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Legal issues don’t wait – they strike at a moments notice – that’s why our divorce attorneys are available 24/7 to help you. Regardless of when you call, one of our attorneys is available to help answer your legal issues, and offer a risk free consultation. Once you sign up with us, you have constant access to your assigned attorney for any legal issues you might have. We’re 100% dedicated to you – and your right to get legal help. Give us a call today, for a risk free consultation.
We care about one thing only – helping our clients, and getting them results. We have over 40 years of experience as as premier Long Island divorce law firm. We know how difficult divorce and family law cases can be, and are here to support you in every way. Clients consistently turn to us, when they, or a family member, need help – and need an attorney who gets it. We don’t focus on billable hours, we focus on client happiness. We understand the importance of preserving the family, and making sure whatever outcome we reach – is one that makes you and your family happy as well.
Long Island Divorce Lawyers
We're trusted, well known, and one of the oldest divorce law firms. Here are some reasons why you should choose us, and why client's love us. Many of our clients refer us to their friends, and family members.
We Find Hidden Assets
We'll find the assets your spouse is hiding and get you a fair deal. We are aggressive and unyielding.
Caring and Professional
We are a service oriented law firm. We focus on providing realistic expectations, and tangible results for each and every client.
Flexible Payment Plans
We're one of the few divorce law firms to offer flexible payment plans. We make it easy to hire our divorce attorneys.
Top Rated Attorney
Founding partner Todd Spodek is widely acclaimed as a reputable divorce attorney, interviewed on major outlets and major long island divorce lawyer ranking services.
We are here 24/7, and can meet you in person, or over the phone for a risk free consultation. Once you sign up, we are ALWAYS available to chat.
We're a results oriented firm. Ask us about your case, and we'll tell you what to expect and what you can expect based on our experience.
Long Island Divorce Attorneys + 40 Years of Experience
PURSUING YOUR BEST INTERESTS
Our law firm understands your future is at risk. We get it. You need an experienced divorce lawyer in Long Island who understands matrimonial and family law. At the Spodek Law Group, we understand the situation you’re dealing with is difficult, and we try to create the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones. Our divorce lawyers help you resolve division of property issues, and child custody issues diligently, and with respect. We have the knowledge, and experience, to take a case to it’s conclusion if that’s what’s necessary. We represent clients in Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and all 5 boroughs of Long Island.
If you’re in the process of getting divorced, you’ll likely have the opportunity to participate in mediation. You might wonder if mediation is going to be helpful in your case. You might think that if your divorce is hostile or the other side is being stubborn, there’s no way that you’re going to reach any kind of settlement.
The truth is that the vast majority of divorce cases settle before trial. A large number of them settle during mediation proceedings. In fact, mediation can be a very helpful tool for resolving a divorce.
There are a number of reasons that mediation tends to be helpful in divorce cases. First, mediation gives the parties the chance to discuss many issues at once. Trying to resolve a case with phone calls back and forth over a long period of time doesn’t give the parties the opportunity to throw out a large number of ideas at once. When you work on a case during mediation, you can suggest a resolution, and the other side can respond right away. With this back and forth, you can often accomplish many weeks or months of work in one day or afternoon.
Mediation is also helpful because the parties have a chance to consider more creative solutions than they might receive in court. In mediation, the parties can be as creative as they want to about custody and parenting time provisions and division of assets. If you’re concerned about where a child attends day care or you’re really concerned about the children being able to attend your family’s annual reunion, these are things that you can discuss in mediation.
You’re not likely to take your case to trial and have a judge order that the children must attend your annual family reunion. When you go to court, you get a custody order, and the chips fall where they may. However, in mediation, you’re able to get creative.
Mediation is helpful because it lets you focus on what’s most important to you. You might not care about the family china, but you might be very concerned about keeping your jewelry. You may want the marital home and be less concerned about keeping the 401k account. Mediation allows you to prioritize.
At trial, the court makes an equitable division of the assets. The court must concern themselves with what’s fair. While they might consider what’s practical, they’re not concerned with your preferences. Mediation can be very helpful because you can work to keep the things that matter the most to you. Ultimately, this can leave you with greater satisfaction from your divorce case than you might receive if you take your case to trial.
