Brian D. Perskin & Associates

Are You Staying Together for the Kids?

Staying together for the kids

Divorce is scary. It’s an upheaval. The fear of the unknown can often prevent couples from taking those crucial first steps. Many parents will forego filing for a divorce, believing that staying married is the best option for their children. Contrary to popular belief, staying together for the kids isn’t always the right answer.

Reasons for Wanting a Divorce

There are many different reasons why people choose to file for a divorce. These reasons are as unique and individual as marriages themselves. Common reasons for divorce often include:

  • Financial issues
  • Infidelity
  • Disagreements regarding child rearing
  • Falling out of love
  • Abuse (physical, emotional, or mental)

Staying Together Normalizes Negative Behavior

Parents often struggle with whether or not to divorce, because they are worried about how their decision will impact their kids. In situations that involve domestic violence or abuse, staying married will actually do more harm than good.

Children that are raised in abusive households tend to carry those behaviors into their adulthood. In order to help break the cycle of abuse, parents must remove themselves from these environments. Staying together for the kids is not recommended.

According to Psychology Today, many parents don’t think that their kids know that anything is wrong with their marriage. This is alarming. Children are perceptive, and notice more than we give them credit for. They can tell if their parents are unhappy or constantly at odds, and they will think this is normal. Children who are raised in this kind of environment do not have an example of what a happy and healthy relationship looks like.

Get Help for Your Kids

Every child reacts to the news of their parent’s divorce differently. Some children feel a sense of relief, while others feel anxious and scared. It is important that parents take time to address their children’s concerns and remind them that they are loved.

Some kids have a very difficult time dealing with their parent’s divorce, and in situations like these, child therapy is helpful. A licensed therapist can help children process their emotions, develop coping strategies, and provide a general safe space.

NYC Divorce Powerhouse

Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from filing for a divorce. The decision is a tough one, but the right law firm can help make the process easier. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we specialize in contested divorce and child custody cases. Our team of experienced attorneys create customized divorce strategies, each tailored to our client’s specific needs.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 718-875-7584 today!

Military Divorce in New York

Military Divorce

Being a member of the military is tough. It can take you away from your family, and makes communicating with your loved ones difficult. As honorable as it is to serve in the military, it can put a strain on your marriage. Military divorce has some unique obstacles, but the right law firm can make the process less stressful.

Military Divorce Challenges

All divorce cases have their own challenges and hurdles, but these are intensified for military families. Questions surrounding filing, jurisdiction, and child custody are common during military cases.

The grounds for a military divorce are the same as is in a civilian action. A divorce can be filed in New York State when:

  • Either spouse reside in New York
  • The military member is stationed at a base in New York

Active duty military members need to consult with a NYC divorce attorney if they wish to file for a divorce.

Protection for Military Members

Unfortunately, some military spouses will attempt to get a default divorce by filing while their partner is deployed overseas. Luckily, there are laws in place to help protect active duty military members.

For instance, servicemen or women have up to 60 days after they return from active duty to respond to a divorce Summons. Certain deployments make it very difficult for military members to be served with a Summons, which helps to delay the start of an action.

Retirement and Pensions

As with a normal divorce case, retirement benefits and pensions earned during the marriage are considered marital property. This means that they are subject to equitable distribution. However, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act helps to protect a service person’s retirement benefits. As per the act, the non-military spouse will only be awarded benefits when:

  • The couple has been married for at least 10 years
  • The military spouse was active duty for at least 10 years

Custody and Support Issues

Active duty service members are often deployed, and typically do not receive residential custody. However, they can still retain joint legal custody, and they will have visitation rights. Military members need to take extra care to make sure their parenting agreement has flexible visitation stipulations. It is common for these agreements to include:

  • Phone calls
  • Facetime of video chatting
  • Extended visitation time (i.e.: school breaks)
  • A more flexible visitation calendar

Child support is determined using the same formula and methods in military divorce cases, as in regular divorce actions. A military member’s child support obligation cannot exceed 60% of their pay.

Military Divorce Attorneys

Military divorce is complicated. It requires the help of an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with the process and additional challenges. The law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. specializes in complex cases, and has represented many service members during their divorce actions.

