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.

Administrator Removal: How to Do It the Legal Way

Very often, it happens that the beneficiaries aren’t satisfied with an administrator. Whether they aren’t happy with how they handle the probate process or how they breach their fiduciary duties, this can become a ground for removing an administrator.

Law books next to a gavel and a sounding block

But do beneficiaries have the right to challenge the administrator’s actions in court? Can heirs request the removal or replacement of an administrator?

This blog gives you an insight into whether beneficiaries can legally remove a personal representative or not and how they can go about this legal process.

Beneficiaries Right to Administrator Removal

While the deceased person or the court might have nominated an executor or administrator, the beneficiaries do have the right to request their removal/replacement. The beneficiaries need to sign a petition, asking the court to review and replace the administrator or executor’s appointment.

The court itself has the power to analyze the administrator’s performance and replace them if the need arises.

The Need for a Valid Reason

While the beneficiaries have the right to call for the removal of an administrator, they need a valid reason for this petition. Beneficiaries are required by law to submit documents and evidence with regards to the administrator’s misconduct. Beneficiaries can submit this petition on the following grounds:

  • Disputes with beneficiaries
  • Disputes with co-executors
  • Misconduct
  • Breaching fiduciary duties
  • Mismanagement of estate
  • Using estate funds for personal interests
  • Not complying with the court’s orders

The heirs or the beneficiaries should provide strong evidence to support their petition. Moreover, in some cases, they can also submit a petition for a new administrator’s appointment.

A courthouse building with pillars

Once the petition has been submitted along with the required evidence, the court reviews the request. If the jury finds the executor or the administrator guilty of misconduct or having disputes with heirs or other executors, they can replace the personal representatives. The court may suspend them from their fiduciary duties and issue a citation for a new administrator’s appointment.

A probate lawyer can streamline the probate process for you. At Ledwidge & Associate, P.C., we have some of the most competent lawyers in Queens and Brooklyn, New York. Whether you want to hire a probate attorney Queens and probate attorney Brooklyn or need to get in touch with a litigation attorney, our lawyers will be your best bet! We have years of experience in dealing with legal cases and coming up with practical solutions that are in line with the state’s laws.

Give us a call at 347-395-4799 to discuss and solve your legal affairs.

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.

Executor’s Commission: What It Is & How It Works

For many, taking up the role of an executor of state would be something honorable. The position is often assigned to a family member or friend of a deceased person who was close and trustworthy to the deceased person. That being the case, the role used to be entirely voluntary and was not something you got compensated for. After all, it was something you were doing for a loved one who had passed away.

This, however, is no longer the case when dealing with estates. With estates and assets becoming more complex, as well as the laws that affect them, a payment for the executor has been established as a way to pay the person dealing with the process. This payment is referred to as an executor’s commission.

A signed document with a pen

How Much Commission Does an Executor Get?

Executor commissions and payments are usually not a pre-set amount. There are a few factors that come into play when deciding how much compensation an executor will get for their work. These often include whether a fee had been mentioned in the will, what percentage the state law says can be given as commission, and if a court decides to apply reasonable compensation, an hourly rate that seems fair for the work.

If there are more than one executors assigned to handling the estate, then the amount may either be divided amongst them, or both may get full and equal compensation, depending on the size of the estate itself.

Executor Payments in New York

For executors in New York, there’s a percentage calculation that usually ends up deciding how much commission an executor will get. Once the will has been looked over by a probate attorney and the estate and all its assets have been valued, you’ll be able to get a percentage of that amount as your commission.

State laws dictate that an executor will get a minimum of 5% if the estate is worth 100,000 dollars. The percentage then drops with each increase in amount, giving 4% on a total of 300,000 dollars, 3% on 1 million dollars, and then finally 2% on values of over 5 million dollars.

People in suits talk to each other

Executor Payments as a Beneficiary

If you’re the executor of an estate but are also one of the beneficiaries of the will, you must be smart about dividing up the payments. The inheritance you get is tax-free, but the commission you get is taxed.

To make sure you end up with the best possible outcome, you should get the help of legal professionals like Ledwidge and Associates. Along with their executor services, they have probate attorneys and estate law attorney Queens and estate law attorney Brooklyn who can help you speed the entire settlement process.

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!