Brian D. Perskin & Associates

The Divorce Process in New York City: A Guide to Navigating Your Case

Divorce Process Guide NYC

The divorce process can be confusing, especially if you’ve never had to deal with divorce before. When can you file, and where should you do it? What documents do you need, and how long until you are divorced?

New York City divorce cases are complex matters, and unfortunately, no two actions will be the same. With that being said, the general divorce process can be broken down into four main steps:

  • Pre-divorce and initial filing
  • Case work and negotiation
  • Divorce trial
  • Judgment of Divorce

What happens during each of these steps, and how can you best prepare to handle your divorce case?

Pre-Divorce & Initial Filing

The first step to beginning the divorce process is to meet with an attorney. A New York City divorce lawyer can help you determine if your case is contested or uncontested, and walk you through the general process. Hiring an attorney isn’t required, but it is recommended to help guarantee a winning case.

Your divorce case doesn’t officially begin until you file a Summons for Divorce. Your Summons can either have a Notice or Complaint attached to it, and your attorney can help you decide which one is right for you.

The next step is to get your spouse served with the Summons. Your spouse needs to be personally served, meaning the document needs to be handed to them. You can’t serve your spouse, but a friend, family member, or process server can. Your attorney will likely have a reliable process server they use, and will handle this for you.

Case Work & Negotiation

The next step in the divorce process involves case work and settlement negotiation. This is, by far, the longest part of divorce, and often includes:

  • Filing additional documents, such as reply papers, discovery demands, etc.
  • Various court appearances, such as a Preliminary and Compliance Conferences
  • Discovery, which includes document production and depositions
  • Drafting and filing of motions, especially for spousal support
  • Settlement negotiation between attorneys

Of course, this is just a general guideline for what may happen during a New York City divorce, and your case will likely be a little different.

Divorce Trials

When a settlement is not met, the next step in the divorce process involves litigation. Divorce trials are tricky, and require the experience of a skilled litigator, who can adequately fight for your rights in court.

Trials are a pain, but luckily, all of the work done on your case so far will be used in your trial. Before your trial begins, your lawyer will file pre-trial documents, and help to prepare you for giving testimony. (Check out our blog for more tips on preparing for a divorce trial.) Keep in mind that settlement negotiations still happen during trials, and it is common for cases to settle before a trial concludes.

Judgments of Divorce

Your divorce trial will end in one of two ways: either a judge issues a ruling, or parties settle. Either way, you’ll enter into the final stage of the divorce process, which is where you are granted a Judgment of Divorce. Congratulations!

Unfortunately, New York City courts are extremely backlogged, and it is not uncommon to receive a signed Judgment months after your case over. The timeline for divorce varies, but hang in there. You’ve made it this far, what’s a little bit longer?

Get Help during the Divorce Process

The exact divorce process will vary depending the specifics of your case. The only surefire way to get a clear picture of how your action will go is to consult with an attorney.

To learn more about the divorce process in New York, contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You’ll be glad you did.

The Positive Side to Divorce (Yes, it Really Can be a Good Thing!)

Positive side to divorce

Listen, we know that divorce sucks. Sure, some days will be easier than others, but divorce does have its difficulties. You will be stressed, hurt, and feel worn down. This is completely normal, and it won’t last forever. Believe it or not, there is a positive side to divorce, and it can actually be a good thing!

You’ll be Happier & Healthier

It comes as no surprise that an unhealthy or abusive marriage has a negative impact on your self-esteem and physical health. Ridding yourself of the negativity and stress of a strained marriage, or abusive spouse, has a profound impact on your health. You’ll be happier, and have the chance to get comfortable in your own skin again. The difficult journey of your divorce will help you think more positively, and see the beauty of every day.

Positive Side to Divorce for Kids

There is this myth floating around that parents should stay together for their kids. Simply put, that just isn’t true. Countless studies showthat children will actually benefit from their parent’s divorce, especially if the marriage is strained.

Your kids will view your marriage as a model for what a successful relationship should look like, and they will carry these ideas into adulthood. Your children will learn to normalize unhealthy behavior and repeat their patterns as they get older. The threat of long-term negative effects will lessen with divorce, thus, allowing your kids to see what a positive relationship looks like.

You’ll Have Better Relationships

Getting a divorce doesn’t mean you have failed. It means that you were smart enough to notice that your marriage wasn’t working out, and that you were brave enough to do something about it. Life is full of learning opportunities, and this includes your marriage.

Finally, enduring the struggles of a strained marriage, as well as the difficulties of divorce, will help you reevaluate what you want in a partner. You don’t need to jump into a new relationship once your divorce is granted- take time to really seek out the qualities you deserve.