For more information, or to schedule a free, no obligation consultation, contact our team at 718-875-7584 today!

Top Co-Parenting Apps for Divorced Parents

co-parenting apps

Parenting is challenging enough on its own, but trying to do it in the midst of a divorce is another beast altogether. Learning how to juggle co-parenting responsibilities while dealing with the turmoil of a divorce can cause a lot of uncertainty and stress for the parents and children.

Thankfully, co-parenting has gone high tech. Co-Parenting apps are abundant, all claiming to make learning how to co-parent easier. These are the top 4 co-parenting apps on the market:

Our Family Wizard

Our Family Wizard is one of the most popular co-parenting apps on the market, and for good reason. The app can be used by parents, third parties, legal professionals, and judges. Our Family Wizard features shared calendars, journals, expense logs, and message boards. The app also includes an information bank to help keep important contacts organized and readily accessible.

Cost: Free to download, and $99 per year, per user
Platform: iOS, Android, and Web

Custody Junction

CustodyJunction.com differs slightly from other options on this list, since it is a web-only service. However, the lack of mobile apps doesn’t mean that this service doesn’t pack a punch.  Custody Junction helps to facilitate child custody agreements by providing a platform for parents to make schedules, track events, and create parenting reports. By having all relevant information and date easily organized, each parent (and their attorneys) can gain a better understanding of what custody arrangement will work best for their family.

Cost: Free 30 day trial, and then $47 for a one year subscription
Platform: Web

Talking Parents

The Talking Parents website is deal for high conflict co-parents, or those who are involved in domestic violence situations. Talking Parents keeps all contact information confidential, making communication and contact outside of the website impossible. (This is great if you have an Order of Protection!). What sets Talking Parents apart from other co-parenting apps is the option to download, or purchase, certified copies of all communications between users. These reports can be used in court during custody negotiations, as well as enforcement or modification petitions.

Cost: Free to use. Pay $3.99 per download, or $4.99 per month
Platform: Web

2Houses

2Houses is loaded with features to help make co-parenting easier. From shared calendars, photo albums, information banks, and financial reports, the program provides the first steps in creating an effective co-parenting strategy. 2Houses is geared more towards exes who get along, but can be helpful in more contested matters.

Cost: 14 day free trial, then $9.99 per month
Platform: iOS, Android, Web

Why are Co-Parenting Apps Important?

Feuding spouses can have a difficult time communicating, which makes co-parenting impossible. Co-parenting apps can help to break tension, clear up misunderstandings, and foster a conflict free communication strategy. In fact, apps are a critical component of parallel parenting.

Co-parenting apps are helpful tools for exes who get along, too. Life can be hectic, and these apps provide a platform for busy parents to keep the other up to date on appointments, extra-curricular activities, vacations, etc. A key to successful co-parenting is organization and communication, which are both prominently represented in co-parenting apps.

Which Co-Parenting App is Right for You?

These platforms all boast helpful resources for parents who are going through a divorce, or who are recently divorced. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we encourage all of our clients to put the needs of their children first. We understand that not everyone is capable of parenting with their ex-spouse. Learning how to co-parent effectively is tough, but these top co-parenting apps make the process easier.

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!

Law Guardians in Child Custody Cases

Law Guardian

Child custody actions involve the whole family, not just parents. In New York custody cases, a child will be appointed a law guardian, who will advocate on their behalf. Besides representing children, what is the law guardian’s role in divorce and custody disputes?

An Advocate for Your Child

A law guardian is your child’s attorney for the duration of your divorce or custody case. Their primary role is to advocate for your child’s best interest. A lot of family law cases become battles between parents, and a law guardian helps to ensure that the needs of the child don’t get lost in the shuffle.

The law guardian is allowed to communicate with you and your spouse during your case. Because of this, it is easy to forget that the law guardian is your child’s attorney, not yours. They may sometimes act as a buffer between you and your spouse, but they are not an intermediary. Always hire your own lawyer.

The Law Guardian in Court

Law guardians give a voice to the voiceless in court. Their job is to help guarantee that the court issues a custody agreement that is truly in your child’s best interest. They do this by arguing their case during your trial. The law guardian presents evidence, and questions and cross-examines witnesses, much like your attorney will do.

