Author Archives: smandb

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How long how much Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney Kevin MacKay

How long & how much: Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney Kevin MacKay

How long & how much: Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney Kevin MacKay
Over the course of decades, there is one question that every single Dutchess County client asks. How much will this cost & how long is it going to take. Like any good divorce attorney, the answer is it depends on the case.
All humor aside, the cost and time of a Poughkeepsie divorce depends on the complexity of issues, and the willingness of attorney’s to settle unresolved issues. The least expensive divorce I have ever handled was only “$500.00” in attorney’s fees and the attorneys were done in 2 weeks. Other divorces have taken years and 10’s of thousands of dollars. I pride myself in keeping my bills as low as possible. This is done by spending time to get to know my clients, the issues most important to them, and coming up with a strategy to achieve their goals early in the case.
I also make it a point to explain the costs of obtaining each goal. I use the analogy of the golden toaster. You can hire me to argue over a toaster oven but always keep in mind that for the cost of a attorney you could not have argued and bought a golden toaster oven. This story I tell to every client not because every goal they want to obtain is not important to me, but from the experience that a client obtain all their goals and end up with nothing.
How much & how long again depends how well we balance those goals to your financial advantage.


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Choosing your Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney

Choosing your Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney

Category : Divorce

Choosing your Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorney:

Like people in life, divorce attorney’s come in all shapes, sizes & colors.  When choosing the right Poughkeepsie divorce attorney for you, make sure you ask the right questions. As I have written in a previous blog the first & foremost question in choosing your Poughkeepsie divorce or child custody attorney is……

What is my experience? While many clients are referred to me by other clients. I am still shocked to this day that 95% of all clients never ask that question.

Of equal importance after you have spent an hour getting to know a lawyer during the initial consultation, the next intelligent question, unless this is the only lawyer in a one room office, “Are you the attorney that will handle my entire file?”

When you consult with a brain surgeon you expect the brain surgeon to perform the surgery. When you go to get a quick oil change it may not be important who changes your oil. The lawyer /client relationship should be treated like brain surgery and not like an oil change.

The Dutchess county lawyer that did the consult should be the lawyer that handles the case. Unless you made an informed decision to do otherwise.  I look forward to our consult and personally working with you through your entire case.  For more information on Dutchess County divorce lawyers please contact our office or online at Poughkeepsie Lawyers website

dutchess county best Divorce Attorney


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Poughkeepsie divorce attorneys and New York state divorce law explained

Poughkeepsie divorce attorneys and New York state divorce law explained

Poughkeepsie divorce attorneys and New York state divorce law explained

Divorce is the final, legal ending of a marriage by court order. If you have a divorce case in court, you may hear lawyers and court staff call it a matrimonial action. A divorce in New York is also referred to as a Matrimonial Action. The individual bringing the action is identified as the plaintiff (claimant), and the other spouse is identified as the defendant.

New York has laws that limit how you can obtain a divorce, that apply in a Poughkeepsie divorce case too. There are at this time seven arguments (grounds) you can bring into play to get a divorce in Poughkeepsie.  The divorce ruling will comprise orders about marital property and marital debts, as well as custody, visitation, child support and spousal support.

How to get a Divorce?

The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the only court that handles divorce cases, and a Supreme Court judge is the only person who can legally grant a divorce. A New York court can only decide a divorce case if at least one of the spouses is a New Yorker. In most cases, one of the spouses must have lived in New York for at least one year before trying to get a divorce.

If living in the Dutchess County area, you should go to the Dutchess Supreme and County Court, remember, you cannot get a divorce in Family Court, but you can go to your local Family Court for help with child support, child custody, child visitation, spousal maintenance, and paternity.

What are the 7 grounds for divorce in Poughkeepsie, NY ?

