Millennial Prenuptial agreements on the rise

Millennial Prenuptial agreements on the rise - and it's not because they are making more money!

The number of 18- to 35-year-olds seeking prenuptial agreements is on the rise nationwide and we have definitely noticed it at Mindin & Mindin, but the reason behind it may surprise you. Millennials are more interested in protecting the what could be rather than the what’s there. Intellectual property such as films, songs, software and even apps that haven’t been built yet (rather than cash) are just some of what New York based attorney Leon Mindin Esq. is drafting up.

Leon Mindin Esq. sees this day in, day out. Mindin believes that more and more millennials choose for their property (currently in existence or not) to remain separate as they enter this new chapter in their lives.  That is why he believes that prenups are on the rise and will continue to be less of a taboo topic as couples approach the big day. Many of the previous generations did not protect themselves under the false belief that since they are not entering a marriage with significant assets, they should not draft such an agreement. Most people get married fairly young or at the on set of new careers before they have had a chance to accumulate significant assets or purchase a home. Within a few years of marriage, most people have established a steady career and income stream and are surprised how quickly that nothing turned into something.


However, living in an age of opportunity – whether it is from future earnings from a salaried job or from the creation of intellectual property, one should ALWAYS protect him or herself from what could be. 

“A prenuptial agreement is like an insurance policy, it’s a small price to pay to protect your financial stability. Get married, put it under your mattress and hopefully never have to look at it again.”
— Leon Mindin, Esq.

Leon Mindin says that in a perfect world, all marriages would survive – but since at least ½ of them don’t, you shouldn’t play the odds either. People are often surprised that a prenuptial agreement is not as expensive as they had thought. Most standard agreements are usually done on a flat fee basis for both drafting and review. If you are getting married soon, allow yourself a minimum of six weeks to have a prenup drafted, reviewed, revised and executed. If you find yourself on the cusp of marriage without a prenuptial agreement, pick up the phone and call us at 888-501-3292 or send us an e-mail through our contact page for more information.

New York Child Custody Lawyers

If your separation or divorce involves minor children, the issue of child custody is likely to be your focal point of your divorce proceedings. Divorce is never easy, no matter how contentious or amicable you may think it is, it is especially difficult for the children of the divorcing couple.

Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C., we help our clients with child custody issues that carry all types of complications. Schedule a free case evaluation with our New York City divorce lawyera if you require aggressive and knowledgeable legal assistance with your child custody issue.

HOW DO THE COURTS MAKE THEIR DECISION WHEN IT COMES TO CHILD CUSTODY?

It is a common misconception that custody defaults to the mother, that is not always the case, the results of a child custody dispute are never a certain conclusion and they can become very complicated and contentious. Many considerations are made by the court when deciding a child custody arrangement.

Children under the age of 18 will be under the court's jurisdiction when deciding custody. Parents, however, may continue to involve an older child in disputes regarding spousal support for assistance with educational costs, medical expenses, and medical insurance.

FACTORS THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THE COURT'S DECISION

When determining what is best for the child or children, the court will consider many factors, including:

  • The age of the child (or children)
  • Whether one parent has been the primary caregiver of the child
  • Whether the child has any special needs
  • The parenting skills of each parent
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Whether there is any history of domestic violence
  • The work schedules and job demands of each parent
  • The proposed child-care plans of each parent
  • The child's own preference, depending on his or her age

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CUSTODY?

Custody relates not only to where the child resides (residential or physical custody), but who is given the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child (legal custody).

  • Legal custody involves making medical decisions and the ability to make decisions about the child's education. Often, both parents will want to share in these responsibilities, in which case they will have a joint custody agreement (if the court agrees it is in the best interests of the child). In most cases, courts prefer that both parents continue to develop a positive relationship with the child or children.
  • The court may award sole custody to one parent in cases in which one parent may not want custody or may believe that the other parent is not fit to have either physical or legal custody. Sole custody does not relieve the non-custodial parent of his or her child support responsibilities. The non-custodial parent may also be able to obtain visitation rights, which the custodial parent must honor. Special conditions may be attached to visitation, such as requiring a third party supervisor for a parent who has a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental instability.

In some cases, neither parent may be fit to care for the children. In this situation, other interested parties, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even more distant relatives, may apply for custody. These parties may also seek custody when the parents have abandoned, neglected or abused the children, and if the third party or parties can demonstrate that granting custody to them would serve the best interests of the child or children.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Our legal team can evaluate your situation and help you negotiate a reasonable solution, prepare and review the necessary paperwork, and ensure that the custody and visitation orders are fair to both you and your child.

Whether you are preparing for a custody battle, find yourself in the middle of one, or need to  modify an existing custody arrangement, our firm is ready, willing, and able to assist you.

Contact us at 888-501-3292 or e-mail us with any questions you may have.

5 of the most shocking celebrity divorces

 

As news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce hits the headlines, we look back at five celebrity divorces we didn’t see coming.