The idea of your child having to meet with an attorney, appear in court, and endure a legal action, is daunting. But you must remember that the law guardian has your child’s best interest in mind. They want to make sure that the best custody arrangement can be made.

Working with the Law Guardian

You and your ex will need to work with your child’s attorney throughout your case. In order for the law guardian to perform their job correctly, they will need to interview you. These interviews will help them figure out what custody arrangement is in your child’s best interest.

It is the law guardian’s job to protect your child during a divorce or custody case, not you. This is why it is crucial that you put your best foot forward whenever you interact with the law guardian. As tough as your case may be, you should remain rational and cooperative. Failing to do so can make a bad impression on the law guardian, and they may not believe that you are the best person to have primary custody of your child.

Your Attorney Can Help

Your own attorney is just as important to your action as the law guardian. The best way to guarantee a great result in your divorce or child custody case is to hire a family law attorney. In addition to representing you throughout your case, your lawyer will prepare you to speak with your child’s attorney.

Your family’s future is in the hands of the court system during divorce and custody actions, so representing yourself is not recommended. Always seek the help and guidance of an experienced attorney. The team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. have helped thousands of New Yorkers through their divorce or family court matters. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call 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!

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!

Alternative Forms of Co-Parenting After Divorce

Alternative co-parenting strategies

Traditional family dynamics are changing, and so are co-parenting arrangements after divorce. Gone are the days when a divorced mother would be the primary custodian. What are some of the new forms of co-parenting, and will they work for your family?

Parallel Parenting

Parallel Parenting was designed with high-conflict families in mind. The purpose of parallel parenting is to help you and your ex care for your child, while limiting communication.

During this form of co-parenting, you are able to make your own decisions regarding your child, without having to consult your ex. But, keep in mind, your ex is allowed to do the same. Typically, each parent would choose aspects of their child’s upbringing that they would like to have control over. For instance, you would be responsible for decisions regarding medical care, and your ex would choose which schools your child attends.

This form of co-parenting allows for both parents to play an active role in raising your children, without having to risk tension filled arguments. Many people practicing parallel parenting rely on parenting apps to keep verbal communication to a minimum.

Bird’s Nest Parenting

Bird’s Nest Parenting is a unique approach to co-parenting after divorce. The goal of bird’s nest parenting is to put your child’s needs and comfort first. It is 100% child centered.

During this form of co-parenting, your child will remain living in one home, and will not travel between households for visitation. Instead, you and your spouse would take turns living with the child. You are responsible for maintaining a separate home to live in during your non-parenting time. Your ex will have to do the same.

The bird’s nest approach can help alleviate the amount of stress and anxiety your child feels because of the divorce, but it can be quite costly. Review your finances prior to agreeing to this co-parenting arrangement, and make sure your family can afford to support three different households.

Living Together After Divorce

The most unusual way to co-parent after divorce is to live with your ex. Whether in the same home, same apartment building, or same neighborhood, a growing number of divorced parents are choosing to live within close proximity to their ex.

This form of co-parenting should only be attempted if your divorce is uncontested, and you maintain a close relationship with your ex-spouse. The two of you need to have the same approach to parenting, and vow to put your child’s needs first.

Living with your ex after divorce can have tremendous benefits for your child, but this form of co-parenting needs to be approached with caution. Speak with a therapist of mediator, and develop a list of rules that you and your spouse must follow. Doing so can help ensure that this unique co-parenting arrangement is successful.

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The law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. specializes in complex divorce and family law cases. Brian and his team of attorneys have represented thousands of New Yorkers, and successfully advocated on their behalf. For more information on how we can help you, call us at 718-875-7584 today.

Common Divorce Myths in New York

divorce myths

The internet is a wonderful tool, but it can be harmful to your divorce or child custody case. There are countless divorce horror stories online, and it’s hard to not believe them. Luckily, the team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. have shed a light on the most common New York divorce myths out there.

Myth #1: You must file for divorce in the city/state you got

married.

This is not true. Where you file for divorce depends on where you, or your spouse, legally reside. So, just because you got married in Las Vegas, doesn’t mean you must file for divorce in Nevada. Check out New York’s residency requirements for more information.

