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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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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Child Support: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

When considering child support, what you don’t know can hurt you. Most people know that if they are the residential custodial parent – which basically means the parent who has the child or children more of the time than the other parent – then they are entitled to receive child support.

What they may not know is that child support only covers the basics of the child’s expenses, namely, housing, food and clothing.

In addition, if you have childcare and healthcare expenses for the child, then you can receive additional child support to help you cover those expenses.

There is a long list of expenses that child support doesn’t cover. When getting divorced, you need to take this into account.

One of the largest potential areas of expenses that are not included in basic child support are extracurricular expenses. Extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, art, martial arts, theatre are typically not covered.  Those activities can have the following expenses:

  • Registration fees
  • Equipment
  • Travel expenses
  • Lesson fees
  • Costume fees
  • Competition fees
  • Sneakers or specialized footwear
  • Trainers

Although, surgeries, doctor appointments and prescription medicines are covered under “medical expenses”, the following medical expenses are typically not covered:

  • Vitamins
  • Over-the-counter medicines (for example: Aspirin, Advil or Ibuprofen, Tylenol or Acetaminophen)
  • Dietary alternatives
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Acne products

Childcare expenses will be shared between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent (typically with each parent paying their pro-rata share).  In a similar fashion, if camp is a substitute for childcare, then the camp expenses will also be shared between the parents. However, typically only the basic fee to attend the camp will be covered, and any extra fees will not be covered.

In addition to all of the above, there are many expenses that are not covered, for example: (i) child’s cell phones; (ii) child’s computers; (iii) prom dresses or tuxedos; (iv) yearbooks; (v) gifts to teachers; (vi) class trips, to name just a few.

As you can see, what you may not know about child support, can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year. If you are getting divorced and need more information about child support or any other issue involved in your divorce, then call David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals with questions about child support expenses and basic child support.

Contact the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.The Badanes Law Office has two offices in Long Island: Northport and Uniondale.

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Child Support Extended For Special Needs Children

New York has now passed a new law that allows a parent of a Special Needs child to petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26 years old.  Prior to this new law, child support was only available to all children, regardless of whether they had special needs, up to the age of 21 years of age.

However, the extension of child support after 21 years of age is not automatic.  In order to received child support, up to 26 years of age, you must petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26.

Furthermore, to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The petition must be filed by the custodial parent or caregiver of a developmentally disabled child
  • The disabled child must be principally dependent on the parent and must reside with the parent
  • The child must be diagnosed by a doctor or medical professional that states the child has a developmental disability

The law defines developmental disability as:

  1. The disability must have originated before the child became 22 years old;
  2. The disability is continuing or can be expected to continue indefinitely; and
  3. The disability is a substantial handicap to the child’s ability to function normally in society.

The Court’s determination on how much child support to award is different from how a Court determines child support for a child under the age of 21 years of age.  Here, the Court has more discretion in the amount of child support to award and it is based on these factors:

First, it must find that the child has a developmental disability. Second, the Court can use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age. Or, Third, the Court can determine whether the financial responsibility of caring for the disabled child has been unreasonably placed on the caregiving parent.

Since the law is so new, at this time, there isn’t much guidance on how Courts will actually determine the amount of child support to award.  However, it is likely that most Courts will simply use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age.

The law is also retroactive, in the sense that if you already have a child support order and you have a child who qualifies under the law, you can go back to Court to extend the support order until the child is 26 years of age.

Another difference with this law, as compared to child support awards for children under 21 years of age, is how payments are to be made.  The Court has two options: (i) payments can be made directly to the parent/caregiver; or (ii) payments can be made to an “exception trust”, this is a trust that is set up to care for the disabled child.

This new law recognizes that parents of special needs children have extraordinary expenses, expenses that exist after a child turns 21 years of age.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have represented many parents with special needs children.  This new law now allows child support to be extended until the child turns 26 years of age.

If you are seeking a divorce or want to extend your child support award, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: https://www.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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Managing Divorce During Back-to-School Season

The month of August officially marks back-to-school season.  No matter what grade your child is entering, back-to-school means last-minute supply shopping, the end of summer fun, and possibly concern and anxiety for children. This time can become even tenser when children are dealing with divorced parents making it even more important to do what you can to manage their stress levels.

