Taking Children Out Of The Country

Now that school has begun, many parents may be planning a family vacation outside of the United States during a holiday break. For many divorced couples, this may present certain challenges, especially for those without a detailed custody agreement.

What to Do

  • Notification: The parent coordinating the vacation must provide reasonable notice to the other spouse. This is dependent upon the duration of the vacation, as well as the nature of the trip. An itinerary should be provided to your former spouse.  Also, it is important for a former spouse to be able to communicate with the parent and child while on the trip.
  • Signed Document: Put the details of your arrangement in writing. If the terms of the agreement are breached, the non-breaking party will have legal recourse.
  • Vacation Schedule: For future planning, a holiday schedule may be beneficial to both parties. A detailed arrangement for all holiday breaks, as well as limits on travel, will assist in avoiding confrontation, as well as ensuring stability for a child.

In order to avoid conflict after divorce proceedings have ended, it is important to have a detailed custody agreement.  The main reason that couples may experience conflict well after their divorce has ended is that they failed to incorporate a vacation or co-parenting schedule. If you and a former spouse are unable to come to terms on a vacation schedule, an experienced divorce attorney may be able to assist you.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the custody process, especially when it comes to protecting the interests of your children. Seeking the guidance of an experienced Long Island family law attorney may be crucial to peacefully resolving potentially contentious issues. The Long Island family lawyers of McGuire & Peláez, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling divorce and family court matters, and will fight zealously for your rights.

Ms. Pelaez has been handling dozens of Family Court cases every week for more than 10 years as a private attorney and a Court appointed Law Guardian.

 

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.

Legally Preventing A Parent From Communicating With Their Child

While it is important for children to have a relationship with both of their parents, there are circumstances, such as dangerous or abusive behavior, when it is not in the best interest

 of a child to see a parent. In these instances, a parent can be legally prevented from having contact with a child. However, it is not a simple task and should not be taken lightly.

A sufficient reason, as well as evidence that a parent is unfit, must be provided to a court in order to legally prevent a parent from seeing his or her child. Ordinarily, a court is reluctant to divest a parent of all contact with the child.  However, in situations of physical or sexual abuse or addiction, a court will often grant this request. It is common for courts to grant visitation, including supervised visitations regardless of whether a parent has sole legal custody of a child.

Sole custody gives one parent full control over his or her child to make legal and medical decisions for the child, among other decisions. However, joint custody allows both parents to make decisions for the child, such as on schooling, religion, medical, among others. Even if a parent has sole custody over a child, he or she may not be able to prevent the other parent from visitation unless notifying a court of law. Even if a court grants sole custody to one parent, the other parent is likely to be granted visitation rights.

Failing to follow an arrangement made by a court of law can result in consequences.  It is always important to notify a court of law and speak with an experienced legal professional if you plan to relocate your children or refuse to allow the other parent visitation.  If you are seeking to prevent a parent from seeing or contacting a child, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can assist you in exploring your legal options.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the custody process especially when it comes to protecting the interests of your children. Seeking the guidance of an experienced Long Island family law attorney may be crucial to peacefully resolving potentially contentious issues. The Long Island family lawyers of McGuire & Peláez, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling divorce and family court matters, and will fight zealously for your rights.

Ms. Pelaez has been handling dozens of Family Court cases every week for more than 10 years as a private attorney and a Court appointed Law Guardian.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.

 

How To Establish A 50/50 Parenting Plan

 

When establishing an equally shared parenting plan (50/50 parenting plan) it is important to develop a plan that is viable and will offer the most meaningful relationship for the children. In today’s society, many separated or divorced parents wish to be equally involved with their children’s needs, interests, and lives.  A parenting plan that is 50/50 can be created through a multitude of ways.  However, it must be developed through negotiation and compromise. It is important to remember that the plan must conform to the needs and best interests of the children. It is important to be familiar with and understand the difference between sole custody and joint custody prior to establishing a parenting plan. Working together with a legal professional to establish a plan is often key to a successful parenting plan.

