What To Do When Divorcing in the New Year

The start of a New Year is typically when many couples will file for divorce. If you are going to start the process of a divorce or if you have just received divorce papers, here are a few “To-Dos” to make sure you are properly prepared.

  1. Create a Budget: Although a divorce may be better for your mental health and also make you happier, in almost every divorce, it costs more to live separately than to live together. To help you prepare, you should create a budget. There are many budget worksheets that you can obtain for free. Having a budget will help you realize how much you will need and perhaps what expenses you can either reduce or eliminate.
  2. Gather and Organize Important Documents: Start getting all your important financial documents, including your bank statements, tax returns, W2 statements, retirement statements and credit card statements. Your attorney will need these statements. Most attorneys will accept electronic (pdf) copies, so you probably do not have to print out your statements.
  3. Get Your Credit Report: A Credit Report will help you identify your credit history, loans, and credit cards. You may discover that your spouse has been using your credit cards or taking out loans in your names. You should be able to obtain your credit report for free as there are a few websites that offer this service.
  4. Start Researching Attorneys Now: If you don’t have an attorney or don’t know one, you should start researching divorce attorneys now. Since so many couples choose to get a divorce in January, many divorce attorneys are very busy in January. Do your research as soon as possible and be flexible when you can meet your attorney.
  5. Find a Therapist/Counselor: Too many people make the mistake of using their divorce attorney as a therapist or counselor. A divorce attorney is not trained to be a therapist or counselor. In addition, it will cost you a lot less to see a therapist than to call your attorney for therapy.
  6. Make a List of Your Goals: Are you seeking sole custody? Joint custody? Are you looking to sell your house? Move out of your house? Do you want to retain your retirement assets? These are just a few of the goals that you may want and that your attorney will need to know.

If you will be seeking a divorce in the New Year or you have just been served with Divorce Papers (Summons or Complaint), then contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702.

Preparing to File for Divorce in the New Year

The end of the year is a common time for unhappy couples to start thinking about divorce. People in troubled marriages may think of the new year as having a fresh start. Although you are looking to file for divorce after January, there are some things you can do to prepare for divorce that will make the process smoother.

  • Know your Debts: Make a list of all the debts that you have. This would include credit cards, mortgages, car loans, student loans, personal loans and any other debts you might have. Make sure you include both “your” debts, your “spouse’s” debts, and any joint debts.
  • Know Your Assets: Know your assets and make a list of the same. Most divorces will require you to fill out a document called the “Statement of Net Worth”. The Statement of Net Worth is similar to a budget statement. When considering your assets, make sure to include:
    1. Real Estate (both your primary home and any vacation homes)
    2. Cars
    3. Financial Accounts: i.e.: Checking, Savings, Money Market Accounts, CD’s.
    4. Stocks, Securities, Mutual Funds
    5. Pension and Retirement Accounts: i.e.: 401(k), IRA, Profit Sharing, etc.
    6. Life Insurance
    7. Business Interests
    8. Personal Property: i.e.: Art Work, Jewelry, valuable collections
  • When making your list of assets, try to determine their value and if you are claiming them as joint or separate property.
  • Gather and Organize Important Documents: Important documents include tax returns, W2 Statements, and Banking Statements.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have represented countless clients in their divorces. If you have questions regarding filing for divorce, contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702.

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Why You Should File for Divorce BEFORE the New Year Starts

In December, for those persons considering to file for a divorce, many times they will wait until January to file. However, there may be a good reason why you should file before the New Year starts.

It is important to know, that you can file in December, and you do not have to serve your spouse in December. You can file in December and then wait until January to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. In this manner, you get the benefit of filing early, yet, you do not have to upset the holiday season.

What are the potential benefits of filing in December and before the New Year:

  1. Debts: For most debts, the amount of marital debt that is considered is determined as of the date of filing. The most common example is credit card debt. Credit card debt is a joint marital debt. So, no matter whose credit card it is, you most likely will owe 50% of the amount of credit card debt that existed as of the date of filing for a divorce. Once, you file for divorce, you most likely will not be responsible for any additional credit card debt that is incurred after the date of filing. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule, but, you may benefit from filing in December to freeze the amount of credit card debt you are responsible for.
  2. Valuation of Assets: The valuation of assets almost always changes. Whether or not an asset has a higher or lower current value may benefit you. You may want to file early to “lock-in” the valuation of an asset.
  3. Changes in Income: When determining child support or spousal maintenance (alimony), the starting point is last year’s W2 or income. So, if you file in December, you first look at last year’s W2. If your income is less last year than this current year, you may benefit from filing in December.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have helped numerous clients in determining whether or not to file in December or in January. If you are contemplating getting a divorce or if you have been served divorce papers, contact David Badanes at 631-239-1702.

