The Latest News Divorce

What Exactly is a “Family” Lawyer?

Posted On: May 19, 2014

It might seem as if the term “family lawyer” would be used to describe an attorney who works for everyone in a family or a person who is a member of your family and happens to work as an attorney. Though these scenarios are possible, the term “family lawyer” is actually someone who specializes in family law. The field of family law relates to topics including divorce, custody, visitation rights, spousal and child support, division of assets in divorce, protection from abuse, and paternity issues.

Many family lawyers choose their field because they want to work with the “human side” of the law. It can be extremely challenging to practice family law because attorneys must connect with and support their clients during very emotional times in life. Family lawyers see people at their best and worst, and help these people transition through some of the most challenging phases of life. Despite its challenges, most family lawyers find a great deal of emotional reward in their work.

What Makes a Good Family Lawyer?
Like all attorneys, some family lawyers are more talented and successful than their peers. The best family lawyers have top-notch skills when it comes to negotiation and litigation. They must be good at time management and understand interpersonal communication. In addition to legal counsel, family lawyers often provide emotional support during a client’s most challenging life events. It also helps if a family attorney has an understanding of financial and real estate laws, though most attorneys have a network of expert resources at their disposal when questions arise.

As families continue to evolve, the practice of family law also changes. This includes handling the issues of same sex unions and their resulting families, for which the traditional legal system is still adjusting. Trends in the field of family law also include mediation and collaborative law, a practice that helps couples divorce and legally separate without traditional litigation. A family law attorney’s role is different in cases where collaborative law is used, as opposed to litigation. In some cases, the lawyer might even act as a mediator and work for both partners, as opposed to representing one or the other. It is important to find an attorney that you are comfortable with but has training in these areas. More divorce attorneys are representing that they will follow a collaborative approach but do not truly understand the dynamics nor have they been trained in this discipline.

Nearly 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. The odds are even greater for second and third marriages. Approximately 40% of all couples in the United States are step couples. The ongoing making and breaking of families creates complicated family ties and creates a need for legal protection as things change. Family lawyers provide the guidance and support these changing families need.

Have questions about Family Law or need help in this area, then feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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The Benefits of Mediation and Collaborative Mediation and the Differences between the Two

Posted On: July 18, 2014

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is quickly becoming one of the most popular methods for resolving legal disputes. Instead of pursuing a lengthy trial that is expensive and can result in an outcome with which nobody is happy, ADR offers more efficient options for settling disputes. One of the more common ADR methods is mediation.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way to settle a dispute without litigation. It involves the disputing parties and a neutral third-party mediator. Often, disputes are settled in as little as a single mediation session, which might last only a few hours. Disputing parties have complete control of the resolution and the mediator is there only to ensure the resolution is legal and that the parties use effective communication and remain focused on resolution. Essentially, the mediator facilitates discussion so disputing parties can resolve a problem. If disputing parties believe they will need additional support during the mediating process, they have the option of choosing collaborative mediation. Like basic mediation, this process is efficient and keeps the control in the hands of the disputing parties, but it provides them with the support of a team of experts that offer counsel during the process. Each party can have his or her own legal representation, and other professional experts might also play a role in the process, including those familiar with financial, psychological, or real estate issues.

What are the Benefits of Collaborative Mediation?
In general, mediation is beneficial because it saves time and money. Collaborative mediation offers these benefits, but it is a better solution when cases are complex or when disputing parties are uncomfortable making legal decisions without sufficient resources. Collaborative mediation is solution oriented with the party’s needs and desires dictating a resolution. Although the parties may be represented by attorneys this is not an adversarial process but again a solution oriented process. For instance, if decisions are to be made during mediation about splitting marital property and the mediator is not an expert in real estate law, collaborative mediation allows an attorney or a real estate expert to provide information during the mediation process. Collaborative mediation is especially helpful during divorce proceedings because there are so many sensitive issues at play. Approximately 40% of divorcing couples are parents and just as concerned about the well-being of their children, as they are for their own. As parents you will always be connected in some fashion to the father or mother of your children. Both Mediation and Collaborative mediation help salvage a working relationship between the parties and provide the tools to go forward in the future. Divorce proceedings include a variety of issues and having expert advice from various fields helps make the decision-making process easier. According to Divorce Magazine, the average length of divorce proceedings is one year. Mediation can shorten this transition period, making it possible for families to move forward and begin their new lives. If you are involved in a legal dispute and you believe traditional litigation will do more harm than good, mediation is an option. Collaborative mediation provides a way to settle a dispute efficiently, but without the uncertainty you might feel using basic mediation.