A legal professional will gather information about a family that will include:

  • Age of the children and his or her level of maturity
  • Special needs or disabilities of either the parents or children
  • Current work schedules of the parents and his or her ability to be flexible
  • Children’s schedules including any after school activities
  • Current child care arrangements
  • Religious practices
  • Current living arrangements

After a legal professional gathers information, he or she will discuss with the parents what is most important to each of them as well as his or her goals.  This may include:

  • Maintaining a close relationship with the children
  • Being actively involved in their lives
  • Equally sharing responsibility for the children

Once all of the information is gathered and all factors are taken into consideration, a properly executed plan will be developed and will address the following, among others:

  • Consistent contact with each parent
  • How parents will communicate with each other
  • How holidays and summer breaks will be spent
  • What happens if a parent is unable to adhere to the plan due to work or travel
  • The roles of signifcant others
  • Child expenses

Once a plan is negotiated, it is important that it is in writing and signed by both parties. A 50/50 parenting plan allows individuals to work together and be actively involved in their children’s lives in order to serve their best interests. A formalized plan delivers structure, consistency, stability, and security in the lives of the children and allows the parents to play an equal role in raising them.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the custody process especially when it comes to protecting the interests of your children. Seeking the guidance of an experienced Long Island family law attorney may be crucial to peacefully resolving potentially contentious issues. The Long Island family lawyers of McGuire & Peláez, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling divorce and family court matters, and will fight zealously for your rights.

Ms. Pelaez has been handling dozens of cases a week in Family Court as a private attorney and a Court appointed Law Guardian.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.

How is Assault Proven

In order to be convicted of assault, every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If it is shown that an element of the crime is missing, an individual must be found not guilty. In addition, the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the case and must present evidence as to each element.

What Is Assault?

Assault may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.  The lowest form of assault is Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor.  A person charged with Assault in the Third Degree may receive up to one year in jail. This is when an individual intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to another person.  Depending on the seriousness of the victim’s injury, how the injury occurred, or if the victim falls into a special class, such as a police officer, this will determine the severity of the charge in which a person will receive.

For instance, Assault in the Second Degree is a class D felony. A person charged with Assault in the Second Degree may face up to seven years in prison.  A person would be charged with Assault in the Second Degree when he or she intentionally caused serious physical injury to another, or if the person intentionally or recklessly caused physical injury to another with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. A deadly weapon or dangerous instrument may include a knife, a firearm, brass knuckles, or anything else that may be used to cause a serious physical injury.

Defenses To Assault

Justification, “self defense”, is an affirmative defense.  A person claiming self-defense must show that he or she reasonably believed the use of physical force was necessary in order to defend his or herself from the physical force by another.

Assault is a violent offense that often occurs during a bar fight, confrontation, or domestic violence incident. An assault conviction may lead to a criminal record, which may affect other facets of life. In addition, a person may be subject to civil liability for the injuries caused to another person.

Those who have been arrested by law enforcement for assault can face serious criminal charges. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling assault cases, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire and Peláez at (631) 348-1702.

Student Loan Debt And Equitable Distribution

student loans and divorceIn New York State, a judge will determine the equitable distribution of assets if there is no prior written agreement between the parties. Equitable distribution refers to the separation of assets and financial responsibilities of the parties. In order to properly complete this process, a judge must know all of the marital assets and debts, including student loans.

Student Loans Prior To The Marriage

Any student-loan debt that is incurred prior to marriage will usually not be considered marital debt. It will be considered separate debt and the spouse who took out the loan will have to pay off the loan.

Student Loans During The Marriage

According to the updated New York Domestic Relations statute, a professional license or degree is no longer subject to equitable distribution based on an individual’s earning potential.The law has been changed to explicitly state that a degree is not subject to equitable distribution.

Factors Will a Judge Consider

When a judge is determining which party is responsible for paying the student loans incurred by one party during the marriage, a judge will consider multiple factors surrounding the situation. Some of the factors include:

  • Whether the student loans were used for daily household expenses for both parties
  • Obtained the degree to better support his or her family; and
  • Whether the individual who did not incur the student loan debt supported the other party via cleaning and cooking, among others.

When a judge is determining who is responsible for paying the student-loan debt incurred during the marriage, he or she will rely solely on the facts surrounding the case. It is important to consult an experienced attorney who can assist you if you are involved in a divorce, where one spouse has incurred student-loan debt, in order to protect your financial interests. Additionally, it is worth noting that the execution of a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement may address student-loan debt as well as assist in protecting both parties’ interests.

If you are considering entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses student loan debt, speak with a knowledgeable attorney in your area. The Suffolk County matrimonial law attorneys at McGuire & Peláez, PC are experienced in representing clients in a variety of matters, including pre- and post-nuptial agreements, divorce, child support, custody and visitation, maintenance and equitable distribution. Ms. Peláez has practiced daily in the family court for more than 10 years as private and court appointed counsel, and she will zealously fight for your rights. Contact our Long Island divorce law firm at (631) 348-11702.

Adult Adoption Is A Growing Trend

adult adoption lawyerIn New York State, an individual may adopt a person over the age of 18. This grants the person over the age of 18, the legal treatment of a biological child. Adult adoption often occurs for the purpose of establishing legal rights, including inheritance or recognizing a parent-child relationship. New York State does not have strict laws governing who is eligible to adopt as well as who is eligible to be adopted. For instance, in certain states, an adoptee must be a minimum of 10 years younger than the adopter. New York State only requires that the adoptee agrees to the adoption.

