Author Archives: smandb

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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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Dutchess County DUI Attorney - Experience Matters

Dutchess County DUI Attorney – Experience Matters!

Dutchess County DUI Attorney – Experience Matters!

The experienced Poughkeepsie DWI defense attorneys at Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC work relentlessly to protect individual rights in complex criminal charges related to drunk driving accusations. We take swift action to eliminate or reduce the consequences people face with regard to driver’s license suspensions, fines, incarceration and marks on a criminal record.

We will take the time to inform you of your rights in cases of DWIs (driving while intoxicated), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), cases of multiple DWIs and other drug and alcohol-related crimes throughout Dutchess County and surrounding areas of New York. Reach us online or by telephone at 845-462-0001 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Mr. Berube served as a Marine Rifleman and was attached to Marine Security Force Company in Rota, Spain, before being honorably discharged in 1993. He graduated from Pace University School of Law and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2002. Richard served four years with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office as a Special DWI Prosecutor and currently concentrates in Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation.

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dutchess county high-asset divorce

The importance of a post-nup within high-asset divorce

The importance of a post-nup within high-asset divorce

For New York couples who enjoy a high level of wealth, protecting that wealth becomes a priority. In the case of divorce, both sides seek to retain a level of financial security. One of the best ways to ensure that a divorce proceeds fairly and with few surprises is to draft a post-nuptial agreement. These contracts can outline the manner in which assets would be divided in the event of a divorce.

dutchess county high-asset divorceOne high-profile example of the need for a post-nuptial agreement lies in the recently settled divorce between former governor Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda. The couple was the center of a great deal of media attention in 2008, when it was revealed that Spitzer was a client within a high-dollar prostitution ring. At that time, Silda stood by his side as he announced his resignation as governor. Despite that show of support, the couple filed for divorce in early 2014.

Details released state that Silda will receive a payment of $7.5 million within the divorce settlement. In addition, she will be paid spousal support in the amount of $240,000 per year, to continue unless she remarries or predeceases her husband. She will also retain the family home, and will be given $100,000 per year to support the charitable organizations of her choosing.

The couple had a postnuptial agreement in place, which likely guided much of the settlement details. There is no information available as to the specifics of that agreement. It is also unknown if the postnup was drafted prior to the governor’s indiscretions in 2008. However, these legal contracts can be drafted in such a way as to spell out various property division strategies for different scenarios. For example, spouses can agree to one amount if the marriage ends by mutual agreement, and another if infidelity is the cause of the split.

A post-nuptial agreement is a powerful tool for high-asset families. It can give a spouse who holds a lower earning capacity the ability to retain financial stability if a divorce takes place. It can also serve to protect the primary breadwinner from unfair financial losses due to the property division process. New York spouses who wish to learn more should research the matter in detail to discover if a postnup is a good fit for their financial planning needs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Eliot Spitzer To Pay Ex-Wife Silda Millions In Divorce Settlement“, Brittany Wong, April 28, 2014

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Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

New developments in Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

Category : Criminal Defense

Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer

There are always new developments in Poughkeepsie criminal defense law. It is important to choose a Dutchess county criminal lawyer that understands your situation.
One current issue is the New York State Senate passed “Laree’s Law”, which makes any person guilty of a homicide that unlawfully transports or sells opiates that causes the death of another person. This law will effect Dutchess county and Poughkeepsie criminal lawyers clients. If you or a family member are accused of a crime in Poughkeepsie or Dutchess county this law sounds like our government is out to help the current heroin epidemic that there is in Dutchess County, NY.  However, this law will do very little, if anything, to stem the tide of opiates consumed in Poughkeepsie, NY.
The Senate tells us in their justification for the law that “This law would hold drug dealers accountable for the true cost of their activities, significantly diminish the open availability of these dangerous drugs on our streets and give district attorneys the necessary tools to work up the criminal chain to the ultimate supplier because facing life imprisonment for any amount of drugs that results in death is a profound disincentive to sell drugs within the state of New York.”  There will be zero deterrent effect to dealers of opiates in NY due to this law.  The government should conduct a study on what laws really are deterrents, because this one will not be a deterrent.  The government does not think like a drug dealer.
Drugs are a huge underground economy where jail time is just a part of the overhead of doing business, and for some dealers, it is the only source of income and a way to support their own drug use.  This is just a bill for our legislators to point to when reelection time comes around, and so they have another reason to pat each other on the back and tell each other what a great job they are doing for the citizens and residents of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York.
It’s about time for our legislature to address opiate use as a medical issue instead of a criminal issue.  The drug laws have filled our prisons, made criminals of addicts, and done nothing to stem the availability and consumption of drugs.  Final thought:  If I get into my car after drinking to a blood alcohol content of .15 and drive over a person in the crosswalk causing their death, I would be guilty of Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and subject to a maximum of 7 years incarceration.  If I drive up to Buffalo to see some old college buddies and give them some of my oxys that were prescribed to me after my hip replacement, and they give them to another person who overdoses and dies taking them, I would be subject to a maximum of Life in prison. When choosing a Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer or Dutchess County criminal defense lawyer please make sure you ask detailed questions of your lawyer.
If you or a family member needs a criminal defense lawyer please call Richard Berube to set up a free consultation. Poughkeepsie criminal law is very complex involving a multiple of factors unique to the ever changing Poughkeepsie criminal laws.

