Law Offices of David Bliven
Law Offices of David Bliven

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Asset Protection in a Divorce

Before a divorce is filed, there are no restraints as far as what a spouse can legally do in terms of asset protection.

As such, the critical date is the divorce filing date. In New York, we have automatic orders that restrain a party presumptively from moving assets after a divorce is filed. So a lot of times – especially when it comes to financial accounts and bank accounts – I’ll tell a client they may withdraw half, because s/he is entitled to half. You shouldn’t take more than half because that’s not fair, and it’s not right.

I will never tell a client to just raid a joint account; I don’t do that in good conscience. I’m simply not that kind of an attorney. Quite frankly, if a client came to me and told me they’d done that, I’d advise them to give the spouse back their one half. I always want to look like the good guy to the judge. I don’t want to look like the bad guy to the judge, and I don’t want my client to look like the bad guy either.

Selling property – even if it is in joint names – is absolutely permissible before a divorce is filed, so long as you have consent from the spouse who is going to have to sign off on the deed transfer. That’s certainly permissible and people oftentimes do that where there is no dispute and they need the money to fund the divorce litigation.

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Navigating Your New
York Divorce Case

Navigating Your New York Divorce Case

Family Offense & Domestic Violence

Many people are unaware that domestic violence is NOT limited to disputes among married persons. Domestic violence can also occur between family members or intimate partners.  But increasingly, domestic violence issues are intertwined in divorce cases.

In New York, the allegations may include (this is a non-exhaustive list): disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, assault, harassment, menacing and stalking.

New York law was recently amended to allow for restraining orders or orders of protection to anyone who is involved in an intimate relationship (generally termed “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” relationships). This change affords victims extra security when it comes to domestic violence.

Proof that there’s been an act of domestic violence is the only statutory factor currently considered by the court’s as specifically bearing on a parent’s fitness to have custody of a minor child (within contested custody litigation).

If you feel you may have been a victim of domestic violence, it is generally advised (at the least) that you consult with your attorney on the issue – if not file for an order of protection. Depending on the circumstances, you may also wish to call the police or contact an agency which handles domestic violence matters.

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