Buffalo Divorce Blog

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. s 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 wellbeing 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.

What should you expect if you divorce later in life?

Have you heard the term "gray divorce"? It is used to describe couples who decide to divorce when they are in the later years of life. When something becomes so popular it is given its own name, it earns the right to be taken seriously. This is the case with gray divorce, where the divorce rate of people over 50 has almost doubled in the last two decades.

Older couples tend to have larger nest eggs, retirement funds and investments to worry about, without having the earning potential they once had to recoup those funds. If you are over 50 years old and considering divorce, here are a few concerns you may have and how they may affect your life once your divorce is finalized.

New York one of the most expensive states for divorce

It is commonplace to talk about the stress involved in filing for divorce. However, it is also common to face a little sticker shock when couples find out that the divorce can cost just as much or more than the wedding. This is particularly the case for couples here in New York, who are second only to California in the average cost filing for divorce. According to a new study, New Yorkers pay on an average of $17,100 for divorce of couples without children and $25,600 for couples with children. The national average is $15,000.

Why so high?

Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders freeze the estate

Restraining orders have an ominous sound to them because of the association with assault and physical or psychological abuse. However, New York State and others utilize s (ATROS) when a couple files for divorce. The general premise is to have the couple put their financials in a holding pattern while the details of the divorce are addressed.

Common activities divorcing couples cannot engage in include:

Parenting in high conflict divorce

Parenting after a high conflict divorce can be a challenge, especially if there's still a lot of lingering hostility between you and your ex. For the sake of your children, it's important that you and your ex find a way forward.

Resentment, anger and a high degree of tension can get in the way of effective communication between exes. Parallel parenting provides a way for exes who are not able to communicate directly with each other to still effectively parent and put their children first.

Article on same sex divorce features Keith Schulefand

Divorce and related issues like custody and dividing assets are still relatively new legal concepts for married same-sex couples. Nevertheless, attorney Keith Schulefand has been at the forefront of this issue here in Buffalo and across the region. Therefore, it is no surprise that attorney Schulefand was extensively quoted in a recent Bizjournals article.

Mr. Schulefand was quick to point out that, “I would say it’s no different. It shouldn’t be any different; it’s marriage. It should be irrespective of the gender of the parties.”

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Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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Williamsville, NY 14221

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