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IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENFORCE THE AUTOMATIC ORDERS IN A NEW YORK DIVORCE CASE BEFORE THE FINAL JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE IS SIGNED BY THE COURT

Apr 13

DIVORCE LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY NY

Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 32 years of experience suggests that a litigant should enforce his or her rights under the automatic Orders before a final judgment of divorce is signed by the Court.

A restraining order prevents a party in a divorce case from selling or transferring property. The reason behind a restraining order is that many unscrupulous spouses, try to hide or sell off assets of the marriage. In New York, parties no longer need to apply directly to a judge for a restraining order, as the retraining order and other orders are now automatic. These “Automatic Orders” go into effect when a divorce case is filed in New York. There is no requirement that a Supreme Court Justice sign the Automatic Orders before they become effective. The automatic Orders bind the plaintiff (the filing party) when the Summons is filed with the County Clerk’s office. The Automatic Orders bind the defendant when the defendant is served with the Summons with Notice (of the Automatic Orders). This blog focuses on the Automatic Order which addresses the parties property. Succinctly, it provides that the parties may not “sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or by order of the court, any property (including, but not limited to, real estate, . . .) individually or jointly held by the parties, except in the usual course of business, for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with” the divorce action.  

In a recent case, determined by the Appellate Division, 2nd Department in New York, the Appellate Court held that the remedy of civil contempt of Court for a violation of the Automatic Orders is no longer available once the divorce judgment is signed. What that means is that if there is a violation, a proceeding to hold the offending party in contempt of Court must be completed before the divorce judgment is signed or it is waived. While the Appellate Court did list the other remedies available to the aggrieved party, contempt of Court for violation of the Automatic Orders was not one of them.

Thus, in my opinion, it is absolutely critical to enforce a party’s rights for violation of the Automatic Orders as soon as the violation is discovered by initiating a contempt proceeding unless circumstances mandate a different approach. The exceptions must be analyzed to see if they have applicability before any contempt proceeding is initiated.

I believe that it is important to hire a seasoned and experienced matrimonial attorney if there is a risk of dissipation of assets. Extreme care must be exercised to ensure that assets are preserved for distribution by the Court.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years. Please feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by. H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Nassau County, Long Island


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

OWNING A BUSINESS DURING A DIVORCE

Feb 21

IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN EXPERT DETERMINE THE BASELINE VALUE Of A SEPARATE PROPERTY BUSINESS, IF A PARTY IS SEEKING A PORTION OF THE APPRECIATION OF VALUE OF THE ASSETS OF THE OTHER PARTY IN A DIVORCE

Divorce Lawyer Nassau County NY

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 32 years of experience suggests that a litigant must be careful to select the right seasoned and experienced matrimonial lawyer to try his or her divorce case.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division, 2st Department in New York, the Appellate Court reversed the trial judge’s award of $91,500 or 25% of the husband’s dental practice. The Appellate Division found that the wife was not entitled to a share of the value of the practice as she failed to meet her burden of proof. Apparently, the husband in the case had been operating his dental practice at the time of the marriage. A dental practice has been previously determined to be “property” in earlier judicial precedent in New York. The dental practice was classified as “separate property”, as it was acquired prior to the marriage. If appropriate proof is submitted to the Court, the Court has the power to reclassify the growth and appreciation in value of “separate property” as “marital property” (which is subject to equitable distribution). In this case, proof of the date of marriage value, or baseline value, was not provided to the trial Court. Accordingly, the trial Court could not know how much the property grew in value, since it did not know the value of the asset at the time of the marriage. Thus, the reversal of the award was proper under existing law. This law is not new, so it is puzzling to me as to why the proof was not supplied to the trial Court.

Thus, in my opinion it is absolutely critical to hire a seasoned and experienced matrimonial lawyer, with a record of success, to make sure assets are properly appraised and valued for equitable distribution purposes. The valuation of business assets is required in all cases where equitable distribution is sought. It is the responsibility (and “burden of proof”) of the non-titled party to prove the value of business assets. As an experienced matrimonial attorney, I know the ways to ensure that it the process is completed before a case is marked ready for trial by the Court.

I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years.

