So Why Divorce?

I sat down to write a blog about why so many people are seeking a divorce after the first of the year.  What I found was that this article by Patricia Barbarito stated my thoughts so perfectly that I wanted to share it with all of you.

Key to her writing is her summary that…  

Marriages end for a variety of reasons – just as every relationship is unique, so too is every divorce. There is, however, one thing that every divorce has in common, whether it happens in January when cases tend to rise or any other time of year: Divorce does not just happen overnight. It happens slowly, day by day, little by little, wearing down the hopes and dreams upon which the relationship was built. Divorce can be complex and can take an emotional toll on a family. There are many sensitive issues that need to considered, including custody, real estate, tax, estate planning, or business considerations. It requires a planned, thoughtful approach.

Please take a moment to read the article at the link below. 

First Quarter of the Year Brings Resolutions and Reflection – So Why Divorce?

Every year, the number of couples filing for divorce increases between the months of January and March. The questions is, why do so many couples decide to divorce early in the new year?

By Patricia Barbarito
January 30, 2017


First Quarter of the Year Brings Resolutions and Reflection – So Why Divorce?


The Holidays

To all those who are surfing the internet regarding divorce, separation or custody at this time of year, please know that I understand how difficult a time this is for you and your family. It is a time of year when everything around you tells you how lucky and blessed you are and how happy you are supposed to be.  Yet for some, this is a time of uncertainty, a time of financial crisis or concerns, and you are feeling anxious, sad and sometimes even scared.  2017-1

My advice is to have not expectations and simple do the best you can to live in the moment until you can move to the next chapter of your life.  If you are one of my clients then we are likely to have a plan, so keep your head down, believe and keep going forward.  If you need me call.

I wish everyone the blessings of this season and the new year, because I believe you are going to find them as Christmas comes because God sent Jesus to help us because all was not well and perfect, because life is difficult and messy and sometimes feels like it is more than we can handle.  So during this Christmas Season have faith that you are not alone, from whatever faith you come your faith can be your strength and your companion, and you also have, me.  2017 here we come!

Your Spouse Hired Me. What does this mean for YOU?

Ok your significant other or spouse has hired me to represent them.  What will this mean for YOU?

First, I am not and will never be about how much money I can make off your misfortune or unfortunate circumstances.

Next, if your spouse has hired me I believe in working with a client to develop, propose and put in place, a Life Plan.  I want them to be able to say in a few years that life is where it should be for them, and for their children and yes, for their spouse.

My experience is that if your objective is primarily to try and “punish” the spouse or “win” then you will be in and out of court for years to come.

It is important to remember that the more you and your spouse fight, the more money lawyers make.

Next, I work to assist the parties in reaching a successful resolution to their matter.  I am not opposed to sitting down with the parties and attorneys.  I always offer to sit down with opposing counsel in every case I am involved with.  I will say that there are quite a few attorneys that will not do this.  I do not understand that position.  If the attorneys discuss the case before Court action, we get clarity as to what everyone’s position is and can discuss options.  Without options it is hard to come to an agreement.  If there is no agreement, we then go to Court where the Court has us tell each other the client’s positions.  Do you see the irony?  The only thing I can think of is the attorneys make more money because they spend more time on the matter instead of possibly resolving it at an earlier stage.

Please note:  Don’t let all this talk of  finding a resolution or settlement fool you.  I am a trial attorney and have no problem taking a matter to court or trial.  I will discuss what this will mean in broad terms for my clients and their families so that if my clients choose this path they understand what it will look like for them, but I also strongly encourage clients to go to court or trial if their spouses are not considering or offering a reasonable resolution.  No one pushes them into agreeing to something that does not work toward a successful Life Plan.

Remember, if you or your spouse hires me, I hope to help you satisfactorily resolve your matter at any stage short of a full trial—if I do this I make less money. That is fine with me…other files are waiting for my attention.  My Life Plan is NOT to send my kids to college on helping you achieve your Life Plan!!!


Find an Attorney

One Way to Find an Attorney

How to choose your divorce or family law lawyer/attorney is a very serious matter.  It is a substantial purchase financially and it affects all aspects of your daily life.  One way to find an Attorney is word of mouth.  This is often the best method.

