How Easing of COVID Rules is Affecting the NY Family Courts
As COVID-19 swept the country, court operations in New York came to a virtual standstill under lockdown orders. In-person trials, conferences and hearings were postponed indefinitely. Despite the innovative use of videoconferencing technology for some proceedings, case dockets swelled as new cases were being filed and older cases were on hold. Now, as schools, restaurants […]
Pros and Cons of Revocable Living Trusts in Estate Planning
A revocable living trust can be an effective method of distributing property to your intended beneficiaries without need of a probate proceeding. A trust is traditionally an agreement between two parties — the grantor and the trustee — directing how property is to managed and for whose benefit. But a living trust allows you be […]
How Does a Spouse’s Wasting of Marital Assets Affect a Divorce?
When it comes to dividing property in a divorce, New York is an equitable distribution state. Most of the assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property and are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally. The judge will take various factors into consideration in making an equitable distribution, such […]
Leaving Property to “All My Children” is Not so Simple
As a parent, a major reason you should make a will is to ensure that your children are provided for — whether they are minors or adults at the time of your passing. However, leaving property to your children is not as simple as it may appear. Careful attention must be paid to the wording […]
Using Living Trusts to Avoid or Minimize Probate
Anyone who owns a real estate, has substantial bank accounts and investments or possesses other valuable property needs to consider the possibility that these assets will go into probate — the legal process that decides how a decedent’s estate will be distributed at death. Probate can be expensive, time-consuming and prone to complications. Fortunately, there […]
Should You and Your Spouse Have Mirror Wills?
When a married couple plans their estate, they often create identical wills, also known as “mirror wills.” This arrangement makes sense to spouses who want the same things when they pass away. Typically, each spouse leaves all their property to the other or to their children if the other spouse dies first. Mirror wills may […]
N.Y. Legislature Mulls Bill to Establish Presumption of Shared Parenting
If you’re considering a divorce and you have minor children, it’s understandable that you might be nervous about what to expect when it comes to child custody. Under current New York law, judges apply a range of criteria to determine whether custody should be granted principally to one parent, which would leave the other parent […]
New Discovery Rules Increase Defendants’ Access to Prosecutors’ Files
As of 2020, New York has adopted major changes to its discovery rules in criminal cases, making more information available to defendants quickly and easily. Until the reforms, New York’s criminal discovery law — sometimes called the “blindfold law” — was among the most restrictive in the nation. Discovery is the process by which lawyers […]
New York Adds Domestic Violence as a Factor to Consider in Equitable Distribution
New York State divorce courts now weigh domestic violence as a factor when making decisions about how to divide property among the spouses. Under a revised statute that took effect in 2020, courts must now consider “whether either party has committed an act or acts of domestic violence … against the other party and the […]
Does the COVID-19 Response Justify Modification of Visitation Rights?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, it’s natural for parents to wonder if the risk of contracting the virus should impact their child visitation plan. New York was hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and parents may be tempted to simply keep their child at home rather than risk spread of the disease by carrying […]