I’ve Been Served With Divorce Papers – Now What?

Many divorces are started in January.  If you have just been served with divorce papers (in New York called either a “Summons With Notice” or a “Summons” and a “Complaint”), then this is what you need to know.

First, the “Summons With Notice” or a “Summons” combined with a “Complaint” is the formal and legal way of informing you that your spouse wants a divorce. Those documents will also state (or should state) what your spouse is seeking (e.g., child support, spousal maintenance).  However, these requests (which in legal terms are called a “demand”) will be very general in nature.  For example, if there are children involved, it will probably state something like this: “Awarding Plaintiff custody of the children”.

Second, the “Clock is ticking”, this means that in New York, you typically have twenty (20) days to formally respond to the Summons. What you should do is immediately search for a divorce attorney.  You do not want to wait until your time runs out. Once, you have determined which attorney you want to hire, your attorney will respond to the Summons.

Third, although your attorney will respond to the Summons, you will stay have some work to do.  Your attorney will guide you through the process, but you will need to obtain financial documents and provide your attorney with the facts and documents of your case.

Fourth, if you feel overwhelmed, seek out professional mental health.  Although, receiving the divorce papers may be a shock, most likely you knew that your marriage was failing.  However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, sad or depressed, it is important to speak to a mental health professional.

When served with divorce papers, the important thing to remember is not to panic.  Your divorce attorney will help you through the legal process.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. know that receiving divorce papers can be disconcerting.  David Badanes has the experience to help you through the process and to make sure that you are protected.  Contact David Badanes today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com to schedule a free consultation. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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4 Ways High Net Worth Divorces Are Different

Scott Fitzgerald famously stated that “the rich are different from you and me”, to which Ernest Hemingway responded “Yes, they have more money.” Clearly, they were both stating the obvious. It is also true that couples who are “rich” (have a high net worth or a high income) usually have different concerns when they are going through a divorce.

Here, are a couple of ways that the high net worth divorces are different:

  1. Complex Compensation Packages: Many high-net-worth individuals have complex compensation contracts. For example, in addition to their base salary, they may earn various stocks or percentages of a company.  In these situations, it is important to identify all the income streams that are available to each of the spouses.
  2. Complex Tax Considerations: High wage earners and high net worth spouses typically have complicated tax considerations. The selling of assets may trigger capital gains.  For high net worth individuals, it is extremely important that the divorce attorney work with an accountant to make sure that potential tax obligations are considered in any divorce settlement.
  3. Child Support and Spousal Maintenance: Typically, in a high net worth divorce, one spouse will be the high wage earner. The standard child support and spousal maintenance (alimony) formulas may not result in a fair and equitable solution for high net worth divorces.  The divorce attorney must be able to demonstrate that in a high net worth divorce, that the standard formulas do not adequately compensate the spouse who earns less money.
  4. Financial Advisors: In a high net worth divorce both spouses should obtain their own independent financial advisor.  The spouse who is not the high wage earner may need a financial advisor to assist him/her in managing the amount of money or assets that they will be receiving in the divorce.  The high wage earning spouse will want their financial advisor to assist him/her in handling the reduction in their financial portfolio.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have the experience you need in handling your high net worth divorce.  To discuss your situation, contact them at: (phone) 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Divorce Delayed? Here’s Why

You started your divorce months or maybe even a year or two ago, and you still can’t see an end in sight – why? Well, it’s a complicated answer because divorce is a complicated area. Most divorces take a while to finalize because there are many legal and financial steps that need to be taken. When you add a global pandemic to the situation, the amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce increases immensely.

If your divorce has not been settled, you should ask your attorney why it is taking so long to get resolved. However, there are some common reasons that lead to this situation. Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island shared some common reasons for why divorce settlements may take so long.

Discovery is not done. In divorces, discovery is the gathering and exchange of evidence, information, documents, etc. Discovery is a very broad term and will become more specific depending on the financial assets and specific conflicts of the two parties. The time it takes to complete discovery depends mainly upon the types of documents and information that need to be gathered, the complexities of the personal and financial situation, and the cooperation of the two parties. As a result, discovery may take a while to complete.

Waiting for an appraisal of a house or business. The appraisal of certain assets is a normal step in a divorce. Unfortunately, companies that perform appraisals operate on their own schedule. The two parties in a divorce may need to wait for appraisals to be completed in order to proceed in the divorce process.

COVID-19. This is a massive reason for delays in divorce proceedings over the past year and a half. The pandemic affects many aspects of the divorce process, slowing everything down as a result. Most courts are incredibly backed up, but still need to give each case on the docket their due time and care. Additionally, many judges, attorneys and clients have become ill, leading to delays in the divorce process. The pandemic has also impacted the workforce in significant ways. There may be fewer clerks working to handle divorce cases, so even if your divorce has been settled and all the documents have been submitted, that may not be enough to finalize it quickly.

No matter what the reason is for the delay in your divorce settlement, the situation is understandably frustrating. Divorces rarely get finalized quickly, so it’s best to prepare yourself for what may take longer than expected.  Make sure you are confident in your Long Island divorce attorney to handle any delays that may come up.

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 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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How Divorce Affects Your Children’s College Education

One of many issues that need to be resolved in a divorce with children, is the issue of college.  Here is what you need to know about how college expenses in a divorce.

Who gets to pick the college the child attends? 

It is very rare for a divorce agreement to specify exactly which college the child will attend.  However, there are agreements that will state that the child has to at least apply to College X and in other agreements that the child has to apply to at least one State University of New York college or university.  In virtually all cases, the child will get to choose which college he/she wants to attend.  If one of the parents disputes that choice, then they will have a heavy burden to show why that particular college is not right for the child.

