Buffalo Divorce Blog

How are pensions divided in a divorce?

Divorce is an emotional event, and the couple tends to get emotional about how money and property is divided during a divorce. That’s why it’s beneficial if, whenever possible, a formula can be used to determine exactly who gets what.

Such is the case with pensions. New York is a “marital property” state which means that any property gathered during the marriage is to be split between the couple during a divorce. Even though one person worked the job and the pension is in that person’s name, both spouses can make a claim to it.

Adult adoption in New York

Adoption typically involves parents adding a child to the family unit. This can be done as domestic adoption or international adoption. Other common examples are making a stepparent a legal parent, or even a grandparent or family member adopting the child. While less common, there is an occasion where a parent or family wishes to adopt a person over the age of 18. There are many valid reasons for doing this.

Inheritance

Prenups are a good idea for students

It is a fact that people are waiting longer before getting married or even choosing to be in a committed relationship without getting married. However, love is a fickle concept that sometimes strikes for couples not finished with their undergraduate or graduate studies. Oftentimes these students live on shoestring budgets, but a prenuptial still may make a lot of sense.

Why a prenup if there are no real assets?

Divorce is more complicated if bankruptcy is involved

Divorce is one of the biggest challenges many will face in life, yet the same can be said for filing bankruptcy. With money issues being one of the most common reasons for divorce, the one or both parties in a divorce may also need to file bankruptcy protection as well as divorce. Like it or not, bankruptcy will have an impact on the divorce, making it even more challenging and stressful whether it happens before, during or after the divorce.

Tips for handling this challenge 

Resolving disputes using mediation

Many assume that they will need to go to court when they file for divorce. However, there are many forms of alternative dispute resolution that enable couples to resolve their legal issues in a fair and equitable manner without entering the courtroom. One common approach is mediation. This format is often less expensive, less acrimonious and less intrusive than a long drawn out court battle. It is also more private since courts keep public records.

The circumstances behind each legal dispute are unique, even when comparing one custody issue to another or one divorce filing to another. With this in mind, individuals and their attorneys have options for picking a mediation format that is right for them.

Prenuptial agreements are increasingly common

Prenuptial agreements used to be an unthinkable subject - one that when broached, created emotional conflict or bad feelings between soon-to-be-spouses. But thanks to a younger generation, they've become more commonplace and less taboo.

A prenuptial agreement, also called a prenup, is a legal document that creates a framework for a couple's financial picture and preferences in the event of divorce. A prenup can safeguard your property, make your financial intentions transparent and ease any tension there might be around money.

World's richest couple did not have a prenup

News of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos's amicable divorce took the internet by storm when they made the announcement early in 2019. Media outlets picked up on the story of the Amazon CEO's impending divorce with even President Trump weighed in. The reason was the $137.1 billion estate that the couple would split in half under the community property rule in Washington State. New York follows a fair and equitable distribution of assets, which may better reflect the contribution each party made to the financial well being of the marriage. As it stands, MacKenzie's share adds up to an estimated $66 billion.

Why no prenup?

Sometimes separation is the best option

Divorce is one of the most emotionally draining and complicated challenges that many will face, so it makes sense that some want to avoid it if possible. A viable alternative is separation. A separation can come in the form of an informal cooling off period where the couple lives apart, or it could be a more formal decision involving legal separation or a marital separation agreement.

An informal arrangement may be best for circumstances where the couple needs a break to work through some issues to make the marriage more viable as a life-long partnership. If the differences are unlikely to be resolved, yet divorce still does not seem like a desirable option, a more formal arrangement may make sense. These agreements can be as comprehensive as a divorce by addressing such crucial issues as parenting plan, maintenance, control of marital assets and other financial arrangements.

Are you financially prepared for divorce?

If you're contemplating a divorce, you may be wondering if you can afford it and what your upcoming financial road may look like. Divorce is a complicated process both emotionally and financially, but it will be important to separate the two. Making the right financial decisions (while leaving your emotions out of it) will set you up for a more stable future.

Identifying your assets - and debts - and recognizing the need for change will help you to better prepare for what's ahead, plus knowing your financial picture can help you to be more practical in spite of the emotions you may be feeling.

Pets now an important part of divorce negotiations

Dogs and other pets have always had a cherished place in the family, but the role of our furry friends has grown to the point where they have full membership. This means that more couples who divorce are likely have a dispute over who gets possession of Fido or Fluffy. This is borne out by coverage in the media as well as data provided by legal professionals.

The courts and legislatures around the country now recognized this reality with California Governor Gerry Brown being a recent example of signing a pet custody bill into law. Rather than treating pets as property to be divided in a way similar to dishes or other assets, these new laws look at pets as a custody issue.

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Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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Williamsville, NY 14221

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