When parties prepare for mediation, their attorneys can help them form realistic expectations. When the parties know the strengths and weaknesses of their case and what the court is likely to do if the case goes to trial, mediation can be helpful to resolve the case. You may be surprised to find that mediation can resolve even tough cases.
Will I have to go court during my divorce process
Many people today are concerned about the impact that a divorce will have on their time and availability, and quite frankly, most people would prefer staying out of court if possible. In contemplation of filing for divorce, a frequently asked question, is whether or not you will have to go to court during your divorce process.
It is possible to avoid having to go to court during your divorce process, but that is based on the direction your case takes after you have filed your initial petition for divorce. Hiring a good divorce lawyer can help minimize the amount of time you have to spend in court. Some of the common directions that a case can take to avoid going to court is to proceed by filing a default divorce or to proceed uncontested. Here, we will examine areas of the divorce process, that will help you determine whether or not you will need to go to court for your divorce case.
Filing court documents
In order to initiate the divorce process you, your attorney, court courier, friend or family member must first file the summons and petition at the Family Law courthouse in order to start the divorce process. IF you have a divorce lawyer on your side, this can be done on your behalf by the divorce attorney. Depending on how the rest of your case goes, this may be the only time you step into a courthouse for your divorce case, or you may be able to avoid the courthouse all-together, if your jurisdiction allows e-filing.
A contested case involves parties that do not agree on various aspects of their divorce. A contested case often consists of conducting discovery, filing motions, and appearing at hearings or trials, much of which will require your personal appearance.
An uncontested case involves divorcing spouses that are able to reach agreements among themselves, through their attorneys or through mediation. Uncontested cases usually involve the informal process of providing relevant information and documents to the other spouse, rather than engaging in formal discovery demands, which negates the need to seek the courts involvement. Most cases that proceed uncontested are resolved by agreement, which means that the final divorce decree or judgement/marital settlement agreement is drafted by the parties or their attorney’s of record, signed by the parties and submitted to the judge for his or her signature and court filing. This process generally avoids the need to ever go to court during your divorce process.
A default divorce can be initiated if the other spouse has been given legal notice of the divorce proceedings and has chosen to ignore or not respond to the divorce petition. In this situation, a party can file the default and associated paperwork, and if granted you will not have to go to court during your divorce process.
In conclusion, it is possible for you to avoid court appearances during your divorce process, but only if you hire a competent divorce lawyer who can handle the process for you.
Contact a Long Island Divorce Attorney Today
Todd Spodek has experience handling prenups, separation agreements, annulments, divorces (contested and uncontested), in addition to child support, custody cases, orders of protection, and more. We make every effort possible to handle cases before starting a lawsuit. If we find there’s no amicable resolution possible, we take your case to it’s conclusion. It’s critical that you call a knowledgeable Divorce lawyer before starting any family legal issue in New York. Your families future relies on your ability to get results, and the capability of your attorney. When you work with our firm, you can rest knowing you have some of the top Nassau county divorce attorneys on your side.
Getting married is considered a romantic way to commit to a partner, but it’s actually a legal agreement. You’re entering a contract with the person for a lifetime. In essence, you share everything. You may want some protection, however, if the marriage fails for any reason. A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a legal document that specifies who has the right to certain assets during a divorce. This is something a divorce lawyer can help draft for you. If you’re wondering if you need a prenup, take a look at the reasons why it tends to be a good idea.
Protect Your Current Assets
You may be 20 or 30 years old when you get married for the first time. The planning and experience is exciting. Both partners have some assets, however, that they’re bringing into the marriage. Choose a prenup if you have any assets at this point. Stock options, savings accounts and inheritances might be up for grabs in the future if divorce occurs. If your spouse takes on debt, using a hard money loan, this can be an issue too. A prenup that protects your initial assets allows you to walk away from the marriage without losing those items.
Consider Future Achievements
Aside from defining custody and financial support in the prenup, almost any other topic can be visited. If you’re working on an invention or grand idea, be sure to add this subject to the prenup. A married person who strikes it big as an entrepreneur may not want to share those future assets with their partner if a divorce comes up. The prenup can specify that any achievements are the individual’s assets. The partner doesn’t have any claim to them. Consult with a divorce lawyer to be sure about the wording in this part of the document.