While adult adoption is becoming more common, it remains a difficult process. However, there are many reasons why individuals choose this path, such as having a stepparent adopt them after years of caring for them. Some individuals wish to adopt an adult in order to confer certain legal privileges to the child for purposes of inheritance that a non-relative may not be entitled to. In addition to inheritance, there are certain health care benefits that an adopted child may be entitled to through insurance.

In order to obtain an adult adoption in New York, an individual must file a petition for adoption with the Family Court or Surrogate’s Court, depending on the county. An adoptee must provide his or her consent to the adoption. Once the judge in the Family Court or Surrogate’s Court approves the adoption, a formal court order of adoption will be signed and granted. A birth certificate for the adopted person will be issued and all previous parental ties are severed.

While adult adoption may be beneficial for insurance, legal, or estate planning reasons, it is permanent and will entitle an individual to all benefits another child would receive. Overturning an adoption is complex and very difficult, which is why it is important to discuss your options with an experienced attorney.

While an adult adoption may seem like a simple process, it can be complex and lead to unintended consequences if it is not properly thought-out. If you require assistance with an adult adoption, speak to an experienced family lawyer who may provide some insight into the process.

If you have questions regarding adult adoption or another family law matter, contact the Suffolk County family law attorneys of McGuire & Peláez, PC. Ms. Peláez has practiced daily in the family court for more than 10 years as private and Court appointed counsel, and she will zealously fight for your rights as a parent. Contact our Long Island family law firm at (631) 348-1702.

Family Law Terms To Be Familiar With

Long Island family lawyerFamily Court:

This is where matters relating to family law and child custody decisions are decided.

Who May Seek Custody:

Under New York State law, a biological parent as well as other relatives such as stepparents, grandparents, or any individual who has established a substantial connection or relationship with a child, may seek custody. However, this does not mean that a non-parent will be awarded rights to a child.

Petitioner:

A petitioner is an individual who files a petition requesting that the court grant visitation or custody.

Respondent:

The respondent is the individual whom a petition for custody or visitation is brought against.

Cross-Petitioner:

When a formal petition is filed against a respondent, he or she has the right to file his or her own petition. This will provide the court with his or her account of the case.

Custodial Parent:

This is the parent who has custody of the child and has the right to reside with him or her. In addition, the custodial parent cares for the child on a day-to-day basis.

Non-custodial Parent:

This is the parent who does not live with a child.

Judge:

This is the individual that is appointed to hear and decide the matter before them.

Law Guardian:

A Law Guardian or Attorney for the child is a lawyer that is responsible for representing the interest of the child. A Law Guardian is assigned by a court of law and is a neutral party. A Law Guardian has considerable influence involving family law matters.

Assigned 18B Attorney:

According to the Family Court Act, if an individual is unable to retain an attorney due to financial hardship, he or she must be assigned a lawyer at no expense.

Court Referee:

This refers to an individual who has the authority to approve a mutually agreed upon decision. He or she may also determine a case upon referral by a judge.

Law Clerk:

This refers to an individual with a law degree who researches and analyzes questions of law and provides a recommendation to the judge based on his or her findings.

If you have questions regarding divorce, custody of a child, or visitation of a child, contact the Suffolk County family law attorneys of McGuire & Peláez, PC. Ms. Peláez has practiced daily in the family court for more than 10 years as private and Court appointed counsel, and she will zealously fight for your rights as a parent. Contact our Long Island family law firm at (631) 348-1702.

Separate Assets May Be Divided As Communal Property

Long Island divorce lawyersGenerally, in a divorce, there are communal assets and separate assets. In New York State, all assets acquired during the course of a marriage are considered communal property. This is commonly known as shared property or marital property. Separate assets refer to property that is independently owned by one spouse. Today, distinguishing between separate property and the communal property has become more complex, due to more individuals having a significant number and range of assets.

What Constitutes Separate Assets?

Separate assets are properties, funds, or investments that are solely owned by one person prior to marriage. In addition, separate assets are those that are inherited or acquired with personal funds or as a gift during the duration of the marriage. Furthermore, assets used by both parties or purchased through a shared bank account are typically considered communal property. It is important to remember that separate assets should never be co-mingled. Also, debt acquired prior to the marriage will be considered separate. This includes student loans or credit card debt.