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

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Beatles star Paul McCartney’s divorce from former model Heather Mills was one of the most explosive in showbiz history. The couple were married from 2002-2006, before their divorce was finalised in 2008. Their lavish wedding took place in Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. In several interviews Mills said the breakdown of their marriage was caused by McCartney’s daughter, Stella. Mills and McCartney had one daughter together, Beatrice Milly McCartney, and Mills left the marriage with a €31m settlement, which she reportedly spent in 22 months.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie

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Madonna and Guy Ritchie were married for eight years before splitting in 2008. They had son Rocco together and adopted their second son, David Banda, during their marriage . It was ruled earlier this month that Rocco would live with his father, rather than Madonna.  The pop star reportedly paid Ritchie between €67 and €81 million, including the value of their London pub, the Punchbowl and their country home in their divorce.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise

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TomKat got engaged in a whirlwind romance just eight weeks after they met, during which Cruise jumped on the couch during The Oprah Winfrey Show declaring his love for Holmes. Cruise and Holmes divorced to “protect Suri [their daughter] from Scientology [Cruise’s religion]” in 2012 after six years of marriage.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

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Paltrow announced that she was “consciously uncoupling” from the Coldplay frontman after 10 years of marriage on her lifestyle website Goop in 2014. The infamously private couple had two children together, Apple and Moses.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

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J Lo and Marc Anthony were married for seven years and had twins Max and Emme together before splitting in 2011. Lopez went on to tell People magazine that the divorce was the “biggest disappointment” of her life, but she knew it was the “right thing” to do.

Whether you are a celebrity or not, call Mindin & Mindin, P.C. at 888-501-3292 for your contested or uncontested divorce.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: It's all about custody of the kids

New York divorce attorney, Leon Mindin, Esq. weighs in on what’s ahead for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: It's all about custody of the kids

 

The news of Brangelina's split hit us hard Monday afternoon. The internet went haywire with memes of Jennifer Aniston getting her revenge all these years later – it really doesn’t get much bigger than this: Angelina Jolie Pitt has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, and she’s going for full custody of their six kids.

“Most likely money is not the motivating factor here, but the children are” says attorney Leon Mindin Esq. of The Law Offices of Mindin and Mindin P.C, who looks at this issue from a New York perspective “Angelina filed for full custody under the law because ancillary relief must be raised in your divorce complaint, otherwise you cannot raise the issue at a later date.” Mindin goes on to say that in his opinion these two A-listers have a common goal of keeping things out of the media and out of court of public opinion.

Mindin suspects that this case will have little to do with money or property and everything to do with custody. There’s no indication on the divorce petition of a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, he said, and any custody wishes laid out in such a document would be deemed unenforceable because the court has to act in the best interest of the children, not the parents.

The press has already speculated about Brad’s alleged cheating – and that would be the driving force of coming to a quiet resolution and keeping these tabloid worthy facts out of court.

California, much like New York is a no-fault state, there doesn’t have to be a complaint alleging infidelity on Brad’s part, Mindin said, if the parties can reach an agreement out of court.

The kids will “go as a pack” when it comes to custody, regardless of the fact that some are adopted and others are children of the marriage.

Travel for work by Pitt or Jolie is will also be an unlikely factor in the determination of custody – as actors and their rigid schedules are a common component in celebrity divorces in the state of California. Additionally, both parents have more than enough resources to hire nannies, teachers and others to help out, even in the case of 50-50 custody.

At 15, eldest child Maddox Jolie-Pitt has the right to express his custody preference to the court, and if the request is reasonable and rational then it must be taken into consideration.

Hopefully he won’t have to do that in court, because having to ‘choose between your parents,’ is something no child should ever have to be put through. Especially when you have kids who’ve been adopted, they have a fear of abandonment, and putting them through another go-round of that, that’s really hard on kids in general, especially adopted kids.

If you are going through a divorce, feel free to contact us at 888-501-3292. 

Jolie/Pitt set to divorce!

Did anyone see this one coming? Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie as filed for divorce from Brad Pitt and the trigger was an alleged conflict over the kids, substance abuse and anger. Jolie filed legal docs Monday citing irreconcilable differences.

Ms. Jolie is seeking physical custody of the couple's 6 children. She is asking the judge to give Pitt visitation. Mr. Pitt will likely seek joint custody of the children. 

Sources connected with the couple tell us ... Angelina's decision to file has to do with the way Brad was parenting the children ... she was extremely upset with his methods. 

Ms. Jolie's entertainment attorney Robert Offer says she made the decision "for the health of the family." The allegation is that Mr. Pitt has been abusing marijuana and alcohol and it has impaired his parenting abilities. 

Jolie, who's being repped by Attorney Laura Wasser, is not asking for spousal support. Jolie lists the date of separation as Sept. 15, 2016. They married in August 2014. They've been together since 2004.

We imagine there is an airtight prenuptial agreement to resolve all the financial issues between the parties and that the real issues will come down to custody of those 6 children. 

Need matrimonial or family law help in New York City? Call us at 888-501-3292.

The Struggle of the Same Sex Divorce

We often get calls from frustrated potential clients who are seeking a dissolution of their same sex marriage complaining about the wrong legal information they acquired from previous attorneys.

But because gay marriage is relatively new — Massachusetts became the first state to legalize it in 2004 — same-sex couples trying to get divorced have found their attempts come with high price tags.

