Brian D. Perskin & Associates

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.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

Statements of Net Worth in New York Divorce

SNW NY Divorce

Some of the most common points of contention in New York divorce cases involve money. Spouses often disagree on child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. How can a Statement of Net Worth help to alleviate these issues?

What is a Statement of Net Worth?

A Statement of Net Worth is a court document, and is part of every contested divorce action. This document outlines your finances and expenses. It also aides in dividing assets, and determining support obligations. You, and your spouse, will need to prepare a Statement of Net Worth prior to your court appearance.

Preparing and Filing a Statement of Net Worth

Preparing a Statement of Net Worth is a relatively easy process. Your attorney will work with you to draft the document, but it will be up to you to provide the following information:

  • Tax returns from the last three years
  • Financial statements, investment portfolios, and loan documents
  • Household expenses (utilities, mortgage, insurance)
  • Lifestyle and recreational expenses
  • Costs related to children (tuition, child care, extracurricular activities)
  • Index of tangible assets (jewelry, artwork, collectibles)

Your attorney will file your Statement with the court and serve a copy on the opposing counsel. You will also receive a copy of your spouse’s Statement of Net Worth. It is important that you review the document thoroughly, to make sure your ex isn’t trying to hide or liquidate marital assets.

Using Your Statement for Budgeting

A major benefit of completing your Statement of Net Worth is that it outlines your monthly expenses, and allows you to budget accordingly. Divorce can have a big impact on your finances, especially if you have to pay child support or alimony. Scaling back on lifestyle expenses, such as dining out, recreation, or shopping, can help you secure your post-divorce financial future.

Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.

Our law firm, Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., specializes in complex divorce and family law matters, with an emphasis being placed on high net worth cases.

Securing your finances, both during and after divorce, is important. You need to hire an attorney to ensure that your assets are addressed correctly. For more information on how our team can help you, call us at 718-875-7584 today!

A Step-by-Step Guide for Changing Your Name After Divorce in NYC

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wish to change their name after divorce, and those who don’t. Some women find it therapeutic to return to their maiden name, while others, well, they could care less.

Follow these instructions if you want to change your last name, or call us at 718-875-7584 to find out more.

Get Permission from the Court

You must get permission from the court before you are allowed to officially change your name. Usually, the permission can be found in your Judgement of Divorce (JOD). If it cannot be found in your Judgement, you need to contact the court and either request an amendment, or file a Petition for Name Change.

Important Documents

Along with a Certified copy of your JOD, you will also need a valid government ID (like your driver’s license), and your birth certificate. You can check the NYS Department of Health to get copies. These documents will need to be submitted to financial institution or agency you wish to change your name with.

Who Should You Tell?

In addition to telling your family, friends, and employer about your name change, you should also contact the following:

  • Social Services and the DMV
  • Shipping companies, such as the post office or USPS
  • Health and life insurance companies, or medical providers
  • Banks, creditors, or other financial institutions
  • Your children’s school (via phone, letter, or email)

Any Issues? Call Us!

While there is no time frame for a name change in New York, most people choose to get the ball rolling immediately following their divorce. The process usually goes off without a hitch, however, there is the occasional roadblock with the court.

If you find yourself struggling with the name change process, call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. for help. We can petition the court on your behalf, alleviating any post-divorce stress or anxiety you may feel. Don’t hesitate: contact us at 718-875-7584 today!

Moving On After Divorce

Let’s be honest: divorce hurts. You are mourning the loss of a relationship, a way of living, and reentering the world as a single person. It’s scary, and you may not know what to do, or how to cope after your case is finalized.

Read on for tips and ideas on how to move on after divorce:

Mental Health Matters

Before you can full move past your divorce, you need to make sure you mental health is in check. Work through your negative emotions with a therapist, be mindful of how you’re feeling, and keep a gratitude journal.

Break a Sweat

Physical activity releases feel good endorphins in the brain. These neurotransmitters directly affect the way you feel, turning a bad mood into a good one. Exercising helps you stay healthy, both physically and mentally. It’s a win-win!

Have New Experiences & Socialize

Have you always wanted to travel solo, go back to school, or learn a new hobby? Now is the time to do it! Book that vacation, enroll in a class, go skydiving… the world is your oyster, and the possibilities are endless. Go have some fun!

Forgive and Let Go

An important part of moving on after divorce is forgiving your ex of their transgressions, and letting go of the pain you felt during the divorce. Dwelling on the past will prevent you from moving forward, and can greatly impact your quality of life. You deserve to thrive!

Before you can move on from your divorce, you first must go through it. That’s where we come in. Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. is a New York City matrimonial and family law firm, specializing in complex divorce matters. For more information on how we can help you, contact us at 718-875-7584. We offer completely FREE consultations, in both our Brooklyn and Manhattan offices.

Contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. for the help you deserve.
Contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. for the help you deserve.

The 4 Cardinal Rules of Co-Parenting

A divorce involving children can be an incredibly difficult experience, especially when it comes to learning how to co-parent effectively. You will need to go through some trials and errors when figuring out what approach works best for your family. While doing so, you should keep these 4 Cardinal Rules of Co-Parenting in mind.

1. Be Respectful and Mindful

The key to any successful co-parenting relationship is to be respectful towards your ex-spouse. Purposefully disrespecting your ex by ignoring their emails and phone calls, or refusing to let them see the child, will cause unnecessary tension and may even turn an uncontested case into a contested custody battle.

Remember that your ex is just as effected by the divorce as you are, and probably even more so if they do not have residential custody of the child. Your former spouse went from living with their child, and being able to interact with them daily, to seeing them less often. This can be a tough transition for both parties, and as the custodial parent, you need to be mindful of the situation.