I offer a free initial consultation. Please contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your property & asset division, matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer in Garden City, NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

FACEBOOK & SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS DURING CHILD CUSTODY & DIVORCE CASES IN NEW YORK

Jan 18

Child Custody Lawyer Nassau County NY

WHERE THE ISSUE PRESENTED IS RELEVANT TO DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF A CHILD CUSTODY CASE, THE NEW YORK COURT HAS THE POWER TO DIRECT A PARTY TO PRODUCE FACEBOOK POSTS AND PROVIDE AN AUTHORIZATION TO THE COURT TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION DIRECTLY FROM FACEBOOK

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 32 years of experience suggests that a litigant must be careful to select the right seasoned and experienced matrimonial lawyer to try his or her divorce case.

facebook child custodyIn a 2015 case determined by the Supreme Court, Westchester County, New York, the trial Court determined that the application for social media evidence had to have a bearing on the claim that one of the parents was not spending time with the child during from birth through age four. The Court noted that the law prohibited social media fishing expeditions through discovery. However, the trial Court found the request for Facebook posts during that time to be relevant and could have a bearing on the outcome of the child custody dispute. As a result, among other things, the trial Court ordered the posting party to produce printouts of her Facebook postings showing her whereabouts away from the New York metropolitan area from date of birth of the child until the commencement date of the case. The trial Court also ordered the mother to submit an authorization giving the court access to her Facebook posts during the applicable time frame. The father was also directed to turn over any postings by the mother in his possession for the time period in question.

social media child custodyThus, in my opinion it is absolutely critical to limit Facebook and other social media postings during divorce and custody cases. In my 32 year career, I have used the opposing litigant’s social media postings against them in various contexts. When a litigant is reckless on social media, the adverse consequences resulting from the admission of the social media evidence at trial can drastically effect the outcome of the case. In one case that stands out in my career, a neglect case was initiated and prosecuted by the County against the other party resulting from social media evidence that was in my client’s possession. While I understand that many litigants reach out on social media for support from their friends and acquaintances during a bitter divorce or custody case, one can go overboard. The potential exists that both words and photos will be used outside of their intended context against the posting party. Thus, I counsel my clients that restraint in social media use is the best choice during litigation.

I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years.

Please contact me for a free initial consultation, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your child custody, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Child Custody & Divorce Lawyer in Nassau County NY


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

WOULD COINBASE RESPOND TO A NEW YORK STATE COURT SUBPOENA IN A MATRIMONIAL CASE?

Dec 15

CoinsDivorce Lawyer Nassau County

Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with 32 years of experience is pondering the question of whether COINBASE would respond to a New York State Court subpoena in a matrimonial action for information regarding Crypo-Currency trading by a divorce litigant.

In a recent case determined by a California Federal Court in the matter of US v Coinbase, the IRS sought information concerning the identity of Coinbase users, who numbered approximately six million at the time. COINBASE is in the business of facilitating crypto-currency transactions between merchants and consumers. These Crypto-Currencies include Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Coinbase sought to quash the government’s information request. The Federal Court sided with the government, but limited the scope of production to those users who sent, received, bought or sold $20,000.00 or more of crypto-currencies in a single year between 2013 and 2015. The users who fell within the purview of the order numbered only 14,355. Parenthetically, Coinbase now states it has 50 million users on its web page, so many more have jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon since the case was decided. In my view, the government only got a small fraction of the information that was sought.

BitcoinSo, with the precipitous rise in Bitcoin valuation, what is a divorce litigant to do when he or she suspects that the other spouse is amassing and secreting Bitcoin in a matrimonial matter? Would Coinbase, a company whose mailing address is in California, even bother responding to a New York State Court subpoena for information, where it has shown it will vigorously protect the privacy of its users? To my knowledge, there is no answer yet to this question. As the penalties for non-compliance with a New York judicial subpoena are beyond the scope of this blog, suffice it to say, that the power of the New York Court to punish an out-of- state corporation is extremely limited.

I have pondered a multifaceted strategy to acquire information from platforms such as Coinbase.

If you believe your spouse has acquired Crypto-Currency, you need to hire seasoned and experienced matrimonial attorney to try to uncover hidden Crypto-Currencies.