David Badanes, Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island has shared advice on how divorced parents should be prepared for their child going back to school.

  • Back to School Shopping: If you and your ex-spouse (or soon to be ex-spouse) get along, then perhaps go shopping together for “back to school items.” It will make everything less stressful for your child if they have both parents present and offering opinions on what to get for school.
  • Knowledge: Make sure you know the school’s academic calendar, your child’s schedule, and the contact information for their principal, counselor, and teachers. A point in time may come where you will need to contact them and knowing beforehand on how to do so will make everything more efficient.
  • Emergencies: Make sure both you and your ex-spouse are on the school’s emergency contact list. In case anything happens, one or both of you will be contacted immediately.
  • Attend: The last thing a child needs during this time is an absent parent. Make sure both you and your ex-partner attend parent-teacher night and any other school functions your child is in (school plays, athletic competitions, music).
  • Homework: If your child is with you during a school night, make sure they get their homework done. Falling behind in school is something you should try to prevent at all costs.
  • Consistency: Review home routines and rules with your ex-spouse. It is important to have consistent rules in both houses. It will make things more stressful for your child if the rules are completely different.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provides real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you are contemplating getting a divorce, and need a divorce lawyer to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Children’s Sports Participation After Divorce

Divorce is an already complicated process that can get even more complex when the case at hand involves children. There are many elements to discuss when it comes to children that should be included in the official divorce agreement. One important aspect that cannot be overlooked is a discussion about the children’s participation in activities such as sports. Children often deeply care about sports, and since these activities require money, scheduling, and transportation, it is a topic that is necessary to discuss in a divorce agreement.

Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island has shared what should be discussed in a divorce agreement between parents of a child who participates in sports.

  • Payment: Parents should discuss and decide who will pay for registration fees, who will pay for equipment (shoes, pads, uniforms, etc.) and who will pay for travel expenses. These expenses may recur every month, season and/or year, so a payment plan should be outlined in the agreement.
  • Transportation: When children participate in sports, they commit to attending practice, home games and away games. Divorced parents need to arrange who will transport the child to all these events, especially games that are out-of-town.
  • Participation: Divorced parents should agree upon how many sports the children are allowed to participate in at a given time. Scheduling is an important factor to consider when looking into the time your child has available to put aside for sports.

In addition to ensuring these necessary elements are a part of the divorce agreement, divorced parents should also strive to put the needs of the children first at sports events and put their own personal issues aside. Mr. David Badanes Esq. recommends divorced parents of children in sports heed these specific reminders.

  • Both parents can attend sporting events. Even if the child has parenting time with a specific parent during the time of a sports activity, both parents can still attend the event. A custody schedule does not prohibit parents from seeing their child at sports games.
  • Let the child choose. When it comes to which sports the child participates in, it should always be the child’s choice. The type of sports the child participates in should not be according to what a parent wants. Though a parent may be extremely passionate about a specific sport, children’s interests often change day by day—a child may want to play basketball one day and soccer the next.
  • You are there to cheer on your child. Your child’s sports event is not the place to discuss anything about the divorce or post-divorce issues. While attending the event, refrain from fighting with your ex-spouse. Instead focus your attention to your child playing his/her game.

If your child participates in sports, it is vital the divorce agreement determines all issues involved in the child’s sports participation. This will allow for a smoother transition for not only the parents, but most importantly the children who will inevitably feel the stress of the divorce as well.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provides real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you are contemplating getting a divorce, and need an attorney to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today 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, Suffolk County and 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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I Want a Divorce but My Spouse Doesn’t

You may want a Divorce, but your spouse does not. What can you do? New York State is a “No Fault” Divorce State, so, you can get a divorce with or without your spouse cooperating or “wanting” the divorce.

