Divorcing A Teacher

If your spouse is a teacher, then there are a few things you should know.  Virtually every teacher who is employed by a public school district has a pension.

The teacher’s pension is a defined benefit plan, which means that a specific monetary benefit is provided at their retirement.  The teacher’s spouse is entitled to the portion of that benefit that was earned during the marriage.  To determine the amount of that benefit, will typically involve obtaining an analysis and valuation of the benefit.  Furthermore, in order for the spouse to obtain their portion of the pension, a special Court Order (called a “Qualified Domestic Retirement Order” or “QDRO”) must be drafted and signed by the Court.

Teachers usually have a very good medical insurance plan.  After the divorce, that plan can continue to cover the children, yet the spouse will need to find a new medical insurance provider.  As the spouse you may want to start researching new medical insurance plans.

In evaluating child custody, teachers have the benefit of working the same or similar hours that their children go to school.  This means that they can be home when the children are home.  In those cases, a more flexible custody schedule may be easier to implement.  Regardless, as with all cases, the Court will determine custody with the “best interests of the child” standard.

If you are married to a teacher, and considering divorcing a teacher, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has represented numerous clients where the spouse is a teacher.

Call 631-239-1702 to schedule a free consultation with Long Island divorce attorney David Badanes. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Seven Ways to Catch Your Spouse Lying About Their Income or Assets

If your spouse is lying about their income or assets, there are several ways to handle such a situation.

It is important to note that if your spouse obtains a W-2 or is “on the books”, it is almost impossible for them to lie about their income.  However, if their employer does not claim all of the income that your spouse earns on their W-2, then it would be easier for them to lie about their total income.

In contrast, if your spouse is self-employed, owns their own business, is involved in the so-called “gig” economy, receives tips and/or just receives a 1099, then the ability to lie about their income is much greater.

Here are Seven Things you can do, to find out if your spouse is lying on their income or their assets:

  1. Analyze and Review Their Statement of Net Worth. In a contested divorce, each spouse usually has to complete a Statement of Net Worth. This document is similar to a Budget, and the Spouse will list their Income, Assets and Expenses.  You and your attorney can analyze the Statement of Net Worth to see if it makes sense or if it contains incorrect information.  In some situations, you can determine your spouse’s income by looking at their expenses.  Typically, you need at least as much income to pay your expenses.
  2. Analyze and Review Their Bank Account Statements. By reviewing your spouse’s bank account statements, you can determine if they have periodic or regular deposits, which may represent income.  You may also be able to determine their expenses.
  3. Consider their Business Expenses. If your spouse owns a business, the business will have expenses that can be analyzed.  Most businesses pay rent, electric and heating bills.  Other businesses may have expenses unique to what they offer, for example: a restaurant must pay for their food supplies, a hotel/motel must pay for laundry.  From these business expenses, a trained expert can extrapolate what the business is actually earning.
  4. Use an Experienced Forensic Accounting Firm. There are many firms who specialize in determining what a business earns and what it pays their employees, including your spouse.
  5. Depositions. In most contested divorces, you and your attorney can conduct a deposition of your spouse.  A deposition is where you or your attorney poses questions to your spouse.  Your spouse must answer the questions, under oath.  The deposition is recorded and can be used at trial.  If your spouse answers a question one way at a deposition, and then a different way at trial, then one of the answers must be false.
  6. Finding Hidden Assets. Most assets are hard to hide.  In addition, while you were married, you probably knew about most of your spouse’s assets.  However, sometimes there are assets that you may not know about and that your spouse is trying to hide from you.  The first place to look is at your spouse’s last few years of income tax returns.  There are also firms that will conduct asset searches.
  7. Lying about the Value of an Asset. Instead of trying to hide an asset, your spouse may lie about the value of the asset.  This is typically easier to “catch” your spouse in a lie.  Virtually every asset can be assessed for its value, there is an expert in almost every field that can determine what that the value of an asset is or should be.

Unfortunately, lying can be common in a divorce.  However, there are many strategies that you and your divorce attorney can use to catch your spouse in their lies.

If you are seeking a divorce and you suspect that your spouse will lie about their income or assets, then call or contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has represented and helped numerous clients who are seeking a divorce where one spouse tried to lie about their income or about their assets.  David Badanes know what strategies to use to determine if your spouse is lying.

To contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, call 631-239-1702, email: david@dbnylaw.com or visit their web site at www.dbnlaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Paying for Tutors, Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities

If you have children and are getting divorced, you probably know that the custodial parent is entitled to child support.  However, child support only covers the basics of (i) food; (ii) shelter; and (iii) clothing.  Basic child support does not pay for education expenses, such as tutors.  It also does not pay for a child’s sports, dance, martial arts, music or any other extracurricular activities.

As most parents know, tutors, sports and extracurricular activities can be add up to be a significant expense.  In New York, there is no explicit obligation that the non-custodial parent pay for these expenses.  The default rule is that the parent receiving child support would be expected to pay for tutor, sports and extracurricular activities.  If you want to make sure that you receive payment for these expenses, it is important that your divorce agreement explicitly states who will pay for these expenses and how much they will pay.

If you are the non-custodial parent, you want to make sure that if you are to pay for these expenses, that the agreement is clear on what you have to pay for and how much.

There are many different ways to structure the payment for a child’s activities.  For example: (i) each parent can pay 50% of these expenses; or (ii) each parent pays their pro-rata share (meaning their percentage of the overall income).  Furthermore, you should also have a maximum amount that you will pay for a particular activity.  Here, your divorce agreement could state, as an example that: (i) you will pay 50% of all activities up to a yearly maximum of “X” dollars; or (ii) you will pay 50% for all tutors up to a yearly maximum of “X” dollars, but will not pay for any other extracurricular activities.

Your divorce agreement should also be clear that you will only pay for activities until the child graduates high school.  Otherwise, you might have to pay for these activities while the child is in college.

It is important to know, that if your divorce agreement does not explicitly state who will pay for educational expenses (tutors), sports or extracurricular activities, then the custodial parent will most likely have to pay 100% of those expenses.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have drafted divorce agreements with provisions for tutors, sports and extracurricular activities.  David Badanes makes sure that the divorce agreement is clear, so that both parties understand their obligations.

If you need an attorney to represent you in your divorce, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email me at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.

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How Do Judges Decide Divorce Cases?

In New York State, a Judge, not a jury, will hear your divorce case and that person is the sole person who decides what happens in your divorce case.  As with every case, a Judge will listen to the evidence and testimony of the parties.  However, unlike most cases, it doesn’t matter who the Plaintiff is and who the Defendant is.  Also, unlike most cases, neither party is “guilty” or “innocent” or “at fault”.  Instead, in a divorce, both parents come to the Court on equal footing and each parent must demonstrate that they should prevail in the different areas that will be determined.

Most importantly, only about 1% to 5% of divorce cases actually go to trial.  Therefore, although, a Judge will preside over your divorce, it is only in the rare instance of a trial, that a Judge actually “decides” your entire divorce case.  However, an exception to this is that throughout the litigation of your divorce (which will be many months and may be 1 to 3 years), a Judge may make several rulings that will affect the final outcome or final trial decision of your divorce.

From the start of the divorce case until a trial, there will be many court conferences.  Although, every Judge handles their court conferences differently, in general terms, at a court conference, the Judge determines the basic facts of the case.  Depending on the Judge, in some court conferences, the Judge will indicate their general opinions about your divorce.  These informal opinions are not formal orders or rulings; however, they do indicate which way the Judge is leaning towards.

Furthermore, before a trial, there may be temporary orders or decisions that apply while the divorce case is pending.  Some examples of these temporary orders are: (i) temporary order of child support; (ii) temporary orders of attorney fees; and (iii) temporary orders of spousal maintenance.

If there is a trial, the Judge will hear the testimony, evidence, rule on any objections and sometimes ask the witness some of their own questions.  The Judge will apply the evidence that is heard to the facts of the case.  Once the trial is concluded, unlike what you see at the movies or on television, it is extremely rare for a Judge to issue a decision “from the bench”.  Instead, the Judge will issue a written decision which is usually mailed (or emailed) to the attorneys.  Typically, a Judge’s written decision will come in 2 – 4 weeks after the conclusion of the trial.

A Judge will be one of the most important parts of your divorce matter. Each Judge handles their divorce cases differently.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. has extensive experience with all the Suffolk County and Nassau County Judges.  Mr. Badanes is well respected and knows that the Judges want a divorce attorney who is honest and does not waste their time.   If you are contemplating a divorce or just served divorced papers, then you should call David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes can be contacted at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Divorce Considerations For High Net Worth Individuals

If you are a high-net-worth individual there are certain considerations that you should know when getting divorced.  Some of those considerations are as follow:

Child Support:

For many high-net-worth individuals, their income may consist of a base income plus yearly bonuses.  In other situations, the individual may be self-employed and their income is paid through profit distributions from the company or corporation.  Yet, other individuals may earn some of their income via commissions.  The bottom line is that however you earn your income, for child support purposes it is all considered income.

