3 Tips to Conduct Yourself in Family Court

A wooden black gavel resting near some folders

When it comes to family law, the way you conduct yourself can make all the difference. Most of the time, your lawyer would tell you exactly what to say, do, or even wear to represent yourself well. Continue reading “3 Tips to Conduct Yourself in Family Court”

5 Considerations to Make During Estate Planning

writing down a checklist on his notepad

Estate planning involves designating individuals who will be passed down your assets and who will handle your asset related responsibilities. Continue reading “5 Considerations to Make During Estate Planning”

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.

The Premarital Checklist Before a Prenup

Most couples make the mistake of either not going for a prenup at all or miss out on details on paper that they regret not having discussed before. Time changes things and differences may arise, or there could be conflicts that are better off being ironed out beforehand. Here are some of the most important discussions and questions to be put forward when drafting a prenuptial agreement:

A couple holding hands.

Premarital Assets and Debts

As the name suggests, this includes any assets that you’ve acquired before getting married. It is valid for a wide range of items, including jewelry, property and savings that may in any of your accounts. A prenup requires you to fully and fairly disclose your assets as well as any debts you may owe.

There are considerations, such as the status of the property. Separate property can become a joint property or remain that way. In the unfortunate event of a divorce, how will you split up these assets? If premarital debts are paid by one spouse, will it be a gift or can it be reimbursed?

Marital Property and Management of Assets

Once you’re married, the two of you will acquire income and assets separately later on. There’s a series of questions that a family lawyer will ask you. How will all of it be divided? What arrangement will you use and will it be split among the two of you?

You will also have to decide who will be handling the finances and making calls on the purchases. The one who will be paying the bills, your individual goals for the long-term regarding finances. Will your bank accounts be separate or jointly owned as well?

Wedding rings inside a book.

Career

A big mistake that couples make is not asking questions regarding their career decisions. It has to be on paper if both of you will be working, what kind of incomes do you expect and if there are any plans to continue working after you have children. These can often require a family to move from one area to another to be closer to the workplace, which also is an essential point.

All of it seems trivial but can affect the state of your marriage moving forward.

Alimony

In the event of a divorce, the duration and limit of the spousal support has to be decided beforehand. You may also consider some stipulations beyond those that are stated by the area you’re residing in as it seems feasible. A capable family law attorney will help sort these discussions out.

Acquiring Legal Services

Because of the excruciating details that have to be considered for marriage, couples tend to do best when they work with an experienced family lawyer that can sort out prenuptial agreements thoroughly. At Ledwidge & Associates, we help couples sort out the details before they make any vows.

Reach out to us today if you seek a Family Law Services Queens and Family Law Services Brooklyn, divorce or litigation lawyer.

3 Scenarios Where You Will Need the Assistance of a Divorce Lawyer

While people normally assume that a lawyer’s counsel is detrimental to your wallet, the reality couldn’t be further from this. Lawyers look out for you in trying times such as divorce proceedings, putting out the best strategies that work in our favor. Here are some scenarios that demand acquiring legal assistance:

A statue of lady justice.

You Believe You or Your Children Are in Danger

When a spouse senses that their significant other poses a threat to them or their children, it’s time to acquire a divorce lawyer. They can temporarily put up a restraining order on their spouse so that they do not cause any harm or come close to them. It can allow a person and their children to move to a safe location while the divorce proceedings take place.

Without a restraining order, moving your child away from your partner without their permission or consent can count as kidnapping, so be careful.

Complicated Property and Financial Claims

In case there are high financial assets that you and your spouse jointly own, there’s a chance that things may lead towards a contested divorce. It’s when the two parties cannot come to an agreement, requiring a lawyer to help the two to iron things out.

You may be entitled to a portion of your marital assets, those that you’ve acquired together during the course of your marriage. Unfortunately, you may also receive some debts as part of your marital assets, but a divorce lawyer can help you deal with the nuances involved.

Your Partner Has A Lawyer

If your ex has a partner, chances are that they’re on the offensive already. A lawyer works in your favor and has your best interests at heart, so they will push in every direction to ensure that their client comes out on top. They know the law well, so they can use it to their advantage.

A lawyer signing some documents.

If you go in unprepared and without legal counsel, chances are you might lose a lot more than you would’ve by just acquiring Family Law Services Queens and Family Law Services Brooklyn.

Divorce can be an overwhelming phase and people require all the help they can get to make it through. At Ledwidge & Associates, we work in conjunction with our clients to assist them from start to end. With 15 years of experience, our goal is to develop a strategy that works best for our clients.

Reach out to us today if you seek a family law, divorce or litigation lawyer.

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!