Can My Soon-To-Be-Ex Legally Take the House I Inherited?

You may have inherited a house prior to your marriage or even during the marriage. Provided that you have not placed your spouse on the Deed to this house, then your soon-to-be ex-spouse does not have any legal right to the house. However, they may have some rights to be financially compensated.

If you did place your spouse on the Deed, then the house may be considered a marital asset that has to be equitably divided (not necessarily 50/50, but in a “fair” manner).

Even if you didn’t place your spouse’s name on the Deed, if your spouse can show that they paid the mortgage or other expenses for the house, then they may be entitled to financial compensation. For example, if the mortgage was paid from your spouse’s own bank account, then they may be entitled to receive some monies from the eventual sale of the house or from the divorce.

Therefore, if you inherited a house or any type of asset, you should make sure not to place your spouse on the deed. You will also want to keep an accounting of how the expenses were paid for the house.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have helped hundreds of clients in protecting their inherited homes. If you have questions regarding any property that you inherited, and how to protect it, 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 on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Is My Pension Considered an Asset in A Divorce?

The answer is Yes, as a pension is considered an asset in a divorce.

According to New York State law, pension benefits and retirement benefits earned during a marriage are considered marital property and subject to distribution in the event of a divorce. This means that each spouse is entitled to a share of the other spouse’s pension benefits and retirement benefits.

In general terms, there are two types of pension/retirement benefits, they are:

Defined Benefit Pensions: Typically, this the type of benefit an employee would receive from working for the government or public entity. For example, teachers, police officers, New York City firefighters, other school employees are typically entitled to a defined benefit pension. Some large companies also may offer a defined benefit pension. A defined benefit means that the benefit formula that an employee is entitled to is defined and known in advance. It also typically means that the employer funds typically funds 100% of the amount that the employee is entitled to.

Defined Contribution Plans: In this type of plan, both the employee and employer will make contributions to an account in which the employee is entitled to upon the employee’s retirement or in leaving the company. Typically, the accounts are invested in the stock market or sometimes in bonds.

Regardless, of which type of pension/retirement plan a spouse has, the other spouse is entitled to the portion of that plan that was earned during the marriage. Here, is how that works:

Assume the following facts: If the spouse was earning pension benefits for 4 years prior to the marriage, then you were married for 15 years before the commencement of the divorce, the spouse continued to earn pension benefits after the commencement of the divorce for another 6 years. So in total, the souse worked earned pension benefits for 25 years (4 + 15 + 6), and during that time earned 15 years while married.

In this example, the formula (which is called the Majuskas Formula), states:

50% X Number of years earned during marriage
———————————————— (divided by)
Total Number or years earning pension benefits

So it would be 50% X 15/25 or 30% of the spouse’s pension benefits.

In virtually all divorce cases, a third-party expert company will be hired to determine the exact amount of pension benefits each spouse is entitled to.

If you have questions regarding your rights to pension benefits or retirement benefits during a divorce, 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 us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Lori Loughlin’s and Felicity Huffman’s Choices and How that Relates to Your Divorce

As you may have heard, two actresses made very different choices when it came to the criminal charges against them. Lori Loughlin has decided to plead “not guilty”, while, it has been reported that Felicity Huffman has decided to plead “guilty”. Although their choices were made in the context of a criminal matter, they illustrate how different cases and situations result in different choices. This article explains some of the choices you have in your divorce matter.

In a divorce, there are two major choices to be made:

  • Go to Trial; OR
  • Settle

It is estimated that 95% of divorce cases settle. Of that amount, some people settle at the very last minute, meaning on the day of trial.

The reasons why people settle is that typically if you choose to go to trial, they will be spending a lot of money in attorney fees, while if they choose to settle, the opposite will most likely be true, as they will be saving a lot of money in attorney fees.

In addition, choosing to settle, typically results in a better outcome. This is because, in a trial, most Court Orders are not as extensive as the settlement agreement. This could mean that the Court’s order will leave out important details. In contrast, a settlement agreement usually is very detailed.

Of course, in some cases, choosing to go to trial may be the best option. In order to decide which choice you should make, you need to consult with your attorney.