Same as allover the NY State the 7 grounds for divorce in Poughkeepsie, NY and in the Dutchess County area are

  • Irretrievable Breakdown
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery
  • Judgment of Separation
  • Separation Agreement

 

This will be clearly explained in one of our future blogposts, or if you are in need of urgent advice you can contact or get directions for the SMANDB Poughkeepsie Divorce Attorneys HERE

Poughkeepsie divorce law


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Poughkeepsie Divorce & Child Custody Lawyers

Poughkeepsie Divorce & Child Custody Lawyers

Poughkeepsie Divorce & Child Custody Lawyers

“Oh my God I am going to lose my kids”

Going back to the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s the court did follow a theory that it was in the best interest of the children to be with their Mother. Through the 1990’s and early 2000’s there has been a shift in courts away from this misplaced theory to understand that it is in the best interest of children to have a substantial and meaningful relationship with both parents. I have often consulted with distraught clients who are either divorced or breaking up with significant other who exclaim “Men are never going to get a fair day in court” and feel they will never see their kids again

Having won custody and substantial visitation rights for many of my male clients, I can tell you this is no longer the case. If you have the time to spend with your children, in the majority of the cases I will be able to draft a custodial access schedule to meet the needs of the children to spend the quality time they want with their father.

Father’s do not give up on your children just because you think you can’t win.

Please call me for a free consultation to discuss the exact details of your case.


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Kevin MacKay Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney

Kevin MacKay, Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney

Kevin MacKay of Poughkeepsie law firm Serino, MacKay and Berube can help you with your divorce or any family law issues. Throughout my years of practicing as a Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney I have met people of all types, from the confident well informed client who arrives in my Poughkeepsie office having researched all aspects of the law, has a alphabetized three ring binder of all the parties financials and a thought out plan as to a resolution to the marital issues that arise in divorce actions to the client who has been abused, kept in the dark as to finances and afraid and uncertain about commencing a divorce action out of fear of their abuser. While both clients can be pleasurable to represent, there is a significant satisfaction to help someone who has been either physically or mentally abused and living in fear to finally escape from the prison they have been residing. Seeing clients a year later come in and hug my staff because they found a new life at the end of the tunnel makes us all at the Poughkeepsie law offices of Serino, MacKay and Berube proud about what we do.

Do you find yourself being the client who out of fear will not make that first step? I urge you to contact me to set up a free consultation. I have represented many individuals in your situation and together we have taken that first step. I will take the time to discuss your options and explain the resources available to you and your children. Despite the threats that your abuser makes in an attempt to maintain control, many of which are empty and deceptive, you have the power and the choice to take your life back. If you are living in the Poughkeepsie area and are looking for a divorce attorney please remember that experience matters and I am here to help you.

Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney contact


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smandb lawyer in Dutchess county - divorce and the right of election

Divorce and The Right of Election

I have come across more divorces that have involved couples who have lived apart for decades. Many of these individuals come to me and ask what happens if I do not file for divorce, can I will my children everything I have?

Under New York state law, whether a spouse dies with or without a will, a spouse is entitled to the elective share of his or her spouse’s estate. This elective is one-third of the spouse’s assets!

The assets included in the elective share are all items that pass through a will. It also includes, pursuant to New York Estates Power and Trust Law Section 5-1.1.d, “testamentary substitutes…which include gifts causa mortis or within one year of death, Totten trusts, joint accounts, revocable transfers, or transfers with a retained income interest, many retirement accounts and property owned by a decedent and payable on his death to someone other than the surviving spouse for his estate.”

The right of election gives the surviving spouse the choice between accepting what he or she received in a will or under intestacy, or the greater of $50,000 or one-third of the estate. Needless to say, if you are a spouse who has been living separate from your husband or wife and have assets sitting back and doing nothing can be harmful to your intentions for your estate after you pass.

A divorce in New York will terminate the right of election and protect your right to transfer your estate the way you wish.

If you are in the Poughkeepsie, NY are and are seeking a divorce lawyer in Dutchess county. Please contact Serino, MacKay, and Berube law for your free consultation.


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Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years

The practice of law is an ever changing landscape in the Hudson Valley

I have been handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years and both the laws and how the bar handles Poughkeepsie divorces have drastically changed in just two decades. When I first started practice it was rare that a father would ever be granted custody. There was a preference for the mother to be granted primary custody based on old beliefs that it was in the best interest of a child to be nurtured by their mother. These beliefs had evaporated in psychology over twenty years ago and it was understood that substantial contact with both parents was in the best interest of a child’s development and not just substantial contact with the mother.

Courts are creatures of precedent and it has taken time for the Courts to evolve and catch up with the psychology of today and let go of the erroneous advice of the past. It is important for a Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney not only to understand the Courts but to read  and understand the psychology of children in divorces and divided families. This understanding can be used to assist Poughkeepsie families in making the best choices for their children. How does an infant bond with a mother and father? What is the importance of breast feeding? When is it best to transition to an overnight schedule? Not all Courts will see the answer to these questions in the same way and reading and understanding the most updated advice from doctors in this area is crucial knowledge for a Poughkeepsie attorney in assisting clients.

