Halachic Prenups Gain Traction

April 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

divorce-decree-24549533For enfianced couples, the very words “prenuptial agreement” (or premarital agreement) can incite a level of concern. Men and women engrossed in deep love and powerful, passionate emotions for one another tend to avoid consideration of a legal document which basically defined, establishes the property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. In each individual social, cultural, and religious circles, a premarital agreement can be referred to or written in its own manner, yet once signed by both parties, becomes legally binding.

In the Orthodox community for example, the “halachic prenup” isn’t as much about assets as it is about ensuring that the couple, under Jewish law, can obtain a religious divorce. This document, which dates decades back, helps to avoid challenging or abusive situations as well as reduce incidences of “agunot,” a Hebrew term for women who remain married against their will. Orthodox Jewish couples are required to both civilly and religiously divorce, however only men maintain the power to grant religious divorce called a “get.”  When husbands refuse a get, wives are often not allowed to participate in religious ceremonies or worse, can be ostracized from the larger Orthodox community which can be not only very difficult for women but their children.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, writer Melanie Grayce West reports on how both the halachic prenup and postnuptial agreements are gaining more traction in the youthful Orthodox community.

If you or your intended would like to meet to discuss the merits of a premarital agreement or halachic prenup, contact the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. as we can most certainly assist.

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.

 

 

Russell I. Marnell Soars as a 2016 Top Legal Eagle

April 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

LIPulseLegalEagles The Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. is delighted to announce that its founder, Russell I. Marnell, has been named to Long Island Pulse magazine’s 2016 list of Top Legal Eagles. Each attorney represented on the list has set standards for the legal industry and specifically, their individual areas of practice. Mr. Marnell, no stranger to accolades, is consistently ranked by Super Lawyers®, AVVO, and maintains an AV Preeminent® 5.0 rating, the highest level of professional excellence, from Martindale-Hubbell® given a deep commitment to exceptional representation of his clients.  RM

 Long Island Pulse created its “Top Legal Eagles” list to feature the region’s top attorneys so that those seeking counsel, can easily reference the guide to locate the proper attorney to meet their needs. The list includes attorneys who strive for excellence in all endeavors and those that give back to their communities. Additionally, each remains active in the development of the law outside the courtroom by participating in, and in some cases leading, organizations that uphold the strictest ethics and legal principles. 

“For more than 30 years, we have consistently polished our legal expertise,” said Russell I. Marnell, founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. “Being named to Long Island Pulse magazine’s 2016 list of Top Legal Eagles is a testament to our efforts to showcase exceptional legal acumen as well as our commitment to jurisprudence, whether holding positions in various legal associations or educating others about the law. We are delighted to be recognized for our dedication to not only our clients and community, but the industry we serve.”

Long Island Pulse magazine

NY Family Court Protection Order, Clarified

January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

divorce-family-split-up-32882688A 2010 change in New York’s Family Court Act allowing a petitioner to seek an extension to orders of protection upon a showing of “good cause” was clarified in Matter of Molloy v. Molloy 2014-07966.

In this case, Jennifer and William Molloy were married in 2002 and had one child together. In 2010, Jennifer Molloy filed a family offense petition against her husband in family court, which was granted. Prior to the expiration date of this two-year order of protection, Jennifer Molloy filed for an extension (until December 1, 2018) arguing that there was “good cause” as defined by the Family Court Act. She did so after reporting that her husband had violated the order by showing up at her apartment, banging on the door, and driving his vehicle too closely to her while she was en route to a police station for a custody exchange. She was granted an additional two-year order of protection through the Queens Criminal Court when her ex-husband pleaded guilty to violations and disorderly conduct.

On July 21, 2014, Queens Family Court Judge Dennis Lebwohl denied her request for an additional extension, ruling that since the Criminal Court had already provided her with a protection order, the goal of the Family Court Act had been accomplished. A concerned Jennifer Molloy appealed and a decision handed down on January 20 reversed Lebwohl’s ruling. Justice Cheryl Chambers, writing for the court, said Criminal Court’s decision to grant an order of protection did not negate or “otherwise render superfluous” the request to extend the Family Court order.

The critical element of this case is whether or not Jennifer Molloy met the “good cause” standard under the Family Court Act §842.

When enacted in 1962, the Family Court Act §842 gave Family Courts the authority to grant orders of protection, but did not empower them to grant extensions. The law was modified ten years later to grant courts the authority to extend orders “upon showing special circumstances.” Unfortunately, this discouraged victims from applying until abuse occurred again. Domestic violence groups fought for further remedy and the law was amended in 2010 thus lowering the standard from “special circumstances” to “good cause.”

