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.

Divorce, Judges and Court – What You Need to Know

If you are getting divorced, unless your case is a simple “uncontested divorce”, then a Judge will be assigned to your case and you will need to go to Court. You may even have to go to trial. Therefore, it is important to know what the Judge’s role is and what you need to know when you go to Court.

  1. What Does a Judge Do? Unlike a criminal case, in a divorce case, a Judge does not find you “guilty”, “innocent”, or sentence you to jail (unless they find you in contempt of court, more on that later).


    Before there is a divorce trial, typically there will be many court conferences. Although every Judge handles their court conferences differently, in general terms, at a court conference, the Judge determines the basic facts of the case. Also, before a trial, there may be temporary orders or decisions that apply while the divorce case is pending. A typical example is a temporary order of child support.

    Sometimes, a Judge will tell the attorneys their general feeling about the case. Although these are not formal rulings, your attorney will be able to know which way the Judge is leaning towards and guide you accordingly.

    If there is a trial, the Judge will hear the evidence, rule on any objections and sometimes ask the witness some of their own questions. At the end of a trial, it is extremely rare for a Judge to issue a ruling. Instead, the Judge will compare his/her notes and consider the evidence. The Judge will issue a written decision which is usually mailed to the attorneys.

    As mentioned above, a divorce case is not a criminal case. However, if you disobey a Judge’s Order or act in such a manner that causes you to be in “contempt”, then it is possible that a Judge could find you in “contempt of court” and in extreme cases, decide that you should be in contempt.

  2. Dress Appropriately. What you wear to Court will impact how a Judge sees you. If you are claiming that you do not have any money or resources, then you should not be wearing expensive jewelry or thousand-dollar suits. In contrast, if you are someone who does earn a good income, then going to Court in old pants and a ripped shirt, will make the Judge know that you are not telling the truth. Generally, you should wear “business casual” attire and not a lot of jewelry.

  3. Don’t Interrupt the Judge. When the Judge speaks, you listen. If the Judge asks you a question, then answer the question. Sounds simple enough, but, I’ve seen clients who talk over a Judge and I’ve seen clients who don’t directly answer the Judge’s question. If a Judge asks you a question, typically keep your answers short and to the point. Your attorney can always expand upon your answer.

  4. Don’t Waste the Judge’s Time. A Judge will have hundreds of cases. Do not bring frivolous issues or simple disputes to the courtroom. A Judge does not want to be bothered with something that should be worked out between divorcing couples. A good example is what to do with your personal property (furniture, TVs, computers, clothing). Most Judges do not want to be bothered with dividing up personal property. They expect the clients to be able to divide the personal property in a fairly equal manner. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you have expensive jewelry, art collections, sports collections or other things of value, a Judge may have to decide how those items are divided up.

  5. Be Prepared, but, Don’t Be Like a Robot: If you are going to trial, then you need to be prepared. Your attorney will review your case with you. However, when you are a witness, you do not want to look like you have memorized your answers or look like a robot when answering your questions. Most clients are very nervous when they are on the witness stand. That is to be expected, and a Judge will understand that you are nervous. In contrast, if you look like you have memorized your answers, a Judge may hold that against you.

  6. Do Not Lie. This may be the most important rule. If a Judge catches you lying or believes that you are either lying or not telling the whole truth, this could ruin your whole case. It is much better, to tell the truth — no matter, how damaging it might be — then to lie.

  7. A Judge will be one of the most important parts of your divorce matter. Each Judge handles their divorce cases differently. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. has extensive experience with all the Suffolk County and Nassau County Judges. Mr. Badanes is well respected and knows that the Judges what an attorney who is honest and does not waste their time. If you are contemplating a divorce or just served divorce papers call 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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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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What is Parental Alienation?

There are many definitions of parental alienation. A simple definition is when one parent isolates the children from the other parent through words or conduct, such that it creates anger, hostility, lack of affection or division between the child and the other parent.

Parental alienation can come in many different ways. They are:

Negative Comments (Disparagement):
Many times, parental alienation is when one parent states negative comments or criticism of the other parent. This can include insulting the other parent, speaking negatively about the other parent, or blaming you for the divorce. Oftentimes, one parent will state that other parent is “not paying child support” or “always late in picking you up” or other negative comments about the divorce.

In addition to direct negative comments from one parent to the children, parental alienation also occurs when one parent allows their relatives or friends to also engage in stating negative comments. It is not “ok” to allow a grandparent, aunt or uncle to engage in negative comments about the other parent.

Undermining Your Authority as a Parent:
Another form of parental alienation is when one parent allows the children to believe that the other parent’s authority or discipline can be ignored. It is completely improper to tell the children that they “don’t have to listen to you”.

Some examples of undermining authority are when one parent tells the children, while they are with you: (i) that they don’t have to do their homework; (ii) they don’t have to listen to your bedtime; or (iii) they don’t have to do the chores you assign to them.

Of course, it would be best if both parents have similar rules when it comes to parenting the children.

Parental alienation is also defined when you allow a child to make decisions that are more suited for an adult or parent. For example, allowing the child to decide whether or not they can visit with you.

A Second Dad or Second Mom
During the divorce process, if a parent tells the children to call their significant other “Mom” or “Dad”, this is a form of parental alienation. Similarly, allowing the significant other to “act” as a second Dad or second Mom. This could be when the significant other shows up to teacher-parent meetings, coaching the child in sports, or taking the child to the doctor and “acting” as the biological parent.