I get referrals from my clients, but what continues to surprise me today is the number of referrals or recommendations I get from the people who I opposed in a prior proceeding.  The party or person that is the “other side” of the legal issue. Instead of recommending their attorney…the give my name to their friends who are trying to find an attorney.

Recently, I had a woman who is trying to representing herself this time (I am again representing the Father) come up to me after a Court appearance on her matter and tell me she gave my name to one of her friends.  I thanked her and asked her if I might inquire as to why.  She told me because I seemed to have a plan and direction and that my clients seem to be aware of what was happening and the end result I got for the Father worked for him.  Again, I thanked her, of course I did recommend to her she get a lawyer to represent her this time and offered her names. I told her it was important for her to find an attorney.

When you pick an attorney what might you look for:

  • Someone who offers a free initial consultation. Like test driving a car, check the lawyer out and see if the relationship will be a good fit.

  • Someone who matches your direction and temperament.

Don’t pick a meek attorney if you are looking for someone stronger.

Don’t pick an attorney who doesn’t work with you regarding life plans if you are looking for a life plan.

Don’t pick any attorney who doesn’t take the time to explain things well if you are someone who likes lots of detail.

Don’t pick an attorney who doesn’t think out of the box if you are not happy with the status quo.

Don’t pick an attorney who charges too much if you cannot afford it.

  • Someone you can afford. Paying more for an hourly rate or retainer does not mean they are better. Some of us simply thing it is the moral and right thing to do.  We do our best to offer an excellent service for a reasonable price.

  • Someone who specializes in Family Law and Divorce. Not all attorneys are the same and it is simply said that attorneys who devote their practice, training and life to this work make a difference.

  • Someone who calls you or emails you back promptly. Not the secretary or paralegal but the actual attorney who contacts you within 24 hours.  Look for an attorney who has this in their retainer agreement.

  • Someone who is passionate about their work. This is hard to explain but if you can find an attorney who loves and believes in what they do, that it is more than just collecting money to say out loud what the client wants—hire them.  If you can find an attorney who will sit with you and make a true life plan with you, including custody for now and the future, finances, employment and so much more—hire them.

Take the time to find your lawyer with at least the same amount of research and investigation that you would that new car or stove.  If you are looking at this post you are most likely at a troubled time in your life.  I wish for all of you the best for you and your families.

Father’s Day On Mom’s Day….


Father’s Day can be one of the best days of the year for any father, regardless of whether his children are young or old. But, sometimes Father’s Day can instead be painful, especially when the father looks at his current child custody order, visitation schedule, or parenting plan and sees that Father’s Day is actually one of mother’s days of custodial time under the order or agreement.  

Some suggestions:

Try to Work Out a Compromise

Just like in many family law issues, the first step to be taken should be a meaningful attempt at settlement (rather than jumping into litigation). It is quite possible that the other parent will be open to modifying the custodial schedule for Father’s Day. And, it may be the case that the issue of Father’s Day was not carefully contemplated at the time that the agreement was reached or when the family law judge rendered his/her custodial order.  Take a good look at the plan/order if Father’s Day is not set forth, Mother’s Day may not be either and a compromise will benefit both parents.

It never hurts to at least ask. In contentious or potentially contentious situations, the request should be made in writing. If the other parent is not agreeable to relinquishing the entire day, then perhaps a long period of visitation in the morning or afternoon will be an option. The father could also offer to “swap” another one of his custodial days in exchange for Father’s Day.

Under a “best case” senerio an objective mediator or therapist might help you work through this issue, but that will require the parties agreeing to this method of resolution.  Again it never hurts to ask. Having such a person to be the “objective voice of reason” may help the parties work with one another to reach a resolution.

If You Can’t Agree, Then You May Have to Go to Court

I constantly remind my clients that while settlement is always a desirable option, “it takes two to settle.” So, if settlement is out of the picture, then the only alternative may be to seek intervention from the Court.

Please note that in New York State unless you are addressing this well before June it is not likely that you will get his resolved before Father’s Day, however, resolving it for other years may still be desirable.