Financial Benefit to Divorce

One often overlooked positive side to divorce involves your finances. (And no, we aren’t talking about any alimony payments!) Believe it or not, there are many financial benefits to divorce.

Divorce forces you to take a good, hard look at your finances and assets. You will need to evaluate your bank accounts, make an inventory of assets and liabilities, and create a new budget. Doing all of this work helps you have a better grasp of your finances, and can help you properly prepare for the future.

Let Us Help You

There is a positive side to divorce, but the experience does have it downfalls. The best way to make sure that you are navigate your case successfully is to hire an experienced divorce attorney. The family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. specializes in divorce actions, and are experts in the field.

For more information on divorce in New York, or to schedule your free consultation, call us at 718-875-7584 today!

Is a Lump Sum Alimony Payment Right for You?

What is Lump Sum Alimony?

Alimony is one of the most fought over parts of divorce in New York.  Whether you’re receiving support, or you have to pay your ex, you likely have some strong views on the subject. A hot topic of contention is lump sum alimony payments vs. monthly payments.

What are Lump Sum Alimony Payments?

Lump sum alimony is a form of spousal support that is paid in one single payment, instead of period payments over a certain amount of time. The person receiving the lump sum payment, known as the dependent spouse, can receive this in two ways: via money transfer, or through the division of marital property.

There are pros and cons to lump sum alimony, both for the giver, and the receiver. What are they, and is this method right for your divorce case?

Benefits of Lump Sum Alimony

Let’s assume that you are being awarded a lump sum alimony payment. By receiving your alimony payment in one lump sum, you can rest assured knowing that your ex won’t miss any future payments. Since you’ll have immediate access to your full alimony payment, you can use the money to purchase a home, or pay off divorce related debts. A number of people use their spousal support to further their education, as well.

There are numerous benefits for the paying party, as well. Agreeing to pay alimony in one lump sum payment means that your ex-spouse will be free of any continued financial support. This will be useful if they ever become unemployed, or face other financial hardships. Your ex can immediately begin rebuilding their financial cushion when they don’t have to worry about monthly payments.

Lump Sum Pitfalls

As great as lump sum support payments may be, there are major financial pitfalls associated with this practice. Receiving a large sum of money can be risky if you do not know how to handle it. Properly investing and managing a big alimony payment is tricky, so you need to consider speaking to a financial advisor. You also need to keep in mind that you might experience some tax complications if you receive a lump sum support payment.

Acquiring the funds to pay you a lump sum is the biggest challenge your ex faces. They may have to sell assets, tap into their retirement plan, or take out a loan. They will also be unable to request an alimony deduction the future, since they won’t be making multiple payments. In some cases, your ex will also have tax complications.

Is This Right for You?

Whether or not lump sum alimony is right for you depends on a number of factors. What makes sense for one case, doesn’t necessarily make sense for another. You need to make sure that you hire an attorney who has experience handling divorces with sensitive financial issues.

The family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. specializes is complex divorce cases, with a focus on contested and high net worth actions. Our team of attorneys have represented thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs, as well as Westchester and Nassau Counties. Get the help and guidance you need- contact us at 718-875-7584 to schedule your free consultation today!

Physical Custody in New York State

Physical custody new york city

Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences you will have, especially if you have children. Child custody is a major part of most divorce cases, and it can be broken down into two types: physical custody, and legal custody.

What is physical custody, and what does it mean for your divorce?

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody, also known as residential custody, determines which parent a child will live with. According to the New York State Unified Court System, the custodial parent is “responsible for the actual physical care and supervision of [the] child”.

Physical custody can be joint, or sole. Your child will live you a majority of the time, if you are awarded sole physical custody. In certain cases, a judge will grant joint physical custody. Under one of these custody arrangements, you child will split their time evenly between both households. A visitation schedule is part of every child custody order.

Determining Child Custody

Your custody decision will be made with your child’s best interest in mind. Before issuing a child custody ruling, Judge’s need to take many factors into consideration:

  • Your child’s age (older children’s wishes may be take into account)
  • The health of your child, including any social or developmental needs
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and their employment status
  • Which parent was the primary caregiver during the marriage
  • Whether or not your child would benefit from growing up with other siblings

Child custody cases are unique, so it can be difficult to predict how a judge will rule. Given their unpredictable nature, custody cases require the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Modification of Physical Custody

Child custody orders aren’t always permanent. You can modify your custody agreement months, or years, after you finish your divorce. Reasons for modification may include:

  • The custodial parent can no longer care for the child full time
  • Your child wishes to live with their other parent
  • The custodial parent is moving, and your child needs to stay in the same school district
  • There are instances of abuse or neglect

Modification petitions often proceed to trial, where a judge will take you child’s best interest into consideration. (An in-depth look at modifying child custody orders can be found on our divorce and family law blog.)