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When to contact a Dutchess Criminal Lawyer?

Category : Criminal Defense

When to contact a Dutchess Criminal Lawyer?! It is not just a question of trust!

We are all taught to trust the police, and rightly so they are assigned to protect us everyday. Naturally you would feel safe if the police come to your home to question you regarding an alleged criminal event.

Having handled criminal cases as both a prosecuter and criminal DA, from murder trials to petit larceny, I always advise my clients that it is never appropriate to speak with the police without your attorney.
In almost all cases the police have already assumed that you have committed the crime. How the questions are asked, the length of the questioning, and the environment you find yourself in can all lead to misleading or false confessions. The news is rife with people who have confessed to crimes only to later be found innocent after many years in prison.
We are all presumed innocent.
We all have the right to an attorney.
So confronted with that seemingly innocent question, “Can you come talk to us at the police station?”
You should protect your rights and call me, Richard Berube from Serino, MacKay and Berube, Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer serving the Dutchess County Area !
Dutchess Criminal Lawyer

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collaborative divorce dutchess county

Can collaboration solve both divorce and business woes?

When a New York business owner is preparing to divorce, there are a wide range of financial considerations that must be made. Dividing marital wealth is a difficult enough process, but add in the need to divide the value of a business and the task can seem monumental. For those who are able to work together with their soon-to-be-ex spouse, a collaborative divorce may offer an easier road to the end of the marriage and the division of the business.

collaborative divorce dutchess countyCouples who use collaboration begin with the shared goal of hammering out the details of their divorce outside of a court of law. This does not mean that they forfeit the right to have their own individual legal counsel; collaboration usually involves the use of individual divorce attorneys for each spouse. The focus, however, is on reaching solutions, not on battling out each and every line item within the divorce.

For couples who own a business, collaboration helps both spouses remain focused on the shared goal of dividing the company while retaining as much wealth and value as possible. This is even more true in cases in which one party will retain the business and buy out the other. Causing serious damage to the operations of that company during the divorce process can leave the retaining spouse at a serious disadvantage in the years to come.

Collaboration is not the right fit for every couple. However, for those who are able and willing to work together to process the end of their marriage, it is a tool that can be used to preserve wealth for both parties. Collaboration is often a kinder, gentler and less expensive path to divorce, and one that many in New York could benefit from.

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SMANDB Dutchess County DWI attorneys

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases – If you are pulled over in New York and an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, you will likely be asked to take a breath test. It is therefore a good idea to understand the role that a breathalyzer test plays and how to protect your rights from being violated if you are suspected of drunk driving.

The consequences of a DWI conviction in Dutchess County area

The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York can be very severe. Unlike with some other crimes, the state does not allow defendants to make a plea deals in order to avoid drunk driving charges or convictions.

The potential sentences vary, depending on the details of the offense at issue. Most people can expect to face potential fines, jail time, and either license suspension or revocation. For example, a first conviction for driving with a blood alcohol content above 0.08 but below 0.18 could result a six month license revocation, up to a year in jail and a fine between $500 and $1,000.

Individuals charged with aggravated DWI or a second or multiple DWI face more severe penalties. For example, a person arrested and convicted for a third time on an aggravated DWI faces up to a $10,000 fine, an 18-month license revocation and seven years of incarceration. Aggravated DWI is generally defined as having a blood alcohol content of 0.18 or higher.

Individuals who cause death or injury as a result of driving under the influence can face felony charges.

How breath testing is used

Breathalyzers, Intoxilyzers and other breath-testing devices are designed to provide an estimate of a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol content. While testing a blood sample provides the most accurate evidence of a suspect’s blood alcohol content, breath testing tends to be easier for officers to use.

However, there has been a lot of controversy over the accuracy of breath tests. A number of studies have shown that breath tests can falsely label people as intoxicated. In one study cited in an article by a professor at the State University of New York, a person spent an hour using paint and contact cement, and was then given a breath test. While the person had not touched any liquor, the tester showed him to be over the legal limit, mistaking the fumes that the person breathed in from the paint and cement for alcohol.

Other tests have shown that a breathalyzer can give inaccurate readings based on a number of outside factors including the following:

  • Temperature
  • Gasoline
  • Electrical equipment such as police radios and cell phones
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Blood in the person’s mouth from dental work or a cut lip
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Burping or vomiting prior to the test

With so many outside influences that can create an inaccurate reading, it is no surprise that so many people are questioning the validity alcohol breath testing.

Objecting to a breathalyzer

The issue also shows the importance of working with an experienced defense attorney after being accused of driving under the influence. The attorney will be able to evaluate the circumstances of the case and advise on all possible avenues of defense. If appropriate, the attorney can challenge the admission of potentially-faulty breath test evidence.

