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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Do We Have To Split Our Child’s Medical Bills Or Does Child Support Cover That?

You are divorced (or have a child in common with the child’s parent), and you have a medical bill (due to a co-pay or a deductible). Does child support cover that?

Unreimbursed medical expenses are paid pro-rata and are separate and apart from child support payments. This means that the person paying for child support will pay both child support and a portion of the medical expenses.

The term “pro-rata”, means that each parent will pay their proportional share of the medical expenses based on their yearly income. For example, if one parent earns $100,000 and the other parent earns $50,000, then the parent earning $100,000 would pay 2/3 (two-thirds) and the other parent would 1/3 (one-third) of the medical bills. If both parents earn the same income, then each parent would pay 50% of the medical expenses.

Typically, the non-custodial parent does not have to pay for cosmetic medical expenses or for over-the-counter medicines.

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How To Handle An Ex-Spouse That Does Not Abide By The Divorce Agreement

A divorce agreement issued by the court is a legally binding contract. As such, if either party refuses to follow the divorce agreement, you have a few options on how to handle this situation.

  1. You can have your attorney (or you can do this yourself), send a letter outlining exactly how your ex-spouse is not following the divorce agreement (in other words, how they are in breach of the agreement). Depending on what your divorce agreement states, you may have to give your ex-spouse a certain number of days to rectify their breach.
  2. If your ex-spouse ignores your letter or does not fully rectify their breach, then you will have to file a Motion or an Order to Show Cause to the Court. The Motion (or Order to Show Cause) will state that your ex-spouse is in breach and what you are seeking. In many situations, you may be able to request your attorney’s fees.
  3. You may also ask the Court for a finding of “contempt” and that your ex-spouse should be incarcerated. If your ex-spouse is found to willfully breach the divorce agreement, and the Court believes the breach is serious enough, they could order that your ex-spouse be incarcerated.

In general terms, these are the most common examples of how an ex-spouse breaches a divorce agreement:

  • Failure to pay Child Support: The Court treats the failure to pay child support very seriously. If your ex-spouse is not paying you child support, you should immediately go to court to seek relief.
  • Failure to pay Spousal Maintenance (alimony): Similar to not paying child support, the Court will treat this very seriously.
  • Failure to follow the parenting time arrangements: Unlike the failure to pay child support or spousal maintenance, here the Court will be more lenient.
  • It is important to note that just because your ex-spouse doesn’t pay child support, this does not mean that you can prevent your child from visiting your ex-spouse.

Divorce can present many challenges, even after the divorce is finalized. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you and will answer all your questions about the divorce process. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can be contacted at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Five Things You Should Not Do In A Child Custody Battle

If you are seeking custody of your child and are involved in a child custody dispute (battle), there are some things you can do to help you and some things you should not do.

Here are five things you SHOULD NOT do in a Child Custody battle.

  1. Using your child as a pawn. Do not use your child as a “pawn” in the battle. For example, despite what your ex may be doing, he/she still has a right to see the child and have parenting time with the child. Typically, the only time you should withhold the child from the other parent, is if there is an Order of Protection, the child is very sick, or for some other emergency reason.
  2. Making false accusations. If you make a false accusation, against the other parent, this will seriously hurt your chances of gaining custody. The courts will not tolerate false accusations and this can be the only reason for a court to deny you custody.
  3. Not communicating with the other parent. In a divorce, or a child custody situation, it takes two parents to parent the child. You will need to communicate with the other parent. If you fail to communicate, the court can view you as hindering the other parent’s ability to parent.
  4. Stating negative things about the other parent. Whether it is on Facebook or other social media sites, or worse yet, to the child, you should not state anything negative about the other parent. If the other parent can show that you have posted negative information about him/her (even if true) or have stated negative information about him/her to the child, the court will hold this against you.
  5. Not paying child support. Although, technically, the Court is not supposed to use the payment or non-payment of child support against you, Judges are human. The failure of not paying child support, will be looked upon as a negative factor.

When you are seeking child custody, you need to avoid any mistakes or negative actions.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in obtaining child custody. If you are seeking child custody or a divorce, 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 Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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How To Deal With An Ex-Spouse (Or The Other Parent) That Isn’t Paying Child Support

If your ex-spouse (or the other parent) isn’t paying child support, here is what you can do.

First, if you do not already have a child support order, then get one.  Typically, you can obtain a child support order by filing a petition in Family Court.  If you are the custodial parent, then the Family Court should be able to issue a child support order for you.

Second, when obtaining your child support order, you can have the Support Collection Unit (also known as the Child Support Enforcement Bureau) collect your child support for you.  If you already have a child support order, you can request that the Support Collection Unit now collect the child support for you.  The Support Collection Unit can help you collect your child support for you. 

Third, you can file a petition in Child Support stating that your ex-spouse is not paying his/her child support.  By taking your ex-spouse to court, for failing to pay child support, they face serious penalties.  By issuing these penalties, the goal is for your ex-spouse to start paying child support.

The Court can order the following penalties against the payor:

  1. Garnish the person’s wages.  If the person receives any type of pay check, from an employer, the Court can garnish the person’s wages and you will then receive your child support.  If the person works “off-the-books”, then most likely, the Court will not be able to garnish the person’s wages.
  2. Suspension of the person’s driver’s license;
  3. Suspension of any professional or other licenses.  If you have a license to operate a business, the court can suspend your license;
  4. Take any part of any future tax refunds; and/or
  5. Order jail time.

If your ex-spouse is not paying you child support, there are many steps you can take to try to get your ex-spouse to pay you.  If you need help in getting paid, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, PC.  Contact 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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