Rieger & Fried LLP

Long Island Family Law Blog

How does divorce affect a family-owned business?

Owning a small business can add an additional level of complexity to a divorce, particularly if both spouses share ownership. A family business is often the largest asset to consider in a divorce. It also can be the primary source of income.

Because of the considerations listed above, a family business can be labeled as an asset or as a source of income. Additionally, there are different methods of business valuation that can affect the value of a small business. How can you decide what methods are best for your situation?

Former boxing champ embroiled in legal dispute with ex-wife

Many are often surprised at the issues that come out as couples work their way through divorce proceedings in Long Island. Often, seemingly normal people can reveal outlandish details or make surprising demands as part of their settlement agreements. Given the assets at stake and the public profiles of those involved, people engaged in high net-worth divorces may face issues that are even more outrageous (and, in some cases, downright bizarre).

Such a fact is currently being evidenced in the ongoing dispute between a former world champion boxer and his ex-wife. The woman is currently engaged in a defamation lawsuit against her ex-husband, saying that comments he has made have adversely affected both her personal life and her career. The initial claim that prompted her lawsuit was that she was not divorced from her previous spouse at the time the couple married in 2001. In recent hearings, the man involved has also said that she insisted on him getting a vasectomy as part of their divorce agreement, as well as saying that she once worked as a stripper. Yet perhaps the most shocking detail was that the couple's settlement included forcing him to give her the three world title belts he earned during his fighting career.

Do you need a prenuptial agreement?

Prenups often have a negative stigma around them for couples. That's understandable. Of course you are not thinking about a possible future divorce when you are planning your wedding. Prenups have a lot of benefits that could help you, so rather than an expectation of divorce, think of them as a way to talk about your finances coming into the marriage and discuss your expectations.

Petitioning for relief from an alimony agreement

Many in Long Island might automatically assume that when a couple decides to divorce, one of the two will almost certainly be entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance. That, however, is not always the case. Unlike child support, which cites the legal responsibility that a parent has to care for his or her children, alimony is typically not viewed as a legal right. Rather, it is seen as a means of assistance to help one support him or herself until such time as he or she is able to demand an income sufficient to allow him or her to return to his or her pre-divorce lifestyle. Thus, such support is finite in nature. Indeed, according to information shared by Forbes, only 400,000 people received alimony payments in 2014.

Given the non-permanent nature of alimony, one has to wonder what might happen if an obligor is unable to make his or her payments. Are the enforcement standards the same as they would be in cases involving child support? While yes, the court can take action to enforce an alimony agreement, it may also accept the notion that an obligor is no longer able to meet it.

Property division can be especially complex for artists

New York is home to many who work in the arts and entertainment fields. If your work involves you creating things that are artistic, how your property gets divided in your divorce may be more complicated than for those in other professions. At Rieger & Fried LLP, we understand that protecting your work and its value is extremely important to you.

One of the first things that will need to be done is figuring out what is considered marital property and what is separate. According to the Huffington Post, any works that you created before you were married or that you created after you and your spouse separated would be considered separate property. However, works that were composed while you were married may be considered marital property and will need to be valued and divided equitably.

How can I co-parent better with my ex?

Are you a parent in New York who is separated or divorced from your child's other parent? If so, you know firsthand just how difficult it can be to communicate effectively with your ex. Even when you have the best intentions in place, it's easy for old nerves to be hit and conflict to arise before you even know it. What can you do about this?

The Online Mom suggests that technology may be your new best friend when it comes to co-parenting with an ex spouse. There are many apps or online tools available that are designed specifically to help two-home families collaborate for the good of their kids. Some tools are completely free while others may have costs associated with them. Most provide some basic calender functions. This allows you to put in dates for important school events, medical or dental visits and extracurricular activities. You can even identify which parent is supposed to pick up or drop off the kids at which day and time. No longer should one person forget that school gets out early on a specific day as it can all be easily tracked online or via an app.

Return to gridiron may bolster man’s ability to pay child support

Most child support obligors in Long Island would likely agree that their ability to make their payments depends heavily on their employment status. While most may admit that they do not want to be in a position to not support their children (with fewer still being willing to deal with the consequences that come with missed child support payments), personal choices or circumstances beyond one’s own control may impact his or her earning potential in a way that threatens to affect his or her ability to meet his or her obligation. In such a situation, one may end up being faced with the prospect of finding new employment or facing the repercussions of missed payments.

The potential for having to deal with such penalties may be amongst the reasons behind a former National Football League All Pro wide receiver’s attempts to return to the game. The man has not played since December of 2014 after having served a number of suspensions due to substance abuse. However, he is currently awaiting a decision on his petition for reinstatement. This comes after having been determined via a paternity test last fall to be the father of child in Ohio. News has also recently surfaced of another woman seeking support for a child she claims that the player fathered two years ago.

