A Guide to the Divorce Process

 a wedding ring

Several reasons lead people to divorce, such as lack of commitment and cheating—all these warrants as the grounds for divorce.

Most people looking to get a divorce may understand the divorce process and what it entails. Here’s a guide to understanding the divorce process in New York:

The Requirements for Divorce

There are mainly two requirements to file for a divorce. Firstly, one needs to establish that residency is based in the city where divorce is being filed. The second requirement pertains to grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce include adultery, separation, imprisonment, and abandonment. If you are filing for a contested divorce, which means that your spouse is objecting to it, the formal grounds will need to apply.

Whereas, if you’re seeking an uncontested divorce, meaning both parties are in agreement of it, simply stating that the marriage has irrevocably broken down is enough to justify a divorce.

Issue the Forms to Your Spouse

Once you have filed for divorce and the petition is accepted, you must now ensure that your spouse is informed about this. The next step after telling them is to serve them with the divorce papers.

It is a common misconception that if a spouse does not sign the papers, the divorce process will not go ahead. Their signature is not needed for you to go along with the process, and their agreement or disagreements will lay the grounds for an uncontested or contested divorce.

People signing documents

Child Custody in the Divorce Process

The case for child custody also begins with the divorce process. The court always prefers both the parents to be granted custody of the child.

However, if one parent wins the custody battle, the other can still meet the child during visitation hours.

The divorce process is not always a contentious legal battle but can be an apical agreement between two people. If you’re looking to hire a professional divorce lawyer Brooklyn or divorce lawyer Queens to assist you, you’ve come to the right place.

 

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a reputable legal firm with over fifteen years of experience. Our expert team has assisted hundreds of clients in Queens, Brooklyn, and New York. We provide services in family law, probate law, real property law, and many more. Reach out to us to book an appointment and seek professional guidance in complex legal procedures.

Spousal Support Claims – Laws and Principles

Close-up of a gavel

A marriage is a legal union of two people who want to spend their lives together. There are certain rights and obligations of each spouse that have to be met. One of those rights is spousal support. The blog will discuss what spousal support is, its laws and principles, and how you can claim it.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is used interchangeably as spousal maintenance and alimony but there’s a difference. Spousal support is an amount paid by one spouse to another spouse during marriage and divorce proceedings, while spousal maintenance and alimony are paid after a divorce. According to Family Law, spousal support is a right and one should fight for it when marriage obligations aren’t being met. Our family lawyer can help you claim spousal support.

Laws And Principles Pertaining Spousal Support

The family court awards the spousal support since spouses have a legal duty to support each other financially. Furthermore, both spouses have to be alive to claim and receive spousal support. It has no term limit, and the spouse can receive the amount until the divorce or death of one of the spouses. Both the petitioner (the spouse claiming for spousal support) and the respondent (the spouse that supposedly ought to pay) can hire family lawyers.

Family lawyer’s desk with law books on it

How To Claim Spousal Support Or Maintenance

A spousal support case starts once the petitioner files a petition in the Family Court. The court then summons the respondent to be served. The judge or support magistrate decides the verdict after assessing the financial situation of each spouse. However, after a divorce, one can’t claim spousal support but can claim spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings.

 

Under the 2015 law regarding spousal maintenance, the amount is determined based upon each spouse’s income. You can use this calculator to determine your spousal maintenance amount. If you want to seek legal aid when claiming spousal support and maintenance, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney.

 

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., is a trusted law firm in New York City that focuses on estate planning and Family Law Services Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens. Our divorce attorney can serve spouses seeking a divorce in Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island, Manhattan and Queens and guide them through the divorce process. Contact us now and our divorce attorney will gladly be of assistance.

Why Divorces Can Get Messy

Going through a divorce can be rough, and most couples would like nothing better than ending things amicably and for the process to be smooth and stress-free. However, with so many factors, such as determining the custody of children, child support, alimony, and distribution of alimony, to consider, divorce cases often involve little agreement and a lot of fighting.

child holding wooden figures of a mom, dad, and child

In this blog post, we’ll discuss three of the most common reasons divorces get messy and provide tips on how you can navigate through them.

