. So, in your divorce, you may be focused on what “things” you used to have, but, it may be better to focus on what is really important than on “things”.
  5. Cats will not tolerate bad behavior. Cat owners know that cats will not put up with crazy or annoying behavior. The same goes for your divorce. You may not be able to change your ex’s behavior, but, there is no need for you to tolerate it. If your ex’s actions are negatively affecting the children, you must take action.

You don’t have to love cats to know that they can teach you something about divorce. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office recognize that a divorce is a stressful time, but, like a cat, will help you navigate the process. If you need a divorce attorney with cat-like reflexes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. Contact 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 Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County.

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You Have Been Served!!! What To Do Now?

If you have been served with divorce papers, here is what you need to do:

1. Don’t panic. Most likely, you know that your marriage has been failing. Although, you might be in shock that your spouse actually filed for divorce, there is no reason to panic. If you are going to handle your divorce, then you must stay level-headed.

2. Technically, you only have 20 days to respond to the divorce papers. However, if for some reason, you need more time, you most likely can get an extension of that time. Although, it is not a good idea to be “late”, you may be able to explain, to the Court, why your response is late. If you do not respond at all, then you will be facing serious consequences. The bottom line, hire an attorney as soon as possible, but, don’t rush into it.

3. Find an attorney that specializes in divorces and that you are comfortable with. You will need an attorney to represent you. However, do not rush into hiring any attorney, you should hire a divorce attorney that you are comfortable with. You should also retain an attorney who specializes in divorce cases.

4. You will need to obtain financial documents, for example: tax returns, bank statements, retirement statements, mortgage statements etc.

If you have been served with divorce papers, you need to hire an attorney that will personally handle your divorce, a lawyer that you can trust, knows the law, and represent you zealously.
David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you and will answer all your questions about the divorce process. Contact David Badanes, Esq. at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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What a Billionaire’s Divorce Can Teach You

You may not be a billionaire, but the laws apply equally to billionaires as it does for everyone else. Harry Macklowe and Linda Macklowe are billionaires, they are the owners or an impressive art collection that according to Mr. Macklowe’s expert, is worth $788 million dollars, but, according to Ms. Macklowe’s expert is worth $625 million dollars. This illustrates that when it comes to personal property (which is what an art collection is considered), that valuation can be difficult and can vary widely. The same principle applies to any personal property that you and your spouse may own and that you may be arguing over. You may say that your car is worth $20,000, while your spouse says it is worth $10,000. So, what will happen? Well, similar to the Macklowe’s divorce, there are a few choices that the Court can choose from.

The court could decide to:

  1. Sell the asset (here, the car, in the Macklowe divorce, some of the art collection).
  2. Retain a receiver to determine what to do with the asset. A receiver is a third party that is appointed by the Court. A receiver will get a fee for performing its services, and in some cases, their fee is based on the amount of money they can obtain from selling the asset. Typically, receivers are used to manage and sell real estate property, but, as with the Macklowe divorce, a receiver can also be used to sell personal property. In the Macklowe divorce, the receiver decided to sell some of the art and give some of it to each party.
  3. Give the asset to one party, and compensate the other party with cash. In my car example, the Court could decide to let you keep the car, but, then you would have to give 50% of your valuation to your spouse, so, you would have to give $10,000 to your spouse. This is why, you don’t want to overvalue your asset, if you do, you may end up giving more money to your spouse then what the property is really worth. However, you also don’t want to undervalue your asset, because the Court could also give the car to your spouse (who said it was worth only $10,000), in that case, your spouse would only have to give you $5,000 and that may be a lot less than what the car is really worth.
  4. Allow the parties some time to reach a settlement on how to distribute personal property. Typically, this is the best method for dividing up personal property. It allows you and your spouse control over the process, and typically, will result in none of the property being sold and with each party getting a fair share of the property.

So, although you may not own an art collection worth millions of dollars, it is likely that you do own personal property, which includes, as some examples: cars, furniture, tools, equipment, jewelry, and sports collections. In many instances, determining the value of the personal property can be difficult. Just as in the Macklowe divorce, the Court has a few choices on how to distribute that personal property. In most cases, the best course of action is to reach an agreement with your spouse on how to distribute the personal property.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can help you with your divorce, including issues of dealing with personal property. David Badanes has helped numerous clients in their divorce cases. The Badanes Law Office handles all types of divorce cases, from the extremely complicated to simple uncontested divorces, and everything in-between.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, or are thinking of hiring a new attorney for your divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. Contact 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 Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County.

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Six Things A Woman Should Do in Preparation For A Divorce

If you are a woman who is thinking of getting a divorce, believes their spouse will be filing for a divorce soon, or have just been served divorce papers, here are six steps you should take:

  1. Open up your own bank account: You will need to have funds that only you have access to. You should open up your own bank account (both checking and savings). It is also a good idea, to open up the new bank account at a different bank than the one you have with your spouse.
  2. Start Saving Money: Start putting money into the new bank account. If you are employed, then you may want to put your paycheck (or some of your paycheck) into the new bank account.
  3. Get Your Financial Documents: You will need to obtain a lot of different financial documents. For example, bank statements, retirement statements, mutual fund statements, and many more. Now is the time to start obtaining those records. You don’t have to get hard copies, as typically, your attorney will accept electronic copies.
  4. Get a New Accountant or Talk to the One You Have. In many divorces, you may want to obtain a new accountant. The time to start looking for one is now. Your new accountant can help you with your tax returns and maybe give you good financial advice. If you want to keep your existing accountant, you may want to talk to him/her and see what financial advice they can give you.
  5. Credit Cards: Make a list of your credit cards.
  6. Budget: Make a budget. Your financial status will be changing. You will need to know what your current expenses are, and what you believe your projected expenses will be.

If you are going thinking of getting a divorce, or have been served with divorce papers and need an attorney, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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What To Do If Your Soon-To-Be-Ex or Ex-Spouse Slanders You On Social Media?

Divorce can be an emotionally charged time, but venting about it on social media can get you in trouble and potentially lead you into court. During the divorce process and even after the divorce is over, your ex-spouse may post negative comments about you.

The number one rule in these situations: Do not retaliate against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse or your ex-spouse with your own post or try to rebut any of their posts.

If your ex-spouse posts something negative about you, what you should do is take a screenshot of the post, save it and send it to your attorney. Your attorney can then guide you on what the best course of action will be. That may consist of filing a lawsuit, writing to your ex-spouse’s attorney or some other action.

It is important to note, that not everything your ex-spouse posts or writes about you may be improper or illegal. For example, your ex-spouse may be able to post factually correct details about your divorce. Although this might be upsetting, it is probably not improper.

However, if your ex-spouse is clearly posting false information about you, then you may be able to take legal action against your ex-spouse. It is important that the statement must be entirely false and caused you some type of harm.

If you are in the middle of your divorce, any negative posts or statements should be given to your attorney, who then may show those posts to the Court (and to your spouse’s attorney). Although the post may not qualify as slander or defamation, it still may be useful to you in your divorce. Virtually every Court and every Judge will not want to see negative posts being stated about you, especially if there are children involved. Furthermore, if you are worried that your spouse will continue to post negative information about you, even after the divorce is final, you can ask your attorney to add protections into your settlement agreement.

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