Thursday, October 15, 2015


In America, Europe and in most rich places  add the globe progress is being maid. It is a crying shame tht

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Dividing Retirement Benefits in Divorce

Often the most significant assets to be divided in a divorce are retirement benefits. These valuable assets come in several forms.
1.     DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION plans such as teacher's retirements, state and local governments pensions, autoworkers pensions and other large corporate and union pensions.

2.     DEFINED CONTRIBUTION plans such as 401-k, 403-b plans and IRA's.


A Judgment of Divorce and/or divorce agreement will state the manner in which these assets are to be allocated or divided and direct that one party must pay a certain portion to the other spouse, judgments and agreements do not, by themselves, cause the distribution to take place.

After a  divorce is final a special court order is needed to actually cause the distribution. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) is needed to legally and administratively transfer a portion of a pension or 401-k earned from one spouse to the other spouse.

For defined benefit pensions a QDRO or DRO is needed to insure that when the pension plan participant retires, five, ten or more years in the future, the spouse or alternate payee actually receives their share directly from the pension administrator.

Also, be aware that just because you retained an attorney to represent you in your divorce, does not mean that your former divorce lawyer is responsible for or will actually prepare these special post-divorce orders. Many divorce lawyers do not prepare these orders and if they do they require a separate retainer agreement and payment.

If you have questions regarding the preparation of a DRO or QDRO please call me. I have been preparing these orders for many years and have the experience needed to do so competently, efficiently and sometimes most importantly promptly.

DO NOT wait until your former spouse retires because so many things can happen before that occurs that will make the preparation of the order more difficult or impossible.

Your former spouse may remarry, relocate, change jobs, take an early retirement incentive plan in a lump sum or your former spouse may even die. If your former spouse dies before retirement and has designated a new spouse or other person the beneficiary, a costly lawsuit may be needed and there are so many different circumstances that a lawsuit may not even be successful.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015



What happens if I die without a will?
What happens if I do not have a health 
care proxy or living will?
what happens if I need nursing home care?
What happens if my will gives assets to a disabled child?

1.         Last Will and Testament: A Will is the cornerstone of all estate planning. It is a personal declaration of your intentions about the disposition of your property at death. A will offers many advantages, enabling you to control what happens with your property after you are gone. Everybody should have one. A person who dies without a will dies "intestate." Dying intestate can be unnecessarily costly for your family and the State decides how your property is distributed.

2.         Health Care Proxy and Advance Directives, (aka Living Will): Another extremely important planning document is the Health Care Proxy with Advance Directives. This is New York State’s equivalent to a Living Will. This document authorizes a trusted spouse, family member or friend to instruct health care providers as to your health care wishes should you be unable to do so yourself. Without one, you could end up on artificial life support even if you are brain dead with no chance of recovery and only alternative is the appointment of a legal guardian and that can cost thousands of dollars. (I offer these at no cost to clients purchasing other services)

3.         Durable Power of Attorney: A Power of Attorney authorizes a trusted spouse, family member or friend to handle financial, insurance and personal business matters on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. In addition, a Durable POA does not terminate if you become incapacitated.

4.         Nursing Home Care and Medicaid Planning: No one wants the government to take their home, investments and savings, everything they have spent their life working for, because of a serious illness or accident. You cannot wait until the life-changing event to shield your assets. You must plan at least 5 years in advance or the most straightforward or most complex asset protections can be worthless.

5.         Disabled Spouse, Child or Grandchild: Leaving assets to a person receiving governmental benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability, is like writing a check to the government. Setting up a Special Needs Trust is a lawful and effective way to provide for a loved one receiving governmental benefits, once you are gone without risking the loss of valuable government benefits.

6.         Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts:  These trusts are typically used by wealthier people as asset protection and management vehicles and as a way to avoid probate. These are fairly complex legal documents that need careful consideration of both the pros and the cons.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Even though growing old and ultimately death is an absolute certainly, we live in a society where most people fail to plan for old age and death. It is a topic that we are reluctant to discuss even though there is no connection between talking about death and death.

The vast majority of people can competently plan for both for a few hundred dollars. What's more, spending that relatively modest sum while you are healthy and conscious may result in saving thousands of dollars down the road.

The three most important planning documents are the following:

1. Simple Last Will and Testament,
2. Durable Power of Attorney and
3. Health Care Proxy with Advance Directive aka "Living Will"

With these documents in place most people of middle class means are fully prepared. If you are a multimillionaire there is additional legal planning that may be important.