To determine what defines “good cause,” Justice Chambers said courts should consider the nature of the relationship between parties, the circumstances leading up to the entry of the order of protection, the state of the relationship between the parties when an extension is requested, how frequently the parties interact, instances of domestic violence or violations of the original order and whether there is a reasonable concern for the safety of the petitioner.

In Molloy, Justice Chambers said “it is clear from the record that the petitioner’s fear that the respondent may stalk, harass, or attack her is well-founded and that the unavailable interactions between the parties (as they share custody of their one child) may subject her to a reoccurrence of violence” which in her opinion, establishes “good cause” for an extension of the order.

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.*

How State Laws Define ‘Parent’ Can Impact Child Custody

December 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Russell I. Marnell, P.C. Within the past several months, the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage has given rise to a variety of unexpected challenges for the justice system, particularly in the area of child custody.  Compounding the problem is the fact that the definition of ‘parent’ differs from state to state, leaving same-sex parents with no biological connection to a child completely vulnerable to losing their parental rights. One of several pending cases across our nation has gained traction due to the impending question about what it means to be a ‘parent.’

In Kentucky, a 9-year-old girl now awaits a decision as to whom she will refer as ‘parents’ given the separation of her two mothers in 2011. One of two mothers, impregnated in 2006 via sperm donor, is the girl’s biological parent who has since remarried a man. The other mother, whom the girl refers to as ‘nommy,’ raised her until the age of 4 year and carried her on her insurance plan.

The new husband of the girl’s biological mother is now seeking to adopt the child, and the non-biological mother is attempting to intervene the adoption process.

Child custody laws in most states don’t yet fit all families. Therefore, should parental relationships with a child not be recognized by the laws governing the state in which you reside, the situation becomes much more complicated and potentially, losing.

No decision has yet been finalized in this case, however this is one of several seeking to sort out parental rights of same-sex couples.

The Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. stands equipped and prepared to discuss your rights and the rights of your child. We are knowledgeable and well-versed in New York State laws and remain current of the evolution of laws that may impact our clients.  Should you be concerned about a potential custody arrangement, we urge to you contact us at: 1-866-MARNELL (866-627-6355).

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.*

Family Law Attorney Russell I. Marnell to Present at the 2015 Long Island Tax Professionals Symposium

November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

222878_215057785188210_4714289_nFamily law attorney Russell I. Marnell will speak at the 2015 Long Island Tax Professionals Symposium to be held this week, November 18-20, 2015, in Woodbury, N.Y.  Mr. Marnell, who is founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell P.C., has practiced matrimonial law and represented clients in matters of divorce, custody and family law for more than thirty years. He has regularly been sourced by the press for comment regarding celebrity marriages and divorces, and is consistently and highly ranked by legal industry associations including SuperLawyers®, Martindale-Hubbell® and AVVO.

RMMr. Marnell’s presentation, titled, “Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements…not just for celebrity couples” will outline the benefits of and need for such agreements as well as what should be included within, what is enforceable, and issues that can surface when these documents are improperly drafted.  Further, it will outline the legal and social aspects of pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as challenges now being faced by the courts given revised marital laws in New York state, civil unions, dual income couples, and later-in-life marriages.

With extensive experience across both legal and financial disciplines, Russell I. Marnell, is highly regarded as an expert in complex divorce, matrimonial and family law. When not litigating on behalf of his clients, he is a sought after guest lecturer and news media resource.  He successfully navigates clients through challenging legal situations which require a disciplined legal and financial eye given his cross-industry expertise in both finance/accounting and law.  Currently, Mr. Marnell is admitted to practice law in New York, California, Nevada and Florida, as well as the United States Tax Court and Federal District Court.  He earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law (Long Island), holds an MBA in Accounting, and passed the Certified Public Accountants examination.

The Long Island Tax Professionals Symposium (LITPS) is a thirteen-year old event started by the Internal Revenue Service. Twelve-years ago, Nassau/Suffolk Chapter of NCCPAP became the primary sponsor and coordinator of the Symposium, now a forum for more than 700 CPAs, enrolled agents, corporate tax executives, financial planners and attorneys. Attendees are provided with the most current, authoritative information on tax law and interpretations affecting business and clients nationwide. The three-day seminar contains more than 80 professional presentations delivered by acknowledged leaders and experts in their respective fields, as well as speakers from the IRS, NYS, the Social Security Administration and local government tax officials. The event is being held November 18-20, 2015 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y.

About the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C.

The Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. concentrates its legal expertise in the areas of complex divorce, matrimonial, and family law. For 30 years, the firm has provided exceptional legal representation to Nassau and Suffolk county (Long Island) residents and defended the rights and interests of clients amid divorce, custody and family law proceedings.  Firm founder Russell I. Marnell is an expert in the area of complex divorce and has been consistently recognized for professional excellence by Super Lawyers®, The Best Lawyers in America®, AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell®.  For more information about the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. and its team of divorce attorneys, visit http://www.nyfamilydivorcelawyer.com.

