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Rochester New York Family Legal Blog

Divorces may yield more parallel than cooperative parenting plans

Every divorce is different, and while one couple may be able to cooperate in making decisions about children, some former spouses may not. In New York, there is a shift toward parallel parenting.

What is parallel parenting, and does it work better than the traditional co-parenting?

Estate planning and family heirlooms

Individuals who are planning their estate in New York may have an easy time figuring out how to include assets like money, stocks and bonds in their plan. "Hard" assets like jewelry and artwork can be more difficult to include because they can't be easily divided among beneficiaries, and their value is more difficult to determine. It is important not to overlook these types of assets even though they can make an estate plan more complex.

Finding out how much property is worth is a key first step when making estate planning decisions. Relying on purchase price for valuation will not work because personal property like art may have increased greatly in value over time. Even a first appraisal may be inaccurate if it was done several years ago. Finding a reputable appraiser is usually worth the time and money spent.

3 co-parenting tips to help you get through the holidays

Co-parenting sounds hard, but it gets easier as the years go on. Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys recently spoke about her experiences co-parenting with her ex and his new wife, and she spoke highly of the situation they have reached. 

No matter how easy the co-parenting plan between you and your ex seems, it will likely get tougher at the end of the year during the holidays. Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah or something else, the holidays can be rough for a recently divorced couple. Since the holiday season is right around the corner, it is vital to prepare accordingly. 

How might a collaborative divorce help you?

Many New Yorkers, yourself included, might be under the assumption that having significant assets and child custody concerns automatically means you are heading to court when you seek a divorce. Fortunately, there are uncontested options that can have significant advantages over litigation, if an uncontested divorce is right for you. Collaborative law can be especially beneficial when you have complex property division or child custody issues to work out with your spouse. It is important to understand how a collaborative divorce works because the process is somewhat more complicated than a mediated divorce.

According to FindLaw, collaborative law shares numerous advantages with mediation over litigation, which can include the following:

  • Being more cost-effective and less time-consuming than taking your disputes to court
  • Significantly reducing the conflict you and your children experience during the divorce process
  • Allowing you and your spouse to air out your disagreements in a neutral environment
  • Being private, rather than your disputes becoming a matter of public record
  • Allowing both of you to reach mutually agreeable solutions to your disagreements
  • Showing you valuable skills in negotiation, communication and compromise that you can continue to use throughout your life, especially while co-parenting

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects your divorce

There were already financial hurdles in deciding to divorce your spouse, but a new tax law taking effect in 2019 could have an even greater impact. Signed into law in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes changes to simplify how individuals and households file taxes, but it also affects those who are divorcing after the start of the new year.

In the past, the spouse paying alimony or spousal maintenance received a tax deduction. The new law takes away the tax deduction for the spouse giving the payment and makes it nontaxable for the spouse receiving it.

Avoid these pre-divorce mistakes

There may be some people close to you who have gone through a divorce and are eager to give you advice on how to handle yours. Should you let their experiences guide you?

Taking advice from anyone but a legal professional is one of several mistakes you will want to avoid, especially if significant assets are at stake in your divorce.

Understanding the role of the executor

Part of prudent estate planning is naming an executor in one's will. The executor plays a major part in probate proceedings, so it is important to devote careful thought to your selection. If your will does not name an executor, the Surrogate's Court will typically appoint one.

High-asset individuals and business owners, in particular, may need to consider whether their candidate for this role possesses the experience and knowledge needed to properly handle the estate's assets. As the probate process often takes about a year, another major consideration is the prospective executor's ability to continue devoting significant time and effort to administering the estate.

How to detect hidden assets in a high-net worth divorce

When a couple with a high net worth approaches a divorce, things can quickly get ugly. Finances seem to trigger conflict in divorces more often than almost anything else, and when there are a lot of assets at stake, this conflict can be even worse.

One particular issue that some spouses face in a high-net-worth divorce is that of hidden assets. Especially for the spouse who is at a financial disadvantage, hidden assets can be very problematic and impact the financial future of the less-wealthy spouse. If you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets or attempting to hide assets as you move through your divorce, you should be proactive and take steps to uncover this deception as soon as possible.

3 major expenses that may emerge in divorce

Divorce is not just stressful, it is also expensive and time-consuming for both parties involved. Even if you and your ex have secure, high-earning jobs, you may be blindsided by the financial impact that divorce has on your life. This is one reason why it is so important to construct a financial plan when you are divorcing and take into account all the additional expenses you may face during the process.

Consider the following major expenses that may emerge when you are going through a divorce. Whether you are the primary earner or depend on your ex to provide for the family, you should be prepared to seek financial support if necessary and take steps to protect your assets in the divorce. 

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Rochester, NY 14618

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