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Protecting Children in Separations and Divorce

Posted On: January 19, 2015

According to the US Census Bureau, couples marrying today have a 50% chance of their marriage ending in divorce. Many of these marriages are between parents and 40% of children will be affected by divorce before reaching adulthood.

When couples with children divorce, their first priority is often the well-being of the children. Sometimes, unhappy couples even choose to stay together because they believe it is the best thing for their children. When a separation or divorce is the best option for the family, effort should be made to protect the most vulnerable members of the family. What can you do to protect your children when you separate from or divorce your partner?

Transition Phase
The process of divorce is stressful for the entire family, but it can be easier if it is handled well. Couples have the option of working together to alter their existing relationship. The inclination during a divorce is to “get rid of your partner” or pay him or her back for any perceived wrongs. Unfortunately, especially for the children, this causes more harm than good in the long run.

During your divorce or separation, do your best to protect your children by working with your soon-to-be-ex to devise an arrangement that is best for everyone. Try to be fair and try not to let your emotional wounds affect your child’s relationship with his or her parent. When possible, avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Custody and Visitation
Protecting your child from harm should be your first priority. If your soon-to-be-former partner has behaved in a manner that put your child at risk, you have every right to protect your child in the future. However, there is a difference between a child being at risk and a child spending time with someone whom you are upset or angry with. Just because your partner hurt you should not mean your child will benefit from estrangement from his or her parent. Do not put your child in the middle of any dispute or discord with your spouse or partner.

Working together to create a custody or visitation arrangement that helps your child feel comfortable and supported is the healthiest type of transition for a child. If he or she is old enough to discuss custody or visitation, take his or her feelings into account when creating an arrangement. Ideally, children will feel just as loved and supported after a separation or divorce as they did when the family was intact.

Finally, speak with your child about responsibility. It is important for children to understand they did nothing to cause the break up of the family.

No matter your personal situation, your children should be protected from the changes in your relationship with your significant other. Working with an experienced family lawyer helps you transition to separation or divorce with as little turmoil as possible. Share your concerns about your child’s safety and well-being with your attorney and he or she can help you determine the steps to take to protect your child.

If you have a legal situation concerning your family and are in need of help, call 631-277-8844 today for a no obligation initial consultation and personal service.

Source:
http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

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Speaking at the NALS of New York Annual Meeting & Educational Conference

Posted On: April 30, 2015

Concetta Spirio, Family & Divorce Attorney speaking at the recent 2015 NALS of New York Annual Meeting & Educational Conference On Divorce: The Differences & Benefits of Mediation and Collaborative vs Litigation.

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Protecting Children in Separations and Divorce

Posted On: April 11, 2014

According to the US Census Bureau, couples marrying today have a 50% chance of their marriage ending in divorce. Many of these marriages are between parents and 40% of children will be affected by divorce before reaching adulthood.

When couples with children divorce, their first priority is often the well-being of the children. Sometimes, unhappy couples even choose to stay together because they believe it is the best thing for their children. When a separation or divorce is the best option for the family, effort should be made to protect the most vulnerable members of the family. What can you do to protect your children when you separate from or divorce your partner?

Transition Phase
The process of divorce is stressful for the entire family, but it can be easier if it is handled well. Couples have the option of working together to alter their existing relationship. The inclination during a divorce is to “get rid of your partner” or pay him or her back for any perceived wrongs. Unfortunately, especially for the children, this causes more harm than good in the long run.