Get Help for Your Custody Case

All child custody cases are different. Their quirks make them incredibly complex matters. Trying to represent yourself during a custody case is risky, and it will end in disaster. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is always the right idea.

If you’re facing a divorce or child custody action, you need to contact the team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.. We provide expert advice and guidance for New Yorkers just like you. For more information, or to schedule your free consultation, contact us today!

The Financial Benefit of Divorce

Hidden financial benefit of divorce

It comes as no surprise that divorce can be a costly endeavor. Legal fees, becoming a single income household, and support payments can do major damage to your wallet. As awful and scary as that all sounds, there is a financial benefit to divorce.

Fresh Start for Financial Responsibilities

You face a big lifestyle change when you go through a divorce, and there is a financial benefit to this. When your lifestyle changes, you have the opportunity to revise your current financial responsibilities. For instance, a big adjustment, like selling the marital home and downsizing, can be great for your financial future.

Financial Benefit for Kids

An often overlooked financial benefit of divorce involves your children and their college expenses. The cost of a Bachelor’s degree continues to rise, and many families turn to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to help offset tuition costs. FASFA only requires that the custodial parent provide their financial information, which they use to determine the amount of aid a student will receive. This means that your children can get a larger amount of educational aid, which is a huge financial benefit.

Paying Less Taxes

Your taxes will be impacted in a couple of different ways when you get a divorce. Two of the major financial benefits surround your filing status and tax deductions. Your filing status will change from “married, filing jointly” to “single”, which may place you in a lower tax bracket.

The biggest financial benefit during tax season involves your deductions. You may end up paying less for standard deductions, such as medical expenses, but you may be on the hook for support payments. Double check your divorce agreement, and contact your attorney if you have any questions.

Better Returns on Investments

Divorce won’t necessarily make your investments more lucrative, but it can help you make better investment choices. When you get divorced, and are forced to reevaluate your finances, and in doing so, you will become more educated and informed. Knowledge is power, especially when it has such a big financial benefit.

The Right Attorney Can Help

Divorce has the power to wreak havoc on your finances. The right divorce attorney can help make that financial blow a little softer.

At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we specialize in divorces with complex financial components. We strive to provide expert representation, with an emphasis on securing your financial future. For more information on New York divorce, or to schedule your free consultation, contact us at 718-875-7584 today!

Modifying Child Custody Orders in New York

Child custody modifications

Child custody is one of the most important components of divorce. Your child custody agreement will determine if your child will live with you, or if you can make decisions on their behalf.

It is likely that your child custody order will need to be changed as time goes on. What are some of the most common reasons parents seek a child custody modification? What will a Judge consider while making their decision?

Significant Change in Circumstance

There are many reasons why you can petition the court for a modification of child custody. A few of the most cited reasons for a modification include:

  • Relocation after divorce
  • Changes to either parent’s lifestyle (finances, health, etc.)
  • Allegations of child abuse or neglect
  • The desires of the child

You must prove that there has been a significant change in circumstance, regardless of why you want to modify your Order.  For instance, a new job in another state, access to critical health care, or unsafe living conditions all constitute a significant change in circumstance.

Best Interest of the Child

Contrary to popular belief, the courts do not favor mothers over fathers in child custody proceedings. The same rings true for modification requests. A Judge must rule in the child’s best interest when deciding if they should grant a request to modify a child custody order.

Some of the factors that help determine the child’s best interest are:

  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver
  • The parenting skills of each parent, their ability to provide for the child, and their lifestyle
  • The child’s relationship with siblings and extended family members
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence

Each child custody modification case is different, and no two rulings will be alike. These best interest factors are merely a guide for Judges. Discuss your case with an attorney prior to filing your petition.

The Modification Process

You must file a Petition for Modification in order to start a new child custody case. Your petition will be denied if you fail to provide enough evidence that a significant change of circumstance has occurred.

The Court will issue a Summons with Petition for Modification when your request is granted. As with any other legal action, you need to have the other parent served with the Summons. Your Summons will have a court date listed, and you and your ex will need to appear in front of a Judge.

During your modification trial, a Judge will hear testimony and review evidence. After which, they will decide whether or not to grant your request.  The Judge will issue a new child custody order if your Petition is approved. Keep in mind: your current visitation and child support agreements might change if your custody order is modified.

