Buffalo Divorce Blog

Using cryptocurrency to hide cash

Digital currencies or cryptocurrency have been around since 2009, with Bitcoin being the most popular of a pool that includes thousands of others. While they have surged in popularity, critics worry about the unregulated nature of these markets. Essentially cash stored in the digital format that lives online and is traded on an encrypted blockchain, the concept is a simple one that can nonetheless be challenging to value or divide during divorce, and very tempting to use for hiding money.

Not so fast

Mental illness will impact child custody agreements

Determining child custody is a major concern whenever parents divorce and may even lead to litigation. In determining custody, the judge will weigh several factors to arrive at a decision that he or she regards as the best interests of the children. Because May is Mental Health Month, we thought it would be helpful to share some insight into the court’s thinking on awarding custody when a parent is wrestling with mental illness.

The courts generally favor joint custody because family experts believe that it is in the best interests of the children to have both parents involved. It gets more complicated if a parent is dealing with a bipolar disorder, depression or addiction. However, it is a mistake to try and keep this health issue a secret until after the custody and parenting plan is finalized.

Court rules that both IVF twins are citizens

In vitro fertilization is used by more and more families. Its benefits include enabling same-sex families to start families with biological children rather than adoption. It also helps male-female couples who have trouble conceiving.

The former example was the case when two men living in Canada celebrated the birth of twin sons in 2016. One father was a U.S. citizen, and the other was Israeli. The couple opted to move to the United States to be closer to family and start a new job. The wrinkle was that the twin boys carried by the same surrogate using the same egg donor were fertilized individually, so one is the biological son of one father, and the other was the biological son of the other father.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos file for divorce

News of Jeff and MacKenzie’s split ricocheted around the internet last January. Worth an estimated $137 billion, the world’s richest couple split up after 25 years of marriage. To the surprise of many, there was no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The couple’s home state of Washington dictates that marital assets are divided 50-50 under the community law rule, so MacKenzie stood to get half of the Amazon CEO’s stock, ownership of the Washington Post as well as land and other assets.

The settlement

Is an expert witness necessary?

The circumstances of every family law dispute are different. Some are low impact where the two sides see eye to eye on all the important areas. Others involve litigation where expert witnesses are helpful or necessary for providing insight on an issue, such as a business valuation or contentious custody situation.

Generally speaking, expert witnesses are called upon to help a family court judge sort through claims and assertions in a dispute. These experts will have specialized knowledge and use that knowledge to offer an informed opinion. It's worth noting that they are often highly influential in the outcome of a dispute.

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.

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