Robert G. Smith, PLLC

New York High-Stakes Family Law Blog

When do courts mandate supervised visitation?

Going through a divorce in New York is hard enough but becomes especially complicated when you have young children involved. Child custody issues are an essential part of a divorce agreement between you and your divorcing spouse. Sometimes, there are certain circumstances that warrant court-mandated supervised visitation for a parent. 

According to Psychology Today, approximately 40% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Many of these marriages involve children, and today most couples seek joint custody of their child or children. However, sometimes there are reasons why this should not occur and a judge will order you or your spouse to be subject to supervised visitation while spending time with your minor.

Divorcing in 2019? Know these new tax laws

As one of many married people across New York who believes divorce is in your near future, you may be trying to get your affairs in order so that you can navigate the separation and make the split as seamless as possible. While divorcing your spouse alters many aspects of your life, recent tax changes have also impacted how divorced parties file taxes, and the more you understand about these changes, the less likely you will be to get an unpleasant surprise when you file. Attorney Robert G. Smith, PLLC, recognizes that those who divorce in 2019 or later will face numerous tax implications, and he has helped many people navigate this and other issues relating to divorce.

According to Forbes, new tax laws have impacted the way you or your former partner will handle alimony payments, if applicable, when you file this year’s taxes or others moving forward. Until this year, people who divorced and then paid alimony to their former spouses could deduct the amount paid from their taxable income. The person on the receiving end of the alimony payments, meanwhile, would include the money received when reporting his or her taxable income.

Some couples using trusts to get around alimony tax changes

At the beginning of this year, major changes to the federal tax code took effect, including one that greatly impacts the tax implications for alimony. Prior to 2019, the law allowed alimony payers to take a tax deduction on their payments while alimony receivers were required to claim the payments as taxable income. Now, neither side is allowed to deduct or required to claim.

According to a recent New York Times article, the reason for this change was an imbalance that has long existed. Since the provisions were first enacted in 1942, alimony payers have been very likely to claim the deduction while alimony receivers have been much less likely to report the income. Getting rid of both requirements means less of a revenue shortfall for the IRS.

How we would deal with threats to your assets during divorce

There are many ways that you could lose your assets or see them diminish in value during a divorce. At the law office of Robert G. Smith, PLLC, we use a variety of strategies to address these diverse risks. 

Of course, it is difficult to defend against asset loss if you do not know where and when it could occur. Here is a brief overview of some of the major risks associated with most high-asset divorces in New York.

Frequent communication can help your teen handle your divorce

Your teenager can get pretty moody on any given day. If you and your ex are going through a divorce, it can make things even worse. What can you do to make things easier for them?

A recent study published in the Journal of Family Issues shows that consistent parent-child contact is key to helping young people get through their parents’ divorce. To ensure your teen’s well-being, you should focus on maintaining communication with them.

Will you need spousal support in your divorce?

When couples decide to divorce, it is natural to feel anxiety about what this new life stage will bring. For unemployed spouses or those who are not the primary breadwinner, there is another fear: What will you do to financially maintain your day-to-day life?

That is where spousal support comes in. If you believe you may need spousal support in your divorce, here are a few things you can expect.

New York court expands definition of parent

On Aug. 30, a New York state court ruled that non-biological and non-adoptive parents may be granted visitation and custody rights if a couple ends their relationship. The latest ruling overturns a ruling in 1991 made by the same court that defined a parent as someone who was the child's biological parent or who had a connection to the child through adoption.

The ruling acknowledged that the 1991 decision came before same-sex marriages were legal in the state, and the evolving nature of family relationships makes that standard unworkable today. To be granted custody or visitation rights today, an individual must show that there was clear intent to conceive or raise a child with his or her partner. Furthermore, custody and visitation rights will only be granted if it is considered to be in the best interest of the child.

Co-parenting and screen time rules after a divorce

New York parents might differ in their opinions about how much game time is acceptable for their children. When they divorce and one parent has concerns about the other parent allowing a child to play video or smartphone games all of the time, tensions can rise. Family therapists believe that consistent rules across both households benefit children the most, but resolving differences in parenting styles can be difficult.

If one parent ignores the other's requests to apply screen time rules consistently, then the parent can either let the issue go or ask a family court to intervene. Acceptance of the other parent's behavior presents the easiest option. The concerned parent can enforce the rules when the children are home and disregard what goes on elsewhere.

Paying for a child's sports dream as a divorced couple

Caring for children and ensuring that they get the chance to pursue their big dreams can be difficult for many single New York parents. However, there are often ways that allow custodial parents to put a certain amount of child support towards their offspring's school or competitive activities.

Most states have child support guidelines that allow for a certain amount of the child support award to go to sports and other activities. This amount usually comes out of a portion that has been earmarked for "entertainment" by the court. This money is expected to cover not only portions of the cost of the sport but can also be used for things like going to a movie theater or a concert.

Judge rules for Chris Brown in custody hearing

New York residents may have heard that the mother of singer Chris Brown's daughter asked a judge for full custody of the child. She also asked for limited visitation for the singer and no visitation for the child's grandmother. The woman also asked that Chris Brown be drug tested. However, during a hearing on Aug. 12, all of her requests were denied. In fact, she was ordered to reimburse Brown for money he gave her for her attorney.

As a result of the ruling, Brown will be able to have 12 days of unsupervised visitation with the child each month. He is also paying $2,500 a month in child support plus the cost of her daughter's nannies, her education and health care costs. It was reported that the mother had sought an increase in child support to $16,000 a month, but that request was later withdrawn.

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Robert G. Smith, PLLC
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Phone: 212-499-0940
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