Typically, to modify a court ordered parenting plan you must show a change in circumstances.  Most orders/judgments have a clause that states that there be “other and further parenting time as the parties agree”.  If this exists, there is no mention of Father’s Day, you can prove you requested Father’s Day in a reasonable manner and was denied, some Courts will consider this enough to modify the order/judgment.

Most family law judges will be sympathetic to the father’s plea for time with his children on Father’s Day. But, the father should make sure that he presents a reasonable request to the Court. It may be helpful to offer to “swap days” with the other parent or to indicate that the father is willing to defer to the Court’s wisdom as to a fair and equitable outcome.

Also, it is important to remember that when you go to Court you may be opening up other issues, be sure to speak to an attorney before you file for Court intervention.

If It’s Too Late This Year, Plan Ahead for Next Year

If a father does not act on this issue in a timely manner or if he is unsuccessful in doing so, he should not be discouraged. Instead, he should be proactive. First, he should set up plans for him to have “his own Father’s Day” with the children on another one of his custodial days. After all, the date for Father’s Day changes every year and the spirit of the holiday is all about celebrating the special father-child bond. Therefore, there really is no reason that the holiday can’t be done on a “make-up day” later.

Custody and Visitation

Who is an Attorney For Children

Texting During Divorce or Court

Cheating: The Court doesn’t care!

Cheating:  The Court doesn’t care who is sleeping with who!

OK folks, I am writing this blog because I don’t want to see one more person spend a single dime of their hard earned money talking, texting, or fighting because their spouse, partner or former co-parent has cheated on them!  The Court does not care who is cheating on who.

The Courts do not care about this.

The Courts will not listen to this.

The Courts do not punish for this.

The Courts do not decide any monetary issue based upon this.

The Courts do not decide any custody issue based upon this—unless you have proof that your spouse, partner or former co-parent is taking your children around known pedophiles or drug dealers etc.

If you insist I will spend your retainer and listen.  I will spend your retainer and sympathize.   I will spend your retainer and tell the Court all about the cheating and what a crappy person they are. However, in the end it will not change your outcome.

Don’t let other attorneys fool you into hiring them because they are outraged or promise to fight.  Yes, there are matters which you may need to spend your resources to “fight”—but that cheating is not one of them.


Texting During Divorce

Purpose of Initial Consultation

Child Support. What Does it Pay For?

What Is Child Support?   How much is child support? What does child support pay for? Can I pay my child directly? child_support_new_york_state

Child support is the financial obligation you have to support your child as he or she matures. If you have custody of your child, the courts assume that you fulfill your financial obligation. If your child does not live with you, however, the courts may require that you pay child support to the custodial parent.

What does Child Support Actually Cover?

You’ve arrived home from work and as you sort through the day’s mail you see there’s a note from your ex   asking for payment for Tommy’s new baseball uniforms and asking you to pick up some new clothes and toiletry items for Susie when she comes to stay with you next weekend.

But wait a minute; you’ve paid your child support this month and on time like you have every other payment.

With all the money you are paying for child support, why are you being asked to provide additional support to cover these other expenses?

It begs the question, what does child support cover?  It is important to note the following:

  1. In New York State child support is paid to the parent who has physical custody of the child/children. It is not paid to the child/children. 

  2. You cannot designate what the child support/current care amount will be used to pay for.

  3. You cannot require that payments be made above child support by the payor/parent without a court order. Child support is to cover the child’s needs along with the custodial parent’s contribution for care. So above, you could say no to the extras for Tommy and Susie.  However, many parents who want to insure their children have these extras pay anyway.  Of course, the choice will be up to you.

How Much Should You be Paying?

Child Support is based upon a formula according to the New York State Child Support Standards Act and the new Maintenance Laws.  It is also interesting to note the following:

  1. NEED:  Child support is not based on the needs of the children but the incomes of the parents.

  2. AGE OF CHILDREN: Child support is paid until age 21 or emancipation in New York State.  New York State is one of the few states with payments required until that date.