False Allegations:
False allegations of domestic abuse, child abuse, drug use, neglect or other negative actions are a serious issue by themselves. False allegations can also be part of parental alienation. If one parent uses false allegations so as to alienate the other parent or to restrict the other parent’s parenting time, then that can be considered part of parental alienation.

Parental alienation is a serious concern and unfortunately can happen in your divorce. If you believe that your spouse is engaging in parental alienation, you must take immediate action. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. are equipped to notice the signs of parental alienation and help you in fighting such actions.

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Can My Tinder Account Be Used as Evidence in My Divorce Case?

During a divorce, most everything you do can be used as evidence in your divorce case. You probably already know that your financial documents and information can be used as evidence. In addition, your text messages and emails can also be used as evidence. And yes, if you are using Tinder or any other dating application, then that information can also be used as evidence.

Therefore, you should be very careful about what you state on your Tinder profile or on any online account.

If you do decide to date, then you have to know that whatever money you are spending on your dates can be used against you. During your divorce, you don’t want to be going on expensive travel vacations. You also should not be introducing your new paramour to the children.
However, it is important to know, that it is not necessarily improper to date while your divorce action is pending. As stated above, what matters is how much money you are spending on your dates and if you are engaging in any irresponsible behavior with your new boyfriend/girlfriend.

So, although using Tinder might be okay, you have to be aware that anything you put online, including information on Tinder, can be used as evidence in your divorce case.

Social Media, Tinder, and all new applications can present challenges to your divorce. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. keeps up with the changes in Social Media and makes sure that his clients are properly advised.

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How Does Gambling Debts Affect My Divorce

Many divorces are caused by one spouse’s alcoholism or gambling addiction. The Courts recognize that alcoholism and gambling addictions are diseases. However, in many of those divorces, the spouse’s addiction has caused the parties to suffer severe debts or financial strain. This article will focus on how a spouse’s gambling addiction can affect your divorce.

When considering gambling, if your spouse’s gambling was only done infrequently or only resulted in small amount of losses, then the court may not consider that in its decision. Generally, a court will only consider a spouse’s gambling when it resulted in large spending and/or large losses.

It is important to note, that the general rule is that marital assets are typically divided evenly and that marital debts are divided 50% to each party. Yet, if one spouse was gambling the party’s funds, the court may consider that in dividing the party’s debts or their assets. If the court believes that one spouse wasted marital assets or marital funds with their gambling addiction, then the court may grant you a larger share of the marital assets or decide that you have to pay a lesser share of the marital debt.

However, the court may also consider that you encouraged or condoned your spouse’s gambling habit. You may have gone with your spouse to the casino etc. In those situations, the court may not sympathize with your situation and decide that you only get 50% or the assets and/or still have to pay 50% of the debts.

If your spouse was engaged in gambling, then you will have to demonstrate to the court the extent of your spouse’s gambling habit and also that you did not approve of the gambling. You can show that your spouse took large withdrawals at a casino or that they charged large amounts on a credit card at a casino. If your spouse’s gambling habit was at a different venue, you can show the spending at that venue. In addition, to show that you didn’t approve of the gambling, you can produce emails or text messages.

If you are considering getting divorced, and your spouse’s gambling addiction is one of the causes of the divorce, then you need an attorney who can protect you. Visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

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.

Immunizations and Divorce

New York State recently passed a new law, whereby children must be vaccinated against measles and other diseases to attend public or private school. The only exception, that would allow a child not be vaccinated and to attend public/private school, is if there is a valid medical exemption. Before the new law was passed, New York State recognized religious exemptions to the mandate that children must be vaccinated.

The change in the law will also affect child custody issues in a divorce (and in non-divorces where child custody is an issue). There are already examples where one parent wants to have their children vaccinated and the other parent does not want to vaccinate. Courts will now have to consider the issue of immunizations as it relates to child custody. Furthermore, lawyers will need to consider how immunizations are to be handled in their divorce agreements.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LAW SAY NOW?

As stated above, as of June 13, 2019, there is no longer a religious exemption to the requirement that children be vaccinated against many diseases in order to attend either: (1) public, private or parochial school (for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) or (2) child daycare settings.

Although, the new law is being challenged, in the past, the United States Supreme Court has stated that a State can mandate that children are vaccinated in order to attend public school. To date, New York Courts have also agreed with the United States Supreme Court. In addition, New York Public Health Law § 2164 obligates parents to have their children vaccinated against diseases, and New York Education Law § 914 obligates schools to enforce and comply with the aforementioned statute.

Accordingly, as of now, it is constitutional for New York State to require that you vaccinate your child in order for that child to attend public/private school.

HOW WILL THIS EFFECT CUSTODY?

A Court or a Judge cannot force a parent to vaccinate their child. However, by granting custody to a parent that either want to vaccinate the child or to a parent that does not want to vaccinate the child, the Court is essentially deciding if the child will be vaccinated.

As always, a Court/Judge will decide custody on the basis of the “best interests of a child” test. One of those factors may be if a parent wants to vaccinate their child. Many judges would probably agree that vaccinating a child is safer for both the child and the general welfare of the community. However, that would be just one factor in the Court’s decision.
Clearly, the decision to vaccinate your child is a personal one. As it relates to a divorce or child custody, parents may have legitimate differences on whether or not to vaccinate a child. With the new New York State law, when considering child custody issues, Courts and Judges may find themselves having to consider this issue.

If you are u are considering getting a divorce or have a child custody issue, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.

Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today 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.

By David P. Badanes, Esq. and Hayley Hayden