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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Getting Divorced: Should You File Joint or Separate Tax Returns?

If you are getting divorce or recently divorced, one of the many questions you will have is, “Should I file my tax return separately or jointly?”

Most accountants will tell you to file a joint tax return as you will pay less taxes than if you both file a separate return.  If you and your soon-to-be-ex use the same accountant, you can have the accountant calculate your tax return by first using a joint tax return and then calculate your tax returns by using two separate returns. Your accountant can then explain the difference in taxes between the two alternatives.

There might be good reasons why you want to file two separate tax returns. If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is filing false or misleading information, then filing a separate tax return will protect you. Filing a separate tax return may also help you qualify for more financial aid for college or for more government programs.

However, if you are going to file a separate tax return, you might have to take into consideration the Court’s viewpoint on whether or not you can file separately.  Since, filing separately most likely will result in paying more taxes, a Court might view this as “wasteful”.  If you are unsure and want to file a separate return, you or your attorneys should request the Court’s permission to file a separate return.  In that application, you should be prepared to inform the Court on the monetary difference between filing a joint return and two separate returns.

If you have children and you are going to file two separate tax returns, you need to determine who is going to claim the children as an exemption (also known as a deduction).  Each exemption could be worth thousands of dollars.

Since each person’s financial situation is different, before making the decision on whether to file a separate or joint tax return, it is imperative that you talk to an accountant (or other tax professional) before filing your taxes.  You also need to inform your divorce attorney on what you want to do.

If you are seeking a divorce and have questions on your taxes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website 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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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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The Three Most Important Things to Know About Your Contested Divorce Case

If you are involved or going to be involved in a contested divorce, you need to know the three most important things about your case.

#1: Always follow the Court’s Orders: In a contested divorce, the Court – meaning the Judge – will probably issue various Orders. It is imperative that you follow the Court’s Orders. Every Judge wants their Orders to be followed. Disregarding a Judge’s Order will almost always get you “in hot water”. You could be held in contempt, face court fines or pay your spouse’s attorney’s legal fees.

#2: Never argue with the Judge: If you disagree with what the Judge is saying or doing, arguing in Court will typically make things worse. Let your attorney argue for you. You can certainly let your attorney know that what the Judge is saying or doing is “wrong”. The Court is used to a divorce attorney advocating (arguing) for your benefit. However, it is a rare Judge that wants to hear a party arguing themselves. Even, if you are representing yourself, although you may present your facts and legal arguments, arguing with the Judge is still not recommended.

#3: Consistently being late to Court or not going to Court at all. If you are required to be in Court (or in a virtual session), then you must: (i) attend; and (ii) be on time. No Judge wants to be waiting for you to arrive or told that you will not be arriving (unless you have a very good reason).  Even worse, if you are consistently late or absent, the Court can impose sanctions and penalties on you. Show up and be on time.

During a divorce, it is important to make sure that you follow the Three Things in this blog. Not following court orders, arguing with the Judge and/or being late will only hurt your case and worse, can lead to fines and for you to pay your spouse’s attorney’s fees.

If you are seeking a divorce, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@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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How An Order of Protection Affects A Divorce Case

An Order of Protection, also known as a Restraining Order, may be issued against you or your spouse before or during a divorce. An Order of Protection can affect your divorce case in many ways.

In New York, an Order of Protection can be a criminal matter or a civil matter. If it is a criminal matter, the case will be prosecuted as a crime and the District Attorney’s office will most likely serve as the prosecution. As with any criminal case, the District Attorney has to show that you committed the crime by the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In contrast, if the case is a civil matter, then the burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence”, which essentially means that you prove your case by greater than 50%. Another difference is that there is no District Attorney who prosecutes the case. If you are the accuser, you either have to hire an attorney or you can prosecute the case yourself.

There are also two types of penalties granted in an Order of Protection, they are: (i) a “Refrain From” action(s); and (ii) ‘Stay Away”.

A Refrain From will state what actions or laws you should “refrain from”. Typically, a Refrain From order will state that you are to refrain from harassment, disorderly conduct, assault and a whole litany of other illegal acts.

A Stay Away Order will typically order you to stay away from the residence of the victim, the victim’s employment and other places the victim usually is.

Obviously, if a Stay Away Order is granted and you have to move from one residence to another, this could have profound consequences in your divorce. Not only will you need to find alternate housing in addition a court can take into account domestic violence (i.e. the Order of Protection) in its award of spousal maintenance and child custody.

Although, a Refrain From Order does not automatically result in relocation, it also has serious consequences. If you violate a Refrain From Order, then you could be immediately arrested and face imprisonment and fines. Similar to a Stay Away Order, the court can take into account the Refrain From Order in its award of spousal maintenance and child custody.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have helped many individuals who have been a victim of Domestic Violence or who have been falsely accused of Domestic Violence.