Time together: Reality vs. legality

Many same-sex couples were together for years, even decades, before they were allowed to marry. That can be an expensive problem in a divorce, as most courtrooms will only divide assets starting from the time a couple actually got married.

A same-sex couple may have only been married for so many years, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t married in their hearts for much longer — and already co-mingled their assets or bought property together says New York based family attorney Leon Mindin

That’s what happened to Margaret Wenig. The New York-based rabbi got divorced earlier this year from a woman she married in 2008, and with whom she had registered as a domestic partner in 1996.

“But for the 17 years prior to our civil marriage, we lived as if we were married,” she said. “We raised children together, we merged our finances, we made each other the beneficiaries of our pensions and life insurance policies and in our wills.”

The two women were also executors and health care proxies for each other, and gave each other power of attorney. When they split, however, the court would only divide assets accumulated starting from when the couple married in 2008.

“Our divorce has not only been an emotional and financial nightmare for us but for our adult children and members of our extended family as well,” Wenig said.

While the cost of divorce varies by city and state, a traditional, heterosexual divorce in New York typically costs in the neighborhood of $10,000; Wenig said her divorce cost her over $120,000.

Our law firm has wide experience and handle same sex divorces and civil union dissolutions in New York. We are proud to serve the New York LGBT Community! Call us today at 888-501-3292 for a free phone consultation.

New York Housewives Contested Divorce

Three weeks ago, another Real Housewives couple filed for divorce. Jules and Michael Wainstein, newcomers to RHONY this season, decided to call it quits after eight years of marriage. Their divorce is not like any other (insane) Real Housewives divorce, however. It has been nonstop drama since Jules reportedly caught Michael cheating with her close friend, prompting him to file the papers.

The celebrity divorce is sure to be a contested one;

The contested divorce is the type in which the spouses cannot arrive at an agreement on one or more key issues in order to conclusively terminate their marriage. When spouses cannot arrive at an agreement, even with the assistance of their legal counsel (if any), they must approach a court to adjudicate their dispute.


Since then, Jules has called the police to the couple’s shared apartment and accused Michael of “threatening” behavior, and Michael’s attorney, Mark Jay Heller (Lindsay Lohan’s old representation), has claimed Jules abused Michael in 2012. Michael has denied cheating, and Jules’s rep has called his lawyer’s statements “disgusting.” The back-and-forth may never end.

And now, after all of that, Us Weekly reports that the couple is … still living together. Aaah!

A source tells the tabloid, “Jules is going through a living hell. Michael cut her off so she has no way of paying for the kids.” Meanwhile, Heller claims that “Jules’ real goal is to create some drama to increase her stock on the Real Housewives.”

Jules finally addressed the headlines

During an appearance on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live, the New York City reality star and her on-screen pal Dorinda Medley addressed some ongoing questions about her surprising divorce from her husband of eight years, Michael Wainstein. To start, they are definitely in the process of getting divorced. 

"Yes, I can confirm we are getting divorced," Jules told Andy. The mother of two also verified they are still living together in their Big Apple home, though it has not been smooth. In June, Jules called the police on Michael because she was feeling threatened by him, though no arrests were made. 

"Obviously, it's not going very well," Michael's lawyer Mark Jay Heller told E! News. "When it gets to court, the judge may order someone to move out."

If you find yourself in a New York Contested Divorce, call the Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. at 888-501-3292 or use our Contact Form.

You don't have to be a celebrity to have a prenup!

In today’s age, if you don’t get a prenup and you’re getting married, you might as well seek a psychiatrist and not a lawyer! In a world where more than ½ of marriages end in divorce – expect the unexpected. As Leon Mindin Esq. always says “No good marriage ever ended in a divorce.” Everyone has an interest to protect. Protect your future, today!

We combed through the Hollywood press and came up with some some of the best prenuptial agreements. Some seek money, some seek property and other seek .. basketball tickets?

KIM KARDASHIAN AND KANYE WEST:

in the event of a divorce, Kim will receive $1 Million for each year she stays married to Kanye until that sum reaches a cap of $10 Million (funny considering shes the higher earning spouse in this relationship) She will also be allowed to keep the title to their Bel Air mansion, all gifts given to her by Kanye (the rock on her finger included) and any income she makes during the marriage. There is also a clause barring momager Kris Jenner from making career decisions that affect Kim and Kanye as a couple.

KHLOE AND LAMAR:

This prenup will likely get some use – Khloe asked for $5,000 a month shopping spree budget, $25,000 monthly alimony and season tickets to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball games for her entire family (which will no longer be possible since Lamar is not an active Lakers player).

BRANGELINA:

This prenup stipulates that each is allowed to exit the marriage with assets brought in (240 M for Pitt and 185 M for Jolie). Anything the couple makes while married will be put in a trust for their 6 children. Also a clause was put in that should Brad cheat on Jolie (considering he has a track record …), Angelina will be granted primary custody of their children.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND JESSICA BIEL:

It is still unclear if infidelity clauses are enforceable in court, but this couple has a clause stating that if Timberlake will be unfaithful – it will cost him $500,000.

NICOLE KIDMAN AND KEITH URBAN:

This couple drafted that Keith will receive $640,000 for every year he remains married to Nicole. The catch here is that if Keith relapses back into his drug addiction, the contract becomes null and void. 