During your divorce or separation, do your best to protect your children by working with your soon-to-be-ex to devise an arrangement that is best for everyone. Try to be fair and try not to let your emotional wounds affect your child’s relationship with his or her parent. When possible, avoid a lengthy legal battle. Children should never be used by one parent against the other to address a wrong or as leverage for results in a separation or divorce. This is extremely harmful to the child and often is never successful in obtaining a resolution to the matter.

Family counseling and counseling for the children is highly recommended. Making sure children have the support system and resources available to them to navigate this life changing transition is extremely important.

Custody and Visitation
Protecting your child from harm should be your first priority. If your soon-to-be-former partner has behaved in a manner that put your child at risk, you have every right to protect your child in the future. However, there is a difference between a child being at risk and a child spending time with someone whom you are upset or angry with. Just because your partner hurt you should not mean your child will benefit from estrangement from his or her parent.

Working together to create a custody or visitation arrangement that helps your child feel comfortable and supported is the healthiest type of transition for a child. If he or she is old enough to discuss custody or visitation, take his or her feelings into account when creating an arrangement. Ideally, children will feel just as loved and supported after a separation or divorce as they did when the family was intact.

Finally, speak with your child about responsibility. It is important for children to understand they did nothing to cause the break up of the family.

No matter your personal situation, your children should be protected from the changes in your relationship with your significant other. Working with an experienced family lawyer helps you transition to separation or divorce with as little turmoil as possible. Share your concerns about your child’s safety and well-being with your attorney and he or she can help you determine the steps to take to protect your child.

If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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The Law and Grandparents

Posted On: November 24, 2014

There are more than 70 million grandparents in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, more than half of these people believe they would do a better job raising their grandchildren than they did raising their own children. Thirteen percent of these grandparents are raising their grandchildren and serve as the primary caregiver for their children’s children.

In order for grandparents to receive custody and even visitation time with their grandchildren, certain conditions must apply. These conditions vary from state to state, but in general, the best interest of the child is the most important factor.

If custody of a child is an issue, courts typically attempt to award it to the mother. If the mother is unavailable or unfit, the next person to be awarded custody is the father. If the father is not an option, grandparents or other blood relations are typically given next priority. In cases where grandparents feel the child’s parents are unfit, the burden of proof is on them to establish the parent is unfit and in most situations, it is extremely difficult to do so. If neglect is found, the court may remove a child from the custody of the parents. Grandparents would then have to qualify for custody. Again the best interest of the child is the Court’s standard. In many instances the Court may appoint a Law Guardian, a legal representative appointed to represent the child’s interests in the proceeding. The Law Guardian will interview and visit all parties home and prepare a report for the Court.

Receiving visitation as a grandparent is easier than receiving custody. Courts take various factors into consideration when determining whether or not to grant grandparents legal visitation, including:

  • Needs of the child, including his or her physical and emotional health
  • Capability of the grandparents to meet the needs of the child
  • Distance between the child’s primary residence and that of the grandparent(s)
  • Wishes of the parent(s)
  • Wishes of the child, if the child is capable of making decisions on his or her own
  • Strength of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
  • Length of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
  • Evidence of abuse or neglect
  • Ability of the grandparent(s) to provide love, affection, and contact with the child

Ideally, parents are able to work out an arrangement that includes time with grandparents interested in being a part of a child’s life, even after the child’s parents have separated or divorced. However, this is not always the case, especially if the parent’s relationship does not end amicably or the relationship with in-laws was strained when the couple was together. This can be especially problematic in non-traditional families where grandparents are not accepting of life choices, but still wish to play a role in a grandchild’s life.

If you are a grandparent who wants to continue a relationship with a grandchild once his or her parents separate or you are the parent of a child whose grandparents are threatening legal action, it is important to speak with a family attorney. He or she can explain to you the rights of grandparents and determine what action to take to best protect your family.

If you have a legal situation concerning your family and are in need of help, call 631-277-8844 today for a no obligation initial consultation and personal service.

Source:
http://www.statisticbrain.com/grandparent-statistics/

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Marital Rights – What Every Spouse Should Know

Posted On: June 03, 2014

Marriage is a challenge and not all couples are meant to stay together forever. According to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, half of all first marriages end in divorce. Data also shows people are not learning from their mistakes – second marriages tend to end at a rate of more than 65% and nearly one-third of all third marriages end in divorce.