If you need a Long Island divorce attorney to help you navigate through a Domestic Violence case and your divorce, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. Call 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Why Adultery Can Still Matter In A Divorce

Since, 2010, New York has been a no-fault divorce state. This means, that for the vast majority of divorces, you do not have to allege any grounds (meaning reasons) why you want to get divorced.  Prior to this law, one of the most common grounds that was cited was adultery. Now, it is extremely rare for adultery to be stated as one of the grounds for your divorce. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule.

One of the main exceptions, is if there is a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial that states that if a spouse commits adultery, then the other spouse may get more assets or more maintenance. This would be a very good reason why you would need to cite adultery as one of the grounds.

Indeed, in a recent case, this is exactly what happened. The parties had a post-nuptial agreement, that stated if the husband engaged in adultery, that he would have to give to the wife 80% of all the marital assets. When filing for divorce, the wife made sure to state adultery as one of the causes of divorce.

There are two other main areas where adultery can still matter. First, if the adulterous spouse spent large amounts of money on the “other person”, then this may be deemed to be wasteful spending and the innocent spouse may be entitled to monetary compensation. For example, if the spouse took the “other person” on an expensive vacation, the amount of money spent on this vacation would most likely be considered wasteful spending.

Adultery can also matter when it comes to the amount of spousal maintenance that is awarded.  In considering the amount of maintenance, a court can take into account if a spouse had an affair. Although, this is technically available, most courts do not take into account adultery when setting the amount of spousal maintenance.

It is also important to know when adultery does not matter. In deciding child custody, whether or not, one spouse committed adultery, will have little to no effect on which parent gets custody or the amount of time that a parent gets with a child.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provide real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you suspect that your spouse has committed adultery, contact the Badanes Law Office to see what your rights are.

If you are contemplating getting a divorce on Long Island, 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. We have offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Financial Considerations for Divorce in the New Year

Many people view the new year as a fresh start. For some this means coming to the realization that divorce is the best decision for their family and themselves. This new change can be positive for both individuals, especially if kids are involved, and might be what the family needs to start the new year the right way.

However, just because it is the right decision, doesn’t mean there won’t be complications, especially when it comes to finances. If you are considering divorce in the new year, there are some financial considerations to be aware of, so you are as prepared as possible. Understanding the financial concerns that come with divorce will help your divorce this new year feel like a fresh start, rather than a burden.

Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island shared insight into financial considerations for divorce.

  • Spousal and child support. While child support and spouse maintenance payments (alimony) are two separate things, they are related and both important considerations during divorce. Which spouse pays and receives alimony and child support will depend on several factors. For alimony, the most significant factor is the income of both parties. Child support will depend on who the primary caretaker of the children will be after the divorce. The details of spouse maintenance payments and child support will depend on your specific circumstances, so you should be prepared for conversations and an analysis of what these will look like when you file.
  • Primary residence and other assets. When a couple goes through a divorce, many things are divided between them. Typically, the largest asset for married couples is their home and any other second homes.  Another significant asset is typically each party’s retirement funds. Dividing these and other assets is one of the other major issues involved in a divorce.
  • Debt does not go away. Determining what happens to a couple’s debt during divorce is a complicated process. Mortgage debt and credit card debt are two of the most common types of debt that will come up in a divorce. The division of this debt will depend on a myriad of circumstances. Assigning responsibility for debt is not simple, so be prepared to have many conversations with your lawyer about this topic when you file for divorce.
  • Tax changes. How you file taxes will change after your divorce. While you’re married, you can file taxes as “married, filing jointly,” but this is no longer an option after divorce. Your tax benefits will change afterwards, so it’s important to understand how you should file, either as “single person” or “head of household.” Spousal maintenance payments, mortgage and property taxes, and child support will also affect how you file your taxes. Talk with your lawyer and your accountant if you have any confusion about how to file your taxes post-divorce.
  • Retirement plans. When it comes to retirement funds, most of the time, they are usually divided equally between the parties. However, this is not always the case.  It is important to discuss this with your lawyer to see what your situation qualifies for..

There are many items to consider when you go through a divorce, and financial considerations are among the most stressful. It’s best to be prepared practically and mentally, and hire a lawyer you trust, so the process will go smoothly. Divorce is an opportunity for a fresh start this new year, but there are steps you should take to make this journey as straightforward as possible.

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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Universal Children’s Day: Tips to Help Kids Cope with Divorce

November 20th is Universal Children’s Day, a time dedicated to improving the welfare of all children. When two parents get divorced, children must transition into a new lifestyle as several aspects of their living situation are changed. Not seeing both parents all the time or having to split time spent with both of them may bring on a mix of emotions including feelings of confusion and guilt.

Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island shared his suggestions for co-parenting and helping kids cope with divorce in healthy ways.

Create a Parenting Plan: Keeping in contact with your former spouse will help proactively avoid confusion and conflict regarding custody dates and times outlined in the court order. It is important not to argue about child custody or visitation in front of your children. Once a plan is established, familiarize your child with the agreed-upon routine. This will help them find stability in all the changes going on around them. It is important for children to understand that both parents will still be present in their lives.

