Long Island, NY divorce lawyer Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. is pleased to offer you a free copy of his brand new eBook written to help you navigate the often murky waters of divorce in New York State.
The eBook, “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” takes the mystery and fear out of the often the difficult process of divorce so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
Why the ‘Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York’?
Speaking to your spouse about a divorce is not likely a conversation you imagined yourself having when you got married. But as we all find out sooner or later, we never know what life has in store for us. As a Long Island divorce attorney with 15 years of experience, I have seen husbands and wives enter my office with numerous emotions; complete disbelief, extreme anger, and at times, even joy.
However one thing that stays the same with the majority of the clients we encounter is that each one is anxious. Most people will go their entire lives without dealing with the court system, but a divorce puts you in the position to stand in front of the judge and discuss personal matters.
We know how complicated and scary this unknown process of divorce can be. Therefore, my job as a Long Island divorce attorney is not only to fight for the rights of my clients in court, but to also fight for them outside of court, and attempt to make a stressful process just a little less stressful.
Our intent behind publishing this book is exactly that. We hope to provide you with some general information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the State of New York, so you are better able to meet with divorce attorneys confidently, and begin your divorce prepared for the road that lies ahead.
We understand that if you’re considering a divorce on Long Island, you are likely distraught at the prospect of going through a divorce. Even if you are initiating the divorce, it’s still an emotional experience and there’s so much confusion and misinformation out there. We wrote this book to help people who may be considering divorce in New York understand what they’re getting into. We hope that by being able to read this book on your own time from the comfort and convenience of your own home, you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come when you take the step to meet with a Long Island divorce lawyer.
The eBook covers the most important issues anyone on Long Island considering divorce in New York will have to tackle. We’ve provided a glimpse of the Table of Contents of the eBook below to demonstrate the comprehensive nature of this guide. Far from a “sales pitch” for our firm, we want you to consider carefully what you’re getting into and be sure that you’ve tried everything to save your marriage before you initiate divorce proceedings. We also want to be sure that, should you decide to divorce, that you are prepared to move on with your life after your divorce in a healthy and happy way.
We know that it’s difficult for anybody to absorb all the information they need to know sitting in a divorce lawyer’s office, particularly when you’re in emotional turmoil. Our hope is that, after reading the book, when you visit a Long Island divorce lawyer, you’ll know what to expect and be more relaxed and able to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Download Long Island Divorce Lawyer, Robert E. Hornberger, Esq.’s New eBook Now
The new eBook, “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” is available now as a free download from the company’s website, http://divorce-longisland.com
Many Long Island couples these days are choosing to get married in exotic locations, often out of the country, and this can cause issues should those marriages end in divorce. Destination weddings, which encompass couples picking exotic, and likely tropical, locations, to say their vows are rapidly increasing in popularity. Families pack their bags and hop on flights with the intent of enjoying a vacation and seeing the newlyweds tie the knot at the same time. Amongst all the excitement of planning the wedding and the trip, sometimes the couple forgets the most important document to legalize the marriage — the marriage license.
How Can Someone Not File for a Marriage License?
A case in New York’s Supreme Court in Manhattan this past May addresses exactly this issue. Ponorovskaya v. Stecklow centered on a couple that traveled to Mexico for their destination wedding. While at the resort, the couple was given information on the different types of ceremonies available to them, including civil, religious, or symbolic. Because of the rigorous requirements of performing a civil marriage ceremony in Mexico the couple decided to do only a symbolic ceremony with the intent of acknowledging the occasion. Had they chosen at least a civil ceremony, the marriage would at least have had legal standing under Mexican law.
You may be thinking it is strange to take no steps to legalize the marriage where it is performed, however this is not as rare you as may believe. Most couples that choose to have a destination wedding opt to file for a marriage license in New York either before or after the symbolic ceremony in the destination country. In Ponorovskaya v. Stecklow, however, the couple failed to take this step. Although they began the license application process upon their return from Mexico, they neglected to complete it and therefore were never issued a marriage license.
Naturally, you may be wondering how this happens. Couples may be operating under an incorrect assumption that a ceremony performed elsewhere is legally valid and therefore fail to take the proper steps upon return. However, the fact that this couple began the application process shows that they were at least somewhat aware the license was required, and there was no indication as to why they failed to complete it.
Are You Entitled to a Divorce if You Do Not Have a Marriage License?
The couple later sought a divorce, and that was what brought the case to court, as one partner claimed divorce was not an available remedy because there was no valid marriage. What the partner seeking the divorce sought to rely upon was Section 25 of New York’s Domestic Relations Law, which provides that a marriage without a license is void unless the parties have honored that marriage, and her statement that their marriage had been solemnized would entitle them to divorce proceedings in New York.
