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Buffalo Family Law Blog

Divorce heats up in the summer

Summer and other vacation periods add stress to families in Buffalo that are already experiencing marital problems. Filings for divorce, in fact, increase in August and March, according to a study presented at the American Sociological Association in 2016. Planning for divorce involves several steps that should begin well before the first divorce documents are filed with the court.

Problems with one's marriage often grow when a family spends a lot of time together, such as in the summer. Thus, filings increase once the less-structured summer months have gone by and the normal routine resumes in September when the children return to school.

Prenups can help New Yorkers if there are financial issues

Love may overcome a future spouse's financial and legal troubles for many in Buffalo. Before marriage, however, it is important for a spouse who is marrying someone who already has financial or legal problems to take precautions and ensure there are protections in place if there is ever a divorce.

A candid conversation about legal and financial issues is an important first step. The nature of these issues, the events leading up to them and possible solutions need to be discussed. Speaking about the potential consequences is also needed.

Things to know about child support

Taking care of the financial needs of a couple's children after divorce may be complicated. Understanding important facts about child support can help unravel some of its mystery.

New York law governs child support. It is usually a monetary payment from a parent to the other parent who is the child's primary caretaker to help cover the child's financial needs. Because the parent with custody must pay for the child's daily expenses, the other parent is required to pay support.

What do you need to know before you file for a New York divorce?

For many people considering divorce, one of the worst parts is not really knowing what's going to happen. Despite its prevalence in modern society, divorce remains a process shrouded in mystery and misunderstood by most. Myths and rumors prevail, leading people to put off filing even when in the most miserable of marriages out of fear for how divorce will affect them.

Although it isn't pleasant, divorce is almost always a better option than staying in an unhappy marriage indefinitely. For most people considering divorce, the two biggest concerns are how the courts will split up their possessions and what will happen with the custody of their children. If you learn a little bit about these two areas of divorce law, it may make you feel more confident about the process in general.

Do a financial exam before divorce

Deciding whether to end a marriage is a life-altering and emotional experience. But a spouse, especially one who was not heavily involved in business or the couple's finances, should also take steps to determine the financial impact of their divorce.

It is important to gather important information while planning for divorce. First, tax returns contain a substantial amount of information. Tax returns for the most recent three years and W-2, 1099, K-1 forms and other supporting documents for these returns also contain supporting information. Contacting the tax preparer or submitting an IRS Form 4506 can assure copies are provided.

What single parents should know about child support

After divorce, parents must still provide financial support for their children. Laws and court orders governing child support can be confusing, complex and viewed as being unfair. Generally, parents without physical custody must pay the other parent with custody until the child becomes an adult. Calculations are usually based upon the parents' gross incomes after deductions for health care premiums and work-related childcare. Courts consider salary or self-employment earnings and may also include tips, commissions, bonuses and annuities.

New York and other states use a formula for setting child support to assure that the child is protected and supported. Deviations are prohibited unless a parent has extraordinary assets, health problems or there is another unusual situation. Divorce mediation can usually resolve most issues, except for child support. Even if both parents have joint custody, the parent with the higher income will pay more.

Things to know about child support

Issues involving children can make divorce even more complicated. While New York law has guidelines to help courts calculate child support, there are some important things to keep in mind. Courts usually require a parent to pay child support so that the other parent who has primary custody does not have sole financial responsibility for keeping up their children's standard of living. Calculating support depends on each parent's income, the number of children and the amount of time each parent spends with their children.

Courts may also take other factors into consideration, such as whether a parent pays spousal support and which parent pays for childcare, health insurance, education and academic expenses. However, the need for support is the most important consideration. Courts can also modify their support orders when a parent argues that there was a change in circumstances. Modification may be based upon a parent losing their job, becoming disabled, substantially increasing their income or receiving a large inheritance.

Divorce post-script

A marriage may legally end with a divorce decree. Planning for divorce, however, should also include taking actions after the decree is issued. A spouse who was on their ex's health insurance policy must obtain their own policy. Likewise, the ex must be removed from a spouse's policy and the insurance carrier should receive notification about the change in their marital status.

Joint expenses need to be changed because a spouse may be liable for their ex-spouse's spending. The former spouse should be removed from items such as credit cards and utilities and as an authorized user on individual financial accounts. Joint accounts need to be closed. A spouse should have their name removed from any credit cards held by their ex.

Stay off of social media in a custody dispute

You feel comfortable putting a lot of personal information on social media. Your name. Your age. Pictures from your latest vacation. Information about where you work and where you went to school.

There was a time when people liked the internet because it was anonymous. That's changed. These days, everything seems to find its way online. And, in many cases, you can't delete it or take it back.

Adoption reform bills introduced

Some of New York's adoption laws have not kept up with the times. Even though open adoption has contributed to child's biological parents' involvement, the state keeps birth certificates and adoption records secret. However, legislation was recently introduced which would automatically allow access to birth records for adoptees when they reach 18 years of age.

Adoption records have remained secret in New York since 1935. Governor Herbert Lehman, an adoptive father, signed a law that sealed adoptees' birth certificates. This was intended to protect the privacy of parents who, at that time, faced cultural shame for having children out of wedlock and who were unable to care for their child.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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