Five Financial Mistakes to Avoid Before and During Your Divorce

You are about to start the divorce process or you have already started the process.  Here are Five financial mistakes (with one bonus as well) that you need to avoid before and during your divorce.

  1. Letting your spouse “pay the bills” (or pay the expenses): Prior to your divorce, perhaps you (like many other couples) allowed your spouse to “pay the bills”. Although, that might have worked while you were married, this can typically lead to disaster, especially during your divorce.  Instead, you and your spouse need to coordinate in who pays which bills (expenses).  Alternatively, you can each contribute 50% (or whatever percentage works in your case) to each of the bills.  You also want to make sure that if your spouse is paying the bills that you get documentation that the bill is actually being paid.
  2. Gifts or Loans from Family or Friends: In many divorces, you might seek out your family or your friends for financial assistance.  If your family or friends want to help you out, then you want to make sure that is done in the right way.  If you receive a gift, then that might be considered as “income” and actually hurt you when calculating child support or spousal maintenance.  Therefore, it might be better to receive a loan from your family or friends.  However, to be considered a loan, then the funds should be secured with either a loan agreement or a promissory note.  You should consult with your attorney on how to make sure that the loan is properly structured so that it is not considered as income or as a gift.
  3. Tax Considerations: You should consult with an accountant to consider whether or not to change the amount of deductions on your W-4 form.  In too many situations, clients will change the amount of deductions without consulting with their accountant.  This may result in you owing too many taxes in the next tax year.
  4. Not adjusting your budget: In virtually every divorce, you will have less financial resources after your divorce than before your divorce (at least initially).  You need to review all of your expenses and adjust your budget accordingly.  Even small changes can add up to big savings.  However, it is important to note that you cannot violate the “Automatic Orders” (see the next number).
  5. Violating the “Automatic Orders”: At the start of every New York Divorce, there are the “Automatic Orders”. As with any Court Order, these are Orders that apply to you and your spouse.  In summary, the Automatic Orders state:

a. You cannot withdraw or sell any real estate, personal property, stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts, cars, boats that you or your spouse own.

b. You cannot withdraw or sell any retirement type accounts (401K, 403B, IRA).

c. You cannot incur unreasonable debts.

d. You cannot remove your spouse or any children from any medical, dental or life insurance plan.

There is an exception to most of the above rules, you can transfer, withdraw funds that are in “the usual course of business, for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with the divorce.”  Before you make any large financial decisions, you should consult with your attorney on whether or not it might violate the Automatic Orders.

  1. Not listening to your attorney: Your attorney will give you lots of advice during your divorce. It is important to listen to this advice.  In too many cases, a client will do ‘what they think is right”, yet, this will almost always work against their interests, including their financial interests.  Furthermore, by not listening to your attorney, you will probably incur more legal fees.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped hundreds of clients in their divorce.  David Badanes is well respected throughout the field and has the experience and knowledge to help you.  The Badanes Law Office helps clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City.

If you are seeking a divorce, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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What Cats Can Teach You About Divorce

Yes, you read that right, cats can teach you something about divorce. As someone who has watched several cat videos, their behavior offers lessons for us humans on the divorce process. So, what can cats teach us:

  1. Cats don’t listen to other cats. Cats are not pack animals, they don’t blindly listen or follow what other cats do. When going through a divorce, your family and friends may give you lots of advice on how to handle your divorce. They may mean well, but, all too often their advice is not helpful. It is better to listen to your attorney’s advice.
  2. Cats can take care of themselves. Most cats are pretty independent and are good at taking care of themselves. In your divorce, you may need to learn how to take care of yourself.
  3. Cats are tough. If you have watched those cat videos, you are probably amazed at what cats can endure, and come out as if nothing happened to them. You will need to apply this advice in your divorce. A divorce can be very stressful and you may be faced with some difficult issues. Like a cat, you need to be tough and find a way to be successful, no matter what a divorce throws at you.
  4. Cats don’t need expensive jewelry or anything expensive. You buy a cat a cute little cat toy, and most likely it will play with the box it came in. Cats make do with what they have. So, in your divorce, you may be focused on what “things” you used to have, but, it may be better to focus on what is really important than on “things”.
  5. Cats will not tolerate bad behavior. Cat owners know that cats will not put up with crazy or annoying behavior. The same goes for your divorce. You may not be able to change your ex’s behavior, but, there is no need for you to tolerate it. If your ex’s actions are negatively affecting the children, you must take action.

