Monday, August 11, 2014

Is an Uncontested Divorce Right for You?

If you and your spouse have already agreed on:

  • How to split up your home and other real estate
  • How to divide your retirement assets and business interests
  • How to divide your debts
  • How you will make decisions for your children, and how you will resolve disagreements in making these decisions
  • With whom will the children maintain primary residence
  • The parenting schedule during the school year, summers, school breaks and holidays
  • The amount and duration of child support and spousal support
  • Who will claim the Children on his/her tax return
  • What type of additional expenses you will share for the Children and how responsibility for these expenses will be divided
  • Who will maintain health insurance for the children, will there be health insurance for each of you?
  • you may be able to obtain an Uncontested Divorce.
The Process
To begin an Uncontested Divorce, one spouse is designated the Plaintiff and the other the Defendant.  Usually the Plaintiff completes and files most of the paperwork. Click here to read more.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Deficient New York Legislation – Same-Sex Marriage

                                 “It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, 
                                                  but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws.” 
                                                              – Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes new laws are made for the best of reasons, and yet they end up being flawed. Often legislation is passed in a great rush, and it unfortunately has unexpected or unintended consequences. Here is a case in point.
New York State did a wonderful thing 3 years ago when it passed The Marriage Equality Act, which allowed same-sex marriages to take place. The new statute not only applied to New York State residents, but permitted couples from other states to come to New York in order to marry. As a result, many same-sex couples from states where same-sex marriage was not allowed took advantage of this statute and were married in New York. The State of New York welcomed them, collected their filing fees and tourist dollars, and received a lot of kudos from the media. All is wonderful, right?
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Choosing to Adopt? We Can Help!

In today’s world, more and more families, particularly in the United States, are choosing to adopt children. The Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C. has recently expanded its practice to include adoptions.
For many, the adoption process may seem overwhelming:
  • Should you adopt domestically or internationally?
  • Do you want to formalize the relationship with an existing child in your family through a step-parent adoption?
  • Are you a same-sex couple trying to decide what types of legal paperwork need to be prepared to secure your rights as parents?
The process is cumbersome, but not impossible, and we can guide you through it.
Under New York law, all adoptive parents have to be certified by the court if they want to adopt a child in the United States. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Innocent Play or Child Pornography?

                                    “… I know it when I see it.” – Justice Potter Stewart

In the December 20, 2013 Law Journal, there is a very interesting case called Matter of CW v. CYR. This case comes from Kings County Family Court (Brooklyn Family Court) and it started on November 20, 2013 when the Administration for Children Services (ACS) filed an emergency petition against parents to remove their 4 children. What happened?
The father lost his Blackberry in April of 2013. The person who picked up the Blackberry found on it pictures of naked children and turned the phone over to the police. The police issued a warrant to search the house and to examine all the computers because allegations were made that the pictures were showing children in sexually explicit poses.
The District Attorney’s office got involved and then involved the ACS, which removed the children. Fortunately, the children were not removed into foster care because there were family members that were willing to take them, but they were removed from the parents.
The parents were upset and did not cooperate too well with the ACS, which made the ACS even more angry, so as a result, there was a full fledged lawsuit in Family court which ended up in a hearing. The issue? The ACS alleged that the parents had sexually explicit photos of their children. In addition, the parents refused to bring the kids to their social worker appointments or forensics and would not speak to the case worker.
Click here to read more.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Determining Where to File for Divorce in the 21st Century World of Mobile Families

                   “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In the world of mobile families, complex international marriages and overburdened courts, would a New York court accept a divorce case, filed by the husband, an Irish resident, British passport holder and citizen of the European Union against the wife, a U.S. citizen who prefers to reside in Ireland? Apparently, the answer is yes.
In a recent Putnam County Supreme court case, Mr. S. filed for divorce in New York and his wife opposed it, claiming that New York State had no jurisdiction to end the parties’ marriage. Under New York State law, when you commence an action for divorce, the first thing that needs to happen is that the court needs to verify that there is jurisdiction.
Click here to read more.

Friday, December 27, 2013

On Undiagnosed Mental Illness and Mediation

“The best way out is always through.”
– Robert Frost

What is mental illness? What is mental instability? Scientists and mental health professionals have grappled with questions concerning the human mind for centuries. From artfully crafted screening questions to wires transferring electrodes to images, we live in a society that tries to unravel why some people act in unfathomable ways. Sometimes we feel we are closer to an answer. But the inevitable anomaly continually sets us back.
In the setting of divorce, we are concerned with identifying an environment that offers an optimal space for a child to flourish. In a litigated process, our system attempts to investigate these environments through forensic evaluations, court ordered investigations into home environments of the parents, supervised visits and other compartmentalized vehicles. One person visits the home of a parent who assumes a requisite, cavalier smile for an afternoon. Another person explores the home of a parent who is absent, balancing two jobs and in no position to tidy. A third person interviews a young child who enthusiastically chatters about the parent who provides more sweets and fewer boundaries. Each of these individuals files a report with the court. Attorneys, equipped only with brief anecdotes told in confidence by their clients and often skewed summaries of opposing party’s positions, advocate for their clients to the best of their abilities. A judge evaluates to the best of his or her ability based on what is presented in court. No one thinks about the gaps that will never be filled.
There is little opportunity in a courtroom to observe the engagement between divorcing spouses without the filter of their attorneys, coaching them on what words to use and how to temporarily temper their habits by polishing the virtual or real image they present to the world at large. There is little opportunity to emote, to communicate freely, to problem-solve constructively and collectively. And there is certainly little opportunity to flag whether an individual is concerned with love of a child, or an unsavory obsession with simply winning a game.
It is true that mediation may not be a feasible process for every couple. It is true that a minimal amount of willingness on both sides is imperative to participating effectively. However, mediation is still one of the few forms of dispute resolution in which certain critical human elements can be brought to light. Click here to read more

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Screening for Domestic Violence

Domestic violence transcends racial, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries and occurs in all types of families. Yet it is frequently unaddressed. According to the 2013 Domestic Violence First Quarter Fact Sheet published by the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, 69 family-related homicides took place in New York City during 2012. 72% of the families involved in those homicides had no prior police contact.
Most incidents of domestic violence remain unreported, and although it is often difficult to do so, the need to screen clients for domestic violence cannot be overstated. Victims of domestic violence may want to rush through the divorce process as quickly as possible and waive their rights to support and division of assets. A lawyer who is aware of and sensitive to domestic violence concerns can better understand and effectively help his/her client.
How does one screen for domestic violence without hurting or offending the person who is being screened?  Click here to read more.