Family Law

COVID-19 Will Impact How Attorneys and Courts Handle Business in New York

Courts During COVID-19COVID-19 has turned life upside down in the U.S. and around the world. With all of the upheaval and uncertainty, everyday concerns tend to get lost in the shuffle. Still, for those families who are dealing with life's major events like marriage, divorce, custody, and visitation, it can be especially hard to know what to do.

Fortunately, attorneys and courts in New York are taking steps to ensure that essential functions continue to operate as normally as possible. In-person meetings may not be available, but most lawyers and even some courts are conducting virtual meetings and proceedings to ensure that important matters do not get overlooked or forgotten.

Getting married has gotten more complicated, but that doesn't necessarily make it impossible. If a couple already has their license, it is still possible to proceed with the ceremony. However, the size of the gathering will be severely limited, and some couples are opting to have their guests attend virtually.

Postponing the event also is a possibility. If you have already signed contracts with vendors and venues, then it may be worth consulting with an attorney to determine what kind of latitude your existing contract grants.

What if you just got engaged and you want to enter into a prenup? Your attorney can meet with you on the phone or virtually to discuss the terms of the agreement, and a draft can be forwarded to you via email for review. It's even possible to execute a prenuptial agreement during the quarantine, as these documents can be signed with virtual notaries in New York State.

Questions of child custody and visitation are already complex, but COVID-19 has only made things worse. Fortunately, jurisdictions such as New York City are now using virtual operations to conduct family court proceedings. This means that critical decisions can still be rendered.

What if your child is quarantined in the custodial parent's home? Or while in the non-custodial parent’s care and custody? How will you, as co-parents, navigate this new temporary world we are all living in?  While each parent has custodial, access and visitation rights, the courts cannot compel the other parent to allow you (if you are not the one in quarantine) into their home. What alternative arrangements can you both make to accommodate the need of the child to have time with both parents?  Consider additional contact through telephone and video chat applications such as FaceTime and WhatsApp.  When you cannot work it out together, consult with a family law attorney who can provide you with the information that you need so that you can maintain contact with your children.

Contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 for more information about how attorneys and courts in New York are reacting to the Coronavirus pandemic.


Prenuptial Agreements for Same Sex Couples in New York

Prenupital Agreements for Same Sex Couples in New YorkIn 2011, same sex marriage in New York became legal. It was a happy day for many families across the state, and with the ability of same-sex couples from other states to get married in New York too, many people celebrated the legalization and took advantage of the newfound ability to become legally married. 

Gay or straight, no one gets married with a pessimistic attitude. Marriage is a happy and hopeful event, but it doesn't mean that some planning is not appropriate. A growing number of gay and lesbian couples are choosing to complete a prenuptial agreement prior to the ceremony. 

Regardless of their orientation, many couples balk at the idea of a prenuptial agreement. They are in love and committed to each other. Thinking about the possible breakdown of the relationship is difficult. Nonetheless, a prenuptial agreement can be seen as an act of love. 

A prenuptial agreement may protect one partner from the debts of the other. It also may ensure that children from prior relationships are supported and protected or that a family business can be maintained no matter what. 

Prenuptial agreements for gay and lesbian couples are much like the same agreements for straight couples. However, additional considerations may need to be taken into account if the couple lives in a state where same sex marriage is not yet legalized. This may make it difficult to have the prenuptial agreement recognized in that state. Accordingly, you would need an experienced New York prenuptial attorney to draft the agreement so that it would be enforceable regardless of where you live. 

Marriage laws in the U.S. are evolving, but they still have a way to go. Because same sex marriage is not legal at the federal level, questions of prenuptial agreements and estate planning may face additional complications. The best way to overcome these challenges is by working with an experienced attorney who has helped other same sex couples. 

The guidance and advice of an attorney may give you the peace of mind that you need as you move forward to a happy future. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can ensure that your children are provided for, that your debts won't affect your spouse or resolve numerous other potential problems. 

If you have any questions about preuptial agreements for same sex couples in New York and any related family law matters, contact the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971 to schedule a consultation.


How the New Tax Law Will Impact Spousal Support Calculations in New York in January 2019

Spousal Support CalculationsChanges go into effect on January 1, 2019, that will impact spousal support payments for people who divorce in 2019. The signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017 created changes that will impact couples who divorce after December 31, 2018.  The previous law made spousal support a tax deduction for the payor while it was taxable income for the payee. Beginning in January 2019, the payor will no longer be able to deduct these payments, and the recipient is no longer required to pay taxes on the income. 