Some high-net-worth individuals will receive company perquisites, such as: (i) a car or a car allowance; (ii) meals or food allowance; or (iii) expense allowances.  The Court can include the value of these perquisites as “income” and they can be considered income when computing child support obligations.  It does not matter if such allowances are taxable or non-taxable when calculating your taxable income.

Another income consideration for high-net-worth individuals is interest income and passive income.  Interest income usually comes from investment accounts, stocks and bonds.  Passive income is usually from rental income.  Regardless, of how the income is classified, all the income you receive will be considered as income, except, a court will consider legitimate expenses as a deduction from rental income.

As you can determine, for child support purposes, the Court will consider virtually all income sources as “income.”  The New York child support calculations do have a “cap” whereby, the first child support calculation will be up to the cap number (as of 2021, the cap is $154,000.00, this increases every two years, and it is scheduled to increase in 2022).

Once the Court calculates the basic child support calculation it can then calculate child support above the cap number based on many factors.  In New York City and the surrounding suburbs, most courts will calculate child support up to a combined income of at least $250,000.00.  However, for very high net worth individuals, some Judges will consider a combined income of $400,000.  Although, there is no database of the highest combined income that was used, there are reported cases where the Court calculated child support using a combined income of $800,000.00.

If you are the high net worth individual, then it is important to explain why a lower cap is sufficient for child support purposes.  Of course, if you are the spouse who is going to obtain child support, then you want to demonstrate that a higher cap is warranted.  In either of these situations, it is important to demonstrate the actual costs and lifestyle that the child and the parties had prior to the divorce.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony):

Similar to child support, in determining the amount of spousal maintenance (alimony), the Court must first determine your income.  The same rules for determining your income for child support apply in determining income for maintenance.

However, the combined income cap for spousal maintenance is currently $192,000.00.  Also, in general terms, a Court doesn’t exceed the spousal maintenance cap as easily or in as great of amount as it does for child support.

In addition, to the amount of spousal maintenance, there is the issue of how long maintenance will last.  Here, the court generally adheres to a range of years, depending on how long you were married.

Assets:

In many high-net-worth cases, in addition to a primary residence, there will be one or more vacation homes.  In addition, high net worth individuals often have art collections and other collections that are very valuable.  Other typical assets include: (i) cars; (ii) boats; (iii) bank accounts; (iv) stock or brokerage accounts; (v) businesses; (vi) IRAs, 401Ks and other pensions; (vii) life insurance policies; and (viii) patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Each of these assets may need to be valued and either sold to a third-party or distributed to each of the spouses as part of the divorce.  Regardless, it is important to know what each asset’s gross value is, and if there is a lien or expense associated with the asset, what its net value is.  An expert may need to be obtained to do the valuation.  In many instances, the Court will appoint the expert to perform the valuation, however, the Court will consider your suggestion on which expert to appoint.  Accordingly, it is important that the high-net-worth individual knows which experts are respected in a particular field.

If the asset was purchased during the marriage, it is most likely a “marital asset” and each spouse owns 50% of the asset.  In contrast, if the asset was obtained prior to the marriage, then it may be considered that spouse’s separate property.  However, the burden is on the spouse to demonstrate, with documentation or other evidence, that the property is their separate property.

Sudden Debt or Spending Binge

Most individuals know that they are going to get divorced months before actually filing for divorce.  Likewise, although you might not be the individual who will file for the divorce, you probably have a good belief that your spouse might file for divorce in the near future.

In high-net-worth cases, it is common that prior to the actual filing for a divorce, one person will go on a spending binge or accumulate lots of debt.  This is because all debts, while married are considered marital debt.  By accumulate lots of debt, essentially you are making the other spouse responsible for 50% of “your” debt.

However, it is possible to demonstrate that the debt, although incurred before the filing of the divorce, should be considered the person who accumulated such debt as their sole debt and not marital debt.

Attorney Fees:

If you are the high net worth individual, then it is very likely you will have to pay a significant amount of your spouse’s attorney’s fees in the divorce litigation.  Here, there is no formula or guideline to assist the Court in determining the amount of attorney fees to award.  Instead, the Court determines the amount to award based on these factors, as well as other ones: (i) complexity of the case; (ii) if the party has acted improperly; and (iii) each party’s retainer and how much has been already expended on attorney’s fees.