Assessing the Assets

Usually, assets are divided according to each spouse’s circumstances. This means that the duration of the marriage, as well as economic status, will be taken into account. It is important to remember that there are no set guidelines governing the division of property. Every divorce is distinct in nature, which is why a court will evaluate the situation and divide the property accordingly. Due to this, certain “separate” assets may be deemed communal property by a court of law. Part of the process is evaluating the value of the separate property prior to dividing the communal property. For instance, a judge may award a primary earner less communal property when dividing the assets amongst the parties. However, in many circumstances, a court will usually look at separate assets as independent of the communal property when granting an award.

It is important to have an assessment of any assets or properties in order to determine the total value of the separate and communal property. An experienced lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor can assist with the process. These professionals can assist in determining which assets will constitute communal property that may be divided amongst the parties.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the divorce process. Seeking the guidance of an experienced New York divorce attorney is crucial to resolving issues. The divorce lawyers of McGuire & Peláez, PC are skilled in handling divorce and family court matters and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.

Collaboration for Co-Parents Is Key During the Summer Months

child custody lawyer Long IslandSummer break can be complex for divorced or separated parents. While children are off from school, making child custody arrangements for their daily activities or summer vacations may become problematic. It is important to remember that consistent and responsive communication will benefit all parties involved, resulting in a less complicated summer.

Here are a few tips for co-parenting in the most effective way:

Proactive Communication

School and work schedules change during the summer months. It is important to make arrangements in advance in order to acclimate any schedule changes. Keep in mind that it is important to work together on structuring a plan that will be in the best interest of the children as well as accommodate both parents. In addition, if the children are going to be partaking in summer activities, such as camp or a sport, it is imperative that finances be discussed ahead of time.

Talk About Vacation Plans Prior To Booking

Any intentions of taking the children on a vacation should be discussed in advance of booking. Additionally, providing tentative dates ahead of time is beneficial to the co-parent. Furthermore, vacations should be discussed amongst the adults prior to informing the children. Provide the co-parent with details regarding the vacation and any other information pertaining to the vacation. Also, if you are traveling without the children, make sure that the children have a safe place to stay. The co-parent should also be informed that someone else is caring for the children.

Talk To Your Children

Discuss the options for the summer with your children. Talk about any activities or interests the children may want to engage in throughout the duration of the summer. It is important that children have a voice in how they wish to spend their summer.

Maintain Flexibility

Be open to alternative options for the summer. If a parent does not feel comfortable with a certain activity or vacation, try to compromise. In addition, be flexible with dates and schedules. Try to avoid conflicts as much as possible.

Create A Schedule

After all, parties have discussed the options for summer arrangements, vacations, and activities, create a schedule. Finalizing plans helps ensure stability for the children involved.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the custody process especially when it comes to protecting the interests of your children. Seeking the guidance of an experienced Long Island family law attorney may be crucial to peacefully resolving potentially contentious issues. The Long Island family lawyers of McGuire & Peláez, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling divorce and family court matters, and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.

Make Sure To Disclose All Financial Information During Divorce Negotiations

Suffolk County divorce lawyerAn individual going through a divorce must disclose a material change in facts during settlement negotiations, otherwise, it may invalidate a settlement provision. On May 11, 2017 the Appellate Division, Third Department invalidated a paragraph of a divorce settlement separation agreement. The court remanded the matter to address the proper equitable distribution of funds.

In June 2014, a wife filed for divorce. On September 15, 2015, the parties finalized a separation agreement that addressed equitable distribution as well as child support, custody, and spousal maintenance. A provision of the agreement addressed the wife’s ownership interest in a privately held company. The wife became employed by the company in 2012. In 2013, the wife was given unvested equity incentive units by her employer and in September 2015, half of her units became vested.

The part of the agreement that addressed this interest specified that she agreed to pay her husband 10% of the full value of the compensation received from these. Furthermore, the agreement stated that the wife would give the husband reasonable and necessary documents to value the ownership interest. After the signing of the agreement, the wife notified her husband that the company was sold and that she received 230,000 for her interest in the company and provided him with the 10%.

In accordance with Domestic Relations Law § 236[B][4][a], equitable distribution requires full financial disclosure by both parties. An individual has a statutory and contractual obligation to inform the other party of a sale prior to finalizing an agreement. Another portion of the agreement stated that the parties provided full disclosure of all financial assets, which is a continuing obligation. While the parties agreed to the language of the provision in the agreement in advance of September 15, 2015, the sale on September 1, 2015, rendered that provision moot because the value had been defined.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the divorce process. Seeking the guidance of an experienced New York divorce attorney is crucial to peacefully resolving potentially contentious issues. The divorce lawyers of Mcguire & Peláez, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling divorce and family court matters, and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island divorce law office at (631) 348-1702.