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Author Archives: Sara Stout Ashcraft

Matrimonial Matters: Credit card debt presents sticky situations in divorces

matrmat_ashcraft

Those of us who practice matrimonial law are always dealing with debt. The required Statement of Net Worth has a section devoted for every kind of debt there is, including “chattel mortgages.” However, today the biggest debt people have — ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Review of recent 4th Department Family Law Decisions

matrmat_ashcraft

In March and April of this year, the Fourth Department considered several family law appeals. While family law practitioners know the applicable provisions under the law, it is sometimes useful to consider how these provisions can be applied in particular ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Military academy entry as emancipation event?

matrmat_ashcraft

New York law states that “either or both parents” are obligated to pay child support “for care, maintenance and education of any unemancipated child under the age of twenty-one years.” FCA §413. Note that the obligation only extends to an ...

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Matrimonial Matters: The Law is the Law

matrmat_ashcraft

In two Family Court appeals, the Fourth Department looked to the law to hold against the appellants. Both decisions were entered Feb. 11 and reiterate that while — particularly in Family Court — litigants and attorneys may believe that their ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Divorce and death a complicated combination

matrmat_ashcraft

Under New York law, a divorce action abates upon the death of a party. Over the years, both the courts and litigants have struggled to find some wiggle room around the edges. The case most commonly cited when trying to ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Court of Appeals rules on adult adoption issue

matrmat_ashcraft

In November 2020, the Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether an adoption of “an adult woman with a significant developmental disability” was precluded because the woman “did not have the capacity to give her consent.” Matter of Marian ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Finally, gestational surrogacy law passed in NY

matrmat_ashcraft

After years of waiting for New York to catch up with society and medicine, beginning Feb. 15, 2021, New York law will allow compensated gestational surrogacy contracts. The statute also overturns the 27-year-old law holding compensated surrogacy contracts as void ...

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Matrimonial Matters: How divorce affects Social Security benefits

matrmat_ashcraft

In facing a divorce, parties are often focused early on the retirement accounts — their own and, sometimes even more, those of the other party. However, questions about Social Security benefits tend to come later. There is a great deal ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Fees for the attorney for the children

matrmat_ashcraft

In Stefaniak v. Zulkharnain [180 AD3d 1366 (4th Dept. 2020)], the Fourth Department reviewed the award of fees to the Attorney for the Children (AFC), concerning an issue which it had addressed and remitted previously. Stefaniak v. Zulkharnain [119 AD3d ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Tips for online practice of family law

matrmat_ashcraft

Online resources in family law practice have been available for several years. However, the fact that lawyers must make use of them because of COVID-19 concerns has pushed many of us out of our comfort zone. I freely admit that ...

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Matrimonial Matters: Inconvenient forum under UCCJEA

matrmat_ashcraft

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law meant to avoid arguments between parties and states as to which state provides the appropriate forum for interstate custody issues. It has been agreed to and incorporated into ...

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