Adultery and Your Divorce (Adultery is Still A Crime in New York State)

New York is now a “no-fault” divorce State. This means, that you do not have to demonstrate fault in order to get divorced. This also means, that in a divorce, the Court is not concerned with why you are getting divorced, they are only concerned with the issues of the divorce (e.g., child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, distribution of assets, etc.).

However, some clients want the Court to find that their spouse committed adultery and want to punish their spouse for their actions. Although you can still add adultery as one of the reasons why you want to get divorced (called a “cause of action”), virtually every Judge will want to handle the divorce without deciding adultery. It is extremely difficult to prove your spouse committed adultery. Adding adultery as a cause of action will increase the time to get divorced and also add the amount of money you need to spend to get divorced. Accordingly, it is extremely rare to add adultery as one of the reasons why you are seeking a divorce.

Yet, despite the fact that the divorce court will not consider adultery as one of the reasons why you are getting a divorce, adultery is still a crime in New York State. Adultery is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. This means that technically you could go to jail for up to 90 days and pay a fine.

However, it is extremely rare for anyone to be arrested just for adultery. Indeed, since 1972, only 13 persons have been charged with adultery. Of those 13 persons, only five actually were convicted of the crime. In virtually every one of those cases, there was some other crime that was committed and the prosecuting attorney added adultery as just one of many crimes committed.

Therefore, although adultery is still technically a crime, there is extremely little chance that you will be prosecuted for the crime. Furthermore, in a divorce, whether or not you or your spouse committed adultery will not be the basis of your divorce.

If you live in Long Island and need an attorney, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office 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.

Traveling With Your Children – During and After Your Divorce

Here is what you need to know about traveling with your child – during and after your divorce.

For International Travel:

  • Passports: If your child is under the age of 16 years of age, both parents must sign the child’s passport. Both parents should also be present when you obtain the child’s passport. However, if one parent is not there, that parent can sign a document giving their consent. If the child is over the age of 16, only one parent has to sign the child’s passport.
  • Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program: This is a program run by the State Department that verifies that both parents have consented to allow a child to travel with a passport.

For Both International and Domestic Travel:

  • Itinerary (Knowledge) of Travel Plans: The parent who is not traveling, should be provided with the full itinerary of the traveling parent’s travel plans. They should know where the children are going, what airlines and flights they are taking, and what hotels they are taking. They should also know exactly what days that the children will be away from home.
  • Prior notice: In most divorce agreements, you will need to give adequate prior notice to the other parent on the information stated above.

What if you object to the children’s travel plans?

If you object to the children’s travel plans, you should first consult with your attorney. You may be able to present your objections to the Court (typically in the form of an emergency motion). However, in order to succeed, you need to have a very good reason why the children should not be permitted to travel.

One area where you may have a legitimate reason for concern is where there is a reason to believe that the parent is not going to return from their international travel. You should determine if the United States has extradition rights with the destination country or if the destination country is part of the Hague Convention treaty.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., have provided legal advice and common sense advice to numerous parents about traveling with their children. If you have questions about traveling with your child or you are seeking a divorce, contact: David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C 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 – Does it Matter if I’m the Plaintiff or Defendant

For New York Divorce cases, there will be a Plaintiff and a Defendant (in other States, they may be called a Petitioner and a Respondent). Does it matter if you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant? The short answer is that it really doesn’t matter.

Unlike most every other type of case, in a divorce, whether you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant, has virtually no effect on the ultimate result of the divorce. This is because New York, like every other State is a “no-fault divorce State.” Therefore, you do not have to “prove” that you are entitled to a divorce. So, you do not have to meet your burden of proof to show that you are entitled to a divorce. In contrast, in other types of cases, the Plaintiff has to establish that they “win” by a preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence or in a criminal case, by showing the Defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a divorce case, no one is deemed guilty and no one is deemed to be “at fault.” This is why it really doesn’t matter which person is the Plaintiff and which person is the Defendant.

In a divorce case, the Plaintiff is the person who filed for the divorce. If there is a trial, the Plaintiff will be the person who has to present their witnesses first. After the Plaintiff presents all their witnesses, then the Defendant will then bring forth their witnesses.

However, there are some small differences in being the Plaintiff compared to being the Defendant. The Plaintiff will pay the fee to file the Summons ($210) and typically will have to file the fees for getting a Judge assigned ($95) and a document called the Note of Issue ($30). In general, the Plaintiff is also responsible for making sure all the documents are filed to finish the divorce process. In addition, the Plaintiff will have to make sure that the Defendant is properly served and will usually hire a process server to effectuate the service.

The Court and the Judge do not give an advantage or disadvantage to whether you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant.

There are many other issues in a divorce, and they can be complicated. You need an expert attorney who can guide you through the process. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have represented countless clients and have achieved excellent results. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office 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.

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.

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Working Dads and Divorce

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

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

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

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How Does a Divorce Effect Social Security Benefits?

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

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

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

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

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

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you need an experienced Matrimonial and Divorce Attorney to guide you through the process. Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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