Before a determination of whether the marriage was in fact properly observed to fall within this exception, the court was left to determine whether DRL § 25 could be applied to marriage ceremonies performed outside of New York when those ceremonies do not produce marriages that are valid under the local laws.
The court dove into an analysis of the reach and purpose of DRL § 25. Although the court expressly noted that DRL § 25 is still in fact good law, it minimized its authority by stating that it is simply an antiquated law that the Legislature has merely overlooked. Of most importance here was the court’s refusal to apply DRL § 25 to the couple’s marriage ceremony in Mexico.
Out of what is clearly respect for the laws of other jurisdictions, and the desire that foreign couples do not come to New York for marriage ceremonies with the intention of skirting around appropriate laws of the state, the court held that it would not apply DRL § 25 in a manner that would “allow couples who embark on destination weddings the right to blithely ignore the clearly defined laws of a country in which they are guests.”
The court set a bright line rule by stating that while DRL § 25 may be (albeit rarely) applied to marriage ceremonies performed in New York, it is not applicable to ceremonies performed in foreign countries, and it is only applicable to ceremonies performed in other states under the most extraordinary circumstances.
What Does This Mean For Me?
If you had a destination wedding and failed to file for a marriage license either before or after the ceremony, it is important to discuss the specifics of the ceremony with your divorce attorney. Although other factors are taken into consideration when determining if DRL § 25 may be applied to an otherwise invalid marriage, the initial question that must be addressed is whether or not the ceremony was legally valid where it was performed.
Need Help? Contact the Long Island Divorce Lawyers at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC
Not sure if your marriage is legally valid and you can get divorced on Long Island? Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page for a complimentary (free) consultation. The compassionate and experienced divorce attorneys at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC are knowledgeable on all aspects of divorce law as practiced in Nassau and Suffolk counties and throughout New York State.
When we consider matters of Child Custody on Long Island, we usually think that one parent will have physical custody of all the children and the other parent will have Visitation rights. However, in reality, children are separated from their siblings in a divorce more often than you might think. This can occur for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, one child’s desire to live with a different parent than the other. In these cases, Custody of one child may be awarded to the mother and Custody of another child may be awarded to the father.
If you are contemplating a divorce, or have recently begun divorce proceedings, you will have to come to agreement with your spouse over matters of child custody. Among considerations that may have crossed your mind may be not only your right to see your children if you are not awarded physical custody, but also perhaps the rights of your parents or your siblings to see their grandchildren or niece or nephew. What you may not have considered, until now, are the rights of your children to spend time with their siblings if they are living separately after your divorce.
What is the Governing Law in New York Regarding Familial Visitation Rights?
As most issues that arise during the divorce process, the issue of a sibling’s right of visitation is governed by Section 71 of New York’s Domestic Relations Law. Under this section, a child’s brother or sister (or the parent or guardian of the brother or sister if the individual is a minor) can petition the court for visitation rights. As in all cases involving children, the court decides and directs any rights the sibling or siblings may have to visitation in accordance with what it believes are in the best interest of the child in question.
Because this is a sensitive, and perhaps emotional decision that may arise during the divorce, if at all possible it should be made between you and your partner with the assistance of your respective divorce attorneys, ahead of time. However, because this is such an emotionally charged issue that often leads to hurt feelings, it may be difficult to come to agreement on these issues outside of court and you may wind up litigating them in front of a judge.
The United States Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville provided guidance for the New York State legislature in creating its grandparent visitation statute, which is also applicable to siblings. Under this statute, the court must determine if the individual filing the petition has standing, and then if this is satisfied, the court will determine if visitation is in the best interest of the child. Generally, these visitation statutes require some type of legal, biological, or familial relationship between the party filing the petition and the child in question. In addition to looking into the relationship between the child and the party who is seeking visitation, the court will look into the specific circumstances of the child’s environment and note if the individual was aware of negligent or negative treatment of the child and failed to act, as well as the relationship between the party seeking visitation and the parent with whom the child currently resides. Courts are generally reluctant to permit visitation rights if it feels that the person seeking those rights may not be a positive influence in the child’s life.
Does the Court Take My View as a Parent into Consideration At All?
One would like to believe that arguing between family members about child visitation is a rare occurrence. However, if you find yourself faced with this situation, remember that as your child’s parent, you have a fundamental right to raise him or her as you see fit, and this includes affording you a presumption that if you are denying visitation rights to certain individuals, you are doing so because you believe that it is in the best interests of your child. But of course, as your divorce attorney will likely inform you, your desires are not the final answer, and the court will require visitation if its finds this would be in the child’s best interest.