  3. PAYMENTS AFTER AGE 18: Payments after age 18 should be reviewed with an attorney.  There are often circumstances which would allow for a modification of child support.  There could be increase for college expenses or reductions if the child is working or not working or going to college.

  4. INCOME OF OTHER HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS: Incomes of new spouses or other household persons is not calculated for child support but can be a factor if seeking a modification.

  5. OTHER REQUIRED PAYMENTS: In addition to current care child support based on the Child Support Standards Act formula can be required for health insurance premiums and uncovered medical expenses and employment related child care.  These amounts are determined by the proportion of income of the parties.  Whoever makes more pays a greater amount, unless another arrangement is reached.

  6. DEVIATIONS TO THE FORMULA: Deviation is possible but often difficult.  If you are the parent who needs child support don’t agree to a deviation it can follow you for ever and make supporting your child difficult.  If you are the parent looking for deviation you will need to meet certain criteria that may require the assistance of legal counsel to get the Court’s approval.

True of False?  Joint Custody Means You Don’t Have to Pay Child Support. 

FALSE!!! First, joint legal custody has no real bearing on child support.

Second, joint physical custody where the parents each have the child or children the same amount of time (days and overnights) each week or month may have a child support deviation circumstance. This is where child support does not have to be according to the formula.  Please note that even in a joint physical situation NYS authority is that the higher income parent still pays child support to the lower income parent.  I recommend an experienced attorney to assist in this very complicated and subjective senerio. 

See also:

Purpose of an Initial Consultation

What Will My Divorce Cost Me?


Many might decide that instead of going through all the trouble of finding any paying for a lawyer and going balduf_divorce_attorney_onlineto court for the divorce process they will just jump online and be a hop, skip and jump away from being divorced. What many don’t know is that online divorces aren’t all they may be cracked up to be. Below are some things to look out for when considering an online divorce.

Fees:  While you may think an online divorce will be cheaper, it is important to understand whichever spouse files the divorce is the one that is likely to be responsible for all the fees.

State laws still apply: Divorce laws are different in every state. Even when  using online divorce packets all state divorce laws still apply. Just because you see it on the internet does not mean it contains the proper and updated forms necessary to obtain a New York State Divorce. Old information never comes down and other information may or may not be the most current and necessary information.

Beware of scams: Just like everything else on the internet there are reliable sources and unreliable sources.

Appearing in court: You might have chosen to use an online divorce packet thinking you didn’t have to appear in a courtroom at any point during the divorce.  It is important to understand that it does not mean you will never have to step foot in a courtroom. If you spouse contests any part of the divorce or doesn’t agree with every aspect of the divorce you will more than likely end up in court.

There are many ways to work through your divorce case. The traditional and recommended method involves hiring a divorce attorney that can handle your case and help you to interpersonally work through your current situation. You are hiring someone to give you advice and information you would not otherwise have. Yet some people opt for less practical methods of divorce, such as a DIY divorce or such as hiring an online divorce service  to process the paperwork for you or an online packet to file the paperwork yourself. As this story shows, not all of those ideas will work out satisfactorily.

A woman seeks to start her divorce.  She found the website on the computer and decided to use a do-it-yourself-packet to get the cheap and reasonably priced service she was looking for.  The woman was daunted by attorney’s fees and thought that using a website to packet would be the cheaper option. She was going through an uncontested divorce, meaning that there were no children involved and no property to split. In fact, her and her husband both agreed on the terms of the divorce, so the process seemed so easy a machine could handle it. She signed up with the web service, and paid two installments that totaled $519. After this, papers the were necessary to get a divorce were prepared by the woman and filed with the appropriate court where the divorce was being handled.

Unfortunately, the woman was shocked when the divorce court determined that the papers were not valid and that she could not use them to file. She tried to contact the online service but the divorce service would not respond to phone calls. Don’t set yourself up for a divorce scam like this one when you can have a dedicated and hardworking attorney on your side.

Contact me to represent you and work with you get a divorce and make a true life plan.  I want to help you with your divorce and will not charge you for unnecessary services.

