Author Archives: smandb

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Why is not a good idea to start a divorce case without a lawyer?

Why is not a good idea to start a divorce case without a lawyer?

Category : Divorce

A divorce case in Hudson Valley area or in the New York State in general can be fairly simple if both the husband and the wife want to get divorced and they do not have any disagreements about their finances or children. If they have children together, the parents may already have a Family
Court order(s) that decides who has custody and/or visitation and who pays child support. If they also do not have money, property, or debt to divide, they may be able to get divorced in less than a year’s time and without hiring
lawyers. People call this kind of case an “uncontested” divorce.

Its not a good idea to try to start a divorce case without a lawyer.

This is because you must provide a lot of information to the Court on many different forms and because there are many things involved in ending most marriages. New York divorce laws are put in place for both the Plaintiff and the Defendant to receive a fair divorce. Hiring a family attorney or mediator in your area is the best way to ensure that this happens.

An experienced attorney will make sure your rights are protected and make sure at the same time that you are not taken advantage of by your ex-partner and her/his attorney.

Divorce lawyers come in all shapes, sizes & colors.  When choosing the right Poughkeepsie divorce attorney for you, make sure you ask the right questions.

You can begin to put your difficult legal matters behind you by scheduling a free initial consultation at our law offices, with one of our seasoned lawyers. We can be reached online or by telephone at 845-462-0001. We welcome your call.


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First-Offense DWI vs Second-Offense DWI or DWAI in New York

First-Offense DWI vs Second-Offense DWI or DWAI in New York

A first-offense DWI, sometimes called a DUI (driving under the influence), where the driver has a BAC of .08% or more (up to.18%) carries an administrative license suspension of at least six months (one year for drivers with a BAC of .18% or more or for drivers under 21 years old).

A DWI is considered a second-offense if you had a prior offense within the past ten years. DWAI’s involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol also have a ten-year second-offense look-back period. However, the second-offense look-back period for DWAI’s involving only alcohol is five years.
It’s important to note that New York has multiple look-back periods. Depending on your situation, the look-back period could be four, five, ten, or 25 years. Consult with a New York DWAI attorney to find out which look-back period applies in your case.

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, 33% of all fatalities are due to drunk drivers Because of this, the penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.
New York has established severe penalties for DUI. The reason for the severity is not only to punish people who have been arrested for driving drunk, but to set an example to those who haven’t yet. That way, if they are ever in a position where they are considering drunk driving, they will think better of it. And the penalties become even more severe for second- and third-time offenders:

New York first-offense DWI Laws

  • $500 – $1,000 fine
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Minimum 6-month license suspension

New York second-offense DWI Laws(within 10 years)

  • $500 – $1,000 fine
  • Up to 4 years in jail
  • Minimum 1-year license suspension

At Serino, MacKay and Berube we have handled thousands of DWI cases of the course of our careers and more importantly have brought hundreds of these cases to either trial or hearing.  When looking for the right attorney experience matters come in and meet with one of our attorneys for a free consultation on your matter today.  


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drink driving new york law

DUI and DWI explained for the New York State

This article is made for better understanding DUI and DWI in the New York State. So if you confront with any of those charges you can better understand them before contacting Lawyers For DWI or DUI.

A DWI refers to when a driver is intoxicated; that is, when his or her blood alcohol content level (BAC) is at the legal limit (0.08 percent) or higher. A DUI generally refers to a driver who is “buzzed” (has a BAC lower than 0.08 percent), intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs.

Alcohol reduces reaction time, reduces your ability to see clearly, changes your judgment of speed and distances, often makes you less inhibited and makes you more prone to take chances. Drugs, which include many prescription and over-the-counter medications, can affect your ability to drive. They can have effects similar to alcohol or even worse. If you take medication, even a remedy for colds or allergies that is not prescribed, check the label for warnings about its effects. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist about driving while on the medication.

Driving while intoxicated is a crime. Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions

  • the amount of alcohol you drink
  • the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol
  • the length of time you drink alcohol
  • your body weight
  • your gender

There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour.

Contact Lawyers Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC online or call 845-432-5599. Our firm also represents students at Vassar College, The Culinary Institute of America, and Marist students who are facing DWI charges.

DUI and DWI explained


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Interaction between Family Court and Criminal Court

Category : Divorce

With a practice in both Poughkeepsie criminal law and matrimonial law there is often overlap in the two areas which often revolves around allegation of domestic violence or substance abuse.  It is important to have an Dutchess County attorney who understands the interaction between both the Poughkeepsie Family court and the Criminal court.  I will limit this blog to orders of protection.

            Orders of protection:  Both the family court and the criminal court have the authority to issue what is commonly referred to as the order of protection.  This order will limit a person’s ability to be near the named person or persons, take their firearms and comes with various restrictions.   When a family member is the person requesting the order this often happens in both family court and criminal court on the same allegation.  This will often result in two orders of protection.

            Confusion arises when one court removes some of the restrictions and the other court does not.  I find client’s often may think that because the one court lifted the restrictions the other court’s restrictions will be automatically lifted.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!!  In order to modify the restrictions it is necessary to have both Court’s modify their orders.  One method I use to assure that this happens is to make sure in a case where the two courts are involved is to have the Criminal court with the consent of the Judge have a provision in their order which allows it to follow the family court order so that the it basically will allow the family court order of protection to be the primary order.  It is still two separate orders, but should family court allow for more contact then the criminal order will automatically do so as well.  Understanding this interaction is essential to practicing in both courts and avoiding a client’s arrest for contempt of court.

         This brief paragraph above explains just a small aspect of the interactions between Poughkeepsie family court and Dutchess County criminal court.  When you find yourself in both courts at the same time it is essential that you have a highly experienced Poughkeepsie attorney in both criminal law and family law, your freedom is at stake.


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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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Office Location

Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC

12 Walker Rd.

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Phone: 845-462-0001

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