Judge Declines to Apply Marital Property Rules in Same-Sex Divorce

November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

pic12In the last week, the New York Law Journal’s Andrew Keshner reported that a New York judge handling the dissolution of a same-sex couple’s Vermont civil union could not apply New York’s equitable distrubtion rules on marital property to assets acquired during the civisl union and prior to their marriage. Given the language of the current law, the judge believed that any ‘civil union’ property stayed titld in the name of the current title holder. Marital properly acquired after the 2006 civil union would therefore be reserved for trial.

The depth and uniqueness of this case spans multiple countries, states, years and unions. To read Keshner’s article in full, visit: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202741076956/Judge-Declines-to-Apply-Marital-Property-Rules-to-Dissolved-Union 

Russell I. Marnell Earns Distinction on 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers List

October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Super-Lawyers-logo-customThe Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. proudly announce that family law attorney and firm founder Russell I. Marnell has been named to the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyer® & Rising Stars list.  Mr. Marnell has consistently been ranked year over year as a New York Super Lawyer®, while also earning the highest rating of 5.0 (AV Preeminent®) on Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™,  and the most elite rating of ’10-Superb’ by AVVO. Each of these noteworthy distinctions is based on Mr. Marnell’s dedication to professional excellence in the practice of complex divorce and family law.

 

“Inclusion in the New York Metro Super Lawyers list highlights the exceptional work done by attorneys dedicated to not only their craft, but their clients,” said Russell I. Marnell, founder of the East Meadow, NY-based firm. “Our firm refuses to rest on its laurels and consistently operates at the highest level of excellence. This dedication has paid dividends not only in the form of satisfied clients, but distinctions that mark a concerted effort to excel in our profession. We are incredibly pleased to have been again named to the Super Lawyers list.” russell

 

With extensive experience across both legal and financial disciplines, Russell I. Marnell, is highly regarded as an expert in complex divorce, matrimonial and family law. When not litigating on behalf of his clients, he is a sought after guest lecturer and news media resource.  He successfully navigates clients through challenging legal situations which require a disciplined legal and financial eye given his cross-industry expertise in both finance/accounting and law.  Currently, Mr. Marnell is admitted to practice law in New York, California, Nevada and Florida, as well as the United States Tax Court and Federal District Court.  He earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law (Long Island), holds an MBA in Accounting, and passed the Certified Public Accountants examination.

 

An Elite Distinction

 

In order to determine the top lawyers in each state, Super Lawyers uses a multiphase selection process that evaluates candidates on 12 indicators of peer recognition. The organization uses nominations, evaluations, and independent research to find which attorneys are the leaders in their respective fields. Each year, Super Lawyers seeks to compile a diverse, credible, and comprehensive list of outstanding attorneys.

 

During the selection process, candidates are evaluated by the Super Lawyers research department after being nominated for recognition by fellow attorneys. Evaluations of an attorney’s honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within law firm; verdicts and settlements; professional activity; pro bono community service; transactions; representative clients; education and employment background; scholarly lectures and writings; and other outstanding achievements are completed and included within a patented, multiphase process.   The result of these efforts is a comprehensive list of the top five percent (5%) of attorneys in each state—and a resource to be used by both attorneys and consumers in their search for outstanding legal counsel.

 

For more information about the divorce and family law attorneys from the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. visit http://www.nyfamilydivorcelawyer.com.

 

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Spousal Maintenance: Revised Law in New York State

 

October 2, 2015 in Published Works by nyfdl

 

divorce-cash-25545550Significant revisions have been made to the guiding laws used to decide both pre- and post-judgement maintenance payments (support) in New York. The new law (Bill A7645/S5678) was officially signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on September 25, 2015.

 

“Establishing revised formulas to calculate both the duration and amount of maintenance and spousal support, the new law will hopefully bring more uniformity to judicial decisions,” said Russell I. Marnell, divorce attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. “It will also make it easier to advise clients with greater confidence as to the amount and duration of the probable final maintenance award.”

 

Mr. Marnell continued, “The revisions will also simplify equitable distribution since licenses, degrees and enhanced earning capacity are no longer marital assets subject to valuation and distribution.”

 

To review the bill in full, visit: Bill A7645, or read Joel Stashenko’s comprehensive article in the New York Law Journal.

 

 

Spousal Maintenance: Revised Law in New York State

October 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

divorce-cash-25545550Significant revisions have been made to the guiding laws used to decide both pre- and post-judgement maintenance payments (support) in New York. The new law (Bill A7645/S5678) was officially signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on September 25, 2015.

