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Mary Katherine Brown
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Mary Brown’s Answers

8,470 total


  • We are divorcing, and while we were married, I was supposed to receive his one year amount of base-pay (salary) in case

    of death. We have been working on division of retirement plan with QDRO, but have not touched this "base-pay" in case of his death. Will I be removed as a beneficiary automatically when the divorce is final? or am I supposed to sign some papers t...

    Mary’s Answer

    Generally speaking, you would no longer be a beneficiary after divorce. That said, a million things can be negotiated in a divorce settlement and so you should talk to an attorney asap BEFORE you agree to anything, so you can be sure the inevitable give and take is equitable for you. Good luck!

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  • Getting a former spouse out my home.

    I let my former spouse and her child back in my home when she was asked to leave her previous residence. We also share a child. (Pending custody case) My lease has ended and she refuses to leave. Since she was once a resident (never on the lease) ...

    Mary’s Answer

    If your lease is up, then you should move out. If she stays, then she can deal with the landlord. In the meantime, you should speak with a local attorney asap about your pending custody and divorce as they are all interconnected. Good luck!

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  • Travel

    we live in albany ny. i am divorced and have sole custody of my two daughters. I am planning on making an weekend trip to ny city with my daughters. Do I have to mention about my trip to my EX? Also I am planning on making a trip to Chicago with m...

    Mary’s Answer

    Read the agreement carefully an do at least what it requires. Unless you have a good reason not to inform the Ex about the details of your travel, then you should give the information as a courtesy regardless of what the agreement requires. People often end up back in court over issues they thought were resolved because one parent tries to pretend the other doesn't exist or "won't care" if they are left out of the loop.... Now is a good time to practice the "golden rule" and do as you would like to have done to you. Good luck!

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  • 8 months of marriage with no legal separation. Can we use uncontested divorce in NY? What evidence is required?

    Re: Uncontested divorce in New York City. It says “Your marriage has been over for at least 6 months and your relationship can't be saved.” How do we show that? What evidence is required? Is a legal separation required? Is there a minimum tim...

    Mary’s Answer

    Yes, you certainly are permitted to seek an uncontested divorce, and it should not be complicated or expensive. Nevertheless, you may still want to have an attorney handle it for you as sometimes paperwork errors can cause inconvenient delays and headaches. Good luck!

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  • What can I do in this situation? What are my options?

    I get child support right now. I am moving to a different state and I just got a letter today to appear in court for a child custody/visitation. This court date will be after my move to a different state. Also I forgot to mention, we were never ma...

    Mary’s Answer

    Unfortunately, the other parent has the right to try to prevent you from removing the child from the jurisdiction, and it sounds like that is what is happening. If you move, you will still have to appear in court in NY and you MAY be required to return the child to NY, meaning you move back or the child goes to the other parent. The fact that you were never married is irrelevant. I suggest you consult a local attorney immediately. Good luck!

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  • Just because we're leaving the state (6 hours away), is this legally any grounds for "abandonment" in any way?

    My boyfriend has joint custody of his 8yr old with his ex, who has physical custody, and they currently live about an hour away from us. We are currently in NY where child support is automatically deducted from his check, and we have visitation ev...

    Mary’s Answer

    No, it is not. You are right to be seeking information from attorneys. Don't try to get or heed legal information from family members unless they are attorneys--it can, and usually does, lead to anxiety, confusion and mistakes. That said, before you move, you should be sure you have agreement on the parenting plan that will be in place once you move otherwise you may find there are issues in dispute that are more difficult to resolve long-distance. Good luck!

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  • What exactly do I need to do/have to be able to legally adopt him?

    My fiancee has had full custody of his son for 8 years. His father and I have been together since he was born, he is now 10 yrs old. The biological mother has a drug problem and some other past history and because of this she is legally not able...

    Mary’s Answer

    Speak with a local family law attorney to review the situation in confidential detail. The specific facts and history will be very important in determining which path to adoption is most likely to be successful. In most, but not all, circumstances the consent of the biological parent will be required. If that is true in your case, then you may be able to get her consent--don't assume you can't. Good luck!

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  • Marriage, Divorce and Dowry allegations

    Hello, I am a US Citizen. I got married to a Citizen of India in India. Unfortunately, the marriage isn't working. If I file for a divorce I am concerned that my spouse might falsely put dowry allegation on me and my family. My parents are Ind...

    Mary’s Answer

    If you meet the residency requirements in NY, you can get divorced in NY and there's no "dowry" concern under NY law. That said, if your spouse can also file divorce in India and assert Indian law, you may have a problem about the dowry, especially if your parents are living in India, too. I suggest you speak with an attorney for a complete consultation to review your rights, responsibilities and options. In most cases, some negotiation will solve all problems. Good luck!

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  • Is New York 50/50?

    Is New York a 50/50 state, or does one parent typically have primary custody? If one parent has primary custody is it easy to get it switched to 50/50 without a change in circumstance?

    Mary’s Answer

    New York is not a "50/50 state" meaning there is no presumption that a child's best interests are served by the parents sharing custody equally. Indeed, it is common for one parent to have "primary physical" custody, and for the parents to share "joint legal" custody, which means the child lives with one parent more of the time than the other but the parents make major decisions together. Unless the parents agree, it is never "easy" to have custody changed; and, without a change in circumstances, it may not even be possible to get a court to consider the question. If you think your child's best interests would be served by a change in custody, I strongly suggest you have a confidential consultation with an attorney so you can fully review your rights, responsibilities and options and then make a plan. Good luck!

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