Keep Conversations Age Appropriate: Divorce impacts children of all ages. When talking to your children about the divorce, tailor the conversation to their understanding. Since kids develop emotionally at different rates, the way you discuss divorce with an elementary-aged school child is different than the way that you would introduce the topic to a college-aged child. No matter the age of your child, ensure them that they are still loved by both of their parents. Maintaining positive relationships with both parents will help with the coping process.

Validate Your Child’s Feelings: Every child responds to divorce differently. A school-aged child may react to the divorce with moodiness and a desire for their parents to get back together. Adolescents may experience depression, aggression, and trouble focusing on their work. Make sure to reassure your child that the feelings they are experiencing are normal. Being a good listener will go a long way in helping your child adjust. You may also want to consider counseling for you, your children or family counseling.

Keep Routines as Consistent as Possible: Children positively benefit from structure and routine. With all the changes that come along with a divorce, try and keep certain elements of their routine that are in your control consistent. It is also important to have a conversation with your child to see what they like or don’t like about their current routines to see if any positive changes can be made. Making certain changes within reason can help with adjusting to a new lifestyle as it allows your child to feel heard. If your children split time between two households, discuss rules and boundaries with your ex-spouse to enforce similar rules in both homes. This will prevent conflicts between child and parent and between former spouses.

The circumstances surrounding every divorce are different and it is up to you to decide what is right for your children. If you are having trouble figuring out your co-parenting situation and would like some advice, there are plenty of resources available to you, including counseling for yourself or your child.

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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A Parent’s Guide to Managing Divorce During the Holidays

Whether parents are in the process of finalizing a divorce or have recently gotten divorced, it is no longer assumed that they will spend holidays together with their children. With Thanksgiving approaching, divorced parents who are new to co-parenting may be wondering how to manage family holidays with their children. There are several options and strategies for divorced parents to consider ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition for both themselves and their children this season.

Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island shared his suggestions of how to plan for divorced families wanting to celebrate the holidays together.

Coordinate with Former Spouse: Communication with your former spouse is key for a smooth transition into your first holiday season apart. Make sure both parents are clear about dates, times, and schedules outlined in the court order to avoid potential confusion or conflict. Discussing holidays plans with your-ex spouse will also help alleviate any guilt or sadness your children may be experiencing for spending certain days with one parent but not the other.

Make New Traditions: Due to custody scheduling, parents tend to alternate who spends each holiday with the children. If you can’t spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah with your children, make sure you remember to enjoy the time that you can spend with them. If you can’t celebrate on the official date of the holiday plan a fun dinner or outing with your kids to make the celebration unique and memorable for your children. By creating new traditions, your child has something to look forward to with both parents.

Set Expectations for Your Children: Just as communication is essential with your former spouse, it is also important to keep your children in the loop regarding holiday plans. This will reassure the children that both parents will be spending time with them and that they are not being left out of any festivities. Allow them time to express their concerns or suggestions for new holiday traditions, so that they feel as though their opinion is valued when important family decisions are made.

Don’t Make Celebrating the Holidays a Competition: Feeling the need to make your child’s holiday experience with you better than their experience with your ex-spouse will add unnecessary stress to yourself and will put a strain on your relationship with your children. There is no need to overspend on gifts to try and outdo your former partner because this will give your children the wrong idea of what the holidays are really about: spending time with the ones you love. A great way to avoid the temptation to compete is to coordinate with your ex-spouse before the holidays to discuss gift ideas for your children. This will ensure that each child gets what they want and that the gifts from both parents appear to be equal.

If parents follow these strategies during the holiday season you and your ex-partner will have a higher likelihood of enjoying the festivities this year. Both your children and other family members will thank you for it. Everyone deserves a relaxing holiday season in which they get to spend time with loved ones.

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 attorney on Long Island 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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5 Things To Know About Protecting Your Privacy During A Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, many changes will occur.  One thing that should not be overlooked is your privacy.  The following are five things you should do to protect your privacy during the divorce process.

#1: You need to change your online passwords:  Your spouse may know your passwords or have a good idea on how to “guess” what they are. The last thing you want is your spouse accessing your accounts. Make sure you use a new password that your spouse cannot guess. A good idea is to think of a sentence, for example: “Today is November 10” or “I love the fall leaves”. Just make sure it is something you can remember and that your spouse will not use. You also need to make sure that you change the password for all of the following: bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, utilities (electric), Netflix, Amazon, department store accounts, etc.

#2: Wi-Fi network:  Similar to changing your online passwords, you might need to change your home and if applicable, office, Wi-Fi network password for the modem and router. You also might want to change your IP address. To change your IP address might require some technical assistance.

#3: Cell phones and shared electronics:  You should also change the password to your cell phone and any other shared electronics.

#4: New bank accounts:  After your divorce, most people will need a new bank account, so, you might as well get one now. This also helps to protect you as you will be able to keep your banking information separate from your spouse.

#5: New credit cards: Similar to getting a new bank account, it is a smart idea to apply for your own credit card.

During a divorce, it is important to maintain your privacy. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have represented numerous clients and provided real-world advice to help them through the divorce process.

If you are seeking a divorce lawyer on Long Island, 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 has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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