CHRIS ROCK AND MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK:

With impeccable timing, Chris filed for divorce after 19 years of marriage – saying that the prenup expired after their 18th wedding anniversary. We’ll see how that one holds up in a court of law – and with all long-term marriages, Malaak will likely receive permanent alimony.

And in the JACKHOLE of the year award – 
GEORGE CLOONEY AND AMAL ALAMUDDIN: NO PRENUP EXISTS. 

Before you get married, call the team at Mindin & Mindin to draft your valid New York State prenuptial agreement. Contact us at 888-501-3292 or send us an e-mail by clicking here.

Parents in Disney alligator attack will not sue!


The parents of two year old boy killed at World Disney World resort chose to not enter into a legal battle with Disney. Matt and Melissa Graves, released a statement that although their hearts are broken in the wake of last month's tragedy, they do not want to take the legal route.

The couple released a statement:


"We will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane."

The family was on vacation at the Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian Resort on June 16. The Nebraska toddler was playing in about a foot of water when the alligator attacked.

The statement continued:

"We know that we can never have Lane back, and therefore, we intend to keep his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation. It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family."

The Graves family were not specific whether Disney was backing up the foundation, but it is very likely they received a hefty settlement from the multi billion dollar company.

Why Kim & Kanye will not be facing criminal charges over Taylor Swift phone recording.

The question on everyone’s mind after reality star Kim Kardashian released footage of Taylor Swift seemingly approving the line Kanye West wrote about her in his song “Famous” was whether the two stars would face legal repercussions for secretly filming swift. 

Despite the fact that Swift threatened Kim and Kanye with criminal prosecution, it looks like there’s a loophole in the California law that may get the couple off the hook.

According to California law, confidential recordings in which the other party doesn’t know they’re being recorded is indeed a crime. However, according to attorney Leon Mindin, Esq.  “When the call may be overheard as it was in this very instance, the recording no longer becomes confidential. In this case, because Kanye kept Taylor on speaker phone and several people besides the rapper spoke up during the conversation including producer Rick Rubin and even some of the Keeping Up with the Kardashian staff, Swift can’t claim she thought the conversation was private.”

Understanding the procedure in a New York divorce action.

 

A New York action for divorce starts with the Plaintiff (the person starting the action) purchasing an index number from the County Clerk’s Office for a filing fee of $210.00. The Plaintiff files a Summons with Notice, or a Summons with Verified Complaint. The Plaintiff at the time of filing receives a file stamped copy which will have the index number purchased on the face of the Summons with Notice or the Summons with Complaint. The next step in this process is to arrange personal service of the documents on the Defendant (the other spouse). If personal service is not possible for any reason such as the Defendant cannot be located or the Defendants whereabouts are unknown then the Plaintiff can make an application to the court for alternative service such as service by publication in a newspaper. Personal service needs to be made by someone who is at least 18 years old and not a party to the action which is why we send a licensed process server to provide us with an affidavit of service.

The Summons with Verified Complaint must be served on the Defendant within 120 days of the purchase of the index number unless an application for an extension of time to serve is granted by the court. Now, once the Summons with Verified Complaint has been served, the defendant will have 20 days to submit an Answer or 30 days depending on the nature of service. Once issue is joined, meaning the Defendant has served an Answer and filed a copy with the Court the Plaintiff will have 45 days to file a Request for Judicial Intervention (“RJI”) must be filed . The cost associated with the RJI is $95.00. The filing of the RJI will trigger the preliminary conference. The preliminary conference will generally be scheduled within 30 days after the filing of the RJI and no later than 45 days. A formal notice will be mailed to the parties and/or counsel notifying them of the upcoming court date.

Most of our New York divorce actions take place up these steps at the New York County Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street in Downtown Manhattan. 

Most of our New York divorce actions take place up these steps at the New York County Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street in Downtown Manhattan. 

 

The preliminary conference will provide the Judge an overview of the circumstances and general facts of the divorce action. The Judge will be able to meet the husband and wife face to face as well as the counsel and informally make an assessment of the present status of the case. The preliminary conference also provides the judge the opportunity to address immediate issues such as Temporary maintenance (spousal support), Temporary child support, Temporary child care, health insurance, etc…

For many divorce actions in New York City, the preliminary conference will be the only court appearance. This is because the preliminary conference details the timeline for the exchange of financial documents and other discovery. When the financial documents are exchanged, the Plaintiff and the Defendant are in better decision to ascertain the potential outcomes at trial and weigh the risks vs. rewards of continuing to litigate the matter.

Often times, the Plaintiff and the Defendant will not see a judge during the preliminary conference and will be dealing exclusively with the court attorney or clerk, there may be a brief encounter with the Judge to put something on the record. The Plaintiff and his or her attorney, as well as the Defendant and his or her attorney must be present at the preliminary conference and must sign a binding agreement entitled a preliminary conference order. Each judge has their own specific part rules that must be followed regarding check in in, adjournments, and preliminary conference guidelines.