Defines Personal Property
Some couples get married late in life. They both have certain assets that were earned before the ceremony. These couples might live happily for several decades as married people. However, a divorce occurs after those many years. A prenup defines personal property over the years that may be forgotten. An argument about an item’s original owner can be quickly fixed with a scan of the prenup. As a result, the prenup makes divorce easier when it comes to dividing out the assets. Any items not defined under the prenup become community property between the partners. It’s important when drafting a prenup to hire a divorce lawyer who can walk you through all the factors/variables to consider.
Supports a Party in a Second Marriage
Certain partners meet and marry in their 50s or 60s. In many cases, the marriage is a second one for both. A prenup before the second ceremony is a good idea because it protects personal assets that might be earmarked for grown children or grandchildren. If divorce looms, each benefactor of those partners is protected from losing any inheritances in the future. Consider these prenups as family protection instead of an agreement between two people.
Working with a divorce lawyer in order to draw up the prenup is the best-case scenario. These professionals know where you should be careful about some assets while leaving others as shared property. With a knowledgeable professional by your side, a prenup can be written up, signed and stored away for future use if necessary.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce In New York State?
Deciding To divorce is a difficult, sometimes heart-wrenching choice made by married couples after one (or both) spouses engaged in actions that drove them apart. Though some couples might opt to separate for a variety of issues, a court of law will typically only grant a divorce on legal reasons or grounds if specific criteria are met. The following short piece examines the acceptable grounds for divorce as established by the New York State court system.
New York law requires that any would-be separating spouses filing for divorce must have resided in the state for a period ranging between one and two years and can prove any one of the following seven acceptable grounds:
One spouse may seek to divorce the other on this ground if the spouse in question, without provocation, exits the spousal home and fails to return for a duration lasting at least one year.
Should one spouse prove that the other engaged in sexual relations with another individual during the marriage, the ground of adultery has been met. However, adultery is not proven merely through suspicions, accusations or innuendo. A court will require that the accuser offer irrefutable evidence (such as DNA or catching the accused on tape) clearly illustrating that adultery has been committed.
If a spouse can prove (again through irrefutable evidence) that he or she has been physically or mentally abused and that remaining married to or continuing to live with the accused individual could potentially place them in danger, divorce can be sought.
Divorce After Legal Separation
To qualify for this ground, both spouses enter into a legal agreement granting each party a separation in which they will be required to live in different residences for a year. After the year expires, both spouses are legally free to divorce should they so desire.
Divorce After Separation Judgment
The State Supreme Court grants a married couple separation for one year in which each party is mandated to live in separate residences. At the end of the year, each party is at liberty to divorce should they choose.
Should one spouse be incarcerated for a period of at least three consecutive years after the couple married, the other is granted the legal right to seek a divorce. The non-incarcerated spouse may also use this ground for an additional five years following the jailed spouse’s release.
Under these circumstances, both spouses have recognized that remaining married is no longer feasible. Assuming each side has entered into agreement regarding how critical issues such as the division of assets, maintenance, child custody and child support have been amicably determined, a court may award what is referred to as a “no-fault” divorce to said parties.
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Todd Spodek - Founding Partner, Award Winning Long Island Divorce Lawyer
Todd Spodek is a second generation divorce attorney. At the Spodek Law Group, he’s the managing partner and is dedicated to helping families. His goal is to help every single client, and he treats them like family members. He leverages the law to help clients get the outcome they need for them, and their family. If you’re facing an issue, speak to Todd Spodek or one of the divorce attorneys at our firm. He’s respected by judges, attorneys, and clients alike.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been ordered to pay child support in the state of New York, there are a few different factors that are involved. The court will often protect the parent who does not have custody of the child and order at least a minimal amount of support that is to be paid each month by who is considered the absent parent. It’s important to keep in mind that even though the term absent parent is used, it does not mean that the parent is not involved in the child’s life. It simply means that the parent is not the one who lives in the home with the child.
