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.


Read what others are saying about us!

  • "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."
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