This is a critical change that all couples who are considering divorce should take into account. Spousal support calculations in New York will change drastically in the new year. Here are some of the ramifications that may need to be weighed. 

Typically, the payor of spousal support does so because they have a larger income than the individual who receives the payments. If the payor no longer gets to deduct the spousal support payments before determining what their income tax due is, and instead, required to pay income taxes on the total; then there will be less money available to support the family while the government benefits from collecting more tax dollars. 

Under the old law, people who were paying spousal support frequently saved money on their taxes. This is because the amount that they paid in spousal support (maintenance) was deducted right off of the top of their taxable income.  Furthermore, because that they are taxed at a higher tax bracket, the tax dollars paid would have been more than, when reported as income by the recipient spouse (typically) taxed at a lower tax bracket, and thereby there was more money to share in the family. 

It may look as if the new tax law which goes into effect in January 2019 simply shifts the burden of paying taxes on spousal support payments from the payee to the payor, but the effects may be more far-reaching than that. The paying spouse is almost always subject to a higher tax rate than the receiving spouse.  Accordingly, after January 1, the payor will pay the taxes on the maintenance payments at their higher tax rate rather than the recipient paying the taxes at their lower rate. 
With the upcoming increasing tax burden on the payor (and hence, on the family), it seems logical that couples seeking a divorce may want to consider resolving their situation before December 31, 2018. 


Couples whose divorce proceedings are finalized in 2018 or who are already divorced will largely not be affected by the change. However, seeking any alteration to an existing spousal support agreement may result in being subject to the new 2019 tax law. 

Speak with a legal professional at the Sabra Law Group by calling 646-472-7971 today.





Understanding a Domestic Partnership Agreement in New York

Domestic Partnership Agreement in New YorkIf the two people agree on living together or agree to have a domestic partnership in New York, then it is totally legal and confirmed. With a lot of benefits, Domestic Partnership Agreement stands in favor of the confirmed status of the relationship between the two and lets them enjoy the legal benefits of a married couple including health insurance, without any hurdles. No matter if you are of the same or opposite gender, New York lets you have the domestic partnership in the most feasible way. You can easily apply for an application process of Domestic Partnership Agreement in New York.

It is mandatory to meet certain qualifications in New York for Domestic Partnership. So, understanding what it actually means to be with your partner without marriage is a major life event to fully understand and analyze the further circumstances.

Requirements of Domestic Partnership Agreement in New York

Before you agree on the cause, you need to have the following requirements of age, residence and personal history:

  • You and your partner should belong to the same city/country in which you are applying for the Domestic Partnership Agreement. A condition for one of the partners being an employee in the city and not the resident is somehow acceptable in Rockland County and Suffolk County of New York.  In addition to that, cities like Albany, Ithaca and Rochester allow you to live together without even being the resident of the same.
  • If you and your partner are 18 years of age and older, then you are legally allowed to live together.
  • Blood relations between the two are not entertained.
  • To enter into a domestic partnership agreement, neither you nor your partner can be currently married (to each other or anyone else) or related by blood
  • You are allowed to opt for a domestic partnership if you and your partner are living together on a continuous basis or at least 6 months.
  • Also, if you or your partner is in a domestic partnership with someone else in the past 6 months, you need to live together for 6 consecutive months prior to filing the agreement of domestic partnership.


In order to proceed further, an affidavit needs to be executed to meet the legal requirements of being in a Domestic Partnership. Both partners are required to be physically present at the clerk’s office while applying for the agreement.


Contact Sabra Law Group today at 646-472-7971 if you need assistance with a domestic partnership agreement or any other matters related to family law. 


Handling Holiday Child Custody Arrangements in Manhattan

With the holidays quickly approaching, there are so many things to handle.  One of the most important things to handle is child custody arrangements for the holidays. 