 

“Establishing revised formulas to calculate both the duration and amount of maintenance and spousal support, the new law will hopefully bring more uniformity to judicial decisions,” said Russell I. Marnell, divorce attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. “It will also make it easier to advise clients with greater confidence as to the amount and duration of the probable final maintenance award.”

 

Mr. Marnell continued, “The revisions will also simplify equitable distribution since licenses, degrees and enhanced earning capacity are no longer marital assets subject to valuation and distribution.”

 

To review the bill in full, visit: Bill A7645, or read Joel Stashenko’s comprehensive article in the New York Law Journal.

Father prevented from seeing his child gets support payments suspended

September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

20573037The New York Law Journal this week reported a Brooklyn appeals court decision finding that a father, who had been prevented from seeing his son by the child’s mother, should not be obligated to pay child support.

 

The September 2, 2015 ruling from a panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Matter of Coull v. Rottman, reverses a 2014 ruling by Westchester County Family Court Judge Hal Greenwald denying Robert Coull’s petition to suspend his child support payment obligation.

 

To support its finding, the panel cited Matter of Thompson v. Thompson, 2010 NY Slip Op 08120 (78 AD3d 845), in which the Second Department affirmed a Westchester County Family Court ruling to suspend James Thompson’s child support obligation because the mother of his son “deliberately frustrated visitation by manipulating the child’s loyalty and orchestrating and encouraging the estrangement of father and son.”   Parents have a duty to continually support their children until they are 21 years old, the court wrote in Thompson. “However, where the noncustodial parent establishes that his or her right of reasonable access to the child has been unjustifiably frustrated by the custodial parent, child support payments may be suspended,” the court said, citing the Appellate Division, Third Department’s 2008 decision in Matter of Crouse v. Crouse, 53 AD3d 750.

 

Given the circumstances, the panel—composed of Justices John Leventhal, Robert Miller, Sylvia Hinds-Radix and Joseph Maltese—ultimately concluded that Coull’s requirement to pay child support should be suspended.

 

For the complete story, visit: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202736637831/Father-Not-Obligated-to-Pay-Child-Support-Panel-Finds#ixzz3lMLb6WHH

Does Marriage in New York State Hinge on a License?

July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

In a recent New York Supreme Court decision, Justice Matthew Cooper cited the case Ponosovskaya v Stecklow calling New York Domestic Relations Law § 25 a “forgotten relic” from a time when marriage was still primarily a religious institution.  Justice Cooper’s decision in Devorah H. v. Steven S. centered on a discussion of the relevance of § 25 and the importance of obtaining a marriage license today.

 

Devorah H. and Steven S. participated in an on-the-spot Jewish wedding ceremony in December 2004 when their rabbi insisted that they be married after helping them find an apartment for their families to live together.  The ceremony lacked most of the traditional components and consisted of only the bare-boned necessities for a valid Jewish marriage.  Despite being urged to do so by the rabbi, the couple failed to obtain a marriage license thereafter.  DRL § 25 states “Nothing in this article contained shall be construed to render void by reason of a failure to procure a marriage license any marriage solemnized between persons of full age nor to render void any marriage between minors or with a minor under the legal age of consent where the consent of parent or guardian has been given and such marriage shall be for such cause voidable only as to minors or a minor upon complaint of such minors or minor or of the parent or guardian thereof.”  Under this statute, any marriage would be valid if the partners participated in a formal ceremony, regardless of whether they obtained a marriage license.

 

The court ultimately found that the marriage between Devorah H. and Steven S. was void.  Though the couple had technically been wed in a formal ceremony, both of them had entered the ceremony with the intent of securing a new apartment and not of being wed.  After the ceremony, each of the parties continued to conduct themselves as though they were single.  Devorah H. filed her tax returns as “single,” continued to receive benefits as a single mother, and never referred to Steven S. as her husband in any court documents in the time that they were “married.”  Steven S. only claimed that they were married once, when they applied to join a new synagogue and sought a discounted membership fee.

 

In the words of Justice Cooper, “DRL § 25 can only serve to subvert the important governmental interest in regulating the method by which citizens of this state marry.”  The language of § 25 runs inconsistent with the requirement in § 13 that “It shall be necessary for all persons intended to be married in New York state to obtain a marriage license from a town or city clerk in New York state.”  The language of § 13 was also amended after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to mandate that marriage licenses could not be denied to same-sex couples on the basis of being same-sex when other statutes had not been modified, something Justice Cooper referred to in his footnotes as “further indication of the legislature’s focus on the marriage licensing process — as opposed to the solemnization process — as the essential component of the method by which two people marry.”

 

Justice Cooper clearly urged that the Legislature should repeal or reform § 25 to fit within the mold of today’s laws and society, and to ease the burden on courts where parties claim false marriages in an attempt to claim remedies only available through divorce.*

 

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.