You don’t have to love cats to know that they can teach you something about divorce. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office recognize that a divorce is a stressful time, but, like a cat, will help you navigate the process. If you need a divorce attorney with cat-like reflexes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County.

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You Have Been Served!!! What To Do Now?

If you have been served with divorce papers, here is what you need to do:

1. Don’t panic. Most likely, you know that your marriage has been failing. Although, you might be in shock that your spouse actually filed for divorce, there is no reason to panic. If you are going to handle your divorce, then you must stay level-headed.

2. Technically, you only have 20 days to respond to the divorce papers. However, if for some reason, you need more time, you most likely can get an extension of that time. Although, it is not a good idea to be “late”, you may be able to explain, to the Court, why your response is late. If you do not respond at all, then you will be facing serious consequences. The bottom line, hire an attorney as soon as possible, but, don’t rush into it.

3. Find an attorney that specializes in divorces and that you are comfortable with. You will need an attorney to represent you. However, do not rush into hiring any attorney, you should hire a divorce attorney that you are comfortable with. You should also retain an attorney who specializes in divorce cases.

4. You will need to obtain financial documents, for example: tax returns, bank statements, retirement statements, mortgage statements etc.

If you have been served with divorce papers, you need to hire an attorney that will personally handle your divorce, a lawyer that you can trust, knows the law, and represent you zealously.
David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you and will answer all your questions about the divorce process. Contact David Badanes, Esq. at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Should I Start The Divorce Process Now Or Should I Wait?

You want to get divorced, but, you are unsure whether you should start the process now or should you wait.  Getting divorced is difficult and can be a very emotional time.  However, there are very good reasons why you may want to file for a divorce as soon as possible and not wait.

If you wait to file a divorce, each day you wait, gives your spouse the opportunity to:

  1. Take money out of the bank accounts and use that money to bankroll his/her attorney or just spend it on themselves.  Any money taken out of bank account, BEFORE, someone files for a divorce will be difficult to try to get back.
  2. Take out loans or incur debt that you will be 50% responsible for.  Any loans or debt that are incurred prior to the filing for a divorce, you may be 50% responsible for.
  3. Gather evidence against you.  Before a divorce is filed, you may have your guard down.  Your spouse could be filming you or taking audio recordings of you, hoping to use them against you in the divorce.

Therefore, it may be in your best interest to file for a divorce, sooner versus later.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you.  David Badanes knows that each divorce is unique and treats it as such.  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 Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale).  In addition, The Badanes Law Office can arrange to meet you in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn.

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Why You May Want To File Bankruptcy Before Filing For A Divorce?

One of the reasons that couples file for a divorce is due to financial stress and debt. Similarly, one of the reasons you may file for bankruptcy is to get out of debt.

Filing for a divorce or filing for bankruptcy are decisions that should be taken seriously and both have consequences. However, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, there are many reasons why you may want to file for bankruptcy before filing for your divorce.

#1. Filing a joint bankruptcy will save you money. While you are married, you and your spouse can file a joint bankruptcy case. This will save you money, because there will only be one court filing fee, one set of documents to produce and one meeting with creditors. It will also typically save you on attorney fees. Although an attorney may charge more to do a joint bankruptcy case versus a single bankruptcy case, an attorney will almost never charge double the fee of a single bankruptcy case for a joint bankruptcy case.

#2. You get double the exemption. In a bankruptcy, there are certain exemptions that allow you keep some property. By filing a joint bankruptcy case you get to double the amount of exemptions, therefore, effectively doubling the amount of property you can keep.

#3. Saves time. Typically, filing for bankruptcy before filing for a divorce will save you time in both the bankruptcy case and in your divorce case. The bankruptcy will help to eliminate the parties’ debt and resolve some of the same issues in the divorce. Furthermore, if you file for a divorce first, and then, in the middle of the divorce, the other spouse files for bankruptcy, that will cause the divorce to have a delay in its proceeding.

#4: Helps in the Divorce. In a divorce, the assets and the debt must be allocated and taken care of.  By first filing for bankruptcy, you will eliminate most, if not all, of your credit card debt, personal loans and other unsecured debt. This will help resolve those issues in the divorce.

#5. A bankruptcy may even prevent the divorce. One of the leading causes of divorce, is financial stress and financial debt. Although, a bankruptcy is difficult, it may reduce the amount of stress on your marriage.