There are many other choices that most likely will have to be made in your divorce case, they include:

  • Housing: Do you choose to retain the marital home or do you choose to sell it. If you choose to try to retain it, for how long?
  • Child Custody: Do you choose to agree to joint custody? Do you fight for sole custody?
  • Parenting time: There are numerous choices to be made in deciding what your parenting time will be and what your spouse’s parenting time will be.

When signing an agreement, a client may state: “I had no choice”. That is incorrect, I tell them, that there is always a choice. Here, the choice is to either sign the agreement or if you don’t sign the agreement, then a Judge will make a decision. The client’s choice is to weigh out the positives and negatives of signing the agreement versus the potential outcome if the case goes to trial.

Divorce presents many choices. One of your first choices will be who you decide to hire for your attorney. If you are seeking an experienced attorney who will present all the choices and explain them to you, in plain English and how those choices affect you, 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.

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.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

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.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

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.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

Stay at Home Moms and Divorce

If you are a Stay At Home Mom and thinking of getting a divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, you need to know what your rights are.

You need to know that the courts will recognize your contribution as the caregiver for the children.

As a stay at home mom, while the divorce is in process you may be eligible for temporary child support and temporary spousal support.

Most likely your spouse will be required to pay some or most of your attorney fees.
Here are some other things you should know or do:

  • Keep a log (diary) of your daily and weekly caregiving duties with the children.
  • Determine what the monthly expenses are, including, the mortgage, utilities, car expenses
  • Determine how much support and money you will need after the divorce.
  • Open up your own bank account
  • Get a copy of the important financial documents

If you are a stay at home mom, you face specific challenges. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented countless stay at moms and helped them in their divorce.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

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.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

What a Billionaire’s Divorce Can Teach You

You may not be a billionaire, but the laws apply equally to billionaires as it does for everyone else. Harry Macklowe and Linda Macklowe are billionaires, they are the owners or an impressive art collection that according to Mr. Macklowe’s expert, is worth $788 million dollars, but, according to Ms. Macklowe’s expert is worth $625 million dollars. This illustrates that when it comes to personal property (which is what an art collection is considered), that valuation can be difficult and can vary widely. The same principle applies to any personal property that you and your spouse may own and that you may be arguing over. You may say that your car is worth $20,000, while your spouse says it is worth $10,000. So, what will happen? Well, similar to the Macklowe’s divorce, there are a few choices that the Court can choose from.

The court could decide to:

  1. Sell the asset (here, the car, in the Macklowe divorce, some of the art collection).
  2. Retain a receiver to determine what to do with the asset. A receiver is a third party that is appointed by the Court. A receiver will get a fee for performing its services, and in some cases, their fee is based on the amount of money they can obtain from selling the asset. Typically, receivers are used to manage and sell real estate property, but, as with the Macklowe divorce, a receiver can also be used to sell personal property. In the Macklowe divorce, the receiver decided to sell some of the art and give some of it to each party.
  3. Give the asset to one party, and compensate the other party with cash. In my car example, the Court could decide to let you keep the car, but, then you would have to give 50% of your valuation to your spouse, so, you would have to give $10,000 to your spouse. This is why, you don’t want to overvalue your asset, if you do, you may end up giving more money to your spouse then what the property is really worth. However, you also don’t want to undervalue your asset, because the Court could also give the car to your spouse (who said it was worth only $10,000), in that case, your spouse would only have to give you $5,000 and that may be a lot less than what the car is really worth.
  4. Allow the parties some time to reach a settlement on how to distribute personal property. Typically, this is the best method for dividing up personal property. It allows you and your spouse control over the process, and typically, will result in none of the property being sold and with each party getting a fair share of the property.

So, although you may not own an art collection worth millions of dollars, it is likely that you do own personal property, which includes, as some examples: cars, furniture, tools, equipment, jewelry, and sports collections. In many instances, determining the value of the personal property can be difficult. Just as in the Macklowe divorce, the Court has a few choices on how to distribute that personal property. In most cases, the best course of action is to reach an agreement with your spouse on how to distribute the personal property.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can help you with your divorce, including issues of dealing with personal property. David Badanes has helped numerous clients in their divorce cases. The Badanes Law Office handles all types of divorce cases, from the extremely complicated to simple uncontested divorces, and everything in-between.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, or are thinking of hiring a new attorney for your divorce, 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.

Please like us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.