Author Archives: Joshua Katz

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About Joshua Katz

Joshua Katz is a Attorney at Plain & Katz, LLP in Kew Gardens, NY.
EMAIL: josh@plainekatz.com
BIO: About Joshua
PHONE: 718-268-0279

The Art of the Prenuptial Agreement: Part 2
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The Art of the Prenuptial Agreement: Part 2 | Joshua Katz

{2:30 minutes to read} In our previous article, we discussed prenuptial agreements. With this basic understanding of a prenuptial agreement and its function, this article will expand that foundation, as well as address some shifting trends in the way the courts are responding to prenuptial agreements. Is a Prenup Ironclad? By nature, prenuptial agreements are one-sided, unfair documents. In essence, one person is waiving his or her right to a claim in the event of a divorce.

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The Art of the Prenuptial Agreement: Part 1
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The Art of the Prenuptial Agreement: Part 1 | Joshua Katz

{3:05 minutes to read} “I want a prenuptial agreement.” What a fiancee actually hears: “I want to marry you, but I kind of don’t believe that our marriage is going to last, and therefore I want to protect myself when we decide to divorce.” A prenup is hardly a romantic gesture; however, it is a practical one, especially given the statistic that more than half of marriages end in divorce! Despite its bad reputation, a prenuptial agreement protects against commingling. It is a lot easier to plan an amicable separation while a couple is madly in love instead of during an acrimonious divorce.

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Visitation Pick-Up & Drop-Off Locations: No Communication Zones!
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Visitation Pick-Up & Drop-Off Locations: No Communication Zones! | Joshua Katz

{6:40 minutes to read} In this post I will discuss three popular venues for picking up and dropping off children.   Police Precincts: Good or Bad ☑ Professional supervisors ☑ Video monitoring & recording ☑ Witnesses ☑ Well-lit at night If there is a history of domestic violence, using a police precinct as a pick-up and drop-off location can be advantageous. Professional supervisors are on hand to ensure nobody gets hurt, and if there is ever a problem, you are right where you need to be to make a report.

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How Non-Traditional Marital Finances Affect Your Divorce
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How Non-Traditional Marital Finances Affect Your Divorce | Joshua Katz

{3:30 minutes to read} Every married couple handles their finances differently.  In a traditional marriage, you, as a couple, have joint bank accounts, pool your incomes into one account, and pay household bills out of that account. You both know what’s in the bank and whether you are saving or losing money each month. When it comes time for tax season, you file joint tax returns. You know each other’s income, and things are fairly simple when it comes to divorce.

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It Is in Your Child’s Best Interests to Settle Custody!
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It Is in Your Child’s Best Interests to Settle Custody! | Joshua Katz

{2:15 minutes to read} Parents who are battling for custody in a divorce proceeding need to focus on their children’s interests—and settle! Parents know their children better than anyone else in the world. And so, it is important that both parents work together to craft a custody arrangement that is best for their child. And settle! A stranger dressed in a black robe (the judge) will not, by comparison, know what is best. If your current attorney is not guiding you to settle, then you should consider working with a new attorney.

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Pets Are People, Too!
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Pets Are People, Too! | Joshua Katz

{4:30 minutes to read} “Decidedly more than a piece of property”—pet owners would categorically agree that their pets are indeed family. In a recent decision in the case of Travis v. Murray, Judge Matthew Cooper of Manhattan said that Joey, a mini Dachshund, was “decidedly more than a piece of property,” allowing for a brief best interest hearing to determine custody of the family dog post-divorce.

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Jewish Custody Determinations by the Secular Court
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Jewish Custody Determinations by the Secular Court | Joshua Katz

{8:00 minutes to read} “When a person has a judgment adjudicated by gentile judges and their courts, he is considered a wicked person.” Rambam, Hilchos Sanhedrin, 26,7. As a custody litigator, my cases invariably involve litigants whose emotions run high while they battle over who is the most appropriate parent. An extra layer of complication comes into play when the secular courts are confronted with issues of religious observance as they affect the best interests and moral wellbeing of children.

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Gratitude & Pride: Reflections on My Career Choice
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Gratitude & Pride: Reflections on My Career Choice | Joshua Katz

{4:30 minutes to read} March 25, 2016, was a typical, average day, but it was significant for me. It was one of those rare days that confirmed that I love what I do. I was in court handling three (3) cases where the court had to determine the best interests of three (3) very distinct children. Despite the very challenging and heart-rending circumstances to which I am privy on a daily basis, I am proud when my job makes a difference in the world — as a child advocate.

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The (Over)Use of Forensic Experts During Custody Determinations
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The (Over)Use of Forensic Experts During Custody Determinations | Joshua Katz

{3:10 minutes to read} In a divorce proceeding, custody is determined by establishing what is in the best interest of the child.  Often, it is challenging for a judge to apply this amorphous standard and determine which parent is better suited to make decisions on behalf of the child. In instances where there are allegations of harmful mental illness or parental shortcomings, a forensic evaluation can be a very useful tool.