While you or your spouse may harbor negative feelings toward one another, it is not as likely that your child harbors negatives feelings toward his or her siblings. As most of these posts have noted, when a child’s parents are going through a divorce the child needs certain constants to remain in his or her life, and his or her siblings are no doubt one of those things.
Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?
To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.
Need Help with Child Custody or Visitation in Your Long Island Divorce?
We’re here to help. The experienced and compassionate Long Island divorce attorneys and Child Custody and Visitation experts at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. can help you navigate the murky waters of your divorce, child custody and visitation issues in Nassau and Suffolk County courts. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation in our conveniently located offices in Melville, NY where we can get to know each other and discuss the specifics of your situation and the best way to resolve them. If you prefer, fill out the short form on this page and we’ll call you.
If you’re considering a divorce on Long Island, be careful what you post on any social media channel. Actions you take on such social media properties as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or any other social media accounts you may have (including dating websites!) can have important consequences in divorce court in Nassau or Suffolk County.
For many people, social media puts all the details of your life within a mouse click of the rest of the world, and if you are not careful, you may be exposing more than you think or desire. Consider anything you do online, even if a “private message”, as public. If you’re doing something using the Internet, there’s a record somewhere of nearly every keystroke you make from behind your computer screen.
A recent case out of the Appellate Division, Third Department, Matter of Melody M. v. Robert M., highlighted just how dangerous social media can be while in the midst of a divorce.
A separation agreement provided that the father would have primary physical custody of the couple’s three young children, while the mother was permitted one weekday evening visit and visitation on weekends. Eventually, the mother sought a modification of the custody agreement, which the court rejected and awarded the father sole physical custody of the three children.
One of the provisions of the new court order, was a restraining order was issued against the mother, intending to prevent her from posting anything to or from her children on social media sites. Of great importance to the court’s determination to award the father sole physical custody of the children was the mother’s previous negative use of her Facebook profile.
Rather than use the site to keep in touch with and communicate with friends, she used the site as an outlet for her anger toward her oldest child, who also suffered from a mental illness. More specifically, she posted on Facebook that her child was an “asshole.” The court ruled that this use of Facebook was sufficient evidence “to justify the court’s issuance of the order of protection” and prevent the modification of the custody agreement.
This ruling out of the Third Department, should serve as a warning to anyone considering a divorce of the dangers of what may be a seemingly innocent Facebook post.
While the child’s mother likely posted the statement out of anger and frustration at her child, to post such comments to the mass public paints her in a negative light and calls her character into question. In acting in the best interests of the child, Nassau and Suffolk County courts will hesitate to grant physical custody of children to a parent that they feel have displayed questionable activities and morals.
Social media posts aren’t only important in child custody cases. Any aspect of your divorce, from property division to child support could be impacted by something you unwittingly posted on a social media channel. Consider how posting a picture of your new Mercedes might be perceived by the courts when trying to claim you need more child support or claim you can’t afford to pay more child support.
Important tips you should be aware of while using the Internet throughout your divorce:
First and foremost, the safest option would be to delete all of your social media accounts. While you can control what statuses or pictures you post, you cannot control those of your friends or family and what they can post about you. As a pilot once told me as my plane landed in Las Vegas, “What happens in Vegas ends up on Facebook.”
If you do not wish to delete your social media accounts, then you should look into the various privacy settings offered through each network. Facebook enables you to approve things others post before they appear on your page, and Instagram has the option of making your account completely private, so your pictures are only viewable to those you accept as “friends.”
Only accept “friend requests” from people you know personally and, most importantly, trust unconditionally. While Facebook has the “People You May Know” feature, if you are going through something personal it is important to keep your life just that – personal. Just because your next-door-neighbor knows Sally Jane who is now requesting you to be her “friend” does not mean she wouldn’t be the reason you lose physical custody of your children.
And finally, be smart about the use of these networks. Once something enters the Internet, it is there forever. You may post something out of anger, sadness, or rage, and delete it a few minutes later, but you do not know how many individuals saw that post within the 120 seconds of its existence.
While this may seem like a common sense list of tips, you would be surprised at how many individuals are tricked by what they perceive to be the “safeness” of the Internet. You can be anything you want online, whether it is something good or bad, and at times people get carried away with the belief that the Internet is a separate realm from “the real world”. Try Googling yourself one day and you may be surprised at the personal information that pops up so quickly. While going through your divorce on Long Island, NY, you want to make sure that personal information is nothing that can potentially be used against you in Nassau or Suffolk County Court.