The first step in starting the divorce process is to file a Summons and Complaint (or in some instances, you can file a “Summons With Notice” and then subsequently file the Complaint). Then the Summons and Complaint must be properly served upon your spouse. The key is here is that you must have “proper service”. This means you cannot just give the Summons and Complaint to your spouse. It is highly recommended that you hire an experienced process server to serve the Summons and Complaint upon your spouse. If you hire an attorney, your attorney will most likely handle the entire process of filing the Summons and Complaint and also making sure it is properly served upon your spouse.

What if my spouse states that he/she will not respond to the Summons and Complaint?

Technically, your spouse does not have to respond to the Summons and Complaint. However, if your spouse does not respond to the Summons and Complaint, then you can still get divorced. You would request that the Court give you a default divorce. Your attorney will know how to make sure that you make the request for a default divorce correctly.

In the process of granting a default divorce, the Court will schedule a special court hearing called an “Inquest”. At the Inquest, your attorney will present evidence that your spouse was properly served and will also present the basic facts of your divorce. If applicable, you will be able to make a request for child custody, child support, alimony, distribution of assets and the payment of debts as well of all the other issues of your divorce. In general, terms, since your spouse has not responded to the Summons and Complaint, the Court will grant most of your requests.

The bottom line is that you can get a divorce regardless of whether or not your spouse also wants the divorce.

If you are contemplating getting divorced and believe that your spouse does not want the divorce, then you need an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. , David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have the experience to get you through the divorce process, even if your spouse doesn’t want the divorce.

Child Support, Child Custody and Parenting Time in Mediation

Some divorcing couples choose to use mediation when resolving their divorce. For couples who can compromise, mediation may be a good alternative. In many divorces, child support, child custody, and parenting time issues are the most contentious issues. Those issues can also be resolved in mediation.

If you choose to use mediation, then this is how issues surrounding children can be resolved:
Child Support: In New York, there is a child support formula. However, with mediation (and also in a contested divorce), you can choose to modify the amount that the formula calculates. There are many reasons why you might want to modify the amount of child support. Some examples: (i) perhaps one spouse will pay the mortgage instead of child support; (ii) you might receive more in retirement assets: (iii) you might receive more in personal property; and (iv) because each parent has more parenting time, that might be a reason for less child support.

Child Custody: One of the best uses of mediation is in the area of child custody (and parenting time). Mediation allows the parents to be very creative with how to determine the issues of decision making and custody.

Parenting Time: Similar to child custody, mediation allows a lot of flexibility when it comes to parenting time. With mediation, parents can arrange their parenting time that fits their schedule and the children’s schedule.

As with any divorce agreement, it is important that in mediation the written agreement is clear and specific. If you choose to use mediation, make sure that the mediator actually drafts the final divorce agreement. Some mediators will only draft a summary or a “memorandum of agreement”, which is not a full blown divorce agreement.

Although mediation can be a good option, there are situations where mediation is not appropriate. For mediation to succeed, both parents have to be: (1) willing to compromise; (2) be able to talk in a civil and respectful manner to each other; (3) be able to listen to the other parent’s opinions and points of view; (4) ready to get divorced; and (5) willing to present fair and realistic options.

In addition to being an attorney, David Badanes, Esq. is also a mediator. Mr. Badanes has conducted numerous successful mediations. If you are seeking mediation, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Child Support Arrears Can Lead to a Driver’s License Suspension

If you are in arrears in your child support payments, then you may face having your driver’s license suspended. In fact, if you are in arrears in your child support payments, then several other types of licenses can be suspended including:

  • Business licenses
  • Contractor licenses
  • Professional licenses (doctor, lawyer, accountant)
  • Occupational licenses
  • Boating licenses
  • Hunting licenses
  • Fishing licenses

In order for your licenses to be suspended or revoked, you would need to be at least four months in child support arrears. However, prior to having any license suspended or revoked, there needs to be a hearing. At that time, you would have the opportunity to either pay all your arrears or perhaps enter into a payment plan to pay your arrears.

It should also be noted, that if your driver’s license is suspended, you may be eligible to receive a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to only drive to and from your place of employment.

It is clear, that you should pay all your child support obligations. If you are in danger of falling behind in your child support payments, then you need to be proactive and contact an attorney to avoid having your licenses suspended.

If you need an attorney to help you with child support issues, then 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 web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

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