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Long Island Family Law Blog

New York police may get involved when child support is unpaid

Parents may feel frustrated and helpless if a former spouse has failed to adhere to the terms of an existing family court order. Regarding child support, there are hundreds of parents in New York and beyond who are currently trying to resolve problems concerning unpaid child support. Some parents have valid reasons for requesting formal modification of a court order, such as loss of income or medical expenses due to an unexpected situation.  

However, when such circumstances arise, there is a set process to go through to seek the needed adjustments. One cannot simply delay a payment, change a payment amount or stop making payments altogether without court approval. When this happens, a parent could wind up being surprised by a visit from local law enforcement officers.  

Inheritance may not be split during divorce

Getting divorced can spark many questions about how the division of property must be handled. This is particularly true when an inheritance comes into play. Here is a glimpse at what divorcing spouses in New York can expect to happen during a divorce proceeding involving a large gift or inheritance.

A common misconception is that if a person gets an inheritance while he or she is married the inheritance is automatically marital property. In other words, it would have to be split in a just fashion in New York. After all, New York is an equitable distribution state.

Divorce can take toll on retirement planning

The dissolution of a marriage is not an easy process. Not only does divorce take an emotional toll on those going through it, but it can also be financially upsetting. Retirement is one area that is especially impacted by divorce in New York and elsewhere.

Research shows that half of households might not have adequate retirement savings. However, among households where two spouses have divorced, the likelihood of having insufficient retirement savings is even higher at around 57 percent. The reason for this is that divorce can be financially devastating, thus causing those who experience it to fall behind in saving for retirement.

Divorce-related finances can be complicated

Dissolving a marriage can be both financially and emotionally challenging. This is the case no matter how long or short of a period two people have been married. A couple of tips may help those going through divorce in New York to take care of themselves financially.

First, closing joint credit accounts from the start is essential. Both parties ideally should stop racking up debt in both names once the divorce papers have been filed. If they continue to accrue debt through joint accounts, they will only damage their credit scores and make their divorce proceeding even more complicated.

Child custody: New law promotes shared parenting

Shared parenting has become a more popular custody arrangement these days when parents in New York decide to separate. In the past, mothers were commonly awarded primary custody of children during proceedings. However, fathers are increasingly taking active roles in the lives of their children, and child custody laws are being amended to give fathers equal time with children. One state has even passed a law requiring shared parenting.

Under the new law, judges must presume equally shared parenting time serves the best interest of the children in child custody hearings. The new legislation is the culmination of a slow shift that has taken place in custody arrangements across America in recent years. Just last year, records indicate that more than 20 states considered legislation that would encourage shared parenting.

Certain risk factors increase one's chances of getting a divorce

No relationship in life is guaranteed. Even when two New Yorkers express their commitment to each other on their wedding day, it does not necessarily mean the marriage will go as planned. Here are a couple of risk factors that researchers say double a married couple's chances of getting a divorce down the road.

First, if one of the spouses emphasizes money and looks rather than the quality of the character of the person he or she is marrying, the marriage is likely to end in divorce one day. Marrying someone who is wealthy or attractive may seem to be a good idea at the outset. However, deeper values are generally necessary for the relationship to last.

Divorce offers a few perks, not just pain

The ending of a marriage is one of the most stressful experiences an individual can have in New York. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Here are a few benefits of going through the divorce process.

First, divorce can help individuals to learn more about themselves, which includes finding out about strengths they never knew they had. This is especially true for parents who have gotten divorced and feel emotionally spent from trying to navigate parenthood independently. Getting through tough moments can quickly become a source of strength for them -- power that will enable them to successfully overcome future challenges.

Having a mortgage can complicate divorce property division

Nearly half of marital unions in the United States, including in New York, end in divorce, and unfortunately, no divorce is without its challenges. A major area that can spark conflict during a marital breakup is debt and property division. When it comes to debt, a couple may especially be at odds regarding how to handle the marital home when a mortgage is still on it.

Unlike with credit card debt, where a married couple can simply split the debt in a fair manner, a mortgage involves an asset -- the couple's home. If two spouses own the marital home together and are both on the mortgage note, then one spouse may decide to simply keep the house. In this case, the couple can see if the mortgage company will allow this spouse to refinance the house in his or her name only.

One's chances of divorce may be tied more to nature than nurture

A recent university study indicated that a person's chances of getting divorced in New York or elsewhere may not be tied solely to his or her environment during childhood. Rather, genetics may have a lot to do with his or her inclination to get a divorce. The results of the study were published in a psychological journal in January of this year.

The study involved investigating about 20,000 adopted children as well as their biological parents. Researchers compared the marital breakup rates of these children with those of their parents, focusing only on children who were adopted before 10 years old. The researcher estimated that the children of biological parents who had split up had about a 20 percent higher chance of getting divorced as well. Meanwhile, having adoptive parents who were divorced did not have any impact on the children.

Gray divorce poses financial challenges

Even the most strategically created retirement plans in New York can end up being derailed by the dissolution of a marriage. This can happen to individuals of all ages, but it is particularly true for those who decide to go through a gray divorce -- a divorce that takes place close to retirement. These individuals find themselves lacking the time needed to restore their finances following their marital breakups.

Divorce can be financially difficult because it involves not only splitting marital assets but also perhaps doubling a couple's expenses. After all, with the divorce, the two parties now have to cover the expenses of two households using the same pot of assets they were using to finance a single household prior to the divorce. The transition to independent living may be especially challenging for those who did not work outside of the home or make a lot of money while they were married.

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