Preliminary conference orders are governed pursuant to 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.16. At a minimum, the court will want to make sure that the plaintiff and defendant have submitted a sworn statement of net worth as of the date of the commencement of this action and a signed copy of each party’s attorneys retainer agreement.

The court will want the attorneys full contact information. The court will want the Plaintiff to provide the date the summons was filed and the date of the marriage. The court will want the Defendant to provide the date they were served and the date of the separation. The court will want to know the name and dates of birth of all children (if any) of the marriage.

The court will want to know if there is an order of protection in this case and if so from what court and whether it is a temporary or final order. The court will want copies of all active orders. The court will also want to know what other orders are outstanding between the parties and what the issues that were addressed in the orders. The court will want to know whether the plaintiff or the defendant is requesting a translator. The court will want to know whether there was any premarital (prenuptial), marital, or separation agreements that will be an issue in this case. That court will want to know the nature of each agreement and the date of the agreement.

WHAT ARE MY GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE?:

One of the preliminary issues in any divorce is the grounds. This is the legal reason under New York law for obtaining the divorce. The Court will want to know whether the issue of grounds are resolved and if so on what grounds. Generally, if the divorce is to proceed on an uncontested basis the parties will agree that irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months under DRL 170(7) will be the legal grounds. If the issue of grounds is unresolved, a trial on that issue will be held on a certain date and that a jury is or is not requested.

CUSTODY, PARENTING TIME & LAW GUARDIAN:

The court will want to know whether the issue of custody is resolved. The court will want to know whether the issue of parenting time is resolved. Parenting time is the phrase used to describe the non-custodial parents time to be spent with the children of the marriage. This is the same as visitation. The court will want to know whether the issue of decision making is resolved. If all of the issues relating to custody, parenting time, and decision making are resolved the parties will submit a stipulated parenting plan to the court by a date certain.
If any issue related to custody, parenting time and decision making is unresolved. Each party is to serve and submit a proposed paring plan by a date certain. After the court has received the proposed parenting plans, if the parties do not notify the court that all issues relating to custody are resolved then a conference will be scheduled for a date certain and which time the court shall determine the need for a law guardian/guardian ad litem and/or a forensic evaluation and set a schedule for resolving all issues relating to custody. If the court decides to appoint a law guardian/guardian ad litem or forensic evaluation shall be by separate order which shall designate the law guardian appointed, the manner of payment, source of funds for payment and each party’s responsibilities for such payment.

Judges generally go through the preliminary conference order and either mark items as resolved, unresolved, or reserved.

ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION/MEDIATION:

The court will want to know whether the parties are aware of the existence of alternate dispute resolution methods of resolving their matrimonial action, including but not limiting to mediation and collaborative lawyering and if they are open to exploring these non-judicial methods of resolving divorces.

FINANCIAL DISCOVERY:

One of the key issues that is resolved at the preliminary conference is the timeline for exchanging financial documents and related information. This is what is referred to as discovery under the Civil Procedure Law & Rules, as well as the Domestic Relations Law. Prior to the preliminary conference both parties will have to prepare, sign under oath, and file a Statement of Net Worth. This is a comprehensive document that in theory provides the court and the opposing side with an overview of your income, expenses, debts, and assets. This document should be prepared by the client and reviewed by the matrimonial attorney. Clients should also provide two years of tax returns, W2’s, and recent pay stubs. When the Statement of Net Worth and accompanying documents are exchanged, the Judge will want to schedule a discovery schedule. This will allow either side to investigate further the information provided on Statement of Net Worth or on the W2’s or on the New York State or Federal Tax Return.

FINANCIAL ISSUES:

The court will want to understand the specific financial issues in this case, and what matters are yet to be resolved:Spousal support (maintenance), Child Support, Equitable Distribution, Attorneys Fees, Expert Fees

PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE:
The court will order that each party maintain all financial records in his or her possession through the date of the entry of a judgment of divorce.

METHODS OF DISCOVERY IN DIVORCE CASES:

  • Interrogatories
  • Notice for discovery and inspection
  • Notice for examination before trial
  • Appraisals and experts

This is a general overview of the process of divorce, every case is different. To discuss your divorce with an attorney, Contact Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. at 888-501-3292 or e-mail us by visiting our CONTACT page.

12 Most Common Myths about Divorce in New York

1.             Visitation cannot be denied on the basis of nonpayment of child support. These two are mutually exclusive of one another, and each issue is resolved without reference to the other. 

2.             Adultery will not result in loss of all assets- Being unfaithful will not make you lose your children, home, assets or rights. New York is a No Fault divorce state, meaning that you are not required to prove grounds for divorce. An affair will not make a difference in terms of your divorce decree or settlement.
 

3.             Divorce cannot be denied- although the petition for a divorce is a request in front of the judge, that doesn’t mean the judge can deny your request. New York courts have ruled that there is no right to a trial on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Once all the financial, custodial and visitation issues have been resolved at settlement or trial, divorce will be granted.

4.             Mothers are NOT always awarded custody of the children- This is one of the biggest myths in the divorce process. Although it seems like mothers are awarded custody more so than fathers, the reason for the judges decision is less so gender based and more so “best interest” based. While there was a historical bias in favor of mothers, the law has evolved along with changes in society to reflect that both fathers and mothers can be “custodial” parents. The best interest of the child theory stands in the decision of who will be the custodial parent- and that depends on the circumstances and characteristics that have nothing to do with gender.

