How Are Divorces Being Affected by the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus is affecting all aspects of our “normal” life. The Court system is no exception. The Courts have decided that only “emergency” applications and filings will be allowed.

So far, in Suffolk County, they are not accepting new divorce actions. In Nassau County, you can commence a new divorce action by e-filing. If you have a pending divorce, most likely any court appearances have been adjourned to a date in May or even to a later month. If there are any pending motions, they will be extended.

If there are any temporary orders of custody or support, they are continued. If there is a temporary order of protection that is scheduled to end, then the end date has been indefinitely extended until the Coronavirus emergency is over.

In summary, your divorce action is basically “on hold”. However, it is important to note that each Judge may be handling your case differently. Therefore, you should always check with your attorney to confirm what exactly has happened to your divorce case.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. is keeping apprised of the new developments as it pertains to the Coronavirus. David Badanes have helped countless clients going through their divorce and navigating them through the process.

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After a Divorce Can I Still Collect as a Beneficiary?

It is fairly common that during a marriage, you will name your spouse as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy, mutual funds, retirement accounts, trust and other similar assets. When you get divorced, your divorce agreement should explicitly state that you revoke that designation — with one very large exception. If there are children involved, the divorce agreement can state that the children are the beneficiary and that your ex-spouse is just a trustee or guardian of the assets.

However, even if the divorce agreement does not explicitly revoke your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, New York State law provides that a divorce automatically revokes such designations. There is an exception to the law, namely if the insurance policy, retirement account or trust expressly states that a divorce does not revoke a beneficiary designation, then in that case, it would not be expressly revoked.

If you have questions about your divorce or you are seeking to get a divorce, contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. If you live in Suffolk County or Nassau County, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

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How the Coronavirus Will Impact New York Divorces

The Coronavirus — that nasty little virus that is causing people to get sick (and unfortunately death), people undergoing self-quarantined, everyone washing their hands, a run on Purell and other disinfectants, and the general upheaval of our daily lives — will also affect your divorce or may even cause more divorces.

As this is being written, New York Courts have issued guidelines to extend timelines, postpone proceedings (whenever possible) and to consider the use of video and telephones in conferences. The goal is to minimize courthouse appearances, maximize adjournments and also to promote the use of remote appearance via video or telephones. Attorneys and their parties may be excused from physically appearing in Court.

However, as of now, adjournment requests for hearings and trials will be determined by each Judge and on a case-by-case basis.

Therefore, it is likely that if you have an existing divorce case, that it will be delayed. If you are thinking of filing for a divorce, you can still do so, but, again, your court dates may be delayed.

Clearly, the Coronavirus and its full impact are still not known and this is a fluid situation. This blog will be updated as more information becomes available.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C., keeps track of recent news and makes sure that its clients are well informed on how recent events can effect their divorce.

If you are thinking of getting divorced, please contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. 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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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.

When is the Right Time to File for a Divorce?

Deciding on whether you want to file for a divorce is a very hard decision. It is literally “life-changing”. You have probably seen some of your friends or relatives go through a divorce. You know that in many of those situations, the divorce itself was very difficult. However, you may also know some situations, where the divorcing couple were able to get divorced and able to do it in a civil and amicable manner.

For many people who are considering whether or not to get divorced, it may take them weeks or even months to actually start the process. They may be looking for a “perfect time” or they keep coming up with excuses to put off the divorce.

The following questions may help you decide whether now (or in the future) is the right time to file for a divorce.

  1. Is there domestic violence? If the answer is yes, then you should be seeking a divorce and you probably should file as soon as possible. Even if it is just the “first time” that there was a domestic violence incident. In almost every case, if there is a first time, there will be many more times of domestic violence.
  2. Is your spouse having an affair (or are you having an affair)? If you are having an affair, then clearly, you are unhappy in your marriage and you should file for a divorce. If your spouse is having an affair (and you find out about it), then they are unhappy in the marriage and you are probably not getting the love and attention you deserve.
  3. You are in a “loveless” marriage. Even if you or your spouse are not having an affair, but, you are just living together like roommates, then that may be an indication that your marriage is not working. This may be a time to seek marriage counseling or it may be a signal that your marriage isn’t working.
  4. What about the children? If you have children, then this will be a major factor to consider in getting divorced. If the living situation is very tense because of your marriage difficulties, this will affect your children. Sometimes, staying married for “the sake of the children” is actually worse for the children then getting divorced. The constant fighting or tension can have a very negative effect on the children. Therefore, don’t stay married just because you have children. However, of course, you will need to consider what will happen to the children during the divorce and after the divorce.
  5. Do you think about getting divorce often? If you are thinking about getting divorced, then it probably is a good indication that you should get divorced.

Divorce can be hard and there will never be the perfect time to get divorced. David Badanes has helped countless clients going through their divorce and navigating them through the process. Visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips, and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.