New York’s Child Custody Attorneys

Child custody modification cases are very complicated. You do not want to file your petition without speaking to an attorney first. You are taking the first steps when you hire an experienced family law attorney.

The team of lawyers Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. have represented thousands of New Yorkers in sensitive divorce and family law matters. For more information on child custody modifications, contact the firm at 718-875-7584 today!

Protecting Your Credit during Divorce

Protecting Your Credit

Divorce has the power to impact every aspect of your life, especially your finances. Protecting your credit during your divorce will help to secure your financial future after your case is settled. What steps can you take now, to ensure that your credit doesn’t suffer later?

Why Your Credit Score Matters

Your credit score is one of the most important factors to consider while planning for your life after divorce. A higher credit score can make it easier to apply for loans or refinance your mortgage. Protecting your credit can even lead to lower interest rates, as well as better financial opportunities.

Protecting Your Credit during Divorce

There are many ways to protect your credit during divorce. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Closing, separating, or freezing all joint accounts
  • Create an index of your properties and assets, so you can better monitor these accounts
  • Keep current on all of your bills throughout the duration of your divorce
  • Track your expenses, make a budget, and stick to it
  • Monitor your credit report and financial accounts, and address any discrepancies

Divorce is tough. Worrying about your finances during divorce can make the situation much more stressful. While you may not want to address these tough issues now, it will pay off in the long run.

Improving Your Credit after Divorce

Divorce is a major life event, and it will impact your finances. Transitioning to a single income household, coupled with support payments and legal fees, can make it hard to improve your credit rating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to rebuild your credit after divorce.

  • Sign up for credit monitoring programs and set up alerts
  • Continue to stick to the budget you made during your divorce proceeding
  • Open new credit accounts in your name, and remain current on your payments
  • Make sure you have been removed from joint accounts with your ex, so you aren’t held responsible if they go into default

Rebuilding your credit after divorce is a marathon, not a sprint. Just because you took measures to protect your credit early on, doesn’t mean that it won’t take a hit as your case drags out. Adjusting your finances to your post-divorce life takes time, but keep it up. You’ll get there!

Hiring the Right Attorney

Hiring a divorce attorney may not seem like a method for protecting your credit during divorce, but it is. Your lawyer will have your best interest in mind throughout your case, and that includes your finances. An experienced divorce lawyer has the skills and capabilities to get you the financial settlement you are entitled to, which can help protect your financial future.

For more information on the financial aspect of divorce, contact the law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. at 718-875-7584 today!

Orders of Protection in New York

Orders of Protection are court orders that aim to help prevent harassment, domestic abuse, and stalking. These court orders are fairly common in divorce and family law cases. However, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding these documents.

Filing for an Order of Protection

New York State allows litigants to file for an Order of Protection in Family Court, but only if you meet one of these requirements:

  • You are related to the respondent by blood or marriage;
  • You are, or were, legally married to the respondent;
  • You have a child with the respondent; or
  • You are, or were, in an intimate relationship with the respondent.

If you meet one of the Court’s criteria, you may file a Family Offense Petition in your county’s Family Court. You will then be issued a Temporary Order of Protection once your petition is approved.

Types of Orders of Protection

Orders of Protection can be both temporary and permanent. According to the 5th Judicial District your Order might include:

  • Stay away: bars the respondent from showing up at your home, office, child’s school, etc. A stay away can also prevent someone from contacting your family members.
  • Refrain from: the respondent must stop a doing a certain action, such as threatening you.
  • Exclusion: bans the respondent from entering the home they share with you. Exclusions are only granted when the respondent poses a clear and present danger to you or your children.
  • Collect Belongings: requires law enforcement to be present when the respondent removes their personal items from your home.
  • Firearms: the respondent will not be allowed to carry or use a weapon. The court will confiscate all firearms from your ex.

Enforcing Orders of Protection

Unfortunately, not all Orders of Protection are followed. There is always a chance that your ex will disobey the terms listed in your Order. Because of this, it is important to keep a copy of your Order of Protection at home and at work. You should even consider giving a copy to your child’s school. Keep it handy so you can show law enforcement that your Order exists.

Violating an Order of Protection is a very serious offense, and can result in jail time for the offender. If your ex is violating your protection order, you need to take immediate and swift action. The first step to safeguarding your family is to hire a lawyer who experience with Orders of Protection. Keep in mind that you will need to file an Enforcement Petition and appear in court, but having a lawyer fight for your safety can make the process easier.

