Jewell Law PLLC
Call today (212) 856-7273

Creating Futures One
Person at a Time

New York City Divorce Legal Blog

Child custody: The consequences of moving out

Imagine you're in a highly toxic relationship and the only thing you want to do is to get as far away from your spouse as possible. However, you have children, and you're worried that it's not a good idea to simply separate yourself by moving out and leave your home, spouse and children. You wonder: Could moving out affect my chances of getting child custody?

Unfortunately, moving out of your home could affect your chances of winning child custody. Part of the reason why moving out could affect your child custody rights is because New York family court judges will probably assume that you're not completely committed to caring for your child if you're willing to leave him or her. The other point is that your spouse has probably become accustomed to caring for your kids at your home, and your children have become accustomed to these arrangements as well. A family court judge will be loath to upset the apple cart by disrupting your children's place of residence and routine.

Advice For Divorcing Parents This Holiday Season

From carving pumpkins and turkeys to baking cookies and attending school programs; even under normal circumstances, holidays tend to be a hectic time. For parents of young children who are going through a divorce, this holiday season is likely to be especially stressful as both they and their children navigate and adjust to numerous life changes.

For parents who share physical custody, it’s important to be proactive and to take steps to communicate with an ex about your children’s holiday schedule. This process can be both emotionally and logistically challenging, but there are ways to make it easier on both yourself and your children.

What Happens To Your Family Business In A Divorce?

In New York State, if you and your spouse divorce, marital assets will be divided equitably as part of the divorce process. Under equitable division, a judge decides the fairest way to divide your assets — which may not be an equal split.

For business owners in New York, divorce can result in significant financial and business losses that can jeopardize a business’s very future. Thankfully, there are steps that business owners can take in an attempt to “divorce-proof” a business.

Postnuptial agreements: How they can help your marriage

Although prenuptial agreements are still somewhat controversial, they're starting to catch on as a practical legal agreement to sign prior to marriage. Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are even more controversial. Many couples have never heard of the possibility. However, if your marriage is currently on the rocks, entering into a postnup could be the best way to save your relationship.

Take a look at the following list of issues that a postnup can address. Could you and your spouse benefit from signing a document like this?

  • Jointly and/or individually held property can be codified in a postnup giving couples peace of mind that they will not lose specific pieces of property in a divorce. The same can be achieved with debt.
  • The role of a spouse in a family-owned business can be clarified in a postnuptial.
  • Couples can codify who receives what share of the family income and how the money may be spent.
  • How will the couple dispose of a business if there is a death, a divorce or disability?
  • What are your marital goals for the future? How will you follow through with these goals?
  • Do you plan to pay for your children's private school or university?
  • What is your plan in the case of a spouse becoming disabled? Do you have long-term care insurance?

Legal Separation As An Alternative To Divorce

Relationships between spouses are often exceedingly complex. From a major career promotion and birth of a first child to the death of a parent and the diagnosis of a serious illness, as life changes, so does a marriage.

Throughout the life of a marriage, it's not uncommon for spouses to grow apart and realize that they no longer share common interests or life goals. In many cases, these marriages end in divorce. For some couples, however, legal separation is a better option.

Can you benefit from a prenuptial agreement?

New York spouses, who are planning to tie the knot by getting married, may also want to set up a prenuptial agreement before they say "I do." However, deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you could involve a considerable amount of thought. To assist you in your decision-making process, consider asking yourself the following questions.

If you answer yes any of these questions below, then you might want to speak with a New York family law attorney about drafting a prenuptial agreement:

  • Do you own any real estate like a homes, undeveloped land or office buildings?
  • Do you have an income in excess of $100,000 annually?
  • Are you the full or part-owner of a business?
  • Do you have at least a year in retirement benefits and savings or more?
  • Have you accrued employment benefits like retirement savings, profit sharing and stock options?
  • Do you want to attend school to obtain an advanced degree while your spouse continues to work, or does your partner plan to do this?
  • Does your estate name particular heirs and beneficiaries who are not your partner?

What parenting provisions should I include about discipline?

New York parents who are raising their children as single co-parents will not always be able to agree with the other parent about the disciplining of their children. For example, perhaps you believe that your child should be grounded for a week as punishment, but the other parent doesn't agree. This could interfere with your ability to discipline your child, and create the base of a serious disagreement.

In order to reduce the chances of parental disagreements over discipline issues, you may want to include the following parenting provisions -- or something like them -- in your child custody and parenting plan:

  • When the child is staying with a particular parent, that parent will be responsible for discipline. If an important discipline issue arises, the first parent to find out about the issue will notify the other parent as soon as possible to decide on the required response.
  • The parents will not allow a third party to discipline the child via corporal punishment, nor will the parents allow a third party to implement any kind of physical punishment against the child.
  • Disciplinary measures that could interfere with the parenting plan are prohibited. This way both parents' time with the child will be preserved, unless the parents mutually agree to change the parenting schedule in order to facilitate a specific disciplinary course of action.

What should I put in a child care journal after a divorce?

New York parents in the midst of their divorce proceedings may want to consider keeping a child care journal. A child care journal offers a means for single parents to document their child care activities so that -- if their participation as a parent is ever called into question by the court -- they can offer proof of all the efforts they've made to spend time with and give care to their children.

If you're going to keep a child care journal, it's not very difficult. It can be simple as jotting a few notes down on a standard wall calendar, or you might find it more convenient to put the notes in a small book or your cellphone. When taking the notes, here's what you should include:

  • When you picked up or dropped off your child, and whether the other parent was late.
  • Missed and/or canceled meetings and visitations by the other parent.
  • Doctors' appointments and notes about the medical needs of your child.
  • Any discussions and decisions arrived at with the other parent.
  • The mood and emotional well-being of your child, both when he or she is spending time with you and after spending time with the other parent.
  • The behavior of your child.
  • Important considerations you want to address with the other parent.
  • Milestones and special achievements made by your child.
  • Other important information you may want to keep in mind.

2 pieces of advice to make your divorce process easier

Most people have to learn about divorce the hard way. They got married, and for whatever they went through a divorce, and -- with the help of their family law attorney -- they probably bumbled through the process. They may have made some big mistakes, and learned from those mistakes, but will they ever benefit from the knowledge they acquired?

Here are two pieces of advice from people who have divorce experience, which you don't want to have to acquire the hard way:

  • Your emotional recovery will not happen overnight: This is not the same as breaking up with your high school sweetheart. This is your spouse who you may have been living with for years. You've come to rely on that person psychologically and financially. Suddenly removing this person from you life will be jarring, and it could take months or more than a year to fully recover. Take your time, and don't put pressure on yourself with this process.
  • Don't listen to everyone giving you legal advice: Your divorce lawyer will be the best source of information regarding legal advice. Be careful of family and friends who espouse to know the law, when in fact they could be steering you in the wrong direction. Also, be careful of lawyers who claim to know about divorce, but it's not their main practice area. Take your legal advice from an experienced family law attorney only.

When Financial Disparities Are A Factor In A Divorce

Within a marriage, spouses often take on and play different roles. From managing family finances and paying household bills to tending to a child’s school and medical appointments, when it comes to family-related matters, many spouses opt for a divide and conquer approach. In many cases, this includes which spouse plays the role of financial breadwinner.

When a couple goes through a divorce, matters related to each spouse’s marital contributions, financial and otherwise, must be taken into consideration when dividing assets and making spousal support and maintenance determinations.

Jewell Law, PLLC | 555 Fifth Avenue, 17th Floor | New York, New York 10017-9254 | Phone (212) 856-7273 | Map & Directions