I teach family law at CUNY Law School and the semester started a few weeks ago. Here I was on the first day back (hat hair and all): This week, I brought in a well-respected colleague as a guest to talk about how a contested divorce moves through the court system. He told the students about discovery demands and motion practice and preliminary conferences and a lot of time-consuming stuff. And then he mentioned his hourly rate, and there was an audible gasp … read more »
What’s in Your Wallet? (Do You Know?)
One of the things that I’ve noticed when I mediate is that one person in a couple is often much more financially literate than the other. What do I mean by this? That one person has a better sense of what things cost, what the family needs, and what their financial futures might be. Often one person pays the bills and the other person has only a vague idea of what the household budget is — just that the credit … read more »
$$ and Divorce
Just published an article in Family Affaires to help you think about your money during divorce. Money can be a big stressor in a marriage, and is often one of the greatest sources of anxiety during a divorce, whether you are mediating, litigating or doing a collaborative process. These tips can help you get a handle on them so you know what you are working with! Here’s to a productive and fruitful 2016!
New NYS Spousal Support Bill
Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that will soon overhaul the way spousal support is established for divorcing couples in New York State. The portions of the bill that deal with temporary spousal support will take effect on October 25, 2015, and the rest will take effect on January 23, 2016. This law establishes a standard for how permanent spousal maintenance is determined – before, maintenance was purely up to a judge’s discretion, and awards were inconsistent. A 2010 … read more »
Dividing Up the Property
One of the biggest decisions that needs to be made in a divorce is how you will divide up your assets. Here is a link to an article I wrote recently about this topic, entitled “Equitable Distribution 101.” This might be helpful whether you are using mediation, collaborative process, or using traditional lawyers.
All Children Included!
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will was filed in court yesterday, and has already gotten a lot of press. He did some unusual things – most poignantly, he did not create trust funds for his children. But he also did not update his will after his younger two kids were born, nor did he make provisions for the possibility that he might have more kids. So they are in a bit of legal limbo, as this article shows. How can you avoid … read more »
Can a child have 3 parents?
We all know that a child can only have 2 biological parents – a man and a woman. But we also know that biology is only a small part of the story. Every child is connected to more adults – as they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Many children are actually being raised by more than 2 parents — step parents, grandparents, friends and partners can play an important role in the financial and emotional … read more »
Is That Prenup Really Fair?
Lee and Carolyn were in love. Carolyn loved Lee so much that she moved her children from Delaware to Long Island so they could be a family. After 8 years of dating, Lee finally proposed. Lee suggested a prenuptial agreement. Carolyn was so relieved that they were finally getting married, that she said, “I’ll sign any piece of paper you put in front of me and I won’t even read it.” And so he did. Lee gave her the agreement … read more »
Elder Mediation hits the Press !
The Wall Street Journal published a terrific article yesterday, Family Value: A Referee for Family Disputes, about the value of elder mediation, and its value to families facing tough decisions around care-giving and inheritance. This is just the latest in several major newspapers to cover it. It’s exciting to be one of the forerunners of this new and growing field! I recommend a few: Eldercare Mediators help resolve Feuds, Washington Post, Dec 14, 2010 When the Family Needs an … read more »
Do Children have a Right to Inherit?
I recently got an inquiry from someone who wanted to write a will leaving everything to one of her children, but not the other. They were both under 18. Was this legal? she asked. Her younger child was being raised by his father and step-mother, and they were well off. She hadn’t seen him in years, and had no relationship with him, although she was paying child support, which was taken out of her check bi-weekly. She greatly resented having … read more »