Contested divorces can be devastating to a family. Some couples engage in emotionally charged court battles that can rip their family apart. When a couple has to address topics, including child support, child custody, property distribution, and alimony, it can become heated and adversarial. Through the Collaborative Divorce Process and mediation, a couple can come to an agreement outside of court, avoiding the cost of litigation, the time it takes to litigate, and the emotional toll litigation takes on everyone involved. If you are interested in the process of Collaboration Divorce contact Leslye M. Schlesinger for a consultation. Ms. Schlesinger has been an Attorney representing clients for over 30 years. She now focuses her practice strictly on helping couples avoid litigation so that they may come together and resolve their differences in a respectful and constructive manner, setting the tone for the future.
Child custody can be one of the hardest topics for a couple to address during a divorce. Both parties have worked hard to establish a continuing, positive familial relationship. Both parties have been used to seeing their child or children every day. The idea that a parent may not see a child every day can be too much for some to bear. It can be emotional for everyone involved, including the children themselves. When child custody becomes a contested issue, parents are often faced with the choice to either litigate the matter till the bitter end or come to an agreement outside of court. Litigation can cost a family dearly. The Collaborative Process or Mediation are especially helpful in this particular aspect of divorce. Regardless of which of these two processes you and your select, you can avail yourselves of the services of a “Child Specialist” to help the family develop a “Parenting Plan” minimizing the negative effects of the divorce on your children.
Parents are obligated to support their children in the state of New York. When parents divorce, child support will be a factor that must be addressed in order to end the marriage. Many court battles used to be based on a difference of opinion on the amount of support that should be paid or received. The non-custodial parent often believes that because they see the child less, they should not have to pay so much support. The custodial parent feels entitled to a certain amount because they have the child more of the time and feel entitled to the support. The battle for child support has been minimized by New York State adopting the Child Support Standards Act, known as “CSSA,” which sets forth the manner in which child support can be calculated. While parties are free to decide amounts either higher or lower than the formula, to protect clients who elect to do that, the Separation Agreement or Settlement Agreement will set forth the reason(s) for such a deviation.
When a couple’s marriage is over, they will have to address the topic of property distribution. If the case goes to court, the parties will be faced with a judge that has very little knowledge of the marriage aside from financial information and the value of the assets and debt to be distributed. New York is an equitable distribution state. When a court hears a divorce case and property distribution is a factor, they will allocate assets and debts in a fair and just manner. Some people believe that they are entitled to a 50/50 division, but that is not always the case. When a couple can agree to terms outside of court, they retain control over their future and are more likely to amicably resolve the matter.
When a couple ends a marriage, spousal support, ( known to the public as “alimony” and referred to in New York Law as “maintenance”) can be one of the most contested topics. Often, one spouse disagrees to the entitlement of the other. One spouse may have worked to attain the financial status of the family and believes that they should not have to support the other who, in their mind, did less to impact their collective financial success. The dependent spouse may believe that they deserve more support than the other is willing to give because of their support of the home or deferred goals. While spousal support led to a contested, emotionally-driven court battle in the past, New York now has a new law setting forth suggested parameters for the amount of spousal support (via the formula) as well as the duration (various brackets based upon the length of marriage).
If a business is considered marital property, it will be valued and considered when dividing property. When a couple litigates their divorce and a business is part of the allocation of assets, the case can become quite complicated. Even if one spouse owned the business before the marriage, there are many ways in which a court would consider it, or a portion thereof, marital property. Property distribution is one of the most contested issues of a divorce. Whether one spouse worked full time while the other cared for the home, the couple worked together, or the couple worked separately, the business will most likely be a part of the equitable distribution of assets if it is established as marital property.
When a couple divorces, they have to address issues relevant to their situation, such as property distribution and spousal support. Some must address child support, child custody, and child visitation, as well. Spouses may be able to avoid many of the consequences of litigating their matters by engaging in the Collaborative Divorce Process or Mediation. When a court hears a litigated divorce case, each party must disclose financial information that helps the court equitably distribute marital property and establish spousal support when a situation calls for it. When a couple is considered high net worth individuals, the divorce can become complex. A high net worth individual is considered someone with investable finances in excess of $1 million.