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The Law Offices of Alan L. Finkel.

Family Law in New York

When people envision family law, they often think of divorce attorneys. Family law is not just divorce court; a qualified family law attorney will also represent families or individuals in cases of

  • adoption,
  • child abuse and neglect,
  • child support,
  • custody litigation,
  • custody modifications,
  • emancipation of minors,
  • fathers’ rights,
  • grandparents’ rights,
  • legal separation,
  • paternity,
  • pre- and postnuptial agreements,
  • spousal abuse, and
  • spousal support.

The matters of family law are varied and complex. Whether you’re seeking to expand your family by adopting a child or petitioning the court for an order of protection against an abusive partner, the process is emotional. You need a trusted family lawyer who knows the legal system, but also one to stand as your advocate and protect your rights.

Common Family Law Questions Answered by an Experienced Family Lawyer

If My Separation Agreement Gives Me Custody, Will the Same Be True When I’m Divorced?

The court is likely to continue an existing custody agreement from separation through divorce; provided it continues to be in the child’s best interest. One factor that the court weighs in making custody decisions is stability. If one parent has been absent as a caregiver for an extended period, the court tends to look more favorably on the parent who has given consistent and stable care. Each case is unique, but as a rule the court will favor the existing agreement.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Legal Separation?

No, but it is advisable. Legal separation is more than just no longer living together. There are often matters that need to be settled, such as division of debt and property, spousal and/or child support, and custody/visitation agreements. If you and your spouse can amicably hash these details out, you may not need a family law attorney; most couples when they reach the stage of legal separation benefit from having one.

You also need to think ahead to next steps. It is common for what is established in your separation agreement to stand as the terms of your divorce. If your marriage is headed in that direction, not only is it advisable to consult with a family law attorney in filing for separation, you and your spouse should each secure your own representation. However, if separation is a step you and your spouse are taking in hopes of reconciling, you may consider mediation or seeking out collaborative lawyers to assist you through the process.

What Can Someone Do To Protect Their Separate Property In New York?

If you’re going into a relationship, it’s not a romantic concept to think about entering into prenuptial agreements. The best protection in New York state to protect your assets before you get married is not to get married. That’s the hard answer to this question. However, I’ve never heard of a pre-nuptial agreement adding to the romance and trust in any relationship. But that’s not the question. If the question is how to absolutely protect any asset from being part of the marital estate, the only sure fire method is to remain unmarried. Read More

What Is A Separation Agreement In New York?

A separation agreement is a written contract. A legal separation comes about after both spouses sign this written agreement. If it’s valid, after living apart (you can still live in the same house together), for a minimum of one year, either party who signed it can apply for a ‘conversion’ divorce, which will take all the terms from the legal separation agreement and convert it into the terms of a divorce judgment. Read More

Are There Laws For Division Of Assets For Couples Who Have Never Legally Been Married In New York?

Separate is separate. If you have a bank account and it remains in your name without marriage, it stays your property. There is no community property or presumption of joint ownership without a valid marriage. No marriage, no division of ‘marital’ property. Plain and simple. New York is not California.

When you say commingled, if you take money from a separate account and put it into a joint account, that automatically becomes mutual money. It has nothing to do with the law of marriage, and it just has to do with owning an account that is titled to either one or both people. Read More

Why Would A Prenuptial Agreement Ever Be Unenforceable In The Future?

Because all litigation is dangerous. There are way too many factors to properly answer that question without knowing the facts. I had 3 prenup trials. Two were enforced, one was not. Here are some examples:

For instance, I own a home before marriage, and I sign a prenup with my fiancé who has a college degree and works in a $50,000 office job. That house is all mine, pre nup or no pre nup. The law says anything you own and bring into the marriage remains yours, like this house. Read More

What Happens To Your Assets When You Get Married In New York?

New York is a title state, which means that if you’re not married, nothing that either party acquires during that period of living together counts. If you’re not married, there is nothing marital to share. It’s only when a marriage occurs that any title to any property can become marital. Read More

How Are Marital Assets and Debts Divided in a High Asset Divorce Case if You’re Going Through a Mediation Process? How Are Marital Assets and Debts Divided if One or Both Spouses Decline Mediation?

Marital assets in a divorce are divided equitably. Equitably means fairly. Fairly is in the eye of the beholder. If the beholder is a judge, and the judge is making decisions for you, then it’s based upon testimony and evidence produced at a trial. Read More

How Would You Describe a High Net Worth Divorce Case? What Makes These Types of Divorces More Complex?

High net worth divorce cases are more complex due to high income and the considerable amount of assets that were acquired either before or during the marriage. What makes these types of cases so complex?

High net worth cases are more complex than those of marriages who are lower middle class due to the categorization of the assets and money within the marriage. Everything in this world is about money. Read More

How is Child Support and Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Any Divorce Case in New York?

It is important to note that spousal support is only applicable in certain cases. New York State has a calculator on the public domain at ww2.nycourts.gov that calculates maintenance for New York divorces. Read More

Hiring a New York State Family Law Attorney

Any family law case is likely to be bursting with emotion. You need a knowledgeable family law attorney that will serve as your advocate with your best interests in mind.

If you are searching for an experienced and affordable family lawyer in New York, call the Law Offices of Alan L. Finkel. Mr. Finkel is one of the top family law attorneys in the state, serving as a trusted family lawyer for 35 years. Call (631) 462-3100 today to schedule your complimentary 30-minute zoom consultation.

Alan Finkel

Contact Us Today (631) 462-3100
(30 Minute Complimentary Zoom Consultation)
“individual or as a couple”