Real estate developers have a lot to lose during divorce

Earlier this month, a wealthy real estate developer in New York willingly – in fact, enthusiastically – agreed to pay his wife $1 billion in order to finalize their divorce. As reported in MarketWatch, developer Harry Macklowe “launched into an impromptu comedy set for reporters” outside the courthouse, “telling a string of ‘Take my wife—please’-style jokes.”

Macklowe is responsible for a fair number of the buildings in Manhattan’s skyline. His company developed Metropolitan Tower, and owns a number of landmark properties along Madison Avenue and Park Avenue. In 2008, as the real estate market was fraying, Macklowe found himself in somewhat dire financial straits and was forced to forfeit seven Manhattan skyscrapers that his company held. Still, his personal net worth hovered around $2 billion. When his divorce is finalized, it will be half that. 

How are 401(k) plans divided in divorce?

For Long Island couples facing divorce, dividing up 401(k) plans can be exceedingly complex. This is especially true when it comes to couples with high assets, which will only serve to create even more tension when navigating divorce proceedings. Accordingly, knowing just how these assets are divided can be invaluable for ensuring both parties receive their fair share.

As illustrated by SmartAsset.com, certain rules dictate the division of 401(k) plans. First and foremost, a court order will be necessary to split up these assets. Also known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, this document assures that both you and your former spouse have a right to the funds contained within a 401(k). It also provides protection against early withdrawal penalties, which the account owner would be privy to if money were withdrawn.

What factors constitute child support modification?

Once a child support order is set by the court, you may feel as though the terms of the settlement are set in stone. However, circumstances in life change, and in some cases, the situation may constitute a child support modification. A modification occurs when the court revises the divorce settlement to reflect a change in life. This change in life may reflect either the parents, or the child.

Either parent may file for child support modification three years after the original order is put in place. A parent may have lost a job or taken a substantial pay cut, affecting his or her ability to continue making child support payments. The court may reevaluate the child support payment based upon the new income level. If a parent is filing for modification because of a change in income, however, the income must have decreased by at least 15 percent in order to be considered by the court.

Testimonials

Read what others are saying about us!

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  • "Rieger and Fried is the finest law firm to hire. I got the best outcome any client can hope for in a custody case: sole residential and legal custody of my two children. I hired the firm four years ago; my case was a highly contested interstate divorce and custody. The delay in my case was due to the opposing party. My case was handled by Michael Fried who is the most ethical professional I have met. Michael focused on facts of law and documentation to protect my children's legal rights. Michael is efficient, prompt, and helped me for years through the most difficult time of my life. The paperwork was filed on time. The motions were carefully researched and submitted. Michael made sure that he documented all communication with opposing counsel.

    Michael was involved in the evaluation of my ex-husband's medical practice, meeting with me and the forensic accountant. Michael is highly organized and detail-oriented. He tracked down the most important financial documentation to prove my ex-husband's income in order to determine child support.

    Michael prepared me for trial and was keen about details and how to highlight my role as the primary care giver for my children. I went through 16 days of trial during which Michael moved away from his family to stay in Brooklyn in order to meet with me daily before trial to review every single detail. He emailed me in the evenings to make sure all evidence was in place.