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New York’s Recent Changes to Family Laws: What You Need to Know
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New York’s Recent Changes to Family Laws: What You Need to Know | Joshua Katz

{4:20 minutes to read} Recently, New York has made fast-paced changes that affect family law practitioners. Attorneys and divorce professionals must take these important modifications into account. The Child Support Cap and Its Ramifications  As of March 1st, 2016, the cap—utilized to calculate child support payments—was raised to $143,000 of combined parental income (formerly $141,000). Not that this is a huge increase, but family lawyers must cite the new cap in the calculation language on Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) submissions.

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Is Split Residential Custody in the Best Interests of Children?
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Is Split Residential Custody in the Best Interests of Children? | Joshua Katz

{2:50 minutes to read} In recent years there has been a clear shift in custody cases toward “shared residential custody.” But is this necessarily a good trend? Under New York law, there is a presumption that both parents have equal rights to their children. There is no gender bias or preference. However, the law does not presume that “equal rights to the child” and “best interest of child” are one and the same.

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Filing a Joint Tax Return While Divorcing? Be Careful!
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Filing a Joint Tax Return While Divorcing? Be Careful! | Joshua Katz

{3:40 minutes to read} Married couples usually elect to file joint tax returns to maximize exemptions and deductions. When couples are divorcing but are still legally married, they remain entitled to the same advantages by continuing to file jointly, and may be tempted to do so. In fact, an unreasonable refusal to file jointly could be considered wasteful dissipation! However, it is important to understand the implications of the content on the tax return — a sworn federal document — as it relates to subsequent determinations made by the court throughout the divorce.

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Should the Judge in Your Custody Trial See That Video?
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Should the Judge in Your Custody Trial See That Video? | Joshua Katz

{3:00 minutes to read} Is it a good idea to present video recordings to a judge as evidence in a custody trial? There is a famous saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Consequently, many people think it would be advantageous to present an audio or even a video recording to the judge, portraying their spouse as a bad parent. However, 9 times out of 10, the recordings clients bring to me would backfire if we tried to use them in court.

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How to Win a Custody Battle
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How to Win a Custody Battle | Joshua Katz

{2:35 minutes to read} Winning a custody battle is all about your lawyer’s presentation to the judge. Recently, I was talking to a wise judge who explained that deciding on a custody case is almost always an easy task. When there is one good parent and one bad parent, the decision is simple. When both parents are good parents, you cannot make a wrong decision; whatever the decision is, the children will be fine.

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When the Holiday Party Is Over
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When the Holiday Party Is Over | Joshua Katz

{2:55 minutes to read} Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, festive trees with glowing lights and stockings hung by the chimney… In contrast to all of these wonderful traditions, the holidays can greatly increase the stress on a troubled marriage. When there are incompatibility issues and you are spending more time in close quarters with your spouse and extended family, tempers often flare. Everyone tries not to make a scene in front of the children, but when the party’s over and the in-laws retire to the guest room, it all comes out.

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True or False: Don’t Move Out Until AFTER the Divorce
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True or False: Don’t Move Out Until AFTER the Divorce | Joshua Katz

{3.8 minutes to read} Call a truce or move to the couch in the den. Do whatever you have to do to make it work, but do not move out of the house until you speak with a lawyer. Vacating the marital home and leaving the children with your spouse could adversely affect your parenting rights. In determining custody, the number one factor that the courts look at is stability. If you move out of the house without a parenting plan in place, the court may decide to

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7 Things Divorced Parents Need to Know About Relocating
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7 Things Divorced Parents Need to Know About Relocating | Joshua Katz

{4:20 minutes to read} Under New York Law, a custodial parent cannot relocate to another state without consent from the other parent or a court order.   Imagine you are a single parent who has been offered a great job in Denver. You might be ready to pack your bags – but, not so fast. Unless you have consent from the other parent, it will be up to the court to decide whether you can move. This may be true even if you have “sole custody” of the child(ren)!

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Major Changes in New York’s Domestic Relations Law Now Effective
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Major Changes in New York’s Domestic Relations Law Now Effective | Joshua Katz

{2:16 minutes to read} On September 25, 2015, the governor signed into law a major change for Domestic Relations in New York State. The new law codifies a maintenance formula for calculating how much spousal support should be paid in divorce actions, and for how long. It applies to any divorce action filed after October 25th of this year. New York has joined the national trend to codify a basic maintenance formula for judges.

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What is an Order of Protection?
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What is an Order of Protection | Joshua Katz

{3: 40 minutes to read} An order of protection begins with a family offense petition. A family offense petition is a petition filed in the family court where one party (the “petitioner”) alleges that another party (the “respondent”) committed an act that constitutes a “family offense.” A family offense is only between family members or people that share an intimate relationship. It is not the same as a crime, and the burden of proof is far lower.

