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Rochester New York Family Law Blog

Negotiating a divorce settlement

When New York couples end their marriage, many choose to negotiate a settlement agreement. Most people want to get the process done and over with his quickly as possible so that they can move on with their lives. Unfortunately, emotions can run high during a divorce, leading to unnecessary conflict that prolongs the process.

Spouses who wish to avoid the financial and mental costs of an acrimonious divorce can often take steps to prevent ongoing conflict. Doing some research on personal and marital finances may put them into a better position to begin negotiations about asset division and ongoing support payments.

Digital stalking may be easier than ever

When a couple divorces, one party may be interested in keeping tabs on their former partner. In some cases, this may be done to collect evidence of an affair or of substance abuse. However, New York residents or others may spy on their former spouses because they want to exert control over that person. As technology advances, it may be relatively easy to accomplish that goal.

One common surveillance method is to install spyware on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The spyware may make it possible for an individual to see another person's bank password or keep tabs on text messages or emails sent or received by a victim. In most cases, installing spyware to track an adult is considered to be an illegal act. However, there are cases in which tracking may be legal. For instance, one man put a tracker on a car that he owned jointly with his ex-wife.

QDROs and the division of retirement funds in a divorce

Dividing your assets during a divorce is often complicated. If you happen to be more well-established in life, there can be myriad accounts and properties that you’ll need to reallocate. One area of your assets that may not immediately come to mind, but is of great importance, is your retirement accounts.

Your retirement funds can be substantial, and in turn, separating them during a divorce can be complex. For a 401(k)—as well as for many other pension plans—what’s called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be in place to divide the plan. If you’re beginning divorce proceedings, and separating your retirement accounts seems necessary, it’s prudent to understand the basics of a QDRO.

It’s your money too: top tips for uncovering his assets

By all accounts, it’s surprisingly common for men to hide assets from their wives. In the complex world of today’s finances—with portfolios consisting of homes, rentals and vacation properties, as well as stock options, 401ks and pension plans, life insurance plans and business ownership—it may not even be that difficult to hide assets from you. But during divorce, it is illegal.

Illegal activity

Getting ready for a divorce

Certain times of the year are more common for divorce, such as just after the new year or on returning from summer vacation. There are ways people can start preparing for divorce even if they have not yet made up their minds. For example, researching New York divorce laws may be helpful. This should be done using reliable sources, such as the website for the state court system. People may also want to make a list of questions to ask attorneys and think about whether the divorce could be settled in mediation.

Another step is organizing finances. This could mean pulling tax returns, credit card bills, pay stubs and more as well as ordering a credit report. People might want to reduce their use of social media or stop using it altogether since information about money, children or other issues could be used against them during the divorce proceeding.

Cryptocurrencies may complicate property division in divorce

New York residents who are approaching or going through divorce often have questions about how property is divided. The property division process is one of the most important parts of a divorce, and it can be difficult with certain types of assets. Indeed, during the period prior to divorce, individuals often have time to hide assets. As Bitcoin grows in the public consciousness, cryptocurrency issues are becoming more prominent in divorce.

For couples who own Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum, dividing the assets during divorce should be a simple matter. In a bull market, however, the prospect of dividing cryptocurrency may cause some individuals to balk. One spouse may not want to assume the risk of a crash and might want different assets instead of cryptocurrency. Likewise, a husband or wife who has been investing in Bitcoin for years may wish to value the asset based on its purchase price rather than its current value. In a situation where one spouse offers a choice between a lump sum payment or 10 percent of the gains over the course of five years, the other spouse may have a difficult decision.

How to identify parental alienation

If parents in New York are divorcing someone who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, particularly of the narcissistic or borderline type, they may want to be alert for signs of parental alienation. This happens when one parent influences a child and turns the child against the other parent. Alienation can be disruptive to family life and create psychological problems for the child.

The targeted parent may not immediately realize what is happening. The early signs might be the other parent saying the child's visit must be postponed because of illness or homework. The child might display a sudden shift in behavior and become combative. The parent might stop receiving information from the child's school or camp, and the child might ask the parent to stop attending extracurricular activities. The child may behave in an entitled way regarding gifts or time and attention from the parent. The child may also use the same denigrating vocabulary that the other parent uses against the targeted parent. However, the child may deny any influence from that parent. The child may also reject the idea of any positive bonding experiences with the targeted parent.

How refinancing can be useful following a divorce

When a couple in New York gets a divorce, they might need to divide a home. This may involve refinancing for a number of reasons. For example, refinancing could be necessary to remove the moving spouse from the mortgage. Otherwise, that spouse might continue to be held legally responsible for the mortgage, and if the other spouse does not pay, it could affect that person's credit rating.

If one spouse keeps the house, they may need to buy out the other person. This could be done in a few ways, such as waiving spousal support or giving up another asset of equal value. However, a cash-out refinance is another possibility. This refinance has other uses as well. For example, the cash could be used to pay off a high-interest loan, do repairs on the house or start an emergency fund.

Divorce and separating credit

One of the many aspects of their lives that New York couples have to separate when getting a divorce is their credit. However, there are steps they can take to untangle their credit from that of their spouse and start their new life with no credit issues.

Paying bills that have been incurred with a spouse is necessary in order to have good credit at the end of a divorce. It is ideal if both spouses are able to cooperate with one another as creditors will hold a spouse liable for a debt if the other spouse fails to make the required payments. This will result in the credit of both parties being negatively impacted.

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1100 Long Pond Road, Suite 214
Rochester, NY 14626

Phone: 585-484-9970
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