5.             You don’t necessarily need a lawyer – can you represent yourself in a divorce? Yes. You could also try to build your own house...Should you? Absolutely not! – Trust us on this one, it will cost you much more in legal fees to fix the situation you got yourself into! If you can't afford a lawyer, the judge in New York may require your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees to ensure that both parties are adequately represented.

6.             You do not have to get divorced in the state you were married in - so long as you satisfy the residency requirements for filing for divorce you can file your case in any of New York's 62 counties.

7.             You cannot avoid paying child support – Child support payments in New York are established by law. If you have a minor child, and you are not the custodial parent, you will be required to pay child support. If you fail to comply with the order, the state of New York will take aggressive steps to enforce those orders and obtain the support owed. 
 

8.             Children cannot make the decision of who they get to live with- A child’s expressed preference may be taken into consideration as one of the factors guiding the judge’s determination – but by no means will it be the deciding factor. As always, the totality of the circumstances and the best interest of the child is the guiding factor.

9.             Divorce does not always lead to a battle- and it doesn’t have to! Divorce attorneys who are focused on resolving conflicts as opposed to stating or escalating them can help make the divorce process of negotiation and agreement rather than argument.

 

10.          Equitable distribution doesn’t always result in equal division- property can be and often is divided in an unequal manner based on the many factors that go into the judge’s decision about property division.

 

11.          Decisions on spousal support are not based on gender- decisions on spousal support (just like custody decisions) are no longer based on outdated prejudices and reflect the fact that women often earn more than their husbands. New York has adopted gender neutral guidelines to determine how maintenance is awarded and are based on economic realities of the respective spouses (regardless of their gender)

 

12.             Most divorces DO NOT go to trial- Going to trial is a very costly expense, so unless the parties want to spend tens of thousands of dollars, most divorces are resolved by reaching settlement agreements. Once parties reach agreements on all issues, the divorce could be granted on papers.

How does my retirement fund get affected in a New York Divorce?

In New York, the law is that all forms of retirement plans, whether called pensions, 401ks, IRAs, profit sharing plans, or any other name, which are marital property, are subject tp being equitably distributed. All benefits which are part of a spouse’s retirement plans, to the extent that benefits accrued during the marriage and prior to the commencement date of the divorce action, are subject to equitable distribution.

Getting divorced is stressful enough as is...mix in your retirement savings and there is a lot on the line for both sides. Call us today.

Getting divorced is stressful enough as is...mix in your retirement savings and there is a lot on the line for both sides. Call us today.

 

The courts use a formula (referred to as the “Majauskas” formula), to calculate the split. Under the Majauskas formula, the actual accrued benefit is multiplied by a fraction. The numerator is the number of months of the marriage, and the denominator is the number of months of employment with pension credit upon retirement. The accrued benefit is the benefit received by the spouse upon his/her retirement. Finally the result is multiplied by the percentage to go to the other spouse. In a long-term marriage this is usually 50%. For example: If the Husband’s retirement benefit is $1,000 per month and if the number of months of pension creditable service which occurred during the marriage is 168, and if the total number of months of pension creditable service is 240, then the amount to be paid to the Wife is determined by dividing 168 by 240, which equals 70%, and that figure is multiplied by 50%, resulting in a percentage of 35% to be paid to the Wife. The $1,000 total retirement benefit is then by multiplied by 35%, resulting in the Wife being entitled to $350 per month. The division of most retirement plans require that a judge sign a specialized court order called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order.” This order must comply with a number of very particular rules and must be very specific in order to work.

Call Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. today at 888-501-3292 if you have concerns about how a divorce may affect your retirement. We offer free consultations to discuss your unique set of facts.

What can I do in New York to get more support for my child?

My child’s father is paying very little child support and i need more financial help to support our child, what can i do?

Many custodial parents find themselves in a similar situation. Once upon a time, a minimum amount of child support was ordered by the court - but your situation has changed. Maybe the noncustodial parent started making more money, maybe times are different - regardless, it is time to go back to court!

What is Child Support?

Child Support is money provided by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent for the care of their underage child. The money should be used for maintenance, care, education and child care.

How is Child Support Determined?

A simple way to determine child support is by entering into a private agreement outside the courts. However, if such an agreement is not possible, parents turn to the courts to determine the amount of child support that is necessary for their joint child. In both scenarios, the court must approve the agreement.

In New York, Courts use the Child Support Standards Act to determine appropriate allocation of child support. 

Under this act, courts rely on a specific formula based on parents income and number of supported children. The combined income of both parents is then multiplied by a percentage (based on the number of children) to determine appropriate child support.

A breakdown of NY child support percentages are as follows:

17% of income for one child

25% of income for two children

29% of income for three children

31% of income for four children

35% of income for five + 

This formula is applied to a maximum joined income of up to $143,000. In situations where the joint income is greater than this amount, courts have discretion to move away from state guidelines or take other factors into consideration.

Private agreements for Child Support

As stated above, parents can agree to a private agreement called a “stipulation for child support”. These agreements can agree to more or less child support than the state guidelines provide. 

