The Latest News

New Law Extends Child Support For Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Posted On: October 18, 2021

Some long over due help for parents and families with adult children with disabilities...

State lawmakers are cheering the final approval of a new law that will allow the parents of adults with developmental disabilities to continue to receive child support payments. 

The measure approved this month by Gov. Kathy Hochul allows parents of children with developmental disabilities to petition courts to receive support payments until their child is 26 -- providing expanded years of support for families. 

“This critical, common-sense piece of bi-partisan legislation will help the custodial parents of dependent adult-age children with disabilities support and provide for their families,” said Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, who sponsored the bill alongside Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh. “The needs of children with disabilities extend beyond the age of majority, and child support payments can be a lifeline for custodial parents to care for and meet the needs of their children.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Nick Reisman, Spectrum Local News
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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5 Styles Of Fighting And What Your Style Reveals About Your Relationship

Posted On: October 11, 2021

For some this may be a new idea, but this is something I have spoken about before.  The way a couple communicates, and more importantly, the way a couple handles conflict and/or “arguments” reveals a tremendous amount about their relationship.  If you take the time to look or self-examine, you can improve resolution to conflict or argument. 

This article discusses and examines 5 different “styles” of fighting between couples.  It's a good read and I'm sure you will be able to identify yourself in these styles.

Remember, if you find that you are not happy with the communication level or the health of your relationship, you can always seek out a family specialist, like our professionals from the Collaborative Divorce Professionals.  We are trained to help couples figure out the problems of their communication and to learn tools for better communication and healthier relationships.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Nicole Yi, YourTango
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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The Negotiation Tactic All Couples Should Use For A Successful Marriage

Posted On: October 04, 2021

Most people don’t look at it this way, but in fact, practically everything we do with our partner or spouse is a type of negotiation.  How and the manner in which we negotiate can truly determine how successful and healthy our relationship is. 

This article examines those tools and especially how Collaborative negotiations can be a type of problem solving that is very affective for couples.  As you will see, Collaborative negotiations allow a couple to effectively deal with every issue, from major decisions like child rearing to the simplistic decisions we make every day. 

This highlights the same tools used in Collaborative Divorce, which is also what makes a Collaborative Divorce so successful and beneficial to our clients.  This is why every family facing a divorce deserves a Collaborative Divorce.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Jeremy Brown, yourtango.com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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LI Divorce Rates Fell 31.6% During First Year of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted On: September 28, 2021

Although divorce rates did go up and many more cases were predicted for divorce rates to increase dramatically during Covid, Long Island divorce rates actually fell 31.6% during the first year of the pandemic.

Much of this is attributed by experts to limited court operations since the courts were essentially closed completely and then only became available through electronic filings for divorce and very limited conference or accessibility, unless you had an actual “dire emergency” that qualified for the court.  

The fact that the courts were unavailable to people and still have limited availability to everyone, has not changed the need for people to have intervention or help in their marital circumstances.

This is why the Collaborative Process is so vital.  It helps spouses and families navigate all the issues that are required to be addressed in a divorce proceeding without the necessity of the court system.  In essence, “court intervention” would only be required for the actual filing of divorce papers.  The parties could negotiate all other issues of their conflict and/or dispute, and resolve their divorce outside of court and only their paperwork would need to go to Court.

Based upon an article by Rachelle Blidner, newsday.com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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These 14 Candid Photos Show What Life Was Like In New York In The 1920s

Posted On: September 21, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love looking at old photos of people and places in past time periods.  I sometimes contemplate what it was like to live in that time period.  When I am at a location or historic place that has been around for centuries, I often think about what that building or geographic place may have seen over time and if these places could speak to us, what they would tell us about those who came before and how things have changed.  You can stand at a place or in a building that has seen multitudes of generations pass by.

This article has some amazing photos from the 1920s, especially some great shots of New York.  It's amazing how the world has changed and how technology has changed and sped things up - truly how life has changed.  Just look at the difference in your own lifetime and if you have children or nieces and nephews, how different their lives are from yours at their age.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Lisa Sammons, OnlyInYourState.com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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7 Serious Red Flags That Show Up During Your First Fight As A New Couple

Posted On: September 13, 2021

Whether you are looking for a lifetime partner or a significant long term relationship, you need to pay attention to red flags that show themselves in a relationship.  Conflict and disagreement are not necessarily a red flag in and of itself.  How conflicts are handled, what happens, and how you and your partner behave when you experience these obstacles can be very telling. 