Below are some tips on handling child custody arrangements in Manhattan

  1. Plan ahead:  never wait until the last minute to sort out child custody arrangements with your ex.  The sooner you start planning, the better.   Hopefully, you already have a written schedule of custody for your children throughout the year.  However, for some reason, if you don’t, the first step should be to agree on a schedule for child custody. 
  2. Take your children’s wishes into consideration: If your children are old enough to be in middle school or high school, they may have some excursions in mind.  Ask your children if there is something specific they would enjoy doing during the winter break.  This will help you plan accordingly when it comes to custody.  Your child may have a friend’s birthday party they want to attend and you book a family vacation without consulting them; they will not be happy. 
  3. Don’t micro-manage what your ex does when he/she is with your children.  If you are too busy constantly nagging your ex, you will be missing quality time with your children.  It is hard to tell your ex who to bring around or not when your children are over, so choose your battles wisely. 
  4. Be more concerned with making your own winter plans, rather than be obsessed about what your ex is doing.  Your ex may have an extravagant trip planned with his/her significant other.  If you show jealously or try to interfere with their plans, it will only create more conflict.  The holidays are stressful enough without creating unnecessary conflict.  Spend your time focusing on your plans and what you can do with the children to have a memorable holiday season.  Create your own experiences and memories that are just as fabulous as your ex’s activities. 
  5. When you do have to see your ex, be polite and respectful.   Even if your ex can frustrate you, don’t let it be seen.  The more you show your frustration, the more your ex will irritate you.  Set the example and be the kind of person that you would want exemplify for your children.  It is essential to remember that your children may be in the background, listening to your conversations. 

If you need to alter your child custody arrangements in Manhattan, call Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.  And we can help you with creating or altering parenting plans.  Give us a call today.


How to Have a Peaceful Low Stress Divorce

Peaceful Low Stress Divorce











If you have ever come across any friends that were going through a divorce and can recall how they described their divorce as the most stressful life event they have ever had to deal with in their life; then you probably want to know how to make your divorce more peaceful and less stressful. 


It is best to determine what your overall goals are for maintaining an amicable long-term relationship for the sake of the children. Make a list of all the lifestyle aspects of your relationship that you want to maintain.  Then prepare a budget that details out expenses that you both currently have to maintain your current lifestyle and providing care for the children. 


Regarding assets, you may want to start dividing them between the two of you, or wait until the terms of the divorce settlement are reached.  Whatever you each decide, maintain records as the better records you keep, the smoother the divorce process will go. 


Some people want to start separating bank accounts so that your spouse cannot access your money and come to an agreement on how the finances will be handled and who will pay for what.    In the alternative, whether you and your spouse are still residing together, you may each agree to maintain the status quo, paying for rent, mortgage, food, education for your children and your ordinary expenses until your divorce terms are finalized.


If you feel yourself getting agitated with your spouse, take some time for yourself and get out of the house.  It is best to take time for yourself every day and do something that makes you happy.  The less stressed you are, the easier it will be to have a meaningful conversation with your spouse and come to an agreement rather than fighting over issues.


If you need a break from the children and your spouse, try to take a day or two for yourself and see if you can find a babysitter or if your family can watch the children while you destress.  Sometimes, even something as simple as taking a long drive and getting away for a day can take away your tension and when you do get back in town, you may have a better perspective on particular situations. 


Above all, avoid yelling at your spouse or pointing blame; there are always two parties involved in a divorce, so your spouse may also have things that they would like to blame you for.  Remain calm and respectful when you are communicating with your spouse.  It is also best to have “divorce conversations” when the children are not around. 


Getting divorced is not an easy process whether or not you try to do it harmoniously or through litigation.  Getting emotional support from a professional such as a life or relationship coach, therapist, or psychologist, will give you the space to vent, share your feelings, and work through your emotions so that when the divorce is finalized you can step forward into the next chapter of your life and build something new that excites you.


Consider Mediation for a Peaceful Low Stress Divorce


Contact the Sabra Law Group today for a confidential consultation regarding your divorce by calling (646) 472-7971 and to learn about our Harmonious Divorce System.

How to Come to Terms with Getting a Divorce In New York

Divorce in New York

Considering that a divorce marks the end of a significant relationship, it brings about multiple emotional and physiological issues that profoundly affect a person’s life afterward. Below are some effective tips on how to come to terms with a divorce in New York.


Releasing Your Emotions


Humans are emotional beings with a high capacity for storing emotions inside. During a divorce, various emotions tend to arise in a person as they try to come to terms with the sort of impact the divorce will have on their lives. For instance, a divorce after a long marriage tends to make a spouse feel afraid of starting life over and being single.