To have a valid agreement, the following must be included:

  • A statement that both parents are aware of the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA).
  • A provision that a copy of the Child support standards act was given to either parent who is not represented by an attorney.
  • The amount child support WOULD have been if the Act was applied, and
  • The reasoning behind why the amount is different from the amount it would have been under the Act if applicable. 

This agreement then needs to be signed off by the judge who has the discretion to override the agreement if it is deemed it is not in the best interest of the child. 

How Can a Child Support Order be Modified?

Either parent can come in front of the court to modify or change a child support order. This is done by filing a petition asking for a modification of the child support order.

Parents may seek a modification or change based on a showing of:

  • a substantial change in circumstances
  • Three years have passed since the order was issued
  • a 15% increase or decrease in either parent's income since the original order was issued

If you find yourself fitting one of these criteria to go back to court in New York for a modification, call us at 888-501-3292 for a free consultation. We are available any time day or night so feel free to reach out anytime.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US.

New York City Order of Protection in Domestic Violence cases

An order of protection is an important and vital tool used to keep thousands of New Yorkers safe and maintain a recourse against an abusive partner or family member. 

It happens that sometimes domestic abuse is alleged against a person for the purpose of gaining an advantage in a contentious child custody dispute or in a divorce. Some people make false allegations as retaliation or believing that they will receive some type of sympathy from the court. Allegations of abuse against someone are very serious and when they do not reflect the truth can have a tremendous effect of putting someone's career, personal relationships and their reputation in jeopardy.

How can I fight a protection order?

To fight an Order of Protection you need the assistance of a skilled attorney. We here at Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. are here to assist you during this difficult process. Your story is important to us and we understand the serious implications a protection order, even a temporary one, may have on your life and peace of mind. We will assist you in gathering evidence necessary to disprove the allegations and to question the truthfulness of your accuser. 

Do not wait until the last minute to retain us as your attorneys. An order of protection can have serious implications and we are best able to handle your case if we get involved from the outset. One of the worst moves you could make if you find yourself in this type of situation is not showing up to court and not calling us at 888-501-3292 or contacting us for a consultation.

An order of protection will have immediate consequences. Each order is different based on the facts of your case. A judge can order an individual to have no contact with the accuser or the children the two share in common. That contact often extends beyond the physical to phone calls, text messages and other forms of electronic communication (Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat are all a major no-no). A protection order can also result in the accused being forced to move out of the shared home and may bar the the accused from possessing a firearm or consuming alcohol. 

There could be consequences to one's immigration standing. If a person is convicted criminally for domestic violence and is a non-citizen, this could be grounds for immediate deportation. It doesn't matter if the person has lived here 30 years, has purchased a home, has a stable job and extensive family here in America. A protection order may not constitute grounds for deportation, but it certainly will not help your application if you are in the process of seeking citizenship. If you violate the order in any way, that IS considered a crime, and could be grounds for deportation. 

What should I do about a false domestic violence claim?

Orders of protection can be issued by the New York criminal court, but can also be obtained in Family Court.

False allegations of domestic abuse are common in cases where there is a bitter battle for child custody. Accusers know that the courts will weigh the case in terms of whatever is in the best interest of the child. Showing that the other partner is somehow unfit or has a propensity for violence in the home can prompt a judge to set an arrangement that favors the accuser. 

Unlike the high standard of proof required in criminal court, grounds for orders of protection do not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This lower proof threshold means that it is up to the accused to show why such an order is unjustified. Given the seriousness of potential consequences, experienced legal help is always necessary.

If you want to fight a false order of protection New York City, call our offices at (888) 501-3292 or e-mail us for a free consultation.

New York State's Temporary Spousal Support has changed

Spousal maintenance or alimony as it is commonly known has had some loopholes for many years. Often times, as long as an ex was awarded alimony and never remarried and cannot afford to live as comfortably as when they were married, the support payments can continue almost indefinitely.

New York State Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law that attempts to amend this often controversial system so that it may be more temporary and fair. The bill does so by setting up a formula for judges to follow when ruling on divorce cases, rather than giving them ability to rule at their discretion.

Bill A-7645 brings about several changes, primarily lowering income caps to $175,000 from $543,000. Additionally, the major changes appear in the area of "Duration of marriage" Spousal support will now only last an amount of time directly related to the length of the marriage. The shorter you and your ex-spouse were married, the shorter the duration of maintenance. For example, if your marriage lasted five years, you might only need to pay alimony for as little as nine months, depending on the situation. This frees people caught in the perpetual monthly cycle of providing money to someone they might be trying to otherwise forget about and move on.

Also the big change comes to "Enhanced earnings". To reduce the level of payment that must be made to ex-spouses, the bill also calls for the elimination of enhanced earning potential from marital property. This means that increases to your salary due to your advanced education or certifications is more likely to stay in your own pocket.

NEED HELP UNDERSTANDING THE NEW SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE RULES?

Spousal support is not a straightforward system, If you are going through a divorce and need help with spousal maintenance or any other aspect of the process, call (888) 501-3292 to speak with a New York City divorce attorney from Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. 

New York Appellate Court reverses Private School support payment.