Everyone experiences conflict, whether it’s with family, friends or even acquaintances.  It is truly unavoidable.  However, in your most personal primary relationships, especially with the partner in your life, you have the choice on how you decide to resolve conflict in your relationship. 

In addition to the excitement of dating someone new, you really have to pay attention to how your partner behaves after a conflict.  Remember, don’t be so blinded by the excitement that you chose to make excuses and not really examine what should be looked at as a red flag.

This article discusses several red flags that are very telling when exposed in a new relationship.  In looking at these seven red flags, what should be striking is how it involves how this partner chooses to interact and treat YOU.  Is it with open and honest communication?  Is it with respect for your feelings?

What are some red flags you have learned to look for? 

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Orna and Matthew Walters, YourTango.com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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San Francisco Home of Lesbian Pioneers/Activists Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin To Be Protected

Posted On: September 07, 2021

I was extremely touched and happy when I read this in a news clip in my favorite American Grass Roots Network forum publication [LC (Lesbian Connection Volume 44)].  It was there that it was reported that:

San Francisco’s city's board of supervisors voted to protect the home where Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin lived from 1955 until Del's death in 2008, saying the women "were queer activists before queer activism was a thing ... and it is fitting that their home is the first San Francisco historic landmark dedicated to lesbian history."  Phyllis remained in the home until her passing in 2020, and then it was sold for probable redevelopment.  Lesbian historian Shayne Watson spearheaded the preservation effort and helped form Friends of the Lyon-Martin House.

This was exciting news, not only because it was the first historic landmark dedicated to lesbian history in San Francisco, but for many women, including myself, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were beacons of light and hope.  I remember many, many years ago (late 70’s), as a young high school student, reading Lesbian/Woman, a book published by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.  (The first edition of this book published in 1972).  In that book, Phyllis and Del discussed what it meant to be lesbian as well as the myths and stereotypes surrounding lesbianism.  It is now considered a foundational text of lesbian feminism. 

At that time much of the LGBTQ Community was “Closeted” or not visible.  Although more accepted and visible today, there is still much hate and as a result, fear.  I hope with more visibility and inclusion, there will be more acceptance.

Phyllis and Del were also the founders of The Daughters of Bilitis, one of the first lesbian rights organizations that were not only there for lesbian rights, but there to support all lesbians nationwide.

Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash.

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Legalized Marriage for the LGBTQIA+ Community: Has it Resolved All Issues?

Posted On: August 19, 2021

Legalized same sex marriage has only been available across the United States since June 26, 2015, as a result of the Supreme Court 5-4 decision in Obergefell v Hodges. This decision granted the LGBTQ Community the universal legal right to marry in any state in the United States. Prior to that, only some states permitted same sex marriage while others merely gave the right to a Civil Union.  Many people do not understand that a civil union does NOT convey the same rights as marriage. However, the majority of states still did not have laws in place to protect LGBTQ couples and their families. 

Many people believe that by giving the legal right to marry to the LGBTQ Community, it automatically conveys equal rights and in doing so has resolved all issues faced by these families. Unfortunately, that is far from true. Many of the concerns continue to exist, notwithstanding the legal right to marry. That is not to say that there are not many beneficial rights granted as a result of a legalized marriage, but there are some kinks.

One of the more significant financial rights gained by legal marriage is the right to your spouse’s social security benefits. Notwithstanding all the benefits afforded, some people still choose not to get married because of other tax consequences or for estate planning objectives.  Of course, it remains entirely an individual’s choice, but at least the right to marriage is available to everyone. 

