Same-Sex Marriage

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, ratified on July
4, 1776, boldly declared: AWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.@ However, from the birth of our nation and continuing until recently, the general citizenry of our United States of America have denied gay and lesbian citizens of the United States their basic
unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness.

For too long state governments, who under the Constitution of the United
States retained the power to regulate marriage, remained silent on the issue of same-sex marriage, or simply declared that marriage was between a man and a woman. However, over the years public pressure continued to mount and eventually several states have enacted legislation permitting same-sex marriages.

The State of New York, on June 24, 2011, became the 7th State of the
Union, along with Washington, D.C., to enact same-sex marriage legislation. The
New York law, enacted under Bill A8354-2011 and known as the Marriage Equality
Act was signed into law on June 24, 2011 and became effective on July 24, 2011.

The New York State Legislature declared that marriage is a fundamental human right
and that same sex couples should have the same access as others to the
protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations, and benefits of civil
marriage. The legislature further made it clear that the marriage of same-sex
and different-sex couples be treated equally in all respects under the law.

The new law enacted in New York amends the New York State=s
Domestic Relations Law in the following ways:

(a)        Applications for a marriage license shall be granted regardless of whether the parties are of the same or a different sex;

(b)        A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or a different sex;

(c)        No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being of the same sex or a different sex;

(d)       No religious entity, benevolent organization or not-for-profit corporation that is operated, supervised or controlled by a religious entity, or its employees, can be required to perform marriage ceremonies or provide its facilities for marriage ceremonies, consistent with its religious principles.

In keeping with the new New York State Marriage Equality Act the law firm of Phillip J. Jusino & Associates, and every member of the office staff, endeavors to conduct each and every single matrimonial action that we undertake in the same professional manner. Every member of our staff is committed to ensuring that every matrimonial client, of the same-sex or different-sex, is treated with the same dignity, privacy and
respect that their matter deserves.

Whether you agree with the same-sex marriage or not, it is now the law of the State of New York and it is here to stay. The law firm of Phillip J. Jusino and Associates has over twenty three (23) years experience in matrimonial and family law practice handling the multitude of issues involved therein which involve the same issues that a same-sex couple may have to deal with when divorcing.

That is why someone looking to have an attorney for a divorce or family law matter must consider that attorneys experience, background, temperament, attentiveness and reputation in the legal community.

If you choose the law firm of Phillip J. Jusino and Associates you will have chosen a law firm that takes all of the above considerations very seriously. For a free consultation please call (631) 588-3155.

Sex Marriage, Suffolk County Attorney | Phillip J. Jusino & Associates.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is where the parties’ are not able to resolve their differences with a Stipulation of Settlement for an uncontested divorce or separation. Unfortunately, a contested divorce is more expensive than an uncontested divorce or a separation because a contested divorce involves litigation.

By litigation I mean the parties’ are required to go to court. When a contested divorce is begun there is still a possibility for the parties to resolve the matter without going to court. This is achieved by the parties’ respective attorneys discussing the matter and either having a four way conference to bring the parties together to see if the matter can be resolved or exchanging a Stipulation of Settlement that may ultimately result in the matter being resolved.

However if the matter cannot be resolved, at some point the parties will go to Court for what is called a preliminary conference, which is the first time the parties appear in Court in a divorce action where their attorneys have the opportunity to speak to the judge about the matter and sometimes the parties are also addressed by the Court.

In a contested matrimonial action, each party must exchange financial information with the other party such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, pension information, etc. and also a statement of net worth, which each party must fill out and are ultimately filed with the Court and served on the other side.

That is why it is imperative that you hire an attorney with the experience and knowledge in matrimonial law to be able to advise you as to what your rights and obligations are and how the matter is likely to be resolved. If the other party hires a good attorney that is also experienced and knowledgeable, there is a chance that this matter can be resolved because each attorney will know the likely outcome and hopefully will advise their client accordingly.

As any judge will tell you, it is better to settle the matter through negotiations then have a Judge decide your fate, because many times the judge will make a decision that neither party likes and which will only create more problems for the parties.

In summary it is important that you do your homework and hire a good attorney and have reasonable expectation. Pick and choose your battles. Unless you want to spend a fortune, try to settle your case through negotiations. This will not only save you money but aggravation and if you have children, it will keep them out of the courts, which is where they might end up if at some point the judge needs with speak to them. Try to avoid this at all costs.

I hope this blog answers many of the questions that you may have. Other blogs that I have done involve the issues of a matrimonial action such as equitable distribution, child support, child custody and so on.
If you need more information and are considering hiring an attorney, call my office for a free consultation at (631) 588-3155

Contested Divorce, Suffolk County Attorney | Phillip J. Jusino & Associates.