The Case Involves Infidelity

If a person has been unfaithful in the marriage, it’s natural for their spouse to feel betrayed and hurt. This could cause the wronged spouse to do anything in their means to make divorce proceedings as difficult as possible for the person who hurt them. For instance, they may deliberately make divorce proceedings more expensive or difficult by arguing and contesting every item that’s brought on to the discussion table.

In some cases, the wronged spouse even turns the children against the unfaithful parent or argues that they’re not fit to receive custody of the children.

One Spouse Wants To Keep The Marriage Intact

In some divorce cases, both parties are looking to end the relationship. However, in some cases, only one spouse is seeking a divorce. The one who wants to save the marriage may feel devastated, humiliated, betrayed, and/or hurt. They might attempt to persuade their spouse to get counseling, be uncooperative, or try to make the process as drawn-out as possible.

One Parent Is Seeking Full Custody

Divorce cases involving children are usually complicated, and it’s easy for tempers to flare on both sides. The spouse who was the children’s primary caregiver may have reservations that their soon-to-be-ex won’t care for the kids on their own if they’re awarded joint physical custody. The spouse who wasn’t the primary caregiver may be afraid that they won’t be able to have a meaningful, healthy relationship with children. Matters are complicated even further if one of the parents is moving away from the immediate area.

A leading family law attorney Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens, NY, Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. has nearly 15 years of experience handling child custody, domestic violence, and divorce matters in the courtroom. If you’re seeking a lawyer for a New York family law matter, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

Major Child Custody Conundrums a Lawyer Can Help You With

Anyone who’s gone through a divorce (or any divorce lawyer) will tell you that managing child custody is one of the hardest parts of the process. In fact, the issues that come up with child custody can continue for years.

The key to resolving them as quickly as possible is to hire a family law attorney that has years of experience and knows their way around the matter like the back of their hand. Let’s take a look at some scenarios they can be useful in.A family attorney listening to her client discussing the issue.

False or Inaccurate CPS Reports

If CPS reports are being used as evidence against denying you custody of your child which are inaccurate or falsified, a lawyer can help you address it. There are many reasons for why CPS may have interacted with a parent without there being cause for concern about neglect or bad parenting.

In that case, your lawyer can help you prepare testimony around the CPS report or get CPS to declare the report unfounded. Once declared unfounded, the caseworker cannot be called to court for testimony and the report cannot be used as evidence in a trial.

Getting Custody of Nieces and Nephews

If you’re in a situation where the child you want to get custody of is your niece, nephew or even your grandchild, a lawyer is your go-to person. Usual circumstances in such cases are usually where the current guardians of the child are abusive or are neglecting their child.

Although New York courts usually prefer keeping a child in their home, a case with extraordinary circumstances could go in your favour. Abandonment, unfitness to parent, consistent neglect and abuse are all grounds for this. However, a family law attorney can assess your case and tell you how to proceed.

Dealing with a Biased Law Guardian

In the state of New York, a law guardian for your child is assigned to the case. The law guardian is supposed to put the child’s interests ahead of all other factors and appear in court to present their recommendation for custody.

However, law guardians are human and can be biased. If you have witnessed misconduct and bias towards the other party in the custody case from a law guardian and can prove it, a family law services attorney can help you make the case for changing the guardian. However, this is often difficult to do.

A lawyer working with his laptop and phone.

Traveling and Passport Troubles

When divorced parents or guardians share custody, traveling can become a bit of a sore spot, especially for relocation. Even sole custody doesn’t allow you to relocate from the state you’re in with your child. A lawyer can help file a petition or mediate between you and the other guardian and their lawyer to come to an agreement on this.

However, if the issue at hand is a simple trip but the other guardian is refusing to co-operate with passport procedures the situation is different. You can get your lawyer to ask for a waiver of parental rights on this issue so the problem goes away.

In all these cases, our family law services Brooklyn, family law services Queen and divorce attorney in Brooklyn and Divorce attorney Queens can help you out. Contact us today for help from a licensed and experienced family attorney in New York.

What You Should Know about Separating Estate Plans After a Divorce

A divorce lawyer helping a person separate and update their estate after divorce.

Going through a divorce isn’t easy. There are several legal matters that you have to consider before you file for one. While planning for the future is the top priority for couples filing for a fault or no-fault divorce, it’s also imperative to sort out your estate plans before or immediately after a divorce petition is filed.