In the decision titled Michael J.D. v Carolina E.P., the Appellate Division, First Department, reviewed a 2012 child support award that originally ordered the father to pay 100 percent of his child's tuition at a prestigious and very expensive private school in New York City.

The Appellate Division stated that while a parent can be ordered to pay his or her child's educational expenses, the court must first examine the circumstances of the case, the circumstances of the parties involved, the child's best interests and the "requirement of justice."

In this case, the appellate court noted that no reasons were offered back in 2012 for why the father should pay for private school, other than informal discussions between the father and mother about the child's future. These conversations took place when the child was only a few months old, meaning he was not close enough in age for a discussion regarding his schooling. The parents were not married or even living together when child was born. Taken together, the court determined there was no "justifiable basis" to make the father pay private school tuition.

Every child support case is different. In fact, just because the court said the father is not required to pay school tuition in this instance does not mean it won't order it in another case - it all depends on the circumstances. Before you agree with your child's mother or father regarding something as important as school, contact an attorney at Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. at 888-501-3292.

 

Can I invalidate a prenup?

This question came up recently: "I signed a prenup before we got married giving up my rights to my husband's assets, however I gave the past 15 years to raising my sons and taking care of our home and do not have any money to my name. What can I do now? Can I invalidate this old prenup?" -Y.L.

Drafting a prenuptial agreement is great, However, it will not always be accepted by the court, depending on the agreement itself (its validity) and the circumstances surrounding it.

Amongst other things, changed circumstances can invalidate a Prenuptial agreement. 

The enforceability of a prenup can come down to “crossed t’s and dotted i’s.” Even the smallest of errors could render a prenup less than airtight.

The enforceability of a prenup can come down to “crossed t’s and dotted i’s.” Even the smallest of errors could render a prenup less than airtight.

There is a three prong test for determining enforceability of a prenup: (1) there was full financial disclosure; (2) that the party sought to be bound knew and understood the terms and conditions; and (3) that the agreement be fair and not unconscionable, i.e. that it not leave a spouse a public charge or close to it, or with a lifestyle far below what was enjoyed before or during the marriage. 

Upon establishing a change of circumstances, a spouse may apply to the court for a modification of the agreement.

In summary, there is no type of prenup that always stays air tight and iron clad. If there is a substantial “change of circumstances” then most courts will reevaluate a prenup under the standard of determining if the agreement is reasonable. The most common change of circumstances is a health condition, a loss of a job, or a failed business. The family courts try to fair, and if a spouse’s fortune has deteriorated since the execution of the prenup, then most judges will reevaluate the agreement and assess whether justice can still be achieved if it is enforced.

You can always call us at Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. to take a look at your prenup and for legal advice on how to proceed with your matter. You can reach us at 888-501-3292 or by clicking here.

My wife and I did not draft a prenuptial agreement before our wedding because we were young and did not have anything. What can I do now to protect my interests in the event of a divorce?

What is a Postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract signed after a couple enters a marriage. It dictates how the couple’s financial affairs and assets will be divided in the case of divorce or separation. In it you can spell out the division of all property acquired individually and together from both before and after you said your vows. This document can also include details about incurring debts and spousal support. (It can even address things like division of labor at home.)

Even though post nuptial agreements are not as numerous as prenuptial agreements, they are increasing in popularity. Your marriage does not have to be on the rocks to make the plunge to protect yourselves. The benefits can help you have a more peaceful future if you choose to ever end your marital relationship.

A recent survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that about half of all responding attorneys cited an increase in post nuptial agreements during the past five years.

The survey also showed that the request to create a postnuptial agreement is typically made by both spouses (rather than just one), indicating that it is for the spouses’ mutual interest that a postnuptial is created.

Also, people may shy away from a prenuptial agreement before marriage because they consider it “unromantic” to see their future marriage as a business relationship, but after the wedding (and after a few years of marriage) they may have a clearer sense that marriage is about both your emotional and economic health.


Why choose a postnuptial agreement?

Most people enter into a postnuptial agreement because the financial status of one or both of the spouses has changed significantly since the wedding day. Like a prenuptial agreement, the postnuptial can:

  • Determine the extent to which one or both spouses is the recipient of income from various sources.
  • Determine who is responsible for the debts from various sources.
  • Be used for a spousal waiver of benefits from a retirement account.
  • State the details of the division and/or distribution of property in case of divorce or death.

What are the guidelines for creating the agreement?

You do not have to have created a prenuptial agreement in order to create a post nuptial agreement. You can call us at 888-501-3292 and we will discuss how we can help you with this crucial document.

As with a prenup, a postnuptial is valid only if it is created under two conditions:

1) There must be "full disclosure" between the two parties, in order that there will not be a finding of fraud, misrepresentation, or duress. Both you and your spouse must thoroughly disclose your financial details: income, assets, and liabilities, in the document.

2) Each spouse must individually be represented by separate attorneys prior to signing the agreement, again to reduce the risk of drafting and agreeing to an unfair agreement.

In addition, each spouse must sign the postnuptial agreement, and the agreement must be notarized. Let us at Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. handle all that for you. Contact us by e-mail or phone at 888-501-3292 today for a free consultation.