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The law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. has helped thousands of New Yorkers protect their families with Orders of Protection. For more information on divorce and family law, or to schedule your free consultation, contact Brian and his team at 718-875-7584 today!

Divorce During the School Year: Q&A

Divorce during the School Year

Back to school season can be tough for families of divorce. There can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding custody, support, and co-parenting during the school year. Things can become even more complicated if your divorce case is just beginning.

What are the most common questions divorced parents have regarding the school year?

Will my custody agreement change?

Your custody agreement may change, depending on what schedule you and your ex currently follow. For instance, it may be best to modify your agreement for the duration of the school year. This way, your child doesn’t have to split their time between households during the week. Visitation can occur on the weekend, or on weeknights.

How do extracurricular activities affect visitation?

There is a good chance that extracurricular activities will affect your visitation schedule. Sports games, debates, and school plays are often held on the weekend. This means that the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule will be interrupted. While this is not an ideal situation, attending extracurricular activities allows for you to perfect your co-parenting skills!

Who pays for additional academic expenses?

Additional academic expenses should be addressed in your support or custody agreement. Typically, the custodial parent will bear the brunt of additional costs. However, the non-custodial parent will often agree to pay a share of extra expenses. It’s best to review your agreement prior to petitioning the court for a modification.

Do we need to tell the school?

You are not required to inform your child’s school of your divorce. However, it is a good idea to let the principal and guidance counselor know, so they can be on the lookout for any behavioral changes your child may experience. Provide the school with updated contact information, and request that they send copies of all documents to you and your ex. This way, you are both being kept up to date and informed during the school year.

How can we make the school year easier for our child?

Back to school time is hard for kids, especially those whose parents are getting a divorce. To make the transition easier, try to implement the following strategies:

  • Create consistency between households (same rules, bedtimes, etc.)
  • Have separate sets of school supplies, clothes, or uniforms at each household
  • Create a schedule for visitation and parenting time, but remain flexible
  • Let your child decorate a calendar that shows which parent the child will spend time with each day
  • Encourage your child to video chat with your ex during your parenting time
  • Never use your child as a messenger to relay information to your ex-spouse

Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.

It is impossible to predict how well your family will handle the school year while in the midst of a divorce. It might not be easy, but that is why you need a top rated law firm by your side. The team of attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. have represented thousands of New Yorkers in tough divorce and child custody matters.

For more information, or to schedule your free consultation, contact Brian and his team at 718-875-7584 today!

Parallel Parenting: Conflict Free Co-Parenting

Parallel Parenting: Alternative Co-Parenting

Last week, we briefly touched on parallel parenting during our discussion on alternative forms of co-parenting. However, this method deserves more in-depth coverage, as it can be helpful for divorcees who are unable to co-parent successfully.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel Parenting allows for divorced couples to co-parent while keeping their interaction with each other to a minimum. This method was developed for couples involved in high-conflict divorces. It is also useful for parents who can not interact without fighting.

During parallel parenting, parents are able to make decisions regarding their children without having to consult with their ex. For this to work, parents much agree on which aspects of their children’s upbringing they want to have control over. For instance, one parent will make all medical decisions, and the other will handle schooling and extracurricular activities.

Changing Communication Strategies

The main goal of parallel parenting is for children to be raised in a conflict free environment. In order to do this, parents must change the way they communicate with each other. To accomplish this, parents can:

  • Only communicate via email, text message, or on co-parenting apps
  • Keep conversations factual, and do not let emotion take control
  • Never attend the same school or extra-curricular functions
  • Do not spend time alone with the other parent
  • Arrange a neutral location for custody exchanges
  • Use a third-party to help with custody exchanges

These changes will not happen overnight. They take work. Parallel parenting is not easy, and there will be some trial and error. But, remember: this co-parenting method is good for children.

Pros and Cons to Parallel Parenting

The pros to parallel parenting far outweigh the cons. Since communication between parents is limited, there is less stress. Parallel parenting may even result in lower legal fees, as parents won’t get stuck in a loop of conflict and litigation. This method also helps to foster a stronger relationship between the child and each parent.

In some cases, parallel parenting can have a negative impact on children. Some kids can have difficulties moving between households, and may develop a sense of loyalty to one parent. Children can also feel hurt when they can’t have both parents at graduations, sporting events, and birthday parties.

Get the Help Need

In order for parallel parenting to work, both parents need be on the same page. They must realize that they cannot co-parent without a great deal of strife. Developing an effective co-parenting method is a marathon, and not a sprint. It requires the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Trust the team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. to customize a hand crafted divorce and co-parenting strategy for you. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us at 718-875-7584 today!