Once your divorce is filed and finalized by the court, don’t delay separating all your relevant estate planning materials. Also, it’s vital that you update your estate plan after you marry someone else or if you have children from a second or prior marriage.

Why is it important to update your estate plan?

If you don’t separate your estate plan after a divorce, your former spouse or their immediate family still has the right to take on a large portion of your estate after your death, leaving a smaller portion for your family members or children.

Even if you don’t want your former spouse to have a portion of your estate, it may happen if you don’t spell out your intentions and wishes in your estate plan. The majority of American states don’t allow former spouses to inherit real estate under a Last Will and Testament. However, they can still inherit other assets in the estate plan.

An Example to Help You Learn 

A woman in New York passed away in 2010 after she divorced her husband a few years earlier. Her estate plan (before her death) stated that her spouse should inherit her home, along with all other assets.

She had further specified that her father-in-law be the secondary beneficiary to her residential property. While New York’s law kept her former husband from taking over the home, her father-in-law could still inherit it as the second beneficiary.

Her children claimed to the probate court that their mother put forward another will, in which she removed her father-in-law’s rights on her property. However, her children were never able to find the second will, and as a result, the court ruled in favor of her former husband’s father.

What to do after your divorce is finalized?

After your divorce, here are some things you must do:

  • Update all the documents that are relevant to estate planning
  • Create a new will and redo the old one
  • Provide your family members and children with a copy of the new and the updated will
  • Find another probate attorney to help with estate planning and make sure your attorney works for your best interests.
  • Update all your bank accounts, individual retirement accounts, trusts, annuities, and life insurance policies to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary

 

For more advice on separating your estate and updating documents relevant to estate planning after a divorce, get in touch with the best probate attorney Queens or probate attorney Brooklyn.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer Brooklyn, divorce lawyer Queens, or any other area in NYC, feel free to reach out to the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. today!

Debt and Probate: What You Need to Know

A sample of last will and testament with a section about debt payment.

Most people have their legacies, properties, and assets on their minds when drafting their Testament and Last Will. But several other things must be considered and specified in an estate plan.

For example, specifying what happens to your outstanding debts or those of a loved one after they pass away is crucial. If you owed a loan or debt in your lifetime, your family will be responsible for paying for it, depending on your estate’s size and value and the type of the loan.

Is it important to notify creditors?

After a person passes away, their estate executor is responsible for informing the person or institution that provided the debt. While the trust doesn’t mandate that the executors notify the creditors of the debtor’s passing away, doing so will allow the creditors to come forward within a shorter period, and the payment process will be smoother. Once the creditors are notified, they are given a specified period to claim their takings against the estate. Each creditor will be paid for their part from the estate’s proceeds.

If the deceased person didn’t create an estate plan during their lifetime, the probate court then assigns an administrator, who is typically from the immediate family or a close relative. Like a trustee or an executor, an administrator appointed by the court is also authorized to pay the deceased person’s debts from the estate’s takings.

What if two persons are responsible for debt?

A sample of last will and testament with a section about debt payment.

In most mortgage cases, couples usually apply together. In this case, the surviving spouse or loan co-signer will be responsible for paying the debts. However, the probate court considers several factors before determining that the living partner should be paying for the joint debts. In some cases, selling the estate is enough to repay all the deceased’s outstanding debts, while in others, loan providers may settle on an amount lesser than the original debt.

 

A loved one’s death isn’t only emotionally turbulent, but it often also brings complicated financial and legal issues with it. An experienced and reliable probate attorney Queens or probate attorney Brooklyn can help you through each step of the process, from contesting and probating the will to removing an executor or administrator, ensuring complete protection of your rights.

If you’re looking for an experienced probate attorney in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, or other NYC areas, get in touch with the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. today!

No-Fault Divorce Vs. Fault Divorce – Frequently Asked Questions

Concept illustration of a family splitting up after getting a divorce.

Like most states in the United States, New York’s law allows people to file for a no-fault divorce, where no party is required to provide a reason for leaving a marriage or is rendered at fault.

A no-fault divorce is based on the grounds that a marriage is simply not working out, is irretrievably broken, there are irreconcilable conflicts, or there’s no compatibility between the spouses.

Although no-fault divorces are prevalent in New York, some courts may require the filers to provide proof of why reconciliation is no longer an option. If one of the parties involved in the divorce claims that the reason for the breakup is marital misconduct, the court may consider that one party was at fault.