    When emotions ran high and opposing counsel was provocative during trial, Michael maintained his calm and represented me and my children wholeheartedly. Michael is the best lawyer any client can hope for, and I am ever so grateful that he handled my case."
  • So many people tell you, “Oh, I’ve got the BEST lawyer for you.â€? Or, “This guy is the absolutely the BEST lawyer to handle your case – the BEST!â€? When in a divorce situation, you hear a lot of this. But, when you are in a situation so foreign to any experience you have ever gone through, there is so much more that is important. It is not the lawyer, who may look great and have a career of flashy litigation. It all comes down to the entire TEAM of individuals working in your best interest. It comes down to their sincere dedication to every minor detail regarding your case, and, most importantly, understanding, and reacting to your mental frame-of-reference, sensitive to the fact that a divorce is one of the most traumatic events one can go through. This level of competence is the consistent apex at which Rieger & Fried operate each and every day. Not only is a successful outcome of the litigation an ultimate priority of the relationship — through over-the-top competence — but their understanding of a client’s well-being, who is probably completely out of their depth in a divorce proceeding, that really sets Rieger & Fried apart from all other firms. Hats off to Rieger & Fried… truly the BEST. SD
  • Kieth and Michael were instrumental in the positive and fair outcome of my case. From the start, they set realistic expectations. They fought hard on — and won — the critical issues that arose during the course of my case. I am extremely happy with their services; I highly recommend them! Melissa J.
  • Michael Fried was very professional and supportive during a very difficult period in my life. He worked very hard to look out for my interests while trying to come to a fair and equitable agreement. I would highly recommend him. Cathy C.
  • Kieth Rieger navigated my divorce with the expertise of a highly skilled negotiator. He is the consummate divorce attorney: determined, effective and compassionate. Rebecca H.
  • Keith headed the team that navigated me through the most difficult time of my life. My divorce was very lengthy and uglier than most. Keith litigated brilliantly and made certain the outcome would be just and fair. Karen D.
  • The Firm Rieger & Fried handled all my family concerns with the utmost respect and professionalism. Joshua Rieger is not just a attorney with the vast knowledge of Matrimonial law and Family Law, he is in tune with his clients , and understands the important challenges they face. The Firm Rieger & Fried protected my interests from start to finish ,and are truly a cut above the rest. Jason B.
  • Kieth Rieger is a superior attorney and I was able to benefit from his ability to process large volumes of information quickly and formulate effective strategy. Kieth was extremely accommodating and sensitive when he represented my case yet firm and commanding when warranted. Soo L.
  • Let’s face it, going through a divorce can be long and nerve-wracking process during which you can be excruciatingly vulnerable. Keith proved to be the sharp, savvy, efficient, frugal and empathetic attorney I needed to be able to achieve a timely and favorable outcome. Jay E.
  • As a fellow attorney, I was aware of your reputation as a skilled and highly regarded matrimonial lawyer. Your representation of my interests in my own divorce confirmed what I had heard; I received outstanding counsel. Thank you for your advice and guidance and for an excellent result. Richard R.
  • When I considered getting a divorce, I wanted to assert my rights while at the same time making sure I wasn’t being unfair to my spouse, and preserving the good relationship I had with my children. You took the time to understand what I was hoping to achieve, and dealt fairly with me and with my spouse. I understand that matrimonial law is inherently adversarial, but I felt that you helped keep it from being more adversarial than absolutely necessary. The end result: a settlement in which both sides got what we needed, in which my parenting relationship with my ex is a productive and civil one, and in which the children are comfortable and cared for. It’s hard to be excited about a divorce, particularly one that ends up in the courts, but you made it as fair and painless as possible, and I thank you for it. Jonathan W.
  • Kieth Rieger made me realize the divorce process is not about showmanship in the courtroom but simply the facts. Eric W.
  • Despite the reputation of divorce lawyers’ being heartless and all about the money, Kieth Rieger was kind, compassionate and willing to work with me financially. When I had a problem making a payment he didn’t threaten to drop me as a client but rather came up with a fair and reasonable payment arrangement. Sharon S.
  • Kieth Rieger and Michael Fried handled my recent marriage litigation. During the entire process both were very professional and always available to answer my many questions. I would highly recommend both if you have this type of litigation. Patrick P.
  • Faced with a contentious divorce 12 years ago, I turned to Kieth Rieger to represent me. I found not only brilliant legal advice, but strong support and calming guidance that came at a critical time. All these years later I returned to him to help me write a pre-nup agreement as I begin a new life. He is a trusted professional who I have recommended many, many times. Amy D.
  • Keith Rieger , My Superlawyer, who checked his ego at the door, rolled up his sleeves, fought for me and my girls, and won in the end. If you want a smart, honest, hardworking lawyer who really cares about his clients, look no further. Lauren L.
  • Going through my divorce was very draining and emotional. Kieth helped me through this time in my life, he made me feel comfortable and at ease that everything would be fine. He and his staff treated me as if I was family. It turned out just the way he said it would. I would recommend this firm to family, friends and anyone that needs a Divorce attorney. Mr. Rieger and associates are hardworking, caring and extremely intelligent. Thank you for giving me a new beginning! Sharyn S.
  • Keith Rieger helped me tremendously during a very difficult divorce. He worked with me financially, and had great empathy for my situation. Your great legal and personal advice were invaluable. Maryanne J.
  • Kieth Rieger guided me through my divorce with incredible professionalism, insight and expertise. Kieth worked tirelessly to achieve the resolution I desired and did everything in his power to realize that outcome efficiently. I highly recommend Keith and the team at Rieger & Fried LLP. Stephen E.
  • Rieger & Fried LLP helped me every step of the way in the process of my divorce. They were adept at walking me through all of the potential options that were available for me. They were focused on resolving our marital issues fairly and with a sense of dignity rarely seen in this field of law. Brian M.