Have Questions About Social Media and Divorce in Nassau or Suffolk on Long Island, NY?
The divorce attorneys and divorce mediators at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. are very familiar with the latest decisions by the courts in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, NY. We can help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of divorce law and ensure your interests are protected to the fullest. If you have questions about your divorce, feel free to contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complementary consultation in our comfortable offices in Melville, NY or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.
After a divorce on Long Island and depending on whatever child custody agreement you and your partner have entered into, a child may find that the environment he or she has become accustomed to has been turned upside down. In these instances, it is helpful to keep as many constants in your child’s life as possible. These constants may include their friends, pets, room color, and perhaps most importantly, their grandparents.
It often comes as a surprise to Long Island couples that their children’s grandparents are not automatically awarded visitation rights upon your divorce. If you are the non-custodial parent you should be aware that the custodial parent is legally allowed to keep your parents from seeing their grandchildren. As harsh as this might seem, sadly, some non-custodial parents find themselves in this dilemma, and if you happen to be one of those individuals, the following may be useful to you in determining what rights your parents have to see their grandchildren.
Why Aren’t These Rights Automatic?
The United States Supreme Court has decided that a parent’s right to raise their children as they wish is a fundamental right and they therefore have the right to deny visitation to the children’s grandparents. The Court operates under the assumption that a fit parent will always act in the best interests of the child. Because of this, a parent’s right to raise a child cannot be infringed upon unless it is necessary to advance a compelling interest set forth by the government. In other words, the government must have a VERY good reason to interfere with how a parent wishes to raise his or her child, and included within thosee rights is the right to decide who visits and spends time with that child.
What is the Law in New York State?
Grandparent visitation rights on Long Island are governed by New York’s Domestic Relations Law §72. Under this statute, a grandparent has standing to seek a court order to compel visitation rights to his or her infant grandchildren in two limited instances:
When one or both parents are deceased.
When equity favors a grandparent’s intervention. If both parents are alive and the fitness of the parent has not been called into question, a grandparent can only petition for visitation rights in instances where equity would favor his or her intervention.
Decisions Made on a Case-by-Case Basis
However, the fact that a grandparent can provide facts supporting one of the above two conditions does not end the court’s inquiry. From here, each decision will be made on a case-by-case basis, with the court taking into consideration the best interests of the child. Included in this analysis are whether visitations would force a custodial parent to accept grandparents from out-of-town, the amount of time grandparents spent with the children pre-divorce, if they ever babysat, the state of the relationship between the parent and the grandparents, and most importantly, whether or not the children want to see their grandparents and the relationship between the two. Clearly, this statute is very limiting, and grandparents cannot be awarded visitation rights solely on the grounds that they miss their grandchildren.
How Can I Avoid a Situation Such as This?
Your best option to avoid a situation in which grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren is to discuss the situation with your partner, provided that you currently maintain a relationship that allows you to discuss matters civilly. If you can, sit down, with or without your divorce attorney, and explain how grandparent visitation will affect your children. Although the right itself is deemed a “grandparent visitation right,” it is important to discuss grandparent visitation in terms of the rights of the children and not the grandparents. This way, it will be easier for your partner to see the consequences from the eyes of their children, rather than a third party to whom they may currently harbor negative feelings. If you and your partner cannot come to an agreement on your own, you may consider bringing the issue in front of a divorce mediator. This can be a mid-level step between discussing the issue between yourselves, and having the grandparents petition the court. And as always, keep in mind that a grandparent’s visitation rights are about the children – this is one constant that will benefit your children during a time of change.
Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?
To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.
Have Questions About Grandparent’s Rights in Your Long Island Divorce?
The divorce attorneys and divorce mediators at the law firm of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. have helped hundreds of divorcing couples on Long Island protect the rights of the children’s grandparents. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 to set up a convenient time to come in and sit down with one of our experienced divorce attorneys and mediators to discuss the particulars of your situation at a free consultation in our convenient Melville, NY offices.
As we bid farewell to 2013, we welcome 2014, and count our blessings as we prepare for a new year full of hope and promise.
While each new year brings with it hope, we know it will not be without its challenges. Fortunately, each new year is a blank canvas and a chance to overcome new challenges and achieve new heights of success.
We hope 2013 was good to you and that 2014 will be even better.
We wish you and your family the happiest, healthiest and most prosperous 2014.
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular basis.
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.
I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!