1. A simple will provides for the distribution of your property after your death.

2. A Durable Power of Attorney allows a spouse or other trusted family member or friend to assist you in handling your personal, financial and business affairs when you are living but need assistance.

3. A Health Care Proxy designates a health care agent to make health care related decisions if you are unable to do so. Advance directives provide important guidance to your Health Care Agent, family and medical care providers so they know your wishes and can confidently carry out your wishes if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to make your own decisions.

None of these documents take power away from you if you are able to decide or act for yourself. All of them can be easily modified or terminated if your situation changes and they are not expensive.

In my office most will cost $250.00 or less. A Durable Power of Attorney goes for $50.00 to $100.00 when it accompanies a will and I  typically prepare the Health Care Proxy with Advance Directive at not additional cost.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Perfect Spring Meal

This is my third post on my new blog. I wrote a blog several years ago when I was attempting to transition from lawyer to Italian Chef. The Journey Continues. My last post was September 13, 2013. During the 3 years of writing The Journey Continues I generated 778 followers and 40,753 hits. I continue to get hits even when I have not posted for 1.5 years. Writing is therapeutic and fun and keeps me from watching too much TV so I am going back to it. I may even cancel my cable TV service.

My fist two posts were law related. Scroll down and read if you will. I will continue about legal topics and if you have legal questions leave it in the comments section and I will answer.

I decided however not to write exclusively about law. I want to make this blog light and fun to read so I am going to add food related posts. This is my first food post and I want to present, what to me, constitutes the Perfect Spring meal. Since a picture says a 1000 words and we all begin a great meal with our eyes here are 5 photo's which together create a perfect Spring meal. The colors, the mix of favors, ingredients and tastes. Enjoy.

Roasted red beets layers with smoked fish and cream cheese.

Tomato, sweet red pepper and sweet pea salad.

Buffalo Mozzarella, tomato and basil dressed with evoo.

The Ultimate fire grilled cheese burger.

Fresh Swedish wild strawberry tart.

Check out

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Divorce is something I have done a lot of during the past 30 years. I estimate that I have worked on several thousand divorces representing approximately an equal number of women and men. During my first ten years of practice I remember that most divorces related specifically to instances of infidelity. While infidelity is still a major factor more and more it seems that previously content spouses grow apart. 


Couples who married in their early to mid twenties go through a great deal of personal changes during the first five to ten years of marriage. Jobs change, interests change, bodies change, likes and dislikes change. Once children come along both parents tend to focus on them rather than each other. Often, resentment and jealously arises but rather than dealing with these issues as a couple, spouses tend to isolate themselves from the other and give higher priority to their personal interests rather than the joint interests that were the focal point of their lives before children. They start doing more things separately. Communication becomes more and more difficult and begins to center on each others deficiencies. Job and money stress, meddling family members, weight gain and caring around the clock for small children all create obstacles to a successful marriage.

                                                                         SPOUSES DO NOT RUSH TO DIVORCE

I hate it when so called experts claim that people take marriage too lightly or that spouses rush to get divorced over minor issues. In my experience that thinking is totally wrong. I find that the vast majority of divorcing spouses have stayed together long after their marriage should have been declared dead. People delay the inevitable much more often than rushing into divorce.  

One thing I have learned from aiding thousands of persons through the divorce process is that it is almost always better on a personal and financial level to divorce sooner rather than later. 
Once one spouse determines that the marriage is NOT going to work they should begin the process of separation in a cooperative  manner rather than simply sticking their head in the sand and enduring, which is what most couples do, often for years before the decision to divorce is acted on. Infidelity is more often than not a symptom of a poor marriage rather than the cause of a poor marriage. 

Moving on is the only way to end the suffering and begin the process of establishing a new, better life.


Moving forward toward divorce in a thoughtful and respectful manner is possible and doing so before communication breaks down completely, such as after an instance of infidelity, is beneficial to both spouses, the children, the families and the pocket book. 

Fighting in court. Struggling against each other for possession of the children and property is not the only way to divorce. In my experience two quality lawyers or a competent mediator can almost always assist spouses in coming to a fair resolution in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost of a court battle. 

Over the next several months I will write about many of the most common issues that come up in divorces. 

  • How New York law regulates the division of marital property. 
  • When a spouse is entitled to financial support.
  • How child support is determined.
These are some of the most common and most difficult issues that need to be addressed. Doing so in a cooperative manner will almost always help both spouses transition to a new and better life.