We handle issues incident to the dissolution of the marital partnership, including valuation and distribution of all types of closely held and family businesses, professional licenses, degrees and practices, trusts and partnerships. We counsel our clients to explore reasonable settlement options, but when settlement cannot be reached, we develop a creative and effective litigation and trial strategy to enhance our client’s ability to achieve favorable results. Settlement is of course preferred, but when a fair settlement cannot be reached – most lawyers hesitate to try matrimonial cases. We don’t, and have successfully tried numerous cases.
Our clients include high net worth individuals from the worlds of business, finance, attorneys and others, whose problems involve sophisticated financial, valuation and tax issues in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody and visitation, geographic relocation, spousal and child support, negotiation of pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements, same sex partner cohabitation, dissolution agreements and paternity matters.
New York is an “equitable distribution” state, in which courts have broad discretion in dividing "marital property." New York's definition of marital property includes not only financial accounts, real estate, retirement plans, deferred compensation, stock options, businesses and similar assets, but also licenses, degrees and professional certifications. All of these assets may often require complex financial analysis and valuation. Dimopoulos & Bruggemann, P.C. has extensive experience in asset identification, analysis and division, and is equally adept at structuring complex settlements or litigating all aspects of property disputes when necessary.
It may not be time to file for a divorce, but many clients want to at least know their options and have an understanding of both the process and laws in their state. We consult with our clients pre-divorce to provide advice about the process, the available options, and the particular circumstances of their case, and also provide information on what they should and should not do.
Some common recommendations include:
Marriage Counseling: If there are serious marital problems that are not being resolved through talking one-on-one, we advise our clients to consider marriage counseling with a qualified, competent marriage counselor (either alone or with their spouse).
Journaling: As marriage problems continue to escalate and emotions run high, it may become hard to concentrate and recall important events or information. As such critical events occur, we advise our clients to record them in full detail as soon as possible in a journal.
Financial Resources Assessment: In the event a separation occurs and our client is the dependent spouse and not independently wealthy, they will need a source of funds to hire a lawyer and perhaps pay for other experts to assist them, such as an accountant, appraisers, or a private investigator. If our client is the higher-earning spouse, we advise them to take stock of their financial resources in a similar manner.
Inventory Assessment: Most cases involve distribution of property, including household furniture and furnishings, antiques, art and valuables. Before a separation, we advise our clients to create an inventory of all of their valuables.
Financial Records Preparation: Before a separation, we advise our clients to locate, organize, and copy known financial records. This will include contacting accountants, private-wealth or financial consultants, trustees, bankers, etc.
Ending a marriage can be an emotionally charged decision. Despite its emotional qualities, we know the best divorces operate as business transactions to address the issues related to money, property, and children. We have the experience and objectivity our clients need to handle this process, which can involve complex phases, such as negotiation, discovery of assets, litigation, custody issues, and more. Just as importantly, our attorneys have the necessary experience to assist in achieving the best possible resolution with our client’s specific issues in mind.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
We often recommend and encourage clients to take advantage of alternative dispute resolution techniques—such as negotiated settlements and mediated settlements—to create mutually agreeable outcomes without the need for litigation or unnecessary judicial decision-making.
After a divorce is final, lives and situations change. Agreements that worked at the time often need to be changed. We help clients with a variety of post-judgment options and modifications in areas such as:
- Child custody modifications
- Child support modifications
- Spousal support/alimony modifications
Courts review requests to modify divorce settlements based on significant changes in circumstances, such as changes in income or relocation needs. We work with our clients to understand the changes that have occurred and then seek arrangements that better fit their needs and goals.