I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq.,a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in a Free Consultation to discuss your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

A POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENT MAY BE INVALIDATED IF IT IS UNFAIR TO ONE PARTY TO THE AGREEMENT

Nov 15

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 31 years of experience suggests that New York residents who want to enter into a post nuptial agreement must take into account whether the agreement is fair to each party on the face of the agreement.

Agreement

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division, 2nd Judicial Department in New York, the Appellate Court determined that a hearing was required to determine whether a postnuptial agreement would be invalidated where the wife received no benefit from the agreement and gave up her rights to: all assets of the marriage; her inheritance rights: and, the right to support from her husband.

If a Court determines that a postnuptial agreement appears to be so one-sided and unfair that no rational person exercising common sense would make it, and no fair and honest person would accept it, a hearing will be held to determine whether the agreement should be invalidated. At the hearing the Court will review the post nuptial agreement in its entirety and look at all of the circumstances involved including the in its negotiation, preparation and execution, embracing the concept of “the totality of the circumstances.”

I am frequently asked how much a postnuptial agreement will cost. Oftentimes, there is incredulity expressed by the inquiring party when I advise that the other spouse must be represented and the negotiations must be undertaken in a way that ensures fairness in the outcome.

The process of formalizing a postnuptial agreement should be viewed from a lens that would hold the agreement up to judicial scrutiny if challenged.

I try my best to insure that any postnuptial agreement that I am involved in as the draftsman or reviewer upholds the standards required to survive judicial scrutiny.

No separation, prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that I have ever drafted has been set aside by a Court.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Nassau County, Long Island practice over the past 31 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York 11530.

Written by, H. Michael Stern, Family & Divorce Lawyer


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

COURTS CAN BLOCK A GRANDPARENT FROM SEEING A CHILD WITHOUT ACCOMPANIMENT

Jul 31

Family

Divorce Attorney Long Island

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 31 years of experience suggests that New York custodial litigants observe and monitor the speech of their parents to ensure that the children at issue are not exposed to disparaging comments and remarks from their grandparents about the other litigant/parent.

In a recent case decided on July 12, 2017, the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department held that there was a sound and substantial basis for the trial court to direct that a child’s mother not permit the maternal grandmother to be alone with that child. These types of rulings are carefully crafted so as not to abridge the rights of free speech of the grandparent. After all, can’t the grandparent speak her mind about her son/daughter-in-law. A court can place the burden of insuring that the children are not exposed to disparaging or venomous remarks about the other parent. The Court has the power to impose restrictions on children’s interactions with third parties during visitation if it is in the children’s best interests to do so.

Determining whether a third party, including paramours, hostile grandparents, or relatives should have access and exposure to children has been an issue that arises from time to time in child custody practice. I have initiated legal proceedings to block access by potentially toxic individuals to children in custody litigation. Children can come to harm in many ways and it is incumbent on parents to ensure their safety.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 31 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Esq., Divorce Lawyer


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

BEWARE: DISCLOSURE OF DIGITAL ASSETS IN NEW YORK IS NOT ADDRESSED IN THE 2016 REVISION OF THE OFFICIAL FORM STATEMENT OF NET WORTH: PART TWO

Mar 31
Divorce Attorney Long Island

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 30 years of experience suggests that New York residents, where appropriate, one should strongly consider digging deeper, beyond the four corners of the Statement of Net Worth, for digital assets.

WorkstationIn Part One of this blog, I addressed Bitcoins as an example of digital asset in divorce cases. I also noted that the official form of the Statement of Net Worth was updated in 2016. Each party in a contested matrimonial action is required to serve and file a Statement of Net Worth with the Court. It is mandatory financial disclosure in all contested cases. In many cases that are settled out of court, attorneys use the Statement of Net Worth as a representation under oath of the net worth of each party to the settlement. There is one class of assets that is omitted from the latest version of the official form. This may result in such assets being overlooked at trial or in a settlement. That class of assets are digital assets, assets which are intangible and exist only in electronic media. As there is no standardized definition yet of digital assets that is all inclusive (to my knowledge), I shall continue to address some (but not all) digital assets in this second blog which should be considered by divorcing parties and their attorneys.