Myth #2: You cannot get a divorce if your spouse doesn’t

consent to one.

This is one of the biggest divorce myths. New York has two types divorce: contested, and uncontested. Contested divorces occur when one party does not consent to the divorce, or they don’t agree with the terms listed in the Complaint.

A Judge will never force you to stay married if your spouse doesn’t want a divorce. Contested divorce cases take more time than their uncontested counterparts, but a divorce will be granted. Just remain patient and let your attorney handle the matter for you.

Myth #3: Mothers will always be granted child custody

because of court bias.

In New York, child custody is determined in the best interest of the child. This can mean either the mother or the father.

A Judge will issue a child custody order ff you and your ex are unable to reach an agreement on your own. The Judge will take many factors into consideration, including which parent was the primary caregiver prior to divorce, while making their final decision.

Myth #4: You will “lose” your divorce case if you commit

adultery.

New York is a “no-fault” divorce state, so Judges typically pay little attention to accusations of adultery. You are not entitled to a greater share of marital assets just because your spouse had an affair.

With that being said, alimony payments may be impacted if a Judge decides that a cheating spouse wastefully dissipated marital assets by spending a lot of money on his or her fling. It is recommended you hire an attorney to help you determine if this is true in your case.

Myth #5: All marital assets will be split 50/50.

New York divides marital assets equitably, not equally. This means that marital property cannot be split in equal halves between you and your ex.

Instead, the Court must take many factors into consideration while determining the equitable distribution of assets. Factors can include the length of your union, your income, and each spouse’s financial contribution to the marriage. The Court must also determine if an asset is sole property, joint property, or has been co-mingled during the marriage.

Myth 6: You don’t need a divorce lawyer.

One of the most concerning and harmful divorce myths is that you don’t need a lawyer. Divorce cases are complex matters. It is easy to get caught up in your emotions, and for your judgement to become clouded. This is why it is always recommended that you retain an experienced divorce attorney to advocate on your behalf.

The team of attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. are experts in matrimonial and family law, having represented countless New Yorkers throughout some of the most difficult periods in their lives.

Find out how we can help you. Call us at 718-875-7582 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today!

Divorce and Child Custody 101

Divorce and Child Custody 101

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to divorce and child custody. Having a basic understanding of the two is vital to the success of your case. Should you file for a divorce or legal separation? Can you have legal custody if your child doesn’t live with you?

Consider this your much needed crash course in New York divorce and child custody law.

Divorce vs. Separation

At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we have many New Yorkers ask us if they should for a divorce or legal separation. What is the difference, and does it really matter?

  • Legal Separation: You will remain married to your spouse during a legal separation. Your separation agreement will address common divorce issues. Issues include child custody and support. You will remain on your spouse's insurance, and have access to their retirement benefits, during a legal separation.
  • Divorce: A divorce terminates your marriage. There are two kinds of divorce in New York: contested, and uncontested. Your divorce will be contested if you and your ex are unable to agree to the terms of the divorce. You need to hire an attorney if you are going through a contested divorce.

Child Custody, Visitation, Support

Child custody and support cases can be their own individual actions, or they can be aspects of a divorce matter. As with divorce, there are different forms of child custody:

  • Physical/Residential Custody determines which parent a child will live with.
  • Legal Custody refers to which parent has the right to make major decisions on the child behalf, including education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
  • Sole Custody means that one parent has been granted a certain form of custody.
  • Joint Custody occurs when both parents are awarded the same type of custody.
  • Visitation time is awarded to the parent who has not been given physical custody.
  • Child Support is money paid to the custodial parent, and terminates once the child is 21 years old, or has been emancipated.

Child custody agreements are unique, and will vary from case to case. Regardless of what kind of child custody order you receive, it will always be made in your child’s best interest.

The Divorce and Child Custody Experts

What makes Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. so unique is how we represent our clients. Our team of attorneys all have different styles of representation. Some favor settlement outside of the courtroom, while others prefer to duke it out in front of a judge. We can guarantee that we have the right lawyer for you!

Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience, and have helped thousands of New Yorkers with their complex divorce and child custody cases. For more information on how we can help you, or to schedule your free consultation, contact us at 718-875-7584 today!