Fortunately, legally ending a marriage and starting a new life is an option, but the process can be complex. If you are considering divorce or you and your spouse have decided the time has come to end your marriage, there are several things you should know concerning your marital rights:

No-Fault Divorce is an Option
No-fault divorce refers to the ending of a marriage where neither party is accusing the other of marital misconduct. If you and your spouse simply grow apart or determine together for whatever reason you no longer wish to be married, no-fault divorce is the best option. Both parties are held equally accountable for the end of the marriage.

Marital Misconduct Plays a Role in Divorce Settlements
Should your desire to divorce arise because of some transgression committed by your spouse, you have the right to assert marital misconduct. This might entitle you to a greater settlement in the divorce. Examples of marital misconduct include abusive behavior, adultery, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or economic fault. Keep in mind these transgressions can also affect child custody, as well as the division of marital assets and spousal support.

It is within the Court’s Power to Force an Attempt to Reconcile
As much as either you or your spouse might want to end your marriage, the court system does have the power to order reconciliation if you or your spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken. There are also instances in which an attempt to reconcile is ordered if there are minor children in the family.

Typically, the court delays divorce proceedings for a few months, during which time couples are required to attend counseling or mediation. It does not mean the court can force you to stay married forever, but it can delay the divorce and require that you make an effort to repair your marriage.

If you are considering divorce or you have questions about the best way to end your marriage, it is important you speak with a qualified divorce attorney. He or she can guide you toward the right decisions and ensure your rights are protected during the divorce process.

Have questions about Family Law or need help in this area, then feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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Lesbian and Gay Divorce

Posted On: August 29, 2018

WHY LEGALIZED MARRIAGE HAS NOT SOLVED ALL ISSUES FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY

You Do not want to be the first case the Courts interpret on these challenges

 Although the LGBT Community has now been afforded many of the rights enjoyed by the heterosexual community, the legalization of marriage has not solved all the issues and has created different challenges and issues in the event of a divorce. For traditional families and couples, divorce has been a process that is relatively straight forward since it has years of history both in legislation and judicial interpretation.  For the Lesbian and Gay community, we face a great deal of uncertainty and ambiguity since the legalization of marriage is so new for our community and there has not been much case law interpreting divorce of Lesbian and Gay couples. 

 Many couples in the LGBT community have been together for many years sometimes decades before legalized marriage was an option. 

So, what does this mean in the event of a divorce?  Well, the law and the Courts will only look at a marriage, including marital assets and debts, from the date of marriage to the date of divorce.  This means the law DOES NOT consider the relationship that existed prior to the legal marriage.  So where does that leave the lesbian and gay couples that have been a couple for many years before they married and have created and implemented their financial plan for the future.

  From a legal and Court perspective, the Courts do Not address assets and debts that were acquired prior to the marriage.  This creates a unique challenge for lesbian and gay couples that have had a lengthy relationship before a formal marriage.  The courts have yet to address these challenges and you do not want your marriage to be the case of first impression for the courts to decide.  It is very important that you have a seasoned divorce attorney on your side.  It is my opinion that the attorney should have experience within the Lesbian and Gay community to truly understand the issues that face our community.

It is also why I strongly feel that alternatives to divorce litigation such as Collaborative Divorce and Mediation which are extremely important to the Lesbian and Gay community.  These alternative methods let the parties to the divorce customize their agreement and the dissolution of their marriage based on the facts and circumstances of their relationship. 

 There are also many things that the community can do to protect themselves and avoid the event of a nasty divorce.

For all lesbian and gay couples, it is important that they address this challenge. So, what should you do to avoid these challenges? 

  • Create a domestic partnership agreement or prenuptial agreement that address all issues in the event of a divorce
  • Create a post nuptial agreement that address all issues I the event of a divorce
  • If divorce is on the horizon be sure to choose an alternative method to obtain your divorce out of Court such as Mediation or Collaborative Divorce. These methods will keep your lives assets and interests out of the Courts reach.
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