The second example of digital assets are photographs. They can be family photos and videos stored electronically or valuable digital photographs. Family photos may be priceless to divorcing parties. The custodian of the digital photos may not possess them in traditional terms, such as on a personal computer, phone, or media storage device. Ever hear of the “cloud”? Well, there are too many cloud storage sites for me to mention in this blog, but I am sure you get the idea. Access to cloud storage and photos stored on social media (including facebook and instagram) are no longer possessed in traditional terms by a party. So, obtaining access to these photos should be addressed where the issue is an important one to the parties in a divorce. If a party to a divorce is a photographer by trade or hobby, there may be photos of real value (that if taken during the marriage) that should be treated as assets of the marriage.

Another, more sordid issue comes to mind. I had a case years ago which involved pornographic video content that the parties generated during the marriage. Parties may be reluctant to mention this to their attorneys, but it is important to gather the courage and discuss it, because it can be addressed by the Court in the disposition of marital property. That is exactly what happened in that case.

The third example is what I call “creative digital content”. Among other things, this can consist of digital manuscripts, books, artwork and videos (for example a Youtube sensation makes money every time someone clicks on a video as pay per click advertisements precede the content).

The fourth example are online (merchant) hobbyists who are Ebay, Amazon or Craigslist (to name a few) sellers who are not operating businesses per se, but are selling and making money online.

This is in contrast to a true online business which should be disclosed on the Statement of Net Worth.

These are just a few examples and I could go on and on. I did not address the deliberate concealment of funds or other assets in digital repositories. That subject is beyond the scope of this blog. The point is that these and other digital assets are not accounted for on the Official Form so it is important to be vigilant.

I have engaged in continuing education in this area. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice for more than 30 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq.,a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516 747 2290.

My office is conveniently located in Nassau County adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Esq., Divorce Lawyer


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

BEWARE: DISCLOSURE OF DIGITAL ASSETS IN NEW YORK IS NOT ADDRESSED IN THE 2016 REVISION OF THE OFFICIAL FORM STATEMENT OF NET WORTH: PART ONE

Feb 10

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 30 years of experience suggests that New York residents, where appropriate, one should strongly consider digging deeper, beyond the four corners of the Statement of Net Worth, for digital assets.

Digital AssetsThe official form of the Statement of Net Worth was updated in 2016. Each party in a contested matrimonial action is required to serve and file a Statement of Net Worth with the Court. It is mandatory financial disclosure in all contested cases. In many cases that are settled out of court, attorneys use the Statement of Net Worth as a representation under oath of the net worth of each party to the settlement. There is one class of assets that is omitted from the latest version of the official form. This may result in such assets being overlooked at trial or in a settlement. That class of assets are digital assets, assets which are intangible and exist only in electronic media. As there is no standardized definition yet of digital assets that is all inclusive (to my knowledge), I shall address some (but not all) digital assets in this blog which should be considered by divorcing parties and their attorneys.
The first example is the Bitcoin. I am not a mathematician, but here is a simple definition and it is unofficial. It is highly encrypted digital currency that is exchanged without any financial institution acting as an intermediary. If you believe this definition to be to simplistic, there are many online resources which define and explain Bitcoins and how they work.
The Statement of Net Worth deals with “Cash” and “Checking” and “Savings” accounts. The Bitcoin does not fit into any one of these categories. Omission of assets on a Statement of Net Worth can result in substantial penalties in New York matrimonial actions. Yet, some assets elude detection. Many highly trained forensic accountants and forensic data investigators would be hard pressed to track down Bitcoins, unless there is a financial trail leading into the Bitcoin purchase on the purchaser’s computer, tablet or mobile phone. Preservation and access to the unaltered computers and internet devices of the offending party become a necessity if Bitcoin purchases are suspected. The ways to elude detection go far beyond the scope of this blog. As I will NEVER assist any prospective client in perpetrating a fraud on the Court or the other party, it does not pay to ask me how this is done! Much has been written on data and computer preservation in divorce cases, but that is not the purpose of this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to discuss the potential concealment of the Bitcoin in divorce cases. If you are a middle to high net worth party in a divorce case, your attorney must be familiar with these concepts.