Having an Experienced Attorney

Spouse Paying Attorney Fees

Uncontested Divorce

Help Your Children During Divorce

5 Ways to Help Your Children During Divorce

How to help your children cope with your divorce.

If you are nervous and anxious about the divorce process and you have some input and some control over the outcome, imagine what it is like for children who have neither.  You can help your children during divorce.  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Reduce traumatic effects. Reassure your children early and often that your divorce is not their fault, that you love them and will always be there for them. Provide as much stability, security and consistency as possible. An anxious child often appreciates a consistent routine, seeing familiar people, going to regularly visited places and dependable bedtimes. Offer your children during divorce choices, whenever possible, to increase their sense of power over their lives. These can include food choices, clothing choices etc.

  2. Don’t expose your kids to marital conflict. Experts say the amount of conflict the child witnesses during and immediately after divorce is a critical factor for his or her adjustment. One of the greatest gifts that two parents can give their child is to communicate with each other in civil terms. Don’t use your children as messengers in parental communications as in “Tell your father he’s late with his child support payment”. Resist all urges to “defend” yourself or “justify” your position in the divorce! I CAN HELP YOU WITH A PLAN TO MAKE THIS WORK.

  3. Allow your children during divorce to communicate openly without talking about the adult issues that are involved in a divorce. Don’t ask children to take sides or pick parents. Provide comfort and reassure them that they will be loved, continued to be cared for and safe. Be sure to remember they are children and not adults and should be shielded from adult choices and stress.

  4. Do not criticize your spouse in front of your child or on the phone. Remember that your spouse is still your child’s parent; when you criticize your spouse, whether you mean it or not, you’re also criticizing your child indirectly. This damages their self-esteem.

  5. Find support for yourself and your children during divorce. It takes a village. Reach out and ask for help from friends, neighbors, family members, religious support groups, teachers, school counselors and therapists. Educators should be informed when parents are separating or divorcing. They can provide valuable support during the many hours your child is in school. Free assistance is also available through Divorce Care class offered by many area churches and divorce support groups for children offered by Williamson County Schools. Experts say that it takes about two years for children to adjust to the changes from divorce.

Helping children cope with divorce is important because kids model future behavior on current experiences. Whether we like it or not, our children watch everything we do, and tend to remember for a long time. Set a good example. Please give me a call.  Part of what we work out together is how to address divorce and your children. It is so important to do this right.  I have over 28 years of experience.  I am an Attorney for Children. My children were 1 and 5 when my ex-Husband and I divorced.  The right attorney allows you to make informed choices and secure your future and your children’s future. Don’t just get divorce.  Get a smart divorce.


Have an Experienced Divorce Attorney?

Hired an Experienced Divorce Attorney?  Listen to the Divorce Attorney.    balduf_legal_advice_experience_divorce_attorney



I represented a man over two years ago.  I was his divorce attorney.  During the divorce process on many different occasions he would speak directly with his Wife without sharing these discussions with me, without getting my input or advice.  The final agreement, drafted by his Wife’s attorney was sent to me and I was informed that my client had signed it and the matter was concluded.  Once again I had not discussed the agreement and its specifics with .my client.  Upon my review of the document I had grave concerns, but my client believed he knew best.  The stress of it all, his internet research and reliance on side agreements with his spouse contributed to his belief that he knew more than I did on these matters. He was so very sure.

Today, that same educated, successful businessman and I we were in Court.  It is likely that the Court will determine that he has willfully violated the terms of that agreement/divorce.  He is facing probation or incarceration.  He is paying me to represent him and is likely to be ordered to pay his now ex-Wife’s attorney’s fees as well.

Today, my client told me that he should not have entered into that agreement.  He told me that he made a serious mistake.  I told him that it was unfortunate, and he had been persuaded to make choices that were not in his best interest at the time of his divorce.  I then had to tell him that none of that mattered.  He was stuck with what he entered into and the consequences for not living up to those terms.

Don’t let that be you!  Don’t hire a divorce attorney just to have their name on your paperwork.  Hire a true counselor at law, a real divorce specialist.  Listen to their advice, let their experience work for you.  The choice is always yours, and so are the consequences of those choices. 


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