#6. No joint debt.  By filing a joint bankruptcy case, you may be able to eliminate your joint debt.  Conversely, if a divorce is filed before your file for bankruptcy, then you and your spouse will need to split up this joint debt. This can be time consuming and lead to more legal fees in the divorce.

#7. Not filing for joint bankruptcy – you may stuck with most of the debt. The rules for debt in a bankruptcy case and in a divorce case are vastly different. If your spouse files for bankruptcy before the divorce, your spouse may leave you stuck with paying all of your debt.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce or need advice about your divorce, please 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 Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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Divorce: Focus On What Is Important And Not On The Little Things

If you are in the middle of a divorce or thinking of getting divorced, it is important to focus on what is important and not on the “little things.” Many clients, due to the emotional impact of the divorce or because of revenge, will focus on the little things and not on what is really important.

For example, most of the time it is not important to focus on how to divide the personal property in the house. Usually, the time and energy spent on how to divide the furniture or other items is not worth the cost to do so. Typically, the only time it pays to fight over the furniture is when the furniture is an “antique” or has a significant value.

As another example, couples will argue over how to divide a $200.00 tax refund check or how to pay for a small household expense. It just doesn’t make economic sense to argue over such a small monetary item.

Some clients will state that it’s the “principle”, I have to get this – without realizing that “principle” may not, and probably is not, “the law.”  Furthermore, the principle you are arguing about will cost you more to fight over than to just try to work it out on your own.

Before arguing over an expense or an item, take a deep breath and think before you act. Think: Is this really worth fighting over?  Am I trying to get something on “principle”?  Does this really make a difference?

Instead of focusing on the little things, it is much better to spend your time and resources on things that do matter, for example: Child Custody, Child Support, Spousal Maintenance (alimony), and What to do with the Marital Home?

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous clients in helping them to focus on the important aspects of their divorce. If you live in Suffolk County, Nassau County or New York City and need a divorce (matrimonial) lawyer, 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 Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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What Is The Process Involved In An Uncontested Divorce? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq., an experienced divorce attorney who has been assisting individuals with postnuptial agreements, and with matrimonial law issues.
What is the process involved in an uncontested divorce?

You may be wondering what the process is involved in an uncontested divorce. Typically, in an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse have worked through the issues of child custody, of child support, and division of assets. If you can’t work out those issues before meeting with an attorney, an attorney can give you a list of the issues and the basic questionnaire to work with those issues with your spouse. However, typically, those issues are worked out prior to meeting with an attorney. However, you can’t workout 100% of those issues, the attorney can meet with you to try to help you resolve those issues with your spouse and identify the exact issues that need to be resolved before going to court.

In an uncontested divorce, everything is resolved before you actually go to court and the documents are submitted to the court and the clerk to get you divorced.

What Is The Process Of A Contested Divorce? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq., an experienced divorce attorney who has been assisting individuals with postnuptial agreements, and with matrimonial law issues.

What is the process of a contested divorce?

If you are involved in a contested divorce, there are many stages involved in a contested divorce. The first thing that will happen will be a preliminary conference. You and your spouse are required to go to court and the attorneys, and you may meet with the judge to give the basic information to the judge about your particular case – how many children, what your income is, whether you own a house, what your general assets are. It’s not a full-blown hearing. It’s a meeting with the judge to get the basic information about your divorce. That’s what a preliminary conference is.

After the preliminary conference, typically the next stage is what’s called discovery. This is where you and your spouse will exchange information with the respective attorneys or all the documents involved in your financial information, income taxes, bank information, pension information, insurance information, and all the financial documents that will be needed for the divorce.

After the discovery is completed. There may be what’s called a deposition or what some people call EBT. Deposition is where you sit down, and the attorney gets to ask you with questions about your financials. Again, how much income you make, how much schooling you’ve had, how many child support you’ve been paying. The other attorney gets to ask you questions, and your attorney gets to ask your spouse with questions as well.

After deposition, there will be preparation for a trial. And that again goes through the financial information and prepares you for trial. And then eventually, there will be a trial scheduled and at the day of the trial typically the judge will ask if there’s been a settlement or can the parties go and try to settle the case. The judges always like to have settlements even on the day of trial. If you cannot settle the case then, of course, there will be a trial and that could by anywhere from one day, 3 days or 3 weeks depending on how complicated your divorce is.