Is a Family Law Dispute on the Horizon?
If so, you need an experienced divorce or family law attorney by your side. Family law disputes can arise at any time, often when you least expect them. We meet with many men and women who have said that a divorce happened so suddenly that they were completely blindsided by the experience.
Whether or not you have been anticipating a marital separation, you need an experienced matrimonial and family law attorney by your side. It is very easy to give up key rights during a divorce, and no one will advocate for you—not the judge, not your spouse, and certainly not your spouse’s lawyer. It is up to you to find the right divorce attorney to fight for what you want.
Whether you are initiating the divorce or your spouse is, the end of a marriage can be a shocking event, one that might leave you unsure of what you want.
Each spouse has important rights that they must defend during a divorce. One of the mistakes some marriage partners make is to take a hands-off approach to their divorce and just let it “play out.” Instead, partners should be asking vital questions during the process such as: “Do I want to go back to school? Move out of state with my children? Retain the family home?” It is important to think carefully about your goals.
You will also want to understand what your rights are when it comes to a divorce. For example, you might have a right to:
- Spousal support or maintenance. You might be entitled to periodic payments from your ex-spouse to help maintain your standard of living or help you obtain the necessary education or work experience so that you can support yourself in the future.
- Division of marital property. The property you acquired together as a couple needs to be divided in the divorce. This can include the family home, vehicles, and retirement accounts. We can help you identify which property qualifies as marital property and which assets you should request in the divorce.
- Assignment of marital debts. You still are responsible for debts you took out as a couple when married, such as your home mortgage. You need an action plan for repayment of these debts so that you and your ex-spouse’s credit scores are not shredded or, even worse, your family loses the home.
Divorce does not need to be contentious, either. Couples can work out issues in an amicable divorce between themselves and ask the judge to sign off on the agreement. In this case, a court appearance is not necessary.
When conflict is unavoidable, however, our attorneys are not afraid to vigorously protect your rights by demanding a full trial on any contentious issues, and we will advise you when we believe settling a dispute is not in your best interests or the best interests of your children.
For more information about New York divorce, see here.
Judges decide child custody based on the child’s best interests—not what is in the best interest of the parents. Often, clients come to us confused about what type of child custody arrangement they want. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, and legal custody refers to which parent has the authority to make important decisions for the child. Some of the different custody arrangements include:
- Parents can share physical custody, with each parent having the children for an equal amount of time.
- The parents can have joint legal custody, even though one parent may have primary physical custody while the other parent gets visitation (parental access), which can be every weekend, every other weekend, and/or for long stretches of time during the summer vacation.
- One parent might have sole legal custody and physical custody, while the other parent has visitation (parental access).
- If a parent is abusive, or has substance abuse or mental health issues, that parent may be limited to supervised visitation with the child.
Before seeking child custody, you need to carefully consider what child custody arrangement is realistic and best for your family. And if circumstances change, we can help modify custody or visitation, and enforce your rights.
At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, we understand the factors a judge uses to make child custody decisions, and we will carefully prepare your case and present relevant evidence to support your preferred outcome.
For more information on child custody services we offer, see here.
Child support is set by a formula created by the legislature known as the Child Support Standards Act, or CSSA. The formula takes into account the income of the custodial and noncustodial parent and the number of children being supported. The judge has discretion to depart from the presumptively correct amount of child support under the formula if it is unjust or inappropriate for some reason. Also, the parents may enter into a settlement for a different amount.
At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, clients come to us with a variety of child support issues, such as:
- How to seek temporary child support while the case is pending.
- How to obtain more child support than the amount set by the formula.
- How to minimize the amount of child support paid.
- How to increase child support after the initial award.
- How to decrease child support because of a lost job, disability, or retirement.
In addition to a monthly or weekly child support payment, a parent may be obligated to contribute towards child care costs or medical expenses.
We have represented both custodial and non-custodial parents in child support cases, so we understand the issues each parent faces. For more information, visit here.
In many cases, one or both parties are not satisfied with a judge’s decision after a divorce or Family Court trial and may want to exercise their right to appeal. If the judge’s decision is not supported by the evidence that was presented at trial, or there was an abuse of discretion, an appeal may be warranted.
Bringing an appeal is not appropriate in every case. Our firm will help you decide whether you should pursue an appeal, based on an analysis of the costs involved and the likely outcome.
Very few divorce attorneys are also skilled at bringing appeals. Appellate procedure is unique, and many of the lawyers at Petroske Riezenman & Meyers have argued multiple appeals in the appellate courts. Our Long Island divorce lawyers know how to preserve an issue for appeal and how to build the appropriate evidentiary record in the court below so that an appellate court feels comfortable overturning the trial court’s decision.
For more information about appeals, please see here.
If you or your spouse has a defined benefit plan (pension) or a deferred compensation plan (e.g. 401k, 403b, or 457 account) as a benefit of your employment or union membership, it is likely that at least a portion of these benefits are marital property which will be divided in your divorce. After you have come to an agreement, or the Court has decided, how these assets will be shared, you will need to obtain a separate court order called a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) or Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced “qua-dro”).
A DRO or QDRO will include provisions for:
• the amount of the member’s benefit to be paid to the former spouse (or a formula for how to calculate the award, such as the Majauskas fraction),
• when the former spouse’s share will be paid,
• whether the former spouse will receive death benefits when the member spouse dies.
Pension and deferred compensation plan administrators often have very specific rules for QDRO’s. Our attorneys can prepare a Domestic Relations Order and submit it to the plan administrator for review and pre-approval before it is signed by a judge, ensuring that it complies with all plan provisions. We will then submit the QDRO to the Court for entry either simultaneously with or after the Judgment of Divorce.
For more information on QDROs, click here.
Family and matrimonial law is a large field of legal practice, and our clients come to us with different goals, problems, and backgrounds with varying situations. One of the key strengths of our lawyers is our ability to listen. We ask you questions to discover precisely what you want out of your divorce, and then we come up with a game plan that helps you achieve just that. We see ourselves as advocates for your goals. Some of the key disputes we handle include the following.
Divorce is a life-changing event, and one that should not be taken lightly or without the consultation of an experienced divorce attorney. There is much at stake during a divorce, and the outcome will likely shape your future for years to come.Learn More
A custody proceeding begins with a petition and can be served with a writ of habeas corpus, notice of petition or order to show cause, depending on the choice of court and the circumstances. We will advise you on the best method to proceed while working to fashion the best presentation of your case in the petition.Learn More
The New York law which governs the support of children is referred to as the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”). According to the CSSA, the basic child support obligation is determined as a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income less certain deductionsLearn More
Steady Legal Guidance in a Turbulent Time
Divorce is a life-altering event, but it can also be a new beginning. A successful divorce is one that allows you to move forward with your life in a productive manner without anger about the past.
The Long Island divorce lawyers at Petroske Riezenman & Meyers have helped countless men and women navigate New York’s court system. Each of our attorneys understands the stresses that husbands and wives feel during this difficult time, and we are committed to providing compassionate legal advice that fully affirms the emotions you are feeling.
If you want to learn more about New York’s matrimonial law, or if you want to discuss a current legal dispute, please call us at (631) 337-1977 or complete our online contact form.