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Common Lies Told During a Divorce

Here are some common lies that you may hear during your divorce.

LIE: You can’t make me move out of the house

In New York, as part of the divorce process, the Court will determine who can stay and who has to move out of the house (or apartment). This may happen at the end of the divorce or at some point during the divorce. If there is domestic violence, then you may be able to get a Court order immediately removing your spouse from the house. Even, if there is no domestic violence, as part of the divorce, the Judge can order the sale of the house or that one spouse “buys-out” the other spouse’s interest in the house. At some point, the Judge will order that one spouse has to leave the house. So, yes, a spouse can be made to “move out of the house.”

LIE: I will ignore (or not accept) the divorce papers, so you can’t get divorced

Although your spouse can ignore (or not accept) the divorce papers, you can still get divorced. Your attorney (or you) can petition the Court that your spouse is ignoring the divorce papers (that is your spouse is not responding to the Summons or other divorce documents). In New York, if your spouse ignores the Summons or divorce papers, then the Court can conduct what is called an “inquest.” At the inquest, the Court can grant you a divorce.

LIE: I will not pay you any child support

Technically, this could be true. However, if you are awarded child support, there are many ways you can try to get payment from your spouse. Most of the time, there are ways to find money and payment from your spouse. Yet, if your spouse does not have an “on the books” job and has hidden all of his/her assets, then they may be able to not pay you any child support. This is typically very rare. If your spouse does not pay child support, then the Court can hold the person in contempt and your spouse can be imprisoned for failing to pay child support. Many times, right before facing imprisonment, your spouse will come up with the amount of child support that is owed to you. If the spouse still refuses to pay child support, then they can go to prison. So, technically, your spouse does not have to pay child support, but, they will face serious consequences.

LIE: You have no money, so you can’t afford an attorney

In New York, the spouse who earns all the money can be ordered to pay most, or even all, of your attorney’s fees. If you are a stay-at-home-parent and have no income, your attorney can immediately petition the Court to have your spouse (who does have income) to pay your attorney’s fees. Therefore, the fact that you have no money does not automatically mean that you can’t hire or afford an attorney.

LIE: If you divorce me, you will never see the children

It is extremely rare that a Court will determine that a parent has no rights to see the children. In certain situations, a Court may order “supervised visitation”, which means that the parent must be properly supervised when the parent sees the children. Even if a parent is in prison, a court can order you to bring the children to visit the imprisoned parent.

As for the parent “kidnapping” the children, despite what you see on the news, this is also extremely rare. For the few times that a parent does attempt to kidnap the children, they are caught virtually every time.

If you are not sure what to believe when you are going through a divorce and need an attorney, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.

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Top Five Divorce Tips For Men

The following are the top five divorce tips for men. Remember, this is general advice, as each divorce is different.

#1: Don’t move out of the house.

Before moving out of the house, you should consult with an attorney. Generally, it is much better for you to keep the status quo and remain living in the same house as your spouse. Even, if you sleep in the basement, on the couch or in a different room, it is usually better to remain in the house then to move out. Of course, if there is a Court order forcing you to move out, then you must abide by the Court order.

#2: Don’t lie about your finances.

As part of the divorce, you will most likely complete what is called the Statement of Net Worth. The Statement of Net Worth is similar to completing a budget, but, you include information about assets and debts as well as your monthly expenses. If you “lie” on the Statement of Net Worth or on any other part of your finances, then you will face serious consequences.

#3: Focus on the big issues.

During a divorce, sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in a minor issue or event. Your time and efforts are better spent focusing on the major issues of your divorce.

#4: Listen to your attorney.

If your attorney tells you something, then listen to their advice. Disregarding your attorney’s advice will almost always put you at a disadvantage or in making a bad decision.

