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White Plains Divorce Law Blog

Keeping your investments in mind during a divorce? Part 2

Last week we started a discussion about the steps you could take to maximize the chances that property division decisions will go smoothly in the courts. It is not uncommon that people sometimes think irrationally during the process of a divorce and make decisions they could regret later on, or overlook the obvious while blinded by emotion. Below are a few more things to take into consideration when negotiating and working on your finances during a divorce.

If you are nearing retirement age, you will want to look at the earnings of both yourself and your spouse with regards to Social Security benefits. If your spouse was the higher earner during the course of a marriage, you may be entitled to more benefits. In order to qualify, you must meet a few conditions. You must be at least 62 years of age or older, you must have been married for at least 10 years, you must not be currently married, and your own earnings must not allow you to receive a higher benefit. Even if your spouse has remarried, if you are still unmarried, you will qualify for the benefits.

Keeping your investments in mind during a divorce? Part 1

With emotions running high, it is not uncommon for those in the process of a divorce to have difficulties maintaining focus on the dozens of decisions that need to be made. It can get overwhelming fast.

Regardless of where you are from in the United States, whether it is out west or right here in or near White Plains, New York, throughout the country people often struggle to see the bigger picture when it comes to property division and decisions that need to be made during the process of a divorce.

Janet Jackson confirms speculation of divorce

It appears that the marriage between legendary musician Janet Jackson and her husband, Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, is over. It had previously been reported that Jackson and her estranged husband Al Mana were last seen in June leaving a courthouse in London, England. It is believed that the two separated shortly after the birth of their child, half a year ago. Jackson is 51 and Al Mana is 42.

Jackson confirmed the breakup, stating that she and her husband had separated. They still maintain a strong friendship and plan on co-parenting throughout their son's childhood, despite the separation. Jackson was recently spotted in New York City for business meetings regarding her upcoming tour. She had her child in tow, a 6-month-old son.

How is child support calculated?

They say that knowledge is power. This is true about most things throughout life, including one's ability while going through the phases of a divorce. Knowing what to expect and what could happen can only help you make the right decisions and say the right things during the process of a divorce. This holds true for many of the decisions including but not limited to child custody, child support, alimony and even property division.

If you suspect you will be going through a child support proceeding, it could be in your best interest to know what to expect. While some courts have set formulas for determining how child support payments are calculated, other courts will consider all factors and make their own ruling. As is often stressed, the decision typically will revolve around what is in the best interest of the children.

What is "imputed income" in a New York divorce?

When couples divorce, the court must determine, among other things, the amount of income that each of the spouses earns or is capable of earning. This calculation is required to determine spousal maintenance, if any, and child support.

The determination of income goes far beyond the salary earned by each spouse. The court must include other amounts, such as social security benefits, veterans benefit, pension benefits and other payments. One of the most important and contentious categories of income is called "imputed income."

How mediators help couples draft prenuptial agreements

In New York, prenuptial agreements must be signed by the couple before marriage takes place in order to be enforceable. But the introduction of the subject of a prenuptial agreement by one member of the couple may have a disquieting impact on the other. The sudden injection of financial matters into the romantic anticipation that precedes a marriage can seem quite jarring. One solution is the use of a trained mediator to assist the couple in facing the possibility of divorce and helping them devise solutions for child custody issues, spousal support and property division.

Mediators have long been used to resolve problems. Now, mediators are invited to join the couple to help them negotiate prenuptial agreements. The mediator will decide nothing. The mediator will ask for various kinds of financial information, including personal tax returns. If the parties are joint owners of a business, the mediator will ask for business information.

Guarding personal finances in a divorce

Most New Yorkers understand that a divorce can be expensive. One spouse may have to pay the other a substantial sum to divide assets. And, child support and alimony can be heavy burdens on post-divorce income. Plus, the proceeding itself may entail significant professional and court fees. The points set out below can become even more important in a high asset divorce.

Every state has unique divorce laws and well-meaning advice can be disastrously wrong. A person embarking on a divorce should rely only on professionals who are hired to provide case-specific advice.

Determining child custody in a New York divorce

One of the most daunting questions facing a person contemplating a divorce is child custody. Fortunately, state law provides guidelines to resolve child custody disputes, if the divorcing parents cannot agree. This post will describe the different types of custody and summarize the legal criteria for deciding custody disputes.

Child custody in New York comes in two varieties: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is the term used to describe where the child is expected to live. Legal custody means the right of the parent to make decisions concerning the child's education, medical care and overall welfare.

Legal separation may be an alternative to divorce

A number of couples decide to live apart, but not to proceed with a divorce. Sometimes, children are the reason for avoiding a complete split. Or, perhaps, the couple fears financial reverses, if they are forced to sell jointly held property or liquidate complex business assets. New York provides an option for such couples. It is called a legal separation agreement.

A legal separation agreement specifies the terms of the separation. Such an agreement can provide for child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and management of jointly held properties. A separation agreement may also provide for the valuation of joint assets.

Valuing a business in a divorce

As many New Yorkers know from personal experience, a divorce can be very expensive. Couples with large marital estates may require accountants, financial planners and other specialists to value assets and to respond to valuations put forth by the other spouse and his or her lawyers. Many people wonder if - or perhaps "why" - they should be required to add the cost of an independent valuation of their business to their other divorce expenses.

Determining property values can be one of the most difficult issues in a high-asset divorce. The value of a business that was established during the marriage or a business that pre-dated the marriage but that gained value during the marriage must be valued before the divorce proceeding can be concluded. An independent evaluation of the couple's assets can provide an object measure of the assets' value. Business evaluators are trained to identify and determine a value for all business assets. This valuation includes fixed assets, the value of anticipated income, the effect of depreciation and the worth of intangible assets such as good will and intellectual property.

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