Local experience really matters

At the Law Office of Kevin MacKay we represent our clients in serious legal matters in the Hudson Valley court system; from Ulster County to Dutchess county we truly are the local law firm you are searching for. When you sit at your computer and begin your search for a local attorney near you; it is important to pay attention to where your potential lawyer’s office is actually located. There are many lawyers from miles or states away. This can create serious issues for your case when courts are back in session and your lawyer may have to travel many miles or even hours to represent you in multiple hearings.  At the Law Office of Kevin MacKay we bring over 25 years of experience working in the local Dutchess County and Ulster County court systems. We bring a level of knowledge and experience that an out of town lawyer simply will not offer; local laws very from larger cities and this can also pose a problem for your case. In conclusion as you begin your search please keep in mind that Experience Matters and local experience really matters. This can be an invaluable addition to the outcome of your Dutchess County divorce, child custody or matrimonial.


Choosing the Right Poughkeepsie Family Attorney

Having practiced Poughkeepsie divorce law for 23 years choosing the right attorney to handle your Dutchess County case is not an easy task.  I routinely take over cases from other Poughkeepsie Divorce attorneys who know the law but are not able to get along with the clients or have handed the case off to a less experienced person in the Dutchess County law firm.  I often refuse to take on a Poughkeepsie separation case because I feel the expectation of the client is not realistic and I will be unable to meet their expectations and thus result in a poor attorney client relationship.

This leads to RULE #1 in choosing a Poughkeepsie divorce attorney: Meet with the attorney who you are going to work with and ask them questions.  A few of the questions which would seem to be common sense are rarely asked,

 A. How long have you been doing this for?

 B. Have you ever done a trial? 

 C.  Are you the attorney who is going to work on my case?  They may sound good, look and smell good, but is this bait and switch to a less experienced or different associate.  

         You have an absolute right to know who is going to be working on your Poughkeepsie divorce case because in the most difficult time in your life this is the person who you are going to have a relationship with as yours is breaking apart.  If you don’t meet the Dutchess County attorney who is handling your case at the intake you don’t hire that firm!

D.  What are the issues you see in my Poughkeepsie divorce and how can you help me?

         These are just the basic common sense questions that should be asked at all interviews with a Dutchess County family attorney.  It all relates back to RULE #1: Meet with the Poughkeepsie family attorney who is going to handle your case and see if he or she is right for you.


Financial tips for New York men facing alimony, child support

Divorce can be a challenge, and many spouses who feel that their marriage is coming to an end search for advice on how to manage the process and to know what to expect. A great deal of the information available in print and online, however, focused on advising women on how to navigate divorce. Very little is geared explicitly toward men and their divorce concerns, leaving many New York husbands feeling out of the loop and unsure what to expect when it comes to alimony and child support.

In many ways, divorce advice is gender-neutral. However, men and women do have different interests when it comes to certain aspects of a divorce. Alimony is one area that serves as an example. While many men struggle with the concept of making long term payments to a former spouse, it is possible to reframe the manner in which one considers spousal support. Alimony payments are tax-deductible, and in many cases can provide solid tax benefits when handled correctly.

A related issue involves men who might be eligible to collect, rather than pay, alimony. While spousal support was once considered solely the realm of wives, many husbands are entitled to these payments based on their own efforts to support the career of their spouse or set their own career aside to care for shared children. When a father is going to assume the primary care for those children, then child support becomes another issue that will buck the “normal” path of a divorce. If there is any question whether a husband is eligible to receive these payments, it is important to meet with an attorney to investigate the matter further.

Times have changed, and along with those changes have come shifts in the way that divorce is perceived. Men who are facing the end of a marriage should make every effort to determine their rights under New York law, as well as what to expect from the divorce process. Having this information will help spouses make the best choices possible as they work toward a favorable settlement in regard to alimony and/or child support.

Source: The Week, 8 financial tips for men getting a divorce, Hayley Krischer, Sept. 30, 2013

Parents often fear repercussions for enforcing child support

Many New York parents who have gone through divorce struggle to make ends meet each month. Raising kids on a single income is difficult, not to mention having to run a household and care for a child at the same time. When the other parent fails to contribute by way of paying child support, the custodial parent is often placed in a difficult position, and unsure how to best approach the issue.