Other emotions one might experience during this period include, neglect, self-pity, self-loath, depression, shock, numbness, anger/grief over loss, vulnerability, etc.  Depending on how one handles certain situations in life, some of these emotions are necessary to move forward. 


Some people may feel the need to cry or seek a supportive friend, while others may find going to the gym a good way to take out their frustration.  For some people, they may seek therapy to deal with the emotional struggles that come with a stressful divorce.


Accept the Outcome and Choose to Move Forward


If you go through a divorce in New York, it is quite common for some people to go into denial. Denial after divorce is normal, as it takes the mind some time to adjust to the thought that you are now separated from your spouse and are single and lonely once again.


Denial often leads to psychological delusions where a person fails to comprehend the severity of the situation, or they pretend to be unaffected by the ordeal.


It is for this reason that divorcees are urged to first deal with their emotions and then gradually work on their mental state to bring about the need to move on with their lives past the divorce instead of replaying it in their minds. Remember, a divorce is just the end of one relationship, not your entire life.


Get the Social Support You Need


As much as you feel the need to be alone, do not shut out your family and friends during this period. These are people who care and want to be there for you in your time of emotional support. After a divorce in New York, you need to surround yourself with people who will remind you there's more to life than what you are going through at the time. Go out with them, invite them over for companionship, meet new people; these activities will make your transition much easier.

Contact Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 for a harmonious divorce mediation consultation that will ensure both parties comfortably come to terms with the divorce.

Upward and Onward

Upward & Onward Book LaunchWhen things in life feel hard or low, how do you handle it?  Do you keep to yourself and stay in, not wanting to be around others?  Do you hit the snooze button repeatedly to delay the start of your day and avoid facing the reality of what’s really going on?  Do you find things to keep yourself busy so that you don’t have to think about or deal with life’s stresses?

How you handle the routine daily stresses can have an impact on your day, your job and your loved ones.  And, if your world is being turned upside down by a traumatic life event such as Divorce in New York, it can be exacerbated and be even more stressful. 

You may be familiar with how you handle stresses around work, home, money or relationship because you have had many opportunities to face these and deal with them. However, you probably do not have much experience dealing with Divorce and so you might be worrying and stressing yourself over many questions –

Questions about division of assets and debts, visitation, and support?



And you might have other concerns regarding religious divorces, annulments, what to do with any real estate or businesses?

And what professionals you might need to speak with who can help you through this process.

If you are like the many couples who divorce each year, you might be online and trying to do research about what you can do, how you can protect yourself and what your rights are.

And that can take many hours to research – and much of the information online is misleading and may not be applicable to your situation.  And friends and family share their opinions which may be well intentioned and likely not applicable to you.

Wouldn’t you like to find your answers all in one place, without wondering if the information is accurate and without having to spend hours and hours of heart wrenching time pouring over hundreds of internet pages hoping to find something that can help?

Here is your answer…..

In December 2015, a book was published called Onward and Upward: Guide For Getting Through New York Divorce and Family Law Issues which is a wonderful resource.  (Sabra R. Sasson Esq. of Sabra Law Group, PLLC wrote four sections of the book).  It is complete with information about anything you might ever want to know about getting divorced in New York and other family issues.

It is not intended to be read through from cover to cover, but as a resource.  We understand that every situation is different, just as every person is different, so too will your Divorce.  You might be concerned about custody and visitation (and you will find answers on pages 87 and 107), or you might want to understand what could happen to your home in divorce (see page 313), or perhaps you might want to consult with a divorce coach (see page 411), psychotherapist (page 419) or what will happen to the family pet (page 361).  Maybe you are interested in understanding whether you can get your marriage annulled (page 273). 

As you can see, this book covers more than what can be described here in this article and if you are going through divorce, this just might be the resource you need to get you the answers to whatever is keeping you up at night.  The cost of this book is far less than it is costing you in lack of sleep, hours and hours of online researching, getting misinformation from well-intentioned friends and family.

You can purchase your copy of the book here.

And, if you have an urgent issue that can’t wait for when you get the book in your hands, please contact Sabra Law Group, PLLC today at 646-472-7971.  We have been helping couples and individuals get their questions and concerns answered quickly and in a way that you can understand for a decade and we can help you get through their divorce in New York.  Visit our website and contact our office today.

Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Discusses Child Custody in New York

Manhattan Child Custody AttorneyManhattan child custody attorney Sabra Sasson discusses child custody laws in New York.   In the state of New York neither parent has a preferred right to child custody.  Either parent has the right to file for custody of their child.  

Factors That Determine Who Gets Custody of The Child

In order to file for custody in New York, the child must have lived in New York for at least six months, otherwise, you must file in the state the your child has lived in recently for at least six months. 

  • The court will not give preferential treatment to the mother.  The court will make it’s decision based on what is best for the child.
  • The court will evaluate who the primary caregiver of the child is
  • The parent who has physical custody of the child when the custody paperwork is filed may have a slight advantage over the other parent based on the court’s interest to not change or disrupt the child’s environment
  • Many other factors are also considered such as: the home environment, siblings, amount of time the parent can be available to the child, and if there is any domestic violence involved

Both Parents Can Have Joint Custody in New York

Joint custody only works when both parents can put their differences aside and decide to get along for the sake of the child.  Once both parties have agreed to joint custody, it is difficult to change later, so make sure that you will be able to have a relationship that fosters open communication and cooperation. 

Can Child Custody or Visitation Be Changed?

Child custody or visitation can only be changed if there is a life-changing event that impacts the child’s best interests.  If the parent that has custody wants to move far away and it impacts the other parent’s visitation, it may be necessary to get approval from the court in order to move.  It is best to discuss your case with an experienced Manhattan child custody attorney. 

For more information about child custody laws in New York, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.  

In addition, Sabra Sasson Esq is the co-author of a recently released book in which she wrote several chapters one of which discusses parenting plans.  You can pick up your copy of the book Onward and Upward: Guide for Getting Through New York Divorce & Family Law Issues by clicking here.  Here is a code for 10% discount: Y38YZ5EX.













Manhattan Divorce Lawyer Discusses How Divorce for Seniors Creates Financial Risks

Manhattan Divorce Lawyer Discusses How Divorce for Seniors Creates Financial Risks

Manhattan Divorce LawyerManhattan Divorce Lawyer Sabra Sasson shares her perspective on issues to consider with senior divorce rates on the rise. 

There was a time when divorce among seniors was considered unusual, however, it is now becoming much more common according to an article published by U.S. News & World Report. Divorces between people age 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2009 (according to research conducted by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research Center). 

The concerns and issues for divorcees in the 50 and older category are often different from those who are younger because they usually are empty-nesters and therefore do not have any of the child support or child custody issues to resolve.  However, the often have more significant accumulated assets, they have concerns about retirement, disability, Medicaid among other concerns.

How Divorce for Seniors Creates Financial Risks

Most people have a plan for retirement. And, if one made a plan anticipating they would still be together, then the plan doesn’t take into account the cost of separation, divorce and maintaining two households. An unplanned divorce can create many financial issues for seniors.  If one spouse brings the majority of the money in, the other will most likely qualify for half of her or his retirement savings.  

Some Other Issues That May Arise For Seniors Facing a Divorce Are: 

  • Division of a house that has been owned for many years and substantially appreciated in value
  • The income tax impact of retirement assets
  • The difficulty of having the same standard of living as during the marriage
  • Dividing investment assets so that each party has a diversified portfolio
  • Stress of divorce may cause health issues and/or depression

Seniors going through divorce will also need new legal documents such as wills, trusts, health care directives, pension plans, IRAs, and insurance policies to reflect their new marital status. 

Checklist for Divorce:

If divorce is imminent, or even a possibility, it is a good idea to gather any and all financial documents in advance of separating. Here is a brief list to get you started:

  1. Maintain copies of all jointly filed tax returns;
  2. Obtain copies of all financial records, including, checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, mortgage statements, credit card statements
  3. Open separate bank accounts upon separating
  4. Make copies of other important documents such as Last Will and Testament (being careful not to unstaple it), trusts, life insurance policies, disability policies, homeowner’s insurance policy, medical insurance cards
  5. Seek professional help to make sure your rights and finances are protected

Talk to an Experienced Manhattan Divorce Lawyer

If you are a senior, or facing divorce at any age, it is important to talk to an experienced Manhattan divorce lawyer that can guide you during this difficult time.  If you live in the Manhattan area or surrounding suburbs, contact Sabra Sasson today for a free Divorce Exploration Session at (646) 472-7971.