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Traveling with Children? Make Sure You Read This First!
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Traveling with Children? Make Sure You Read This First | Joshua Katz

{2:20 minutes to read} What rights do custodial and noncustodial parents have to take their children on domestic or international trips? Custody/visitation agreements and court orders should be as detailed and specific as possible. Agreements should specify whether or not either parent needs consent from the other parent prior to taking the child on a trip. The agreement should also specify:

  • If consent needs to be in writing;
  • How much advance notice is required; and
  • How detailed of an itinerary must be provided.

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Supervised Visitation: When Is It Best for the Child?
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Supervised Visitation: When Is It Best for the Child | Joshua Katz

{2:10 minutes to read}Normally, a child’s best interests are best protected by allowing the development of the fullest possible healthy relationship with both parents. However, if one parent places the child’s physical safety at risk, or the parent is having some other kind of negative impact on the child’s emotional well-being, supervision of visitation can be imposed. In rare cases, one parent will gain custody while the other parent is only granted supervised access to the child.

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In a Custody Case, How Much Do the Child(ren)’s Desires Weigh In?
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In a Custody Case, How Much Do the Child(ren)’s Desires Weigh In | Joshua Katz

{2:40 minutes to read} In every custody case, there are at least 3 parties: two parents (usually), and the child. The child’s desires are an important factor for the court to consider. The court will appoint an attorney to represent the children to hear what the child has to say in terms of his or her own best interests. If the child is under 7, they will still be given an attorney, but in most instances, their viewpoint is less relevant than an older child’s viewpoint.

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Same-Sex Marriages – What Rights Does a Non-Biological Parent Have?
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Same-Sex Marriages – What Rights Does a Non-Biological Parent Have | Joshua Katz

{Read in 2:50 minutes} In same-sex marriages, no presumption of legitimacy arises.  New York Law states that a child conceived during a marriage is presumed to be legitimate. However, all presumptions are rebuttable, and a recent ruling by the Appellate Division holds that there is no presumption in cases of same-sex marriages. In the case of a heterosexual marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father of any children born to his wife.

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Is Corporal Punishment Legal and When Does It Become Excessive?
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Is Corporal Punishment Legal and When Does It Become Excessive | Joshua Katz

{Read in 2:50 minutes} What is corporal punishment? “Corporal punishment” by definition means physical punishment of a child, whether it’s a spanking, a slap on the wrist, a smack across the face, or a beating with a belt. Corporal punishment of children was much more prevalent and acceptable in previous years and still is, in certain cultures. In the state of New York, a parent is permitted to utilize corporal punishment as long as it is reasonable and not excessive. However, a parent should neverstrike a child out of anger and absolutely never with the intent to injure.

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Legal vs Residential Custody: What Should You Know?
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Legal vs Residential Custody: What Should You Know | Joshua Katz

{Read in 3:05 minutes} When discussing custody with a client, it must be clear that there are two different facets: legal and residential.

  • Residential custody defines where the children will primarily reside; and
  • Legal custody concerns the decision-making authority for the children.
Generally, children will reside with one parent and visit with the other. The main issue to work out, with residential custody, is the parenting plan. How much time, and when, the children will visit with the non-custodial parent needs to be established.

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Who Gets the Kids This Holiday?
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Who Gets the Kids This Holiday | Joshua Katz

{Read in 3:30 minutes} When putting together a parenting plan, attorneys should be aware of all religious holidays, as well as civil holidays, that are important to the client. It goes without saying that children are to be with their mothers for Mother’s Day and their fathers for Father’s Day. But what about the rest of the holidays? I can’t tell you how many clients I was dealing with on an emergency basis the week before Mother’s Day this year, because the clients couldn’t work out arrangements without help from counsel.

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How Will Marijuana Use Affect Your Child Custody Case in New York State?
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How Will Marijuana Use Affect Your Child Custody Case in New York State | Joshua Katz

{Read in 2:20 minutes} A lot of people don’t realize that New York State became the 23rd state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. We still don’t know – and probably won’t know for a couple of years – who will be allowed to prescribe it and for what illnesses. Medical marijuana will only be prescribed as a pill or through vaporization, and will not be legal to smoke. A proposal was made by Senator Liz Krueger earlier this year to legalize recreational marijuana in New York. This would mean you could:

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Equal Parenting Rights is NOT a Presumption of 50/50 Time
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Equal Parenting Rights is NOT a Presumption of 50/50 Time | Joshua Katz

{3:30 minutes to read} The laws in NY include no presumption in favor of one parent versus the other. However, there is no presumption in the law that parents are entitled to 50/50 time with their children. While equal access rights do exist, it does not mean that each parent is entitled to exact equal time with the children.

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Manhattan-Quality Divorce Representation at a Queens Price
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Manhattan Quality Divorce Representation at a Queens Price | Joshua Katz

{1:15 minutes to read} Parents going through divorce want the best for their children, but sometimes they disagree on what “the best” actually is. Child custody disputes are often the most contentious obstacles for divorcing parents to overcome. While there are many matrimonial law practitioners to choose from in New York, Plaine & Katz, LLP stands out from the crowd because of our experience and expertise in custody disputes and equitable distribution litigation, in addition to the following aspects of divorce:

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