#5: Be careful when consulting with your friends or family (even if they are an attorney).

Your friends and family mean well. They may tell you that in their divorce they got something and you should get the same thing. Divorce laws are always changing and even if there is not a formal change in the law, the Judge’s attitudes and decisions are also changing. Even if your friend/family member is an attorney, unless they are a matrimonial attorney, they may not know the nuances of divorce law. Before following your friend’s or family’s advice, ask your attorney if that is good advice.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., give commons sense and everyday advice to help you through your divorce. If you are thinking of filing for a divorce or you are going through a divorce, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.

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When is the Right Time to File for a Divorce?

Deciding on whether you want to file for a divorce is a very hard decision. It is literally “life-changing”. You have probably seen some of your friends or relatives go through a divorce. You know that in many of those situations, the divorce itself was very difficult. However, you may also know some situations, where the divorcing couple were able to get divorced and able to do it in a civil and amicable manner.

For many people who are considering whether or not to get divorced, it may take them weeks or even months to actually start the process. They may be looking for a “perfect time” or they keep coming up with excuses to put off the divorce.

The following questions may help you decide whether now (or in the future) is the right time to file for a divorce.

  1. Is there domestic violence? If the answer is yes, then you should be seeking a divorce and you probably should file as soon as possible. Even if it is just the “first time” that there was a domestic violence incident. In almost every case, if there is a first time, there will be many more times of domestic violence.
  2. Is your spouse having an affair (or are you having an affair)? If you are having an affair, then clearly, you are unhappy in your marriage and you should file for a divorce. If your spouse is having an affair (and you find out about it), then they are unhappy in the marriage and you are probably not getting the love and attention you deserve.
  3. You are in a “loveless” marriage. Even if you or your spouse are not having an affair, but, you are just living together like roommates, then that may be an indication that your marriage is not working. This may be a time to seek marriage counseling or it may be a signal that your marriage isn’t working.
  4. What about the children? If you have children, then this will be a major factor to consider in getting divorced. If the living situation is very tense because of your marriage difficulties, this will affect your children. Sometimes, staying married for “the sake of the children” is actually worse for the children then getting divorced. The constant fighting or tension can have a very negative effect on the children. Therefore, don’t stay married just because you have children. However, of course, you will need to consider what will happen to the children during the divorce and after the divorce.
  5. Do you think about getting divorce often? If you are thinking about getting divorced, then it probably is a good indication that you should get divorced.

Divorce can be hard and there will never be the perfect time to get divorced. David Badanes has helped countless clients going through their divorce and navigating them through the process. Visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

What Happens if I Miss Court?

If you are scheduled to go to Court, you should attend. However, if you can’t attend or just “miss” your court date, then this is what you should do.
If you have an attorney, then the first thing you should do is contact your attorney and tell your attorney that you cannot attend court. Your attorney will advise you on what to do.

  1. If you do not have an attorney, then as soon as possible, you need to contact the court and explain why you could not attend. This should typically be done by a letter to the Judge. In your explanation, you should explain that you are sorry that you missed court. Then you should explain why you did not attend.
  2. If you do not attend Court, then you could face the following penalties: (1) the Judge could issue a warrant for your arrest; (2) the Judge could hold you in contempt; and/or (3) the Judge could order you to pay your adversary’s legal fees to attend court (while you were not there).

You should do everything possible to make sure you attend Court. As stated above, if you miss Court, then you could face serious consequences. Furthermore, your absence will not bode well as to how the Judge handles your case.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. represents clients in their divorce and family court matters. To make an appointment or to learn more then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

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How To Protect Your Credit During A Divorce And After A Divorce

Going through a divorce is difficult. One of the many areas that a divorce can affect is your credit. The following are some ways you can protect your credit during a divorce and after your divorce.

• Credit Cards. If you and your spouse have joint credit cards, it is extremely important to make sure that the use of the credit card and the payment of the credit card is resolved in the divorce.

For your separate credit cards, then it is very important to pay more than the minimum amount due. Even if you only pay a few more dollars than the minimum this will help in avoiding the large credit card interest rates.

