Robert G. Smith, PLLC

High Asset Divorce Archives

Claiming an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits

Social Security benefits extend to spouses, and that benefit does not necessarily end with divorce. New York residents who are divorced may be entitled to benefits from an ex-spouse's Social Security, but this depends on various factors, and the rules are somewhat complicated.

Considering divorce when making financial decisions

Negotiations over the division of marital property are often difficult and delicate for divorcing couples in New York, and this can be especially true when important financial decisions have generally been made by only one of the spouses involved. Decisions about matters such as estate and retirement planning are generally made based upon what makes the most financial sense, but even the most prudent of choices can leave spouses at a disadvantage during divorce negotiations.

Divorce tips target common experience of financial hardship

Beyond the emotional estrangement and loss of stability commonly experienced by divorcing New York couples, one or both partners is likely to face financial hardship throughout the process. There are some suggestions on important financial steps to take in order to avoid the worst asset division outcomes.

Mistakes In The New York Divorce Process Can Often Be Catastrophic

     Getting a New York divorce is not what the accountants call a routine transaction in ordinary course of business.  It is not a routine transaction.  Nor is it a repeating transaction.  So you need to get it right, whether you are seeking the New York divorce or whether you are the defendant in the New York divorce action.   If not, and if  you die before you get it right, your spouse could inherit everything, or rip you off.   You would not perform brain surgery on yourself.  It is also a smart idea not to presume that you can manage your own New York divorce.   As I instruct witnesses before we appear in New York courts,  it is not a dress rehearsal.   Matters in New York Courts should be analogized to sky diving: if your parachute does not open you are dead.  So protect yourself.  Take care.  And make sure that you get it right.  Figuratatively speaking: honor the carpenter's adage: Measure twice and cut once.        There is a New York joke that goes like this: how many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Answer: 58.  Do you know why ?  Because its in the contract !      When the time comes for a New York divorce, there are many hard,  fast and arbitrary rules.  Its in New York law.  The New York Divorce summons to start the proceeding has to state: Action For A Divorce.  If not, there cannot be New York Divorce.  That New York divorce summons has to be served in a certain way.  If not, there is no divorce.  There is more: There has to be an official sworn matrimonial net worth statement, which has to be signed under penalty of perjury and certified by your divorce lawyer.  Its not rocket science.   Placing yourself in the hands of an experienced professional won't  break the bank.      The theme here is that New Yorkers who are planning a New York divorce or who are faced with a New York divorce, are well advised to avoid making certain mistakes in the process.  Approaching the end of the marriage in a sober and calculating manner and not driven by emotional stress, may well make the difference between your freedom and your future,  and economic catastrophe.   The divorcing New Yorker can potentially save thousands of dollars, and the high net worth spouse can preserve millions of dollars.  When New York divorce looms , your spouse is no longer your trusted ally and the trimtab of your life.  This is a zero sum game.  Don't try to invent the wheel.  Don't be gullible or penny wise and dollar foolish.      New York divorce lawyer Robert G. Smith, PLLC is an experienced and highly regarded professional with a documented record of success in high net worth New York divorce.   Ethical New York divorce lawyers should respect the fact that your hard earned money and assets are yours to keep.  Robert G. Smith the New York divorce lawyer will not, figuratively speaking, put his hand in your pocket and spend your assets on legal fees and expenses simply because you have them.   The New York divorce lawyer Robert G. Smith will assemble the individually tailored financial and forensic team you need without waste.    Divorce lawyer Robert  G. Smith also knows which purportedly "professional valuation" experts, pound for pound, will get you the bang for your buck that you deserve.        Its your first divorce, not mine.  New York divorce lawyer Robert G. Smith will never throw resources and expenses at your divorce process that can be saved for your future and for the future of your children and grandchildren.  This catastrophic event that we call a divorce is about is about saving your life and enabling your future.

Antenuptial Agreement Blocks Temporary Spousal Maintenance

All New York divorce lawyers, like Robert G. Smith, PLLC should take note of today's (March 22, 2016) Anonymous v. Anonymous decision in the Appellate Division First Department, which puts another nail in the coffin of those divorce litigants who seek to challenge the spousal maintenance provisions contained in prenuptial agreements. The waiver contained in the prenuptial agreement did not contain the words "temporary support" or "interim support".  It merely recited that the affianced couple were each "fully capable of being self supporting" and they each "waived any and all claims for spousal support and/or maintenance" both "now and in the future".  That was enough for an Appellate Division panel which included Justices Richter (who recently authored the Gottlieb decision), Andrias and Friedman.  Justice Acosta dissented in a robust argument which highlighted prior precedent which, he argued, was to the contrary.  New York divorce lawyers should take note.  And divorcing clients should expect their New York divorce lawyers to be abreast of this ever developing body of law.             

A financial planner can be helpful in a high-asset divorce

New York residents who are considering a divorce may want to start by paying a visit to a financial planner. This can make a difference in the types of decisions made in the settlement. People who have not participated in handling the family finances might be in particular need of financial education. It is important that they understand the current state of the family finances as well as how their own finances will change after the marriage ends. They should not share a financial planner with their spouse even if they have done so during their marriage.

Modifying alimony after mandatory early retirement

When couples go through a divorce in New York, one spouse might be ordered to make monthly alimony payments to the other spouse. Alimony is usually only a factor in divorces that involve one spouse who is at least partially supported by the other spouse. After the divorce, however, alimony obligations may have to be modified due to changes in the financial circumstances of the paying spouse.

Knowing when to file bankruptcy and divorce

Some New York residents who are in unhappy marriages in which finances are an issue may want to file for both divorce and for bankruptcy protection. Since these two separate types of cases can have major effects on one another, it is important for people to understand the appropriate filing order and timing to avoid problems.

New York law establishes new alimony formula

New Yorkers getting divorced may have reason to breathe a sigh of relief following the passage of an early December 2015 alimony law by the State Legislature. Whereas the factors used to decide alimony awards formerly included issues like the individual incomes of the married couple and the duration of their marriage, the new law established income limits that are set to go into effect in late January.

Division of retirement accounts and divorce

When New York residents are going through a divorce, they should expect that any retirement accounts they have will be divided with their spouses in their property division. The amounts contributed and the increase in value of the accounts during the marriage are in most cases considered to be marital property, even if only one spouse made contributions to the fund.

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