Our experienced and trusted divorce lawyer Brooklyn and divorce lawyer Queens, NY, use their learnings from past cases to guide couples who are considering divorce and provide sound and accurate legal advice.

In this blog, we’ve answered top concerns regarding no-fault and fault divorce to help you determine which option is the best for you.

On what grounds is fault determined? A married couple breaking up by filing a divorce.

A fault divorce in New York is granted when one of the spouses or both ask to file a fault divorce or based on the presence of one or more of the following grounds.

  • Cruel treatmentincluding emotional, physical, and verbal abuse
  • Imprisonmentfor a specified number of years
  • Desertion or abandonment (constructive or physical)for consecutive months or years
  • The physical inabilityof a spouse to perform sexual intercourse if it was disclosed after marriage.
  • The spouse was engaged in the act of adulterywhile in the marital bond.

Talk to a Reliable Divorce Lawyer in Queens or Brooklyn About Your Case

When a marriage is no longer reconcilable, divorce is the last and the best resort for the well-being of both partners, their children, and other family members.

If the decision is mutual, the settlement won’t be very costly. However, wronged or ill-treated spouses could still seek a fair settlement for all they’ve gone through by claiming a fault divorce.

Whether you’re considering a fault or no-fault divorce, our divorce lawyers in Queens and Brooklyn have unparalleled litigation skills to improve your chances of winning the case. To schedule a consultation for our family law services Brooklyn or family law services Queens, connect with our associates at 347-395-4799 today!

Prenuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them and How Do You Draft One?

persons shaking hands after drafting a clear and understandable prenuptial agreement.

Are you considering a premarital or a prenuptial agreement? In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about them.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenup or prenuptial agreement is a contract between two parties before they get into an official marital bond. This agreement lists all the properties and debts both parties own/owe and specifies both parties’ rights on each item after the marriage.

Who May Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many people assume that prenuptial agreements are only for people who own several properties, but this is a myth. While these contracts are more commonly used by the wealthy for asset security, couples from more modest backgrounds are also beginning to consider them to protect their rights. Here are some common reasons why people might want to write a prenup:

To pass on a property to children from previous marriages

If a marrying couple with children from a previous marriage wants to specify what happens to their property after they die, they may sign a prenuptial agreement.

This will pass on the specified properties to children from prior marriages to ensure their financial stability. Without a prenuptial agreement, the surviving partner can claim a significant portion of their spouse’s property after their demise, leaving a smaller portion for the children.

To spell out financial rights

Marrying couples with or without children can clarify their financial responsibilities and rights during the marriage.

To avoid conflicts during a divorce

Concept illustration of a family splitting up after getting a divorce.A marrying couple may want to write a prenuptial agreement to avoid conflicts and arguments if they ever have to go through a divorce. Specifying the rights on properties before marriage will keep the two parties from making wrong decisions related to asset division.

To protect the other party from debt

Prenuptial agreements are also signed when both parties want to protect themselves or their spouses from each other’s loans and debts.

With the increasing prevalence of remarriages and divorces and the rise of gender equality, courts are becoming friendlier toward prenuptial agreements. However, it’s still imperative to negotiate and draft a legally sound, understandable, and clear contract to ensure it’s considered valid in the court—and that’s where a family law attorney can help.

If you’re looking to hire a reliable and trusted family law attorney Brooklynfamily law attorney Queens, or other areas across NYC, reach out to our associates at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. We will help you and your fiancé determine the clauses you should include in a prenup to suit your requirements.

We operate in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, and the Bronx.

3 Key Reasons You Should Create an Estate Plans for Your Future

When we talk about estate planning, many people immediately associate it with the ultra-rich. However, contrary to popular belief, anyone can benefit from having an estate plan no matter what their net worth is. According to Forbes, only 42% of the adults in the United States currently have an estate plan such as a living trust or a will.

A note on paper with a fountain pen

While end-of-life planning can be depressing and seem morbid, it is essential to protect you, your assets, and your loved ones after you die. If you haven’t started drafting your estate planning documents yet, consider the following reasons why it is essential to talk to an estate law attorney as soon as possible to get the process started:

Avoid Complications

If a person dies without an estate plan, the matter of distribution of assets is passed on to the courts who handle everything from the distribution of the property, the dissolution of the business, and the guardianship of the children. The process is known as probate, and it can get seriously complicated and expensive. By preparing the documentation in advance, you can save your family and loved ones from numerous complications and legal issues after your death.