The Child Support Standards Act is one of the components used to calculate the amount that the absent parent is to pay. There is a basic obligation that is achieved by multiplying combined parental income by the child support income percentage. There are different percentages that the court will go by, such as the income for one child or a percentage of the income for two children. There is a higher percentage calculated for each additional child that the parent has to support.
The judge will combine the incomes of both parents after taxes have been taken out. The judge will then look at how many children the parents share. Most of the time, other children who are not shared by the parents will also be taken into consideration as they have to be supported as well, which takes off a slight percentage of the income amount. Once the correct income amount is calculated, a percentage of the income is ordered that the absent parent pay each year based on the number of children in the relationship. A fraction of the percentage amount is the final payment support order based on how much the absent parent makes each year compared to how much the custodial parent makes.
If you are facing issues when it comes to child support, we encourage you to speak to one of our Long Island divorce attorneys who can help you.
Are you going through a divorce in New York and are wondering how your property will be distributed? Typically, in situations like this it’s a good idea to speak to a Long Island divorce lawyer who can help.
New York laws follow an equitable distribution of property during a divorce. While equitable means fair and just, it does not mean equal. Your marital property will be distributed based on a number of factors.
New York law will take into factor what each spouse contributed to the marital property over the years of the marriage as well as what each spouse will need to move forward with their life.
The judge will be the one to decide how the property will be divided. He will do so by weighing various factors set out in New York law. These factors include the income of both spouses – at the time they married and at the time when they file for divorce; whether alimony has been awarded, how long the marriage lasted for, the age and well being of each spouse, if either spouse disposed of property wrongfully in contemplation of divorce without providing to the other spouse; if the property was acquired by a spouse via descent, devise, or gift; and any other factor that the judge may consider necessary in order for the separation to be equitable in the eyes of the court.
Separate property is not subject to equitable division. Separate property is any property that was acquired before the marriage, or any property acquired during the marriage via gift, descent, or devise. Settlements or compensation from personal injury lawsuits given to either spouse will also be considered separate property. If you voluntarily signed a prenuptial agreement with full disclosure, then this agreement will govern the property covered in the agreement. Therefore, the property subject to the prenuptial agreement will be considered separate property and not subject to equitable division. Any other property will be considered marital property and be subject to equitable division – including property obtained during the period of separation.
In addition, future proceeds may be subject to equitable division by New York law. For example, if a spouse was working on a book during the time of the marriage and the other spouse provided for that spouse so they could continue to work on the book, the proceeds of that book if it were to be published after divorce, could be subject to equitable division.
During the past two decades states have made a transition in the method of handling family law cases in the local court systems by establishing designated court branches that deal solely with issues regarding families. Families experiencing legal difficulties often go through a range of emotions when the law is actually applied to a family situation, and having court personnel who are trained in mitigating family problems has proven very effective. Domestic violence claims are also consistent with many family disputes, and they can be addressed in family court in some instances, although criminal charges are typically processed through regular criminal court. Judges in family court are specifically trained on legal issues pertaining to overall family law applications, which are civil law matters. Criminal court can be an altogether different issue that could become material to a family law case under certain circumstances.
One of the primary functions of family courts has become divorce proceedings. All formal hearings and requests regarding the dissolution of a marriage are presented in family court, including scheduling of divorce mediation meetings to allow divorcing couples to produce an agreement regarding distribution of assets and debts. The days of court appointed child custody are gradually ending unless the court must intervene for the welfare of minor children. The current parenting plan trend in divorces in normally much more amiable as opposed to a hard ruling from the judge that neither party wants. There is a multitude of legal and social professionals working within the family court structure that allows for a much better result when families wish to separate on friendly terms.
Other Legal Determinations for Family Court
Divorces are not the only legal disputes that are submitted to family court. Others situations can include:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Child Visitation
Legal cases processed in family court can also include adoptions and name changes, along with certain juvenile matters. Juvenile criminal matters are often handled in family court so the judge can clear the court room as a form of protecting the minor that is central to the hearing. There are certain aspects of privacy and juvenile exemption from legal applications that make handling these legal problems in a more secure format a better option. This option is actually used in multiple scenarios when sensitive information is being discussed in open court, and family court works sell in this adjudication aspect.