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases

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Real estate law in the Dutchess County area

Real estate law in the Dutchess County area

Category : Real Estate

My name is Mark Serino and I have been practicing real estate law in the Dutchess County area for decades, representing buyers, sellers, lenders, and contractors.   I started helping real estate clients with my dad, Jerry Serino and continue to do so with my law firm, Serino MacKay & Berube, PLLC. Through my interactions with thousands of clients, I have learned
that a lack of information and knowledge can be frightening when revealing your “financial soul” to obtain a mortgage, especially when you are making what potentially will be the largest purchase of your lifetime.

If you are looking to buy a home, it is important to get a good realtor and a great attorney to assist you in this potentially intimidating process. Below is a quick check list of some major concerns you should pay attention to during your entire real estate purchasing process. Feel free to cut this out and use as your personal check list when buying a home. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me @ 845-462-0001.

Best of luck and happy house hunting.

√ Call me to discuss your plans & needs

√ Shop local to obtain a pre-approval letter from a local lender

√ Consult with a local realtor

√ Locate the house of your dreams

√ Negotiate the purchase price contigent upon a satisfactory home inspection

√ Consult your attorney to review & execute contract & submit down payment

√ Excercise due dilligence and get a proper home inspection

√ Renegotiate contract based on any repairs or existing conditions

√ Execute mortgage commitment – obtain a survey if necessary

√ Attend and enjoy a smooth closing

√ Walk away with a smile & set of keys to your dream home!

Real estate law in the Dutchess County area

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Category : Criminal Defense

Handling a Dutchess County DWI or Poughkeepsie DWI case requires knowledge of the Assistant District Attorneys, the Judges and the procedures in each individual Dutchess County Court.  Having started my career as an Assistant District Attorney in Poughkeepsie prosecuting DWI cases in all of Dutchess County I realized not all Judges, attorneys or cases are the same.  This is where experience matters when hiring an attorney to handle your Poughkeepsie DWI case.

The procedures and policy of the Dutchess County District Attorney are often changing.  When I first started practicing Poughkeepsie DWI law 23 years ago the unwritten policy was if a reading was above a .15 then the person would initially receive an offer of a plea to the charge.  It was then up to the Poughkeepsie DWI attorney to convince the assistant district attorney to reduce the Poughkeepsie DWI case.  When I was a prosecutor I would clearly listen more to a experienced trial attorney then one who had little to no trial experience. I knew they could not back up their arguments in a hearing or trial and often just would back down.  Things have changed little in this regard and Assistant District Attorneys still know who will and will not take borderline cases to hearing and trial.  Worse still is the readings are much lower for a plea to the charge offer, the jail time higher, the fines higher and the possibility of losing your license forever now a threat in all Poughkeepsie DWI and Dutchess County DWI cases. It is more important that ever to hire the right Poughkeepsie DWI lawyer or Dutchess County DWI lawyer to represent you.

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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School District and Dutchess County Divorce

School District and Dutchess County Divorce

In today’s age of tight budgets schools look very closely at whether a student is in fact enrolled in the district and school which they are attending.

Education Law 3202(1) provides “a person over five and under 21 years of age who has not received a high school diploma is entitled to attend the public schools maintained in the district in which such person resides without the payment of tuition.”

In a Poughkeepsie divorce, parents who lived together with the children are now often living apart and living apart in separate school districts.  The question is what district must the children attend?


In a shared residential custodial case the parents can choose the district that they wish the children to reside.  This should be clearly delineated in the parties Dutchess County divorce agreement.  THE MAJORITY OF TIMES IT IS NOT!!! .(see    decision no. 15,288.) In a joint custody arrangement the answer is more complicated. “Residence” for purposes of Education Law 3202 is established by one’s physical presence as an inhabitant within the district and intent to reside in the district. Longwood Cent. School District. V. Springs Union Free School Dist. 1 NY3d 385; Appeal of Sigsby, 44 Ed Dept Rep 97, Decision N. 15,109.

Most Poughkeepsie divorce settlement agreements will list a parent as the physical custodial parent for affixing child support obligations and this can often be misconstrued as picking a school district.  Your agreement should spell out what school district the children will be attending and list why the parties believe they meet the test below.

The test in a joint custodial arrangement as to which school district the children must attend was spelled out in Appeal of Forde, 29 Ed Dept Rep 359 and Appeal of Cortes, Decision No. 13,818. .

“In those cases where the child’s time is essentially divided between two separate households and the parents both assume day to day responsibility for the child, the determination of the child’s residence must rest ultimately with the family.  In such cases, the custodial parent may designate the child’s residence for purposes of Education Law 3202.”

There is no requirement that the time be equal, but rather that both parents be involved in the day to day responsibility and that the time be essentially divided between the parties.  Your Dutchess county divorce agreement should spell out how each parent is participating in the day to day responsibility of the children and define how while the time is not equally split that the custodial access time is essentially divided between the parents. 

School District and Dutchess County Divorce


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Office Location

Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC

12 Walker Rd.

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Phone: 845-462-0001