Practicing law is more than just reading the law and appearing in Court. It is having the knowledge and life experience to assist the client and bring intelligent knowledge based arguments to support your client’s position in the Court room. Experience and knowledge matters and will make a difference in any case.

Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases

Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years


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Experience Matters – Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys

Category : Child Custody

Experience Matters – Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys

Many will assume that most Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys do trials, the opposite is true. Most attorneys, even some who handle Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County criminal matters, have never done a jury trial. The practice of criminal law requires the experience to know what can and what cannot potentially be won at trial and this requires actual trial experience. 

I recall one case that everyone was telling me to plea or my client would spend the next five years in prison, even the Judge and the District Attorney were pushing for a plea to a felony. I explained to my client that even though he stabbed someone over 10 times that the man who broke into his house and attacked him and his family had no right to do so and he had an excellent defense for self-defense. I took that case to trial, the jury agreed and my client walked free with no criminal conviction. 

Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County criminal defense sometimes requires the client to make tough choices and they need an experienced attorney to advise them which direction would be best to go with their case. A less experienced attorney who did not have the feel or confidence in the court room may have provided different advice, pled the client and he would have gone to prison and had a felony conviction on his permanent record. 

Ask the Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorney you are hiring how many jury trials they have done because should you choose to have a trial on your case, experience does matter! 

Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys


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Mark H Serino's tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

Mark H. Serino’s tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

Category : Real Estate

Mark H. Serino’s tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

                    1. Choose the services of a Poughkeepsie or Dutchess County real estate professional who is thoroughly acquainted with the area in which you are looking to live. Before you can negotiate a purchase you will need to have a pre approval letter from a lender to assure your seller that you are a qualified purchaser. When choosing a lender call around for the best terms as they will vary from time to time and lender to lender. 

“Don’t choose your lender because the mortgage broker is a friend of a friend. That mortgage broker may be long gone by the time you pay that mortgage off and I can guarantee you he will not make any of your mortgage payments!”

                    2. Whether it is for the school district, the proximity to work, transportation or other important amenities that appeal to you, carefully select the community in the Hudson Valley that you prefer. 

                    3. Did you ever hear the saying, “Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood?” It is a good idea to consider purchasing the least attractive home on the block. It’s easier to improve the value of your home than it is the neighborhood. With a little sweat equity you may be pleasantly surprised with the increase in the value of your Hudson Valley home! Additionally, if you are paying private mortgage insurance you may be able to reduce it or eliminate it. 

                    4. You’ve found your dream home and negotiated the sales price, it’s now time to choose an experienced Dutchess county real estate attorney to help you navigate through the home-purchase process with little to no stress. 


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Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Category : Property Division

Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Any large-scale life event brings with it a chance to learn a range of lessons. In fact, a great deal of our knowledge and understanding comes from having gone through difficult experiences. We learn from the good choices that we make, as well as from the decisions that we would like to forget. Divorce and property division are no exception, and savvy spouses in New York will take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience of moving beyond an untenable marriage.

The division of marital property is one of the most difficult aspects of any divorce. This can be especially true for spouses who played a minor role in managing the family’s financial matters. It can be intimidating to delve deeply into the assessment of family income, assets and debt. However, doing so can lead to a far greater understanding of what one’s financial future will look like moving forward.

Many parents worry that they will not be able to provide their children with the same level of support and attention after a divorce has taken place. By focusing on the property division portion of a divorce, it is possible to gain a clear estimation of what one’s budget will be in the months and years to come. If that budget seems insufficient to meet the needs of the divided family, adjustments can be made during the property division process.

Most New York parents find that they are more than able to provide the love and care that their children need, even after divorce has altered the family structure. The property division process can ease many of the fears that accompany divorce, as it gives spouses the chance to fully understand their available resources and the need to create a budget for future expenses. Often, financial education is one of the most powerful lessons that can come with the end of a marriage.

Divorce and property division

Source: The Huffington Post, “14 Invaluable Life Lessons Learned From Divorce“, Brittany Wong, Aug. 4, 2014


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Office Location

Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC

12 Walker Rd.

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Phone: 845-462-0001

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