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Brooklyn Family Law Blog

Is mediation the best option for your high-asset divorce?

Wealthy couples facing divorce often dread the prospect of a long, drawn-out and very public court proceeding, to say nothing of the expense.

Add the adverse effects on any young children of the union and the couple begins looking for alternatives. One option that has gained popularity is mediation.

American parents owe $10 billion in child support

New York is one of the most expensive states to live in. Because of this, raising a child here is expensive too. This makes single-parents even more reliant on child support payments to make ends meet. Unfortunately, parents all across America lapse on child support. In fact, some do not make payments at all.

This spring, CBS News estimated that $10 billion in child support payments had not been collected. This equals over 30% of the child support payments due to children and their custodial parents. The news agency also disclosed that only about 43.5% of custodial parents received the money they needed to take care of their children.

What are pre-divorce preparations?

If you and your spouse have decided it is time to end your marriage, there are several things you may want to do before filing the paperwork with a New York court. The financial and legal aspects of divorce are often complex, but preparing for certain things ahead of time may help reduce the overall stress of the process. Creating a pre-divorce plan may allow you to get a comprehensive overview of how your life will look after divorce, and the information may be helpful during child support and custody negotiations.

State laws play a significant role in how divorce affects each spouse's finances. New York's marital property laws may determine whether you get to keep your home or car and if you have to pay alimony or child support. According to FindLaw, New York practices "equitable division" rather than "community property" laws. This means that a judge has the authority to determine how to divide property between both spouses fairly. Preparing all your financial paperwork on assets, income, debts and inheritances before filing for divorce may make the process go more smoothly.

How divorce affects disability payments

Homemakers in New York often worry about spousal support when their ex is on disability. According to FindLaw, for spouses receiving spousal Social Security Disability Insurance, divorce does not affect the payments. In fact, the paying spouse may have their wages garnished to pay not just child support but also alimony.

Homemakers may become eligible for spousal support when their ex is receiving SSDI benefits in the following scenarios:

  •          The spouse seeking eligibility does not qualify for larger SSDI payments.
  •          The couple was previously married for 10 years or more.
  •          The spouse seeking eligibility is 62 years or older.
  •          The spouse seeking eligibility did not remarry.

Oversharing on social media may complicate divorce negotiations

When couples are going through a divorce in New York, one of two situations commonly play out. A spouse may take to social media to air the dirty laundry or speak badly of their spouse. Another scenario is that rather than discuss their spouse, they may talk up their new life and discuss what progress they have made since the separation. Both of these may have negative consequences.

NerdWallet shares the story of the husband-to-be who insisted that he could not afford the divorce settlement his wife proposed. He then took to social media to brag about a new deal he closed for his company and the amazing vacation he took recently. His wife’s attorney took that to court to prove that he could, in fact, afford the proposed settlement.

How to setup and stop wage garnishments for child support

When parents in New York pay child support, they may wonder about the process behind setting up and stopping wage garnishments. According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, setting up child support garnishments is the job of an employer for an employee or a company that is able to withhold income on behalf of an independent contractor.

Income withholding orders typically come from child support agencies, state and local governments, tribes and even attorneys. However, individuals may notify withholders as well. In fact, anyone may send an IWO. When an employer or equivalent honors an IWO, it must prioritize child support over all other garnishments.

Retirement savings can be affected by new alimony tax rule

Unless couples are older when divorcing in New York, retirement is probably the last thing on their minds. For a long time, this may have been just fine. However, the new tax reform that took effect in 2019, made changes that could cause spousal support to affect retirement plans.

CNBC notes that the ex-spouse paying spousal support can no longer deduct this amount from their taxable income. The spouse receiving the income may no longer pay taxes on the income provided. In the past, divorcees had to pay spousal support in cash. However, the new rules allow people to make transfers from their retirement account.

How can online media reveal my financial status?

When it comes to high asset divorces, financial honesty is the name of the game. Spouses that misrepresent how much they earn or possess in assets can end up with a stiffer asset division or increased child support or alimony payments. While some New York spouses try their best to conceal their wealth, sometimes it can slip out on social media, not just on Facebook or Instagram, but through other modes of digital communication.

According to the Huffington Post, people who claim a modest income to avoid child support or asset division may be in for a rude surprise if they reveal their true financial status through pictures on their social sites. Taking a vacation picture at a luxurious locale may invite questions about how the spouse paid for the trip. Pictures of expensive purchases can also be a tipoff that a spouse is richer than he or she is letting on.

Should your custody agreement address social media?

Social media has become a phenomenon in recent years. If your son or daughter has not created an online identity, he or she is likely to do so soon. In fact, according to some estimates, roughly 56% of kids in the United States use some type of social media. 

While you may not be able to prevent your children from engaging online, you can work to foster a family culture of safety and responsibility. If you are co-parenting in a post-divorce family, using your parenting plan or custody agreement to set reasonable expectations may be a good idea. 

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