It is common to see attorney fee awards of $5,000.00 to $50,000.00, depending on each case’s factors.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented several high-net-worth individuals or spouses married to high-net-worth individuals.  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: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.

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Why The Date You File For A Divorce Is Important

The date that you or your attorney file for a divorce in New York is important as it establishes certain legal dates.  The date you file is typically referred to as the “Date of Commencement.”  To file for a divorce, either a: (i) Summons with Notice is filed; or (ii) a Summons with a Complaint is filed.

Except for the names of the parties and their addresses, a Summons with Notice does not contain any facts of your divorce and can usually be filed very quickly.  A Complaint will contain more specific facts about your divorce and usually takes more time to complete.  The Summons with Notice, the Summons with a Complaint can all be filed electronically via e-filing.

Of course, the Summons with Notice or the Summons with a Complaint must be served.  Yet, it is the date that the documents are filed that establishes the “Date of Commencement”, not the date that these documents are actually served.

The Date of Commencement is important because:

  1. Provides the “official” end date for marital assets: In general terms, all assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital assets.  However, any assets that are bought or obtained after the Date of Commencement are no longer presumed to be marital assets.
  2. Provides the “cut-off” date for retirement assets: Once you file for a divorce, any additional funds placed in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement-like account is no longer considered marital property.  Similarly, if you have a pension, then the filing date also serves as the ending date for your spouse to be entitled to 50% of your pension.
  3. Provides the date for possible retroactive child support payments or spousal maintenance payments: If you or your spouse request child support payments or spousal maintenance payments, then you can also request that such payments are retroactive to the date that you filed for a divorce.
  4. Provides the “official” end date for marital debts: Similar to marital assets, the date you file also establishes the end date for the accumulation of marital debts.  Therefore, if your spouse incurs any new debts after the Date of Commencement, then that debt will most likely be her full responsibility.  Yet, if she incurred that new date even one day before the Date of Commencement, then most likely that new debt will be considered marital debt.

When you are thinking about getting divorced on Long Island, you might not realize how important the date you file is.  Long Island divorce attorney David Badanes, Esq. knows the laws and know how he can protect your rights. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. are well-respected and have the experience and knowledge to help you.  Read their Google Reviews.

Call 631-239-1702 or email david@dbnylaw.com to schedule a consultation.  We have offices in Northport and Uniondale, representing clients in Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County) and in New York City.

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Divorcing A High Conflict Person

You are married to a person who engages in tactics that are considered “high conflict” or has a “high conflict” personality.  What is a “high conflict” personality? It is where the person engages in behavior that increases conflict or keeps conflicts or disputes going, instead of trying to resolve them.

If you are getting divorced to a high conflict person, here are a few ideas:

#1: Don’t sweat the small stuff:  If your high conflict spouse is arguing about the high-end barbeque grill or some other piece of personal property, then most likely the fight over this piece of property is not worth it.  Most personal property has limited value, mainly because it is “used.”  Instead of wasting time and legal fees over a piece of personal property, focus on the more important issues.  This doesn’t mean that you simply forget about the personal property.  Instead, make a list of what personal property is important to you and give it to your divorce attorney.  This way, your attorney can determine if there is even a conflict between what personal property you want versus what your spouse wants.

#2: Inform your attorney, that your spouse has a high conflict personality:  You know your spouse much better than your attorney.  Your attorney needs to know that your spouse has a high conflict personality, so that they can properly prepare.  In addition, you and your attorney can come up with a plan on what is important and what to expect.

#3: Walk away, don’t engage:  With a high-conflict spouse, the best thing you can do is to ignore their comments and their attempts to get you involved in an argument.  If you and your spouse are still living in the same household, then the best thing you can do is to stay as far away from your spouse as possible.  If your spouse starts to engage with you, then you need to just “walk away”.  If you and your spouse do not live together, but you are getting constant text messages or emails, then the best thing to do is to ignore them or just send one response at the end of the day.

#4: Talk to a therapist.  You may want to talk to a therapist who can help you in specific situations that your high-conflict spouse engages in.

#5: Join a support group:  If you can find a support group of other people divorcing, then that might be another way to get support in the divorce process.

If you have a high-conflict spouse and you are considering getting a divorce or are already involved in a divorce on Long Island, then David Badanes can help you. The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has helped hundreds of clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City in their divorce.

If you are seeking a divorce, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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How Overtime And Bonuses Are Handled In A Divorce

In many divorces, one of the spouses earns either overtime pay or receives a bonus.  This article will explain how the Court handles overtime pay and bonuses in a divorce.

