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Broome County Family Law Blog

Infidelity, substance abuse and money woes motivate many divorces

Many issues drive New York spouses to get divorced. Poor communication skills, lack of commitment, health problems and domestic violence end many marriages. Extramarital affairs, drinking, drug use or financial stress represent some other common reasons for divorce. In one survey, infidelity and substance abuse emerged as "final straws" that forced people to end their relationships.

Divorce survey responses collected by the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicated that 59.6 percent of splits arose from infidelity. People viewed the extramarital affairs as evidence that their relationships had reached an end.

Study examines effects of illness on a marriage

When women in New York develop cancer, heart disease or other serious health conditions, their divorce risk goes up. According to a 2015 study that appeared in "The Journal of Health and Social Behavior," the same divorce risk is not shared by men who suffer from health problems.

Other research supports these findings. Researchers from Purdue University and Iowa State University examined 2,701 marriages and how they were affected by cancer, stroke, lung disease and heart disease. The study found that heart disease or a stroke raised the likelihood of divorce even more than lung disease or cancer for women, but for men, there was no effect.

How social attractiveness could affect a relationship

For people in New York beginning a relationship, physical attraction to a new partner may be one of the most compelling aspects that bring two people together. However, some couples have wide differences in their levels of attractiveness, at least insofar as they are perceived by others. While people have widely variant understandings of which traits are the most physically attractive, social standards of beauty may have a significant impact on how people are treated in romantic relationships. Several researchers have conducted studies to examine how an attractiveness gap may affect the happiness or longevity of a relationship.

Some researchers found that couples with a wide gap in attractiveness were more likely to break up later on. One study noted that tensions arise in these relationships when the partner considered less attractive develops jealousy or controlling tendencies. Another study found that women who reported that they were much more attractive than their male partners were more likely to flirt with others and lack commitment to the relationship. Since that study relied on self-reported attractiveness gaps, however, it may also illustrate serious relationship problems, dislike and contempt. All of these factors are often present in case of a divorce.

ADR does not always work for divorces

Going through a divorce can be extremely challenging. After all, wrapping up a meaningful relationship requires addressing property and emotions. If you have children, the process can be even more difficult. Often, married couples who would rather not litigate protracted divorces opt to dissolve marriages using alternative dispute resolution. 

A small percentage of divorces require litigation. Nonetheless, mediation, arbitration, collaboration and other types of alternative dispute resolution do not always work in every situation. Watch for the following four signs to know if your ADR has become ineffective. 

Real estate financial mistakes to avoid in divorce

Emotions and realities about money can make some divorce-related decisions difficult. In particular, choosing what to do with the family home can be a challenge. Whatever a New York couple decides, it's important that they avoid two common errors.

First, many people fail to realize that they cannot afford the home however much they want to live in it. In some cases, the decision to sell the home is often not agreed upon by the couple but ordered by a judge. Some couples may compromise by waiting a year or two until the market improves or a child is out of school. In an amicable divorce, they might try a nesting arrangement in which the children live in the home and the parents switch in and out.

The different ways child support can be enforced

Divorced or divorcing parents in New York may be wondering what the different types of child support enforcement are. Enforcement methods depend on how long it has been since the non-custodial parent has paid, the jurisdiction and how much is due. Enforcement methods can include anything from wage garnishment to fines and the removal of licenses.

There are also cases where the person who is not in compliance is jailed or has liens placed on his or her car or home. In other cases, tax refunds may be withheld from the non-compliant parent. In general, child support enforcement is harsher when the parent owes a significant amount of money or if the parent attempts to leave the country without paying. In some countries, passport denial and federal prosecution are means of enforcement.

Saving on taxes after divorce

Individuals in New York who have recently been divorced could see their tax deductions drop dramatically. While marriage does include a lot of nice tax breaks, it's possible for divorcees to save money by filing as a head of household instead of as single.

Filing as head of household requires a person to be single and have a qualifying dependent (such as a child) live with them for over half the year. The taxpayer must also have contributed the majority of support toward maintaining a household during the last year.

Custody and support issues often difficult for parents

When parents in New York decide to separate or divorce, it can be particularly difficult to move from full-time parenting to sharing the parenting time with an ex. While some couples are able to negotiate a balanced solution fairly easily, people with a more contentious relationship may see their discussions degenerate into a battle over custody time. Both mothers and fathers often feel unheard in family court; while mothers may feel their real concerns aren't taken seriously, fathers often worry that they are victims of gender bias in court.

Statistics show that up to 80 percent of cases involve mothers with primary or full child custody. However, most of these cases involve fathers who are not involved or not actively seeking additional parenting time with their children. When fathers seek a higher level of custody, they will often succeed in court, even though they may face some judges with a biased or traditional view of a father's role.

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, theĀ 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.

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