When a married couple decides to divorce, there are numerous legal and financial matters that must be resolved. Among these issues might be the subject of spousal support, which is often referred to as alimony in the legal community. Typically, every state establishes laws governing whether alimony will be granted to one of the divorcing spouses, as well as how these specific monetary amounts are calculated. In some cases, if you suspect a spouse is hiding income – it makes sense to speak to a Long Island divorce lawyer who can guide you through this complicated process.
What Is The Purpose Of Spousal Support (Alimony)?
Alimony may be awarded to a divorcing spouse as a means of financial sustenance. During the marriage, one spouse might have enjoyed a significantly greater income than his or her spouse. Spousal support is the legal means of attempting to ensure the spouse who earned a great deal less than the other does not suffer any undue financial hardships as a result of the impending separation.
How Is Alimony Determined In New York?
Alimony, which the New York State Courts call “Maintenance,” is determined after considering several different financial and personal factors.
From a monetary standpoint, a court may render a maintenance decision after examining both spouses salaries, the potential future wage earnings for the receiving spouse, does/will the receiving spouse have the ability to pursue the educational or vocational opportunities to earn higher wages or if the receiving spouse either gave up or put a potentially lucrative career on hold to care for home and family.
The New York Courts might also consider personal factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s health and age, if either spouse will bear the burden of care for dependent children and elderly or ill relatives and the potential tax ramifications a maintenance rendering will have on either spouse.
How Is Maintenance Awarded?
In some instances, maintenance can be paid in one lump sum. However, in most cases, the legal mandate is remitted through monthly payments from mandated spouse to receiving spouse.
How Long Do Maintenance Payments Last?
Occasionally, the Court may only require maintenance to be paid out for a specific period of time. Usually, these circumstances arise if the Court has determined that the receiving spouse will one day attain a level of self-sufficiency. At other times, maintenance payments are mandated over a more indefinite period. That said, more permanent maintenance arrangements may need to be revisited should the receiving spouse remarry or if his or her financial circumstances drastically change for any number of reasons.
Divorce is never an easy time, especially for couples that have been married for such a long time. Once the divorce proceedings start and you are sure that there is no turning back for you and your partner, the next phase would be for the two of you to decide who gets what from your marriage. When it comes to splitting your marital assets, the 401(k) is regarded to be one of the most complicated assets that a divorcing couple has to split. Lucky for parties divorcing, the law has set the legal process that must be followed when spitting a 401(k) in a divorce.
The Legal Process of Splitting a 401(k)
In law, the splitting of a 401(k) follows three key steps:
i. The divorce decree obtained from the court must order the splitting of the 401(k)
ii. Your attorney must then draw up the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), a legal document instructing the administrator of your 401(k) to split it in strict compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Both the administrator of the 401(k) and the family court judge must approve and sign the QDRO before it takes effect.
iii. Once the QDRO takes effect, your spouse will be assigned a new status as an “alternate payee”, meaning that he or she can also receive payment from the 401 (k).
What follows next?
Distribution is what follows next. The alternate payee can collect the portion of the 401(k) in any three options. The alternate payee must detail the method he or she intends to receive the portion due to him or her in the QDRO. As an alternate payee, you can choose any of the following three options:
i. You can roll over your benefits to your own retirement plan or,
ii. Leave your share in the current plan and receive payment when the other party retires or,
iii. Receive the money in cash.
When can the alternate payee take his or her portion of the 401(k)?
According to the regulations set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you are the alternate payee, you can only take your 401(k) in cash at the time when your plan administrator approves the duly filled QDRO. If you delay and choose to withdraw the money beyond this legally permitted window, you will be subjected to a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. After the withdrawal, the IRS will treat the lump sum received as part of your regular income and it will be subjected to normal income taxation.
Point of caution:
Delays in preparing and filing the QDRO can complicate the whole process. If you are the one receiving the benefits, you should urge your attorney to prepare and file the QDRO at the soonest opportunity possible. Again, you need to remember that the timing for the QDRO is very critical. Unnecessary delays should be avoided as far as possible. Once you have filed the QDRO with the plan administrator ask your attorney to follow it up to ensure that it does not take too long to be approved and implemented.