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By Danielle DeJoseph on September 19, 2018

In a child custody battle, the judge is primarily concerned with making decisions that are in the best interest of the child. The judge will ask several questions to determine whether sole or joint custody is appropriate, what the child’s living arrangements will be, what the parents’ access schedule will be, and how the parents will support their child financially. If the circumstances allow, the judge will try her best to ensure that the child will be able to maintain a relationship with both parents.

By Allison Franz on September 13, 2018

The Supreme Court has dealt a major blow to public sector unions in the name of protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights.  In its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME on June 27, 2018, the Court held that public sector workers cannot be forced to pay dues to unions if they do not join one.  The Court argues that forcing individuals to subsidize unions that may endorse positions with which the workers themselves disagree constitutes a violation of the workers’ First Amendment rights, essentially placing the burden of keeping unions afloat onto nonmember workers. The immediate effect of this decision is that nonmember workers can now choose whether to voluntarily contribute to a union.

By Danielle DeJoseph on September 10, 2018

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, passed away on August 16th, leaving behind four adult sons and a considerable estate—Franklin’s estimated worth was approximately $80 million. But with such a large estate and the means to plan for the inevitable, Aretha Franklin nonetheless did not leave a will.

By Kevin Mahoney on August 22, 2018

Is your fire company incorporated?  If so, does your fire company have a contract with a Town, Village or Fire District?  Many volunteer fire companies in New York do, so at least at some point, each will be impacted by legislation that became effective January 1, 2018.

By Allison Franz on August 13, 2018

Divorce can be a messy and hard-to-negotiate process, and the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may make that process even more difficult for couples with its abolishment of tax deductions on alimony payments.  Before the TCJA, alimony payers could deduct payments that met the tax-law definition of alimony for federal income tax purpose, and alimony payment recipients always had to pay income tax on those payments.  Now, for alimony payments required under divorce or separation instruments that are executed after December 31st, 2018, the deduction will be eliminated, and recipients of the affected payments will no longer have to include them as taxable income. With December 31st looming on the not-so-distant horizon, the pressure will be on some divorcing couples to finalize their divorces before the new rules on alimony deductions take effect in 2019, but for others, delaying a divorce until the new law takes effect may prove more beneficial.

By Allison Franz on July 11, 2018

Everyone knows that buying a home can be expensive, but many don’t even think about the cost of selling.  Home sellers often have a plan for the proceeds from their house long before the house goes on the market—a new home, a new car, maybe a vacation—and knowledge of the major costs of selling a house can help sellers properly budget the proceeds in preparation for paying more fees than they probably would have imagined.

By Allison Franz on July 2, 2018

The Internet has transformed the national economy in recent years as America has gradually become a nation of online shoppers. E-commerce offers a number of appealing perks: low prices, stay-at-home convenience, a myriad of choices, and—until now—sales tax-free purchasing.

By Allison Franz on June 25, 2018

In a time when the number of U.S. cell phones is bigger than the number of U.S. citizens, the Supreme Court took a major step towards defending the privacy of the millions of cell phone users in the United States. In Carpenter v. United States, a 5-to-4 decision on June 22, 2018, the Court ruled that a warrant is generally required to gain access to cell phone location data. The ruling goes a long way towards ensuring Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, which protect individuals from unreasonable search and seizure.

By Danielle DeJoseph on June 5, 2018

Federal tax law has a longstanding history of providing tax deductions for alimony, or spousal maintenance – a trend that was recently broken by the Trump administration. For court decrees and alimony agreements entered into after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are no longer deductible. Divorce agreements entered into on or before December 31, 2018 remain unaffected. However, the new tax legislation does not specifically refer to prenuptial agreements, so how the law affects such agreements remains unclear; there has been some growing concern that the new tax code will confound existing prenuptial agreements.

By William Lorenz, Jr. on May 31, 2018

The costs associated with bringing a lawsuit can add up very quickly, and are not always justified.  Every client believes they have the winning hand at the beginning of litigation.  However, after commencing an action and enduring paper discovery, depositions, and motion practice – a process that can take years – a client may begin to have doubts about the strength of their case.  Such doubts can arise even on the eve of trial, after a considerable amount of time and money has been spent preparing for court.  Rather than wait for such a feeling to occur, a client would do well to consider the advantages of bifurcating their case.

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