Who pays for college?

Your divorce agreement should contain the terms and conditions on how much each parent will need to pay for college.  If your divorce agreement is silent on this issue, then one parent may be able to go back to Court to have the other parent pay part or perhaps even all of the college expenses.

If, the Court has to decide who pays for college, then there are a few factors the Court will consider in making that decision.  In simple terms, if you or your spouse attended college, then most likely, the Court will make the parents pay for the child’s college education.  Also, if the child has other attributes that makes the child a good candidate for college, then the Court will also most likely make the parents pay for the child’s college education.

How much do I have to pay for college?

In addition to deciding who has to pay for college, your divorce agreement should specify how much each parent will have to pay for college. Typically, there will be an upper limit to how much each parent has to pay.  In most agreements, the parties will agree that the most they have to pay is what it would cost for the child to attend a SUNY school.

If there was no agreement, then the Court will decide how much each parent has to pay.  In that instance, it is likely that Court will make each parent pay their pro-rata share of the child’s college expenses.

What about college tours?

These days, it is common for parents and their children to go on several tours of different colleges.  Whether or not you go on a college tour with your child, will be something you should be able to work out with your child.

If you are getting divorce, there are several issues you will need to address.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office has the experience to guide you through these issues. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@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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Why You Should See an Attorney Before the Holidays

For couples who are thinking about getting divorced or having marital difficulties the Holidays can be a very stressful time of year.  Many couples will wait until January to start a divorce.  However, there are a many good reasons why you should see an attorney before the Holidays start or before the New Year.

#1: You and your attorney will have more time to focus on your case. Many attorneys will have more time before the Holidays start and before the New Year.  Many attorneys get very busy after the New Year.  By making an appointment before the Holidays start, you and your attorney will have more time to focus on your case.  It also just might be easier to get a more convenient time for an appointment before the Holidays start.  It is important to remember, that you can see your attorney and even retain your attorney without actually filing for the divorce until after the New Year.

#2: You will have more time to get your documents together.  Although, you might not formally start your divorce until after the New Year, with the added time, you can start gathering the financial documents that your divorce attorney will need.  You may also have more time off which will also give you the opportunity to get these documents.

#3: You will have more time to adjust to the divorce.  With the added time, you can use this extra time to see a counselor, social worker or other mental professional.  A divorce is stressful and seeing a counselor or social worker may be a good idea.

If you are considering getting divorced, it might be a good idea to see an attorney before the Holidays start.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have the experience and knowledge to help you.  David Badanes has represented hundreds of clients.  See how David Badanes has helped others and read his reviews on Google.  Mr. Badanes represents clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can be contacted 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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What to Do if Your Ex Doesn’t Have Life Insurance

In most divorce agreements, your ex-spouse may have to maintain a certain amount of life insurance. The purpose of life insurance is to provide money for child support or spousal maintenance (alimony) in case the ex-spouse dies. However, what should you do if your ex-spouse doesn’t maintain his/her life insurance policy?

First, you have to make sure that your ex is required to maintain life insurance as part of the divorce. In order for you to obligate your ex-spouse to maintain life insurance, the divorce agreement and/or the Judgment of Divorce must explicitly state: (1) that your ex-spouse has to maintain life insurance; (2) the amount of the life insurance benefit; (3) who the beneficiaries of the life insurance are: and (4) the remedy if your ex-spouse does not maintain life insurance.

Second, once it is clear that your ex-spouse has to maintain life insurance, you most likely will need to notify your ex-spouse that they are in violation (breach) of the divorce agreement and that they are to obtain a life insurance plan. Your notification letter should be very specific as to what your ex-spouse has to do. You may want to hire an attorney to write the notification letter.

Third, if, after sending your notification letter, your ex-spouse still fails to obtain life insurance, then, you may need to file a Motion with the Court, so that the Court can force your ex-spouse to obtain life insurance. The Court will determine if your ex-spouse is in violation of the divorce agreement and can force your ex-spouse to obtain life insurance or declare your ex-spouse in contempt of the divorce agreement (which may have more serious consequences, including incarceration).

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. has helped numerous individuals with their divorces and in making sure that the ex-spouse is required to maintain a life insurance policy. Visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

In a Divorce, Should You File Your Taxes Jointly?

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

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

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

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

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

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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Working Dads and Divorce

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

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

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

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How Does a Divorce Effect Social Security Benefits?

Social Security benefits are available to most American workers. For married couples, even if only one spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits, the other spouse may also receive benefits based on the marriage. When couple’s divorce, in order to collect Social Security benefits from your former spouse, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your marriage must have been for at least 10 years
  • You must be at least 62 years of age (at the time that you want to start collecting your benefits)
  • You need to remain unmarried — however, if you do re-marry, then you may still be able to receive benefits from your first spouse
  • Your own Social Security benefits must be less than the amount of benefits you would receive from your ex-spouse

If you do qualify for Social Security benefits, the benefits you receive do not reduce the amount of Social Security benefits paid to your former spouse. Therefore, getting divorced does not reduce your benefits, it only allows your former spouse to collect Social Security benefits as well.

You should also know, that if your ex-spouse qualifies for their Social Security benefits, but, has not applied for them, that you can still receive your Social Security benefits, based on that ex-spouse (provided that you have been divorced for at least two years).
Finally, it is important to know that Social Security benefits are subject to Federal Law and are not subject to change based on changes in New York law.

If you are contemplating divorce and you are close to being married for 10 years, you may want to delay filing for divorce until you are married for more than 10 years. This way you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits from your former spouse.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you need an experienced Matrimonial and Divorce Attorney to guide you through the process. 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 and Uniondale.

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