Mary Grace Condello by cjleclaire
Divorce Attorney in New York,
Apr 24, 2013 | 2159 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Brooklyn Divorce Attorney-Every dog will have his day – in divorce court!
by cjleclaire
Jan 09, 2014 | 7122 views | 0 0 comments | 290 290 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Every dog will have his day – in divorce court!

Many pet owners these days are more likely to think of their dogs, cats, pythons and hamsters as companions, family members, or even soul mates than as mere animals. Yet, as I’ve blogged before , in many states, including New York, companion animals in divorce cases are treated as property. However, a recent landmark ruling by a Manhattan judge may lead to pet custody reform.

Recently a divorcing New York City couple was involved in a custody battle over their beloved dachshund. Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper ordered a hearing to determine who the more dedicated pet parent was, because pets should be treated “more like children than property” in divorce proceedings. According to Judge Cooper, “People who love their dogs almost always love them forever. But with divorce rates at record highs, the same cannot always be said for those who marry.” Ultimately, the couple settled their custody battle outside of the courtroom, but credit was given to the judge for helping bring the settlement about.

Whether children or beloved pets are a part of your divorce equation, there is no substitute for an experienced attorney to find a custody solution that is acceptable to you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Call the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello in Brooklyn at (718) 758-5480 to arrange a private consultation. We will review your situation and as your attorney, provide the legal advice and guidance you need to make informed decisions about all-important child and pet custody issues.

Serving Clients across Brooklyn, Staten Island & Long Island

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Divorce Court - DRESS FOR SUCCESS Applies Here Too
by cjleclaire
Oct 28, 2013 | 8295 views | 0 0 comments | 234 234 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Divorce Court – DRESS FOR SUCCESS Applies Here Too

Brooklyn, NY Divorce Attorney

Imagine you are preparing for divorce court. You may have a checklist of all the paperwork you need. Perhaps you have practiced answering questions dozens of times. Maybe you’ve even had a good cry or gone to yoga class or jogging, so you will feel relaxed and confident in front of the judge. These preparations are smart and necessary, but here is one more that you may not have thought of: choose your clothing wisely! To paraphrase the old saying, “clothes make the man or woman.” You may think that your outward appearance should have no bearing on your case, but the fact is, the way you decide to present yourself in court is very important. Showing up bedraggled, overly casual, or unshaven may be seen as proof that you are not taking the proceedings seriously, or that your state of mind is also disheveled. If you are claiming to be in need of alimony or claiming that you are unable to pay much child support, do not show up to court in head-to-toe designer clothes and expensive jewelry.

A good rule of thumb is to dress as though you are going to work in an office, i.e. business attire. Men should wear a suit and tie, or a nice shirt and slacks if a suit is not available. Always wear dress shoes, not sneakers. Avoid hats, sunglasses, excessive bling, and strong cologne. Women should wear a business suit, a nice dress, or a mid-length skirt and blouse. Again, dress shoes are appropriate, sneakers are not. Nothing you wear should be sexy or overly revealing. Avoid strong perfume, lots of jewelry, and bright nail polish. Hygiene matters, too, for men and women, so make sure your hair is neat and clean.

At the Brooklyn Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello, we want you to be prepared to meet your goal in divorce court. We’ll handle the legal details and answer your questions about courtroom attire, but it is up to you to use good judgment regarding your appearance so that you make a positive impression on the judge. Call our Brooklyn law office at (718) 758-5480 or toll free (888) 970-6279 to arrange a confidential consultation.

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Brooklyn, NY Divorce – Planning for Your Children’s College Education
by cjleclaire
Oct 22, 2013 | 7557 views | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Children grow up so fast, don’t they? It can seem as though one day you are getting them ready for kindergarten and the next you are helping them with their college applications. Hopefully you were able to save for that college education as the years flew by. Hopefully your marriage stayed happy and healthy, too, but if you are like many couples facing the prospect of an empty nest, you may be considering divorce. You and your spouse most likely discussed your child or children’s education many times—Ivy League daydreams and late night chats about full scholarships, or realistic talks about state schools and savings accounts. But, you probably never thought about how you would pay for college if you were no longer together.

