How The 2017 Tax Cut Laws Will Change Divorce

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) has been a hot topic of discussion among divorce attorneys since it was signed into law last year.  TCJA will have significant implications for divorcing couples—although the exact effects are still largely unknown.  Most divorce attorneys have concluded that TCJA will lower spousal maintenance payments; however, I’m interested in another—even more likely, but much less-noticed—effect of the law.  

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Is My Lawyer Slowing Down My Divorce?

“I’m in litigation and I think my lawyer is slowing down my divorce.  Is he (or she) drawing this process out to make more money off of me?”  I’ve heard this countless times—usually from clients who are unhappy with their process, the size of their bill, or both.  It’s likely that your litigator is slowing down your divorce—but not necessarily in money-grubbing way you think.  In my experience, most lawyers try to work efficiently.  Hours grow because of the nature of the litigation process itself—which is one reason why it’s so important for couples to consider their options before retaining counsel. 

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It's Not Too Late to Mediate

Many people have told me lately that they regret hiring a lawyer to litigate their divorce.  They say they’re tired of the acrimony that comes with litigation.  They tell me they’re unhappy with the war-like tactics, confused that they’ve been instructed not to communicate with their soon-to-be-ex and worried that they’ve lost control over the process and outcome.  But the worst part is that many of them don’t know that they still have options!  No divorcing couple is, or should be, tied to a process that isn’t working for them.  It’s never too late to mediate.

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A Key Step Forward for Parental Rights in Modern Families

New York courts are continuing to prove that they are dedicated to protecting the rights of the LGBT community.  In an important recent case, the Appellate Division applied the “presumption of legitimacy”—the concept that a child born during a marriage is the legitimate child of the couple—to married same-sex partners.  Applying the presumption of legitimacy—which comes along with key parental rights and protections—was especially enlightened in the circumstances of this case, where the child was not a DNA match to both parents.  For many LGBT families, the decision reflects a critical step forward in establishing the non-biological parent’s rights.

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Church, State and Religious Divorce

Divorcing couples in New York often need a religious divorce—in addition to a traditional divorce—to truly move forward with their lives.  This is particularly true in the Jewish orthodox community, where divorcing parties need what is known as a “Get” in order to date, remarry or have children in a subsequent relationship.  Religious issues like these raise challenging issues for courts—and show how important it is for couples to plan in advance to allow courts to assist with issues relating to religious divorce.

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