As for which credit cards to pay off, there are a few schools of thought. Typically, most experts advise you to pay off the credit card with the highest rate of interest. Generally, that is good advice. However, some people find it easier to pay off the credit card with the lowest outstanding balance. By paying off the entire balance on a credit card with the lowest balance, it is easy to see that you are taking care of one credit card at a time. Of course, it is important, that while you are paying off that credit card, that you cannot use that credit card.

After the divorce is final (or if permitted by the Court, then during the divorce), you should remove your spouse (or ex-spouse) as an authorized user from any of your credit cards. Similarly, you should remove yourself as an authorized user from your spouse’s (or ex-spouse) credit card accounts. This is because the credit card companies will include your spouse’s credit history on any account where you are an authorized user.

• Reduce expenses. In almost all situations, it is possible to reduce some non-essential expenses. By using those savings to pay off higher interest credit cards, you will be saving significant amount of money and helping your credit.

• Pay all your bills on-time. In addition to your credit card bills, it is important to pay all of your other bills on-time. This includes: mortgage, rent, student loans, car loans, bank loans, utilities.

These are just a few areas that will help you protect your credit, both during and after a divorce. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., give real world advice and practical advice to their clients who are going through a divorce on Long Island, NY.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, please 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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Can One Party Stop A Divorce in New York?

New York is now a no-fault divorce State. This means that you do not have to show any fault in obtaining a divorce. Therefore, except for very limited reasons, once a divorce is commenced in New York, you will not be able to “stop” a divorce from happening in New York.

When can you stop a divorce? Here are some of the situations where you could stop a divorce in New York:

1. Someone started a divorce process in another State, before the divorce was started in New York. If one party started a divorce process in another State, before the New York Divorce case was started, then the rule is ‘first come, first served.” You can ask the New York Court to dismiss the New York divorce, so that the other State can process its divorce case first.

2. Neither party is a resident of New York or has only been a resident for a short time. In order to qualify to start a divorce in New York, you have to satisfy the residency requirements of New York State. They are:

a. Either party has lived in New York State for 2 continuous years (at the time the divorce was started);
b. You were married in New York, and either party has lived in New York State for 1 year immediately preceding the start of the divorce; or
c. Either party has lived in New York State for 1 year immediately preceding the start of the divorce and the parties have resided in New York as a married couple.

If you do not meet the above requirements, then you can ask the Court to dismiss the New York divorce.

As you can see, in most cases, you will not be able to stop a divorce. However, if you are involved in a divorce, you want to make sure that your rights are protected.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped hundreds and hundreds of clients in their divorce. If you have been served divorce papers, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office has offices on Long Island, New York in Northport and Uniondale.

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Can A Spouse Stay On A Mortgage After The Divorce?

If you and your spouse are both on a mortgage, in most divorces, either the property will be sold or one party will buy-out the other parties’ interest in the property. In those instances, either both spouses will be removed from the mortgage or only one spouse will remain on the mortgage.

However, there are some cases, where both parties want to keep the property and do not want to change the mortgage. Can both spouses stay on a mortgage after the divorce? Can one spouse stay on a mortgage after the divorce? The short answer is “yes”, it is possible that either one or both spouses can stay on a mortgage after the divorce. However, in order for that to happen, you will need to do the following.

1. If the divorce is settled, then in the settlement agreement, it must be very clear that one or both parties will remain on the mortgage. The agreement will also have to specify what happens if the mortgage is not paid. It is very important to place safeguards in the agreement, so that if the mortgage is not paid, on time, that either the other party can pay the mortgage, or the property will be sold.

The agreement should also state what happens when the property does get sold or what happens when one party no longer wants to be on the mortgage.

The bottom line is that the agreement has to think of all the things that can go wrong (i.e. the mortgage not getting paid) and also has to deal with situations where even if the mortgage is getting paid, on time, how long that will be allowed to happen.

2. If the divorce goes to trial, most likely a Judge would not allow both parties to remain on the mortgage (except, perhaps for a very short time). Usually, a Judge would order the property to be sold. If only party was on the mortgage, then a Judge may allow that party to continue to remain on the mortgage, but, the Judge will put strict limits on how long and what happens if the mortgage is not paid.

There are many contingencies and scenarios that have to be considered with a mortgage. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have drafted numerous divorce agreements that arrange for how a mortgage is handled after a divorce.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, 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 in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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