Even if your children are young, when you divorce, college costs are something you should plan for. Child support payments usually stop once the child is legally an adult, and generally neither parent is legally obligated to contribute financially to their children’s college education. Be sure to include college tuition and related expenses in your divorce agreement.

At the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello, our goal is helping you reach a favorable divorce settlement and that includes making sure that your children’s education is planned for. Call our Brooklyn law offices at (718) 758-5480 to schedule a confidential consultation.

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Alimony for Eggs? Broolyn Divorce and Family Law Blog post
by cjleclaire
Sep 18, 2013 | 11465 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

If you are in the middle of a divorce, you may think you’ve heard and seen everything there is to know about dividing your assets. Well, think again! According to a New York Times  article, a New Jersey woman is asking her nearly-ex-husband to pay “$20,000 to cover her egg-freezing procedure, medication costs and several years of egg storage.” Would that be considered child support for the children they didn’t have?

Before we rush to judgment, though, let’s put ourselves in her shoes for a few moments. She married at 30 with the expectation that she and her husband would soon start a family. Now she is 38, childless, and about to lose her partner. Her biological clock is ticking louder and louder, but it is also winding down. She has no way of knowing how much longer she will be able to have children or how long it will take her to find another partner with whom to potentially conceive offspring. So, her answer is to save her eggs. Today, divorce proceedings in New York can involve the calculation of the main breadwinner’s future earnings to determine child support, so why shouldn’t fertility be taken into consideration?

One way of avoiding egg freezing and storage, and many other issues, is to have your attorney prepare a prenuptial agreement before getting married. If you are nearing the end of your childbearing years and the end of a marriage and want your divorce settlement to include egg-freezing and storage, there is no substitute for an experienced divorce attorney to represent you. To arrange a private consultation, call the Brooklyn office of Mary Grace Condello at (718) 758-5480 or toll free (888) 970-6279.

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Brooklyn, NY & Long Island Divorce & Child Custody Attorney
by cjleclaire
Aug 29, 2013 | 3624 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The Hollywood version of divorce is, naturally, very dramatic. Blockbuster films like Kramer vs. Kramer, Mrs. Doubtfire and Changing Lanes present custody battles one might describe as knock-down, drag out fights. Many Hollywood stars bring the drama into their real lives, too: Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards, and Kelsey and Camille Grammer, just to name a few.

Divorcing parents often think, “My children are worth fighting for!” However, what is best for the children might be not fighting. No doubt this is easier said than done. Your soon-to-be ex knows how to push your buttons, already has a new partner or lets the children stay up late and eat chocolate cake for breakfast. But keep in mind that research shows children involved in high-conflict custody cases suffer psychological effects. Research from the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that 65% of children in contested custody battles experienced “clinical symptoms of anxiety,” including bedwetting, depression, aggression, and sleep issues.

By no means are we suggesting that you give up custody of your children in order to avoid conflict. Certainly, conflict is sometimes unavoidable. However, take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of a prolonged battle. Not letting a skirmish turn into a full-fledged war will benefit your children and save you a lot of heartache, not to mention stress.

Consider mediation, a less adversarial approach to divorce and custody issues that allows you to resolve issues through open communication and agreement. At the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello, we make every effort to help you settle child custody issues out of court in so far as possible. Our experience has shown us that the best solutions for child custody issues are agreements parents reach outside the courtroom. In the event you are dealing with an uncompromising spouse, we are always prepared to fight for your rights in the courtroom. Call our Brooklyn Law Offices at (718) 758-5480 or toll free at (888)-970-6279 to arrange an appointment and find out how we can help you.

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Divorce Attorney in Brooklyn talks about couples fighting over Custody of their Precious Pets
by cjleclaire
Jul 19, 2013 | 20739 views | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Many divorcing couples fight like cats and dogs, but more and more divorcing couples are fighting over cats and dogs. Last year, one New Yorker spent $60,000 battling for custody of his dog, and he’s not the only person willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a beloved pet. Animal custody disputes during divorce have been steadily on the rise for years, according to a 2006 survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Although companion animals are included in Orders of Protection in the state of New York, in divorce cases pets are generally considered property, like television sets or lawnmowers. But how many people consider their dog, cat, ferret or cockatiel a thing? For many animal lovers, their pet is a best friend, a member of their family, even a child. Losing contact with that animal is understandably heartbreaking.