Many parents fear that taking an aggressive stance toward child support enforcement will lead to tension with their child or children. This is especially true when the kids still have contact with the non-custodial parent, who may be playing the role of victim in the matter. However, allowing the other parent to fall behind in his or her child support obligations does no good for the child or children who need that support.

While the realities of child support enforcement may be difficult to explain to a child, parents must take action to ensure that the financial needs of the family are adequately met. In some cases, this means involving the court in the process. It is possible that a family court judge can communicate the importance of making timely payments without the necessity of punitive measures. However, the decision to make good on one’s obligation lies solely with the individual who is responsible for those payments.

As with most issues surrounding child custody and child support in New York, the best course of action is to refrain from discussing the matter in depth with a shared child. These are adult issues, and children are unable to grasp the complexities of the financial requirements of running a household. Including a child into the dialogue is not only not necessary, but could end up leading to tensions between all involved.

Source: The Washington Post, “Things can get ugly when family and money mix, especially over child support“, Michelle Singletary, July 12, 2014

Unusual child support order focuses on tuition

For many New York parents who divorce, the financial support for their shared children is a top concern. Child support determinations comprise a significant portion of the divorce negotiations, and each family has the right to decide on a support plan that meets their own unique needs. Many families include the cost of a college education in their child support agreement, but parents should be wary of how this part of their divorce settlement is worded.

One area father has recently learned the hard way that the details of such an agreement must be clearly spelled out in writing to avoid potential disputes when it comes time to write tuition checks. He and his former wife agreed to cover the cost of their daughter’s postgraduate education, should she decide to pursue a law degree. However, when the time came to begin those studies, father and daughter were estranged, leading to a dispute that recently went before a family court judge.

Within the divorce agreement, the only condition placed upon the obligation of the parents to pay for their daughter’s legal education was that she maintain a “C” average during her studies. However, the father argued in court that it was also expected that she begin her postgrad work within a year or two after receiving her undergraduate degree, and that she attend Rutgers University, where her father is a professor. Instead, she chose Cornell Law School, where tuition runs approximately $225,000.

In court, the judge ruled that because there were no such conditions outlined within the divorce settlement, the father is responsible for covering half of the cost of his daughter’s tuition. For parents in New York who are negotiating the details of their own divorce settlements concerning child support, this ruling serves as a warning of the importance of including any and all stipulations on an agreement to send their child to college. Failing to do so can lead to serious financial hardship if the cost of tuition and expenses runs higher than expected.

Source: nj.com, NJ court orders divorced father to pay half of daughter’s pricey law school expenses, Jeff Goldman, March 5, 2014

Sperm donor will be required to pay child support

For many couples in New York and elsewhere, the path to parenthood is not as straightforward as they may have imagined it would be. Unable to conceive naturally, many couples turn to alternative methods of having a baby. For some, surrogacy provides an option; others turn to sperm or egg donation. In all of these cases, the parents and those who assist them in creating new life intend for that assistance to end once the child is born. However, one recent child support determination suggests that intentions are simply not enough.

The case centers on a man who answered an ad seeking a sperm donor. He met the same-sex couple who placed the ad, and a child was conceived using artificial insemination. Everything seemed to go as planned until the family fell on hard times and sought financial assistance from the state. State officials required that the name of the child’s father be disclosed in order to seek his financial assistance. Regardless of the fact that the couple never intended for the donor to have any responsibility for the child, the state took steps to name him as the father.

A court recently ruled that because the parties completed the artificial insemination process without the assistance of a physician, the man does not qualify as a sperm donor under state law. He has now been names the child’s legal father, and may be required to pay the state $6,000 for the support provided to the family. He could also be held responsible for future child support payments.

This case serves as an example of the importance of completing any and all surrogacy or sperm/egg donations with a full understanding of New York law. Here, it appears that the outcome might have been far different had the parties understood the need to have their procedure attended to by a physician. As a result of their choice to handle the matter on their own, a man who intended to give the gift of a new life to a couple who desperately wanted a child may now face many years of child support payments.

Source: Time, U.S. Sperm Donor Told To Pay Child Support, David Stout, Jan. 23, 2014