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Brooklyn Family Law Blog

New York is one of the best states to be a custodial parent

There is no one set amount of child support payments that all states adhere to. Because of this, if a custodial parent moves from New York to another state, it may lead to lower child support payments. It may even make it more difficult to enforce child support orders, based on the infrastructure available in the area they move to.

CBS proves this point by comparing Massachusetts to Vermont. If the custodial parent moved from the former to the latter, they could see child support payments reduced by half. Moving to Virginia could cause a reduction of up to two-thirds. Meanwhile, remaining in New York or moving to the state from anywhere else in America may lead to an increase in child support payments.

Is divorce mediation the right choice?

Couples who decide to go through divorce proceedings in New York have a lot of decisions to make regarding asset and debt division, living situations, child custody and support. Another decision they must make is whether to use litigation or mediation. Some couples choose divorce mediation because it is typically less emotionally stressful, more affordable and it is usually a faster process. However, it is also important to understand when mediation may not be the best choice. People who do choose this method should know what to expect so they can prepare correctly. 

Family Education outlines some circumstances in which couples should avoid mediation. There are some general questions that couples should ask themselves before choosing mediation. These include:

  • Are we good at communicating, even about tough topics?
  • Is divorce something we both want?
  • Are we able to be flexible and negotiate? 

How to avoid a messy high-net worth divorce

While not always the case in New York, high-asset divorces often coincide with very public separations. Wealthy couples often play key roles as community leaders from a commercial, political or entertainment standpoint. Because there is so much at stake, these divorces are arguably far more likely to be messy.

Even when angry with each other, making a joint and amicable announcement to end the marriage may be wise. A celebrity’s announcement to the media may come to mind here, but for lower profile high-asset couples, this may be an announcement to friends, family and colleagues. If both spouses share investments or a business, this is especially important due to a shared source of income.

Is my spouse having a cyber affair?

Social media is supposed to bring people together. While this is true in some case, many married couples experience a great deal of stress over social media. Unfortunately, it gives cheating spouses an easy and convenient way to carry out affairs, which can quickly lead to divorce. Very Well Mind explains some of the more common indications that a spouse is having an online affair. 

The biggest indication is more time spent on the computer or phone. While many people are quite attached to their mobile device, with an online affair the behavior often changes suddenly. You may also find that your spouse is password-protecting devices or deleting browsing history frequently. Again, this isn't always an indication of infidelity. But these behaviors raise red flags when they seemingly come out of nowhere. 

The new tax law affects divorce and spousal support

Couples divorcing this year in New York may be surprised to learn that the new tax laws affect divorce and spousal support. According to CNBC, the changes reverse tax laws put in place almost 80 years ago that made it easier for ex-spouses to make and receive alimony payments. In the past, the spouse receiving alimony paid taxes on the amount received, while the paying spouse took a tax cut. The new laws allow the receiving party to exclude it from their taxable income, while the payer must now pay taxes.

At a first glance, this may seem like a much better opportunity for people who were not the breadwinners in the marriage to receive non-taxable income. However, the fact that the former breadwinners have to include alimony payments in their taxable income may make it more of a financial burden. This may lead to difficulties securing alimony payments going forward. Child support payments may also be affected as these are often calculated alongside spousal support payments.

How New York determines the “best interests of the child”

When New York’s court system has to make decisions regarding child custody or visitation, the people tasked with doing so will typically consider the child’s best interests before making any determinations. There are many different aspects that the courts will consider when determining a child’s best interests, and, as you might imagine, these factors vary to some degree based on a child’s age.

Maybe your child’s other parent is looking to gain custody, or partial custody, over your son or daughter, or maybe you are a grandparent, and you would like to establish formal visitation or custody rights due to extenuating circumstances. Regardless of your reasoning for requesting a custody change, you can count on the "best interests of the child” factoring into the final decision.

Why you should reevaluate your retirement during divorce

Divorce means radical change to your financial situation, including how you plan your retirement in New York. If you and your spouse are calling it quits, now is a good time to reevaluate your retirement portfolio, especially if your spouse had heavy involvement in your financial retirement decisions. The circumstances of your divorce plus the fact that you will have to make your investment choices on your own can dramatically impact how your retirement turns out.

Some spouses have no problems with the way their partners handle their retirement plans. Others, however, might silently take issue with the decisions of their spouse but do not want to rock the boat by voicing objections. If you find that your spouse’s financial choices were too flawed, you may end up having to radically reshape your retirement strategy now that you are on your own.

Personality changes and divorce

Marriages end for an array of reasons, but some can be more difficult to explain and less evident. For example, someone who has been subjected to domestic violence may understandably want to move on in their life and take steps to prevent additional abuse. Or, someone who has been cheated on may no longer wish to remain in the marriage. However, some people may also file for divorce because their marital partner is not the same person as a result of personality changes.

Someone’s personality may change for various reasons, whether they develop a substance abuse disorder, experience some sort of trauma or struggle with the consequences of a brain injury. They may become excessively angry or become difficult to be around, and these changes can spell disaster for the future of a relationship. In some cases, counseling and other strategies are able to address unhealthy behavioral changes, but some people will never be able to recover from certain issues or restore feelings of love in their relationships.

Effects of divorce on children

Every day, children in New York live with the effects of their parents’ decision to divorce. To be clear, sometimes these effects are good, especially in scenarios where one parent was abusive and has now lost all custodial and visitation rights. However, there are negative effects on children too, if both parents cannot cooperate to find peaceful resolutions to shared problems.

According to CNN, judges still overwhelmingly side with women when it comes to awarding primary custodial rights. This may often result in children losing contact with their fathers. However, it works the other way around, too. Sometimes mothers are the ones who get the short end of the stick. In either case, it creates a scenario where a child may lose contact with a parent who they previously shared a close bond with. Children may also face negative financial consequences when parents do not pay child support.

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