So, what problems still exist? Well, there unfortunately are too many to cover by this brief article. But what should be made abundantly clear is that the Court System is the last place an LGBTQ couple or family should be, particularly in the event of a divorce. You would think that application of divorce laws would be universally applied and the effect for a couple whether same sex or heterosexual would be similar. Unfortunately, not having had the legal right to marry for so long puts same sex couples at a distinct disadvantage. In New York State, when you commence a divorce action, the date of filing sets the date of valuation for most marital assets. Strictly speaking, the duration of the marriage is considered to be from the date of (legal) marriage to the date of commencement of a divorce action. For many LGBTQ couples this presents a significant problem since many have been together long before the right to marriage even existed.

When considering “marital assets” during a divorce, the Court must adhere to this strict guideline. This creates different dynamics for the LGBTQ Community whose couples have been partners in life for many years prior to being able to legally marry. A couple’s specific planning, whether it be for financial security for their future retirement; how they run their daily and monthly budgets and expenses; or how they choose to make purchases of personal and real property may vary. However, from the Court’s perspective, upon a filing for divorce, the Court will NOT look back at the family’s financial history or planning objectives. The Courts are only going to look at the hard numbers and names or title of ownership of assets as of the legal date of marriage. The Court will only be concerned with what existed as of the legal date of the marriage, the date of filing for divorce and what happened in between, even if a significantly shorter time than the couple chose to be committed to each other and share their lives and resources. Therefore, the concept and application of separate versus marital property takes on a different meaning and impact for an LGBTQ couple who finds themselves in court.

Normally separate property is property that existed and was owned by one person prior to a marriage. That could be, for example, a down payment on a house that ends up jointly owned or an inheritance (whether before or during the marriage) that is maintained as separate property. However, for couples that have been together in some cases for several decades or more, prior to being able to marry, they may have commingled what was technically separate property; or at the time they were able to legally marry what was separate is now joint. Therefore, there will be no accounting for what had been separate property as there would be for a heterosexual couple, i.e., the purchase of a house that is now in joint name, savings or money market or IRAs or retirement assets that are in one person’s name alone, since they were not married at the time of its accumulation. Technically, the Court will look at those assets only from the date of the marriage and only consider the marital portion of those assets to be from the date of the marriage to the date of the filing.

As an example, if a couple is in a 36-year committed relationship, but was only able to marry six (6) years ago, the Court will not consider the 30 years prior to the date of marriage or the growth or development of their retirement assets, even if they were part of a financial plan made by the couple for “their” future life and retirement. Further if a couple contributed resources to one another’s retirement assets according to a plan they made for their mutual benefit for the future, that will NOT be considered by the Court. Likewise, accrual or growth of retirement accounts before the date of marriage WILL NOT be considered marital property.

This may seem extraordinarily harsh, and I believe it is. However, the likelihood of the Court’s treatment in such instances was affirmed directly by several NY Supreme Court judges at a recent Mediation Symposium. The judges were asked directly whether they would look at the totality of an LGBTQ relationship and how they would address a lesbian or gay couple that had been together for many years before they were permitted to marry; the judges’ indicated they would be required to adhere strictly by the law. Therefore, the Courts are only permitted to look at the time from the date of the marriage to the date of commencement for divorce for the respective valuations of assets, the ownership of assets, and separate versus marital status of these assets, but not what the parties may have intended to be for their joint benefit.

Notwithstanding there being some progressive Judges on the panel, it was clear that the LGBTQ Community is truly at risk, when we put our relationships in the hands of the Court. I know that may be true for any couple who finds themselves in the midst of a litigated case, however it is especially dangerous and significantly impactful for an LGBTQ Couple and their family.

So, what is the alternative? Well, one could try to avoid divorce all together, but when that is inevitable, you can control your and your spouse’s destiny by choosing an alternative known as the Collaborative Divorce Process. In this forum your long-term relationship and financial planning can be recognized and contemplated in the settlement agreement. Further a team of professionals are available to help secure your family’s future in a manner you see fit and specific to your family dynamic. These professionals help find creative solutions. Together with a team the LGBTQ Community can divorce confidentially and with dignity. The benefits or alternative methods/processes, of Collaborate Divorce and Mediation, will protect your family from the potential harm of the Courts.

For a free consultation about the Collaborative Divorce Process, contact any one of the professionals of the LICDP.

Written by Concetta G. Spirio, Esq.
Photo courtesy of LICDP


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