All the income you earn, whether it is by working overtime or via a bonus counts towards your gross income.  Your overtime and/or bonus pay will show up on your W-2 statement.  When calculating child support or spousal maintenance, the first thing a Court will look at is your last year’s W-2 statement.  If that included your overtime or bonus pay, then that is likely to be used, by the Court, in their calculations.

In some situations, the amount of overtime you earn in the current year may be well less than what you earned last year.  Similarly, you might not have received the same amount of bonus money or even any bonus this year.  In these situations, you must demonstrate to the Court, that your income has decreased and why it has decreased.  However, the Court does not have to accept your explanation and can still count last year’s overtime and bonus money as income.

Although, the Court may consider last year’s overtime as your income, it cannot make you accept any new overtime pay or overtime opportunities that may be currently available to you.  In other words, as long as you are earning your base pay, the Court can’t force you to work overtime, just so you can show a certain level of income.

If you are getting divorced and you have overtime pay or earned a bonus, you need an experienced Long Island divorce attorney to guide you through the process.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. know how the laws apply to overtime pay and to bonus pay.  Our office represents clients in Suffolk and Nassau County, as well as in New York City.

Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website at www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Divorce Considerations When Divorcing A Police Officer

If your spouse is a police officer, then there are a few things you should know.  Police officers are treated the same as everyone else.  Although, some people claim that police officers receive special treatment by the Judges, others will state that police officers are discriminated against.  The truth is neither.  Although, of course, Judges appreciate what police officers do, they do not receive any special treatment, nor are they discriminated against.  Each case is evaluated on its own facts.

In evaluating child custody, the same standard applies for police officers as it does for everyone else – the “best interests of the child”.  Many policy officers work many hours, some have overnight hours and some others have rotating shifts.  Each of those situations require an analysis of whether or not the custody schedule has to be adjusted to account for the police officer’s hours or rotating shifts.

The police officer’s pension is a defined benefit plan, which means that a specific monetary benefit is provided at retirement.  You are entitled to the portion of that benefit that was earned during the marriage.  To determine the amount of your benefit, will typically involve obtaining an analysis and valuation of the benefit.  Furthermore, for you to obtain your portion, a special Court Order (called a “Qualified Domestic Retirement Order” or “QDRO”) must be drafted and signed by the Court.

Although, you are to your marital share of the police officer’s pension benefits, if the case is settled, then you can decide to trade off the value of the pension benefit for some other benefit.  As an example, if the value of the pension benefit is $150,000.00, you could trade this by receiving $150,000.00 in some other form and then waiving the pension benefits.

If you are married to a police officer, and considering divorcing a police officer, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has represented numerous clients where the spouse is a police officer.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s can be contacted at: 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Divorcing A Cheating Spouse

Your spouse cheated on you, maybe more than once.  If you are divorcing your spouse because he/she cheated on you, here is what you should know.

New York is a “no fault” divorce State, this means that you do not have to show fault or prove grounds to get a divorce.  Although, you might want to base your divorce on “adultery”, proving adultery is very difficult and very expensive.  Virtually every divorce in New York is now based on “no fault” and the Court does not want to have a trial on adultery.

Although, adultery may not be the technical grounds for your divorce, there are some reasons why it might be important to show that your spouse had an affair.  If your spouse was spending significant marital funds on his or her paramour, then that is considered “wasting marital assets.” For example, if your spouse went on a vacation with his or her lover, that is considered “wasting marital assets”.  Typically, the Court is looking at significant amounts of money being spent on the paramour.  If your spouse was wasting marital assets, then they may have to compensate you for the money that was spent.

Another situation where a spouse’s affair will have an effect is when there is a pre-nuptial agreement which explicitly states that if either party had an affair that there would be certain financial consequences, then that clause would be available to you.  In these situations, you will have to prove that there was an affair.

Many times if a spouse was cheating, you might not want the “other person” to have anything to do with your children.  However, in order to prevent this “other person” from spending time with your children, you have to show the Court that they are a danger to your children.  The simple fact that you don’t like this person is insufficient.

Similarly, you might want to obtain an order of protection (restraining order) against your spouse’s lover.  You have to prove that this person is a danger to you or has already committed an act of violence against you in order to obtain an order of protection.

If you are seeking a divorce because your spouse cheated, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has represented and helped numerous clients who are seeking a divorce because their spouse had an affair.  To contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, call: 631-239-1702, email: david@dbnylaw.com or visit their web site at www.dbnlaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale).

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