I have undertaken continuing education in this area. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice for more than 30 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq.,a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located in Nassau County adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Long Island, NY.

Written by, H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer & Mediator


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN VEHICLE USE AND FINAL OWNERSHIP IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NEW YORK DIVORCE CASE

Jan 18
Divorce Attorney Long Island

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island, New York divorce, matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 30 years of experience suggests that New York residents use caution in entering into stipulations in court regarding vehicle use, and final ownership before trial.

PorshceIn a 2016 case determined by the Appellate Division, 2nd Department in New York, the Appellate Court determined that where the parties stipulated that each would retain his or her vehicle, there would be no payment for 50% of the value from one party to the other. Thus, before any agreement is made in court, it is important to know whether there is a meaningful differential in unencumbered equity between the husband’s vehicle and the wife’s vehicle. If so, then a decision should be made whether to agree only to use of each vehicle pending trial as opposed to determining title to the parties respective vehicles. Oftentimes, parties are asked to decide this issue reflexively early in the case (such as at the preliminary conference) and no choice (use or title) is offered. If the vehicles have sharply different values, then one should consider deciding only on use before trial as opposed to securing title. An agreement settling the case will also resolve the vehicle use or title issue; a trial may not be required.

BenzAllow me to offer an example, the husband owns a 1998 Porsche 911 and the wife just bought a brand new 2017 Mercedes C Class which is titled in her name. Both vehicles are paid off with no liens. Should the wife agree that each party retains title to his or her own vehicle? The answer is not so simple, as it all depends on the mileage and condition of the 1998 Porsche. The older car may be an appreciating asset worth considerably more than its original price. The newer car is depreciating in value. Accordingly, a pre trial appraisal of the older car would answer the valuation question. This could result in the wife being entitled to and receiving a payment for a portion of the Porsche’s value in addition to retaining her new car. Thus, whether one agrees to pre trial use of a vehicle, or to a final disposition regarding vehicle ownership, is an important distinction not to be taken lightly in the early stages of a New York divorce case.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Nassau County, Long Island practice over the past 30 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Nassau County, Long Island divorce, child custody and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516 747 2290.

Call 516-747-2290 to schedule a Free Initial Consultation.

My office is conveniently located in Nassau County, adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Long Island, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern Esq., Long Island Divorce Lawyer & Mediator


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

YOUR FORMER SPOUSE MAY STILL HAVE RIGHTS TO PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY YOU AFTER THE DIVORCE HAS BEEN FINALIZED

Dec 19
Divorce Attorney Long Island

H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 30 years of experience suggests that New York residents who obtain foreign divorces may have unexpected consequences that affect the property of the marriage.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division, 4th Department in New York, the Appellate Court determined that where a foreign divorce was obtained from a Court that lacked jurisdiction over the parties’ marital property, that the valuation dates for marital property must be between the date of commencement of post divorce case to divide marital property and the date of trial of that case.

HomeAllow me to put this into some perspective for the reader.
Let’s say that the parties mutually consent to obtain a divorce in a country that has no residency requirement and provides a quick divorce, without jurisdiction over their property rights. Accordingly, the divorce is legal and enforceable as it was mutually consented to and not unilateral. Hypothetically, let us imagine that the wife owned stock valued at the time of the divorce at $10,000.00. Five years later, the husband brings on an action in New York to distribute the hypothetical stock. Under our imagined scenario, the stock is now worth $500,000.00 and remains at that value to trial (following multiple stock splits with no post divorce contribution by the wife to the value of the stock). Under this example, the value at the time of the divorce would not be considered under the recent decision of the Appellate Court. The trial court would be forced to use the $500,000.00 value for equitable distribution purposes. As the above hypothetical provided that the wife contributed nothing to the rise in price of the stock, one could only guess what the trial Court would do in apportioning the stock between the parties under these hypothetical circumstances.

I am not rendering any opinion regarding the fairness of this approach, but it is the law.

Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq.,a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516 747 2290. The initial consultation is free.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Nassau County, New York.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Long Island Divorce Lawyer & Mediator


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It do not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.