2. Learn to Communicate Effectively

Divorce changes a couple’s relationship, and because of this, the parties need to develop new ways to communicate and interact with each other. Learning how to co-parent can be tough, but making sure the two of you communicate well will help to ensure co-parenting runs smoothly.

While it is great if exes can remain friendly and keep arguments at bay (for the sake of their child), it is not always feasible. If you find yourself in a situation such as this, you need to look into alternative forms of co-parenting and implement new rules. For instance, any non-emergency contact can be made via text or e-mail, or phone calls can only occur between certain hours.

Technology is making it easier for feuding parties to co-parent their children during, and after, divorce. Websites and mobile apps feature shared calendars, note sections, and contact lists for other family members, education providers, and other family members. An article detailing the most popular co-parenting apps and websites can be found on Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.’s blog.

3. Create a Plan, and be Flexible

Before you can begin to co-parent with your ex, the two of you need to create a parenting plan. This can be done with or without lawyers, however, it is always recommended you retain proper representation to advocate on your behalf throughout the proceedings.

Your parenting plan will act as a guideline for how to split time on holidays, birthdays, and school breaks or vacations. The plan will provide a schedule for regular visitation, as well as detail locations and times for pick-up and drop-off. Keep a copy of your agreement handy, and refer to it if issues surrounding visitation and parenting time arise.

Having a set agreement is great, however, it is important to remember to be flexible with changes. Work or personal emergencies may come up, and your ex may be unable to participate in their regularly scheduled visitation time. While an inconvenience, you need to accept the change and be flexible. Remember, you would want the same courtesy extended to you if roles were reversed.

4. Children Come First

Children should always come first during divorce and custody disputes. These kinds of cases are major life changes, and can have a huge impact on children. Making sure your child’s emotional, mental, and physical needs are met should be in the forefront of your mind while co-parenting.

Developing a successful co-parenting relationship takes work, but it can seem less cumbersome if you and your ex both agree to make your child’s well-being the number one priority. This can be done by treating each other with respect, and refraining from putting the child in the middle of your arguments or disagreements. Both parents must support their child during this difficult transition, regardless of their personal feelings towards their former spouse. Keep in mind that a child-centered divorce is a successful one!

Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. is a New York City based matrimonial and family law firm, specializing in complex divorce and child custody matters. For more information on successful co-parenting and divorce strategies, call 718-875-7584 to schedule a free consultation.

What Can I Do If My Child Refuses Visitation?

As a custodial parent, one of your primary goals is to promote a healthy and active relationship between your child and your ex-spouse. Abiding by a court ordered, or otherwise agreed upon, visitation schedule is a great way to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done. What should you do if your child refuses to visit their other parent?

Get to the Root of the Problem

You must figure out why your child doesn’t want to spend time with their other parent before you can address the issue. There are countless reasons why children and adolescents may refuse visitation, depending on their age, but these are some of the most common:

  • They have separation anxiety and fear being away from you
  • The other parent has gotten remarried, or moved in with a significant other
  • Visitation is long distance (different city or state, or requires international travel)
  • The child has not spent much time with the other parent (you were never married to your ex, and they have not been a consistent part of your child’s life thus far)
  • Your teenager would rather hang out with nearby friends instead of see their other parent
  • Your child claims they are being abused or neglected

It is important for you to get to the root of the problem as soon as you notice that your child is hesitant to spend time with their other parent. Reasons will vary on a case by case basis, but simply asking your child why can help you devise a plan to rectify the situation.

What can You Do?

In order to remedy this type of situation, you need to discuss the matter with your ex and your child. This can be done either separately, or together in an informal and comfortable setting, such as your home. Your child is more likely to open up if they are in a familiar and safe environment.

When discussing the matter with your ex, you should stress the reasons why your child is hesitant to visit with them. Do they work too much, and aren’t as attentive? Has your ex recently moved in with a new paramour that your child isn’t comfortable being around? What about a new stepparent or stepsiblings? Your ex may not have been aware of any issues, and can now implement changes to help make your child more inclined to visit.

Both parents need to present a united front while discussing visitation issues with your child. Your approach will differ depending on the child’s age. For instance, you may need to offer an adolescent an incentive to visit with the noncustodial parent, such as being allowed to have a sleepover or footing the bill for your child and friend to go to the movies. Younger children often just need reassurance, and the opportunity to communicate with you while spending time with your ex. A goodnight phone call is often sufficient.

Visitation Modifications

It is important to remember that you and your child must abide by the terms outlined in the custody agreement. Children, regardless of age, are not allowed to dictate when they see the noncustodial parent. The Court will always prefer that both parties, along with the children, follow the stipulations set forth in the visitation schedule, however, sometimes a situation warrants a modification of the original court order.

In order to have a visitation agreement modified, the petitioning party must have a sufficient and valid reason for the request. A judge will not typically grant such a request just because your child doesn’t want to visit their other parent. Because a child’s schedule changes, modified orders become fairly common as they get older, transition to a more structured school environment, and partake in extracurricular activities.

Trying to file a Petition for Modification on your own is not recommended, as the process can be tedious. The court will only grant a modification if it is in the best interest of the child, so it is important that proper evidence is submitted prior to a decision being made.

Know Your Limits

As stated previously, you must comply with your current court ordered visitation schedule. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we understand how frustrating it can be to try to force your child to spend time their other parents when they don’t want to, or are unable to do so. Parents are encouraged to develop and implement strategies to assist with helping to make the visitation process easier, you need to know your limits. Sometimes, after all else has failed, court intervention is needed.

For more information on visitation modifications, or to discuss other visitation or custody matters, contact the experienced team to schedule a free consultation, today!