Here are a few tips, courtesy of The Animal Legal Defense Fund, if you are considering divorce and anticipate a pet custody battle:

  • Paperwork matters. Be prepared to prove that you adopted or bought the animal. If this is not the case, did you pay for veterinary care, grooming, licensing, or training? You may need to show receipts for these services as well as food, toys, and other items if you consider yourself the primary caregiver.
  • Witnesses may be helpful. Did family members or neighbors see you consistently walking or playing with your pet? Do you have a regular play date with another person and their companion animal?
  • Consider mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Consider shared custody.  Remember that your spouse may also have formed a deep attachment to your pet, and your pet most likely loves your spouse, too. You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse both probably have your pet’s best interests at heart.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you arrive at a mutually acceptable custody solution for children and your pet. Call the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello in Brooklyn at (718) 758-5480 to get legal advice and guidance that will help you reach a favorable divorce settlement.

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Brooklyn New York Divorce Attorney talks about NY Divorce Law Overhaul
by cjleclaire
May 31, 2013 | 6520 views | 0 0 comments | 202 202 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

If you are looking for a shock and a laugh today, take a peek at . You’ll find a list of some of the silly, strange and/or outdated laws that are still technically in place in New York and New Jersey. In fact, just last week the state of New Jersey passed a bill striking many antiquated laws from the books.

Even some new laws are outlandish. A recent Wall Street Journal article, “New York Divorce Law Moves Closer to Overhaul,” reports: In 2010, State legislators tasked an independent group, the Law Revision Commission, with evaluating a package of divorce laws passed hastily that changed the state's approach to alimony. One law enacted a strict formula for alimony awarded during the process of divorce. The problem, according to the article, is that the formula failed to address many of the issues high-income couples experience, such as mortgage payments, one-time bonuses and savings accounts. As a result, some judges added costs for lifestyle expenses on top of the awards, in some cases based on income that was no longer available. In some extreme cases, payor spouses were forced to pay more in alimony than they earned each month...” The WJS article stated, “The Law Revision Commission also recommended abolishing the O’Brien precedent, another unique area of New York law that considers licenses or degrees earned during the marriage to be marital property.” Because of the precedent, “… divorcing couples hire experts to predict how much money their spouse might ever earn as the result of a license or degree earned during the marriage and receive up to 50% of those predicted earnings. The rulings cannot be changed, even if the spouse doesn't end up earning the expected amount.” These regulations have been called “arbitrary,” anomalous and just plain “bad.” Not exactly the way we would want our laws to be described!

If you are weighing the pros and cons of divorce to resolve a marital rift, it is important to consult with an attorney to protect your legal rights and best interests. When you turn to Brooklyn, New York divorce lawyer Mary Grace Condello to advise you, she will explain the law as it pertains to your situation and help you make informed decisions about divorce that will affect you and your family today and into the future. Call our Brooklyn law firm at (718) 259-4500 to arrange a private consultation and find out how we can help.

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by cjleclaire
Apr 24, 2013 | 4056 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Brooklyn NY Attorney talks about Lottery Winnings and Child Support

Winning the lottery is the stuff of daydreams and fantasies, and for a lucky few it is a real dream come true. For non-custodial parents who have been unable or unwilling to pay child support, however, the payout is also time to pay up. As a recent Powerball winner discovered, a background check is run on anyone who wins $600 or more in the states of New York and New Jersey. Lottery, casino and racetrack winnings are used to cover any delinquent child support  and tax payments that the background check finds.

As we discussed in a previous blog, modifications to Child Support Orders are allowable if there has been a 15% change in income for either party. A substantial gambling win might mean not only paying off accrued debt, but also being liable for a permanent increase in child support payments. Of course, until you obtain support modification, you are still obligated under New York child support law to pay the established child support payments. If you are fortunate enough to strike gold, remember you must pay what you owe, so be sure to check with your attorney regarding your child support obligations.

If you have questions about child support or spousal maintenance, contact the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello at (718) 259-4500. Arrange a private consultation to discuss your situation and find out how an experienced family law attorney can help you.

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