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Broome County Family Law Blog

Why mediation may be best in same-sex divorces

Should you and your New York same-sex spouse decide to call it quits, you may discover that getting a divorce by means of litigation is not in your best interests. Why? Because while New York like all other states recognizes same-sex marriages, the divorce laws may favor heterosexual couples.

This unfortunate situation arises because of the landmark 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This was the case that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. The justices did not, however, mandate the states to accordingly update their divorce laws. As a result, laws have been slow to change and a mediated divorce may work better for you and your spouse than a traditional litigated one.

On average, women owe more debt than men

There has long existed a significant gap between what an average man and woman makes for an equivalent job in New York. Although there certainly are other factors to consider, such as spending and borrowing habits, this wage gap has contributed to what is now seen as a "debt gap."

Studies by financial experts indicate the debt gap is not centralized to one category but exists across the board to include student loans, credit card balances, auto loans and medical bills debt. Climbing out of debt can be difficult if income is insufficient to remain debt-free in the first place; however, the failure to do so will only exacerbate the problem. Experts suggest several strategies to right the ship.

Certain traits may lead to divorce

No one is perfect, and a person's bad habits can play a role in straining or ultimately ending his or her marriage. However, there are certain personality traits that may predict whether a couple in New York or elsewhere is likely to get divorced. For instance, if one or both parties to a marriage tend to dramatize small events, it can become a problem in a relationship.

Ironically, being a caregiver in a relationship can be a sign that it could be doomed to fail. This is because when someone provides care in an excessive fashion, it is usually an attempt to exert control over a partner. It can also be a way for one person to imply that the other person isn't valuable. It is also a good thing for couples to have arguments from time to time as it can work to improve communication within the relationship.

Pros and cons of debt settlement

Some New York consumers who are struggling with credit card debt might be considering a debt settlement arrangement. There are advantages and disadvantages to this as a solution.

Debt settlement sums usually are around 50 to 80 percent of the total balance that a person owes. People who do go the debt settlement route can negotiate the settlement themselves with the issuer or can hire a lawyer to do so. They should also get a copy of the settlement offer in writing. There are debt settlement companies that can assist with negotiations, but not all of them are entirely honest. Pitfalls people should watch out for are companies that insist that their services are needed to negotiate a debt settlement, those that tell the customer to stop communicating with the credit card company entirely and those that demand a payment in advance. Debt settlement companies also cannot guarantee an outcome such as no more contact from the credit card company.

The perks of a shared custody order

Parents in New York and throughout the country could benefit in many ways by sharing custody of their kids. For instance, the other parent can help pay for school supplies, clothes and any other childcare expenses that come up. The other parent can also make it easier for a person to spend some time on their own, which could be helpful from a professional and social standpoint.

Those who are looking to date again can feel good knowing that they are able to meet other people without neglecting their children. It can also make it easier to stay late at work on certain days or spend more time getting a degree or completing a certification program. Getting an education could make it possible to earn more at work or progress farther in a career. In some cases, having alone time can help a parent recharge or simply engage in their own interests for a day or two.

Why a Facebook divorce is a really bad idea

If you are like most New Yorkers, you love social media. In fact, you may suspect that you spend too much time keeping up with your friends and family online. There is no question that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al. are wildly popular and here to stay. During one period of your life, however, you should fight your social media obsession and stop posting: when you go through a divorce.

Many divorcing posters have discovered to their detriment that telling the world about their divorce on Facebook is unwise and possibly self-defeating. Why? Because even as far back as 2010, 67 percent of American divorce attorneys admitted that Facebook was their best source of negative information about their clients’ spouses.

Visitation agreements and custody modifications in New York

Child custody and court-ordered visitations are important because children typically have needs and rights to be able to maintain healthy relationships with both parents. In many cases, parents can discuss concerns one has with the other's parenting style or household rules, and the two might come to an agreement between themselves. If the relationship is not on decent terms, trying to communicate may not work.

It is possible that extenuating circumstances may surface after a court order has been issued. With good enough reason, modifications to existing child custody and visitation agreements might be initiated. If a parent has enough cause or a compelling enough reason to believe that their child is in danger, they can act to revoke or change custody and visitation plans.

Asset division and divorce among older adults

Divorce is on the rise for older couples, but in some cases, these divorces may be relatively amiable. Often, they occur because once the children are grown, couples realize they have grown apart and go their separate ways. Couples in this age group may have acquired a number of assets to split fairly, but there are several pitfalls they should be aware of.

For example, 401(k)s and pension plans need a document known as a qualified domestic relations order before they can be split. This document allows these types of accounts to be divided without incurring taxes and penalties. IRAs do not need a QDRO, but the amount a person receives does need to be rolled into another IRA to avoid penalties and taxes. There are other complications with different investments. Annuities all have different sets of rules for division. In some cases, because dividing assets is so complicated, couples instead opt for one person to take some assets and the other to take different assets of equal value.

Student loan burdens can lead to divorce

Student loan debt imposes a crushing burden on lots of New Yorkers, especially millennials. While many people are aware of the devastating impact educational debt can have on a borrower's financial well-being, fewer may recognize the role that it can play in undermining marriages. Financial disputes are among the most common reasons for marital problems, and the substantial burden of student loan debt is often no exception, according to one recent survey by Student Loan Hero.

Student loan borrowers in the United States have an average debt burden of $34,144, and that number is on the rise. For graduates of the class of 2017, the average student loan debt was $39,400. Many people with student loans may be troubled about how they can repay their debt. That stress and pressure can lead borrowers to delay important milestones like having children or purchasing a home, and the resulting disagreements can also lead to divorce.

Congress proposes new bankruptcy protection for student loan debt

Individuals in New York struggling with student loan debt may be interested in the new bankruptcy rules that are being proposed for students who have debt. Student loan debt in the United States is estimated to be around $1.4 trillion. Billions of dollars of student debt are at least 90 days delinquent according to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. It is clear to see the burden that student loan debt is having on many people.

When a person files for bankruptcy and has their loans discharged, they are no longer required by law to repay the loan. In recent years, though, it has become very rare for a court to discharge student loans when a person files for bankruptcy.

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