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.

4 Misconceptions Regarding Divorce

two engagement rings

You’re having major arguments with your spouse and have tried every possible solution to work it out. You’ve even gone for therapy, but nothing seems to help. You and your partner decide that it’s time to part ways.

Divorce is a sad but unfortunate solution to garner peace of mind and mental stability. Indeed, divorce rates have been increasing in the United States. But not many people are aware of the legal technicalities involved in the process to securing their rights.

Your Ex Will Be Out of Your Life for Good

This myth is a prevalent one among couples going for divorce. Most go into this process thinking they will never have to see their ex again. We’re here to break it to you; you’ll be seeing more of them than both of you will like, and that’s alright.

Divorce is more like the closure you both need to get through everything that happened between you. There will be countless discussions and documents to review and sign. Not to forget, both of you will have to be present at multiple hearings.

illustration of a torn family picture

You Can’t Seek a Divorce if Your Spouse Doesn’t Sign

This myth stems from T.V. shows and movies where it is shown that if your ex does not sign the papers, you can’t legally part ways. This is not true at all. Especially in New York, your spouse does not need to sign any documents for you to seek a divorce from them.

The legal requirements for divorce in New York include proof of residency based in New York and divorce grounds.

Divorce Is a Legal War

Divorce does not always have to be a legal battle. Sometimes, it can simply be an amicable solution between two parties. Going into a divorce with a civil outlook can increase the chances of reaching a mutually beneficial solution.

You Don’t Need a Lawyer to Get Through Divorce

This isn’t a misconception, but it can be recommended for those looking to reach a divorce settlement quickly and efficiently. Divorces can become long-drawn-out, with proceedings going on until the end of time. When you hire a divorce lawyer to assist you, it can have multiple benefits, such as a likely chance of mediation or reaching a negotiation.

If you’re looking to hire a Divorce Attorney Brooklyn, Divorce Attorney Queens, or even New York, we can help.

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a law firm with the skills and knowledge base to guide you through this difficult time. Our expert lawyers can help alleviate the stress by efficiently handling the process. Our services include  estate planning, family law, litigation law, real property law, and many more. Get in touch with us to book a consultation today.

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.

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!

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.

Common Divorce Issues and Concerns for High Net Couples In New York

The divorce rate in the United States is quite high, with almost 40% to 50% of married couples in the country ending up divorced. According to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate for second or subsequent marriages is even higher.

A couple removing their rings during divorce proceedings

Couples going through a divorce often have to deal with complicated issues involving property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. Many divorces end up in prolonged legal disputes with either party refusing to compromise and agree to the terms.

While no two divorces are the same, the issues regarding finances become even more complicated in cases with couples that have a high net worth.

Here are some of the most common issues faced during a high net worth divorce:

Prior Agreements

One of the first things divorce lawyers ask high net worth couples before starting the divorce settlement is whether there is a pre-nuptial agreement. Prenups are quite common in marriages where two people with high net worth are marrying, or a person with a lot of money is marrying someone with very little.

However, prenups aren’t always valid. The first thing lawyers need to do is to review the prenup to ensure the agreement is legally binding. If the prenup is valid, it will be used as a guideline for all issues, including property division and alimony, that have been clearly delineated in the agreement.

Child Support

Children of high net worth couples often have different financial needs such as private school tuitions, nannies, and additional classes such as ballet or piano lessons. This might result in additional child support payments compared to a typical divorce settlement. Another concern for high net couples is college tuition. Couples going through divorce might have to contribute to a trust that has been created to fund their child’s college tuition regardless of their age.

A luxury home of an affluent couple filled with antiques

Property Division

There are several challenges when dividing property among high net worth couples. Generally, any property acquired during the marriage gets equally distributed between the couple. However, most couples with high net worth have assets and individual property that they brought with them to the marriage and cannot be subjected to community property laws. High net worth couples also own household items that are quite high in value, such as antiques, artwork, and jewelry, which complicated the division of property.

Get Legal Advice from Leading Divorce Attorneys In New York

Getting a divorce under New York State law can be complex and full of legal restrictions and regulations.  Our team of highly qualified and experienced divorce lawyers at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. has been helping all kinds of couples get a divorce in New York. We have extensive experience dealing with child support, property division, pre-nuptial agreements, and tax consideration for a divorce.

Schedule a free phone consultation by calling us at 718-276-6656 and speak to our top Divorce Attorney Brooklyn and Divorce Attorney Queens!

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!