A parent walking with their child on a beach

Keep Your Children from Ending Up in Child Protective Services

It might be unpleasant to think about your death, but it is essential to take some time and consider what would happen to your children if you suddenly died. Where will they end up? Who will take care of them?

If you don’t have an estate plan that clearly mentions a guardian that you have chosen, your children will end up with Child Protective Services, while the courts decide the best candidate to be their legal guardians. The process can take a long time, and your kids could end up with someone who would be your last choice for a guardian. Staying with protective services for a long time can also have a negative emotional impact on your child during a very vulnerable time in their life.

Avoid Disputes

Not everyone cares about what happens to their wealth and assets after they have passed. However, not leaving an estate plan can result in huge disputes between family members regarding who gets what. This can create strong feelings of ill will between relatives and even break up families. By planning your estate documents, you save your family from making difficult decisions and eliminate the risk of any disputes by making the decision for them.

Get Legal Advice from Leading Estate Lawyers In New York

One of the best ways to avoid complications with your estate after your death is to hire an experienced estate lawyer to draw up the correct documents for you.

Ledwidge & Associates P.C. offers the services of leading estate law attorney Queens, estate law attorney Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, and the Bronx. We can help you protect your assets from exorbitant inheritance tax and ensure that your loved ones will be well taken care of through living wills and detailed estate planning documents.

Schedule a free case evaluation by calling us at 718-276-6656 and let us help you plan for your future!

Common Social Media Blunders to Avoid During Divorce Proceedings

Social media has been one of the most popular technological breakthroughs of the 21st century. Since 2004, it has grown steadily in popularity and number of users both. Social media platforms have now become a major source of information and news and provide a unique way to interact with people such as friends, family, customers, and more.

A smartphone screen with icons for popular social media platforms

According to statistics, there are over 3.5 billion social media users around the world. A huge percentage of the population in the United States is active on various social media platforms. However, not everyone uses social media as it has been intended, and many people end up making mistakes that cost them their jobs, reputation, and friends.

People going through divorces also make huge errors in judgment while using social media, and their blunders allow their ex to gather evidence that is used to manipulate the courts and get the better end of the deal.

Here are some of the most common social media errors made by people while getting a divorce:

Divulging Private Information

According to social media statistics, the average person spends up to 3 hours on various social media platforms every day. That is a long time, and it can be quite easy to slip up and start talking about the divorce and how the proceedings are going and what strategies you are using to make sure you get a good deal. However, this information can be used by the other party in court. Even if you are sharing information on private groups among trusted friends, there are plenty of ways your ex can get their hands on the conversations and comments. You should take a cue from celebrities and only make bland statements that offer no specific information.

Defamation law book and gavel on a table.

Talking About the Divorce or Disparaging Your Ex

During the divorce, emotions run quite high, and it can be tempting to blow off some steam by disparaging your ex on social media. That is a huge mistake and can be used in court to show your character and build a negative image of you as a toxic person. The information can also be used to file a defamation suit against you. Whatever you have gone through recently, no matter how badly your ex treated, it is best to refrain from commenting about it on social media.

Showing Off or Trying to Prove You’ve Moved On

Many people going through the divorce make bold statements on social media to prove that they have moved on, and they are in a better position than their ex. They make announcements of their good fortune, particularly if they have met someone new or just got a better job.

While its natural to want to share your happiness, statements like these can influence certain issues during the divorce, such as division of assets and child support.

They can also lead to claims of infidelity if you post that you are in a relationship, especially if the divorce hasn’t been finalized yet. It is usually best to err on the side of caution and avoid posting about your personal life on social media until the end of the divorce process.

Get Expert Legal advice from Leading Divorce Attorneys in New York

Don’t get lost in the complex legal labyrinth of divorce laws in New York! The law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., offers the services of leading Divorce Attorney Brooklyn,Divorce Attorney Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Long Island. They can help you protect your rights and provide both contested and uncontested divorce representation.

Schedule a free phone consultation today by calling us at 718-276-6656 and discuss your case with experienced divorce attorneys in New York!