Ignition Interlock Device Law in New York State


Criminal Defense Attorney, Suffolk County

Ignition Interlocking Device

Under New York law, which became effective August 15, 2011, if you are convicted of or take a plea to driving while intoxicated, you are required to install an authorized ignition interlock device in all vehicles you own or operate on a regular basis. The equipment must be in each and every vehicle within ten (10) business days.

The important distinction here is that if you are convicted of or take a plea to driving while intoxicated, a crime, this law applies to you. If you are convicted of or take a plea to only the violation of vehicle and traffic law section 1192.1, the law does not apply to you.

Any person who wants to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device must use the device to start the vehicle. When the vehicle is in motion, random breath samples are required periodically. Failure to provide a sample or a sample registering over the requisite Breath alcohol Content Level (.05) will result in alarms going off. However, three minutes will be allowed between the sample being required and the sounding of the alarms to allow the driver to pullover to give a sample.

Information on companies that install authorized ignition interlock devices can be obtained by contacting my office or from the probation office at the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip, New York located on the third floor. Generally speaking, the installation fee is in the neighborhood of $100 with a monthly fee of approximately $80.00 to $90.00.

Call us now for a free consultation at (631) 588-3155
Lawyers office located in Lake Grove, Suffolk County New York.

Criminal Attorney, Suffolk County | Phillip J. Jusino & Associates.

Basic Child Support Obligation – Double Shelter Allowance

Child Support Attorney, Suffolk County

Child Support Attorney, Suffolk County

In Mosso v. Mosso  84 A.D. 3d 757, N.Y.S. 2d     (2nd Dept. 2011) (2011  WL 1733948) (2011 N.Y.S. slip OP. 03818) (May 3, 2011), the Court ruled that it need not rely upon a party’s own account of their finances for child support purposes, but rather may impute income based upon the parties’ past income or demonstrated earning potential.  See also Wesche v. Wesche, 77 A.D. 3d 921, 923, 909 N.Y.S. 2d 764. The Court further ruled that it may impute income to a party based upon his or her employment history, future earning capacity, educational background or money received from family and friends.

In Mosso v. Mosso the Appellate Division ruled that the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise discretion imputing $52,000.00 to the Defendant father for purposes of calculating his child support obligation. However, the Appellate Division ruled that the Supreme Court’s direction to pay both child support and half of carrying charges on the marital residence resulted in a Double Shelter Allowance. See Cohen v. Cohen, 286 A.D. 2d 698, 698-699, 730 N.Y.S. 2d 343.

Accordingly, the Appellate Division remitted the matter back to Supreme Court to recalculate child support by taking into consideration the shelter cost incurred by the Defendant providing housing to the Plaintiff in the minor children.

When the Appellate Division determined that ordering the husband to pay child support and half of the carrying charges of the marital residence resulting in a Double Shelter Allowance, it meant that the husband’s child support obligation should have taken into consideration any and all payments with respect to housing for the wife and the minor children.

In other words, child support is meant to cover food, clothing and shelter. If a Court orders the non-custodial parent to pay child support and also part of the children’s housing cost, then that parent is being improperly caused to pay for all or part of the children’s housing when that expense should be covered by child support.

This is not to say that a non-custodial parent never has to pay a portion or all of the housing expenses for his children; however, what I am stating here is that if the Court is going to do this, it must state this in its decision and must take into consideration the expense that it is ordering the non-custodial parent to pay when it then calculates his or her child support obligation.

Child Support Attorney, Suffolk County | Phillip J. Jusino.

Equitable Distribution – Inheritance

If during the marriage one party receives an inheritance, as long as the party receiving the inheritance keeps the property separate and does not commingle it, that property remains the separate property of the party and the other party is not entitled to any portion thereof.

If, however, the party receiving the inheritance commingles the property with their spouse, then that property becomes marital property and subject to equitable distribution between the parties.

When I speak of commingling assets, I am referring to the situation where a party receives monies as an inheritance and then takes those monies and deposits them into a joint account with their spouse. If the spouse receiving the inheritance only deposits the monies in their joint account as a matter of convenience and for a relatively short period of time, a court may find that the monies were not commingled. However, if the monies are deposited into a joint account and treated as though they are marital, those monies lose their separate property feature and become marital property subject to equitable distribution.

Furthermore, if a party receives an inheritance and places the money in their own account but uses some of those monies in a marital fashion, such as taking a vacation with their spouse or buying their spouse a car, those monies are considered marital and no longer considered separate property but rather marital property for the purposes of equitable distribution.

Another example of commingling assets that one spouse received from an inheritance would be where that spouse uses the inheritance to purchase a home and then places his or her spouses name on the deed along with his or her name. Any appreciation in that house would be considered marital and not separate and subject to the laws of equitable distribution.

Suffolk County Divorce Attorney | Phillip J. Jusino


Equitable Distribution – Presumption of Marital Property

Divorce Attorney Suffolk County

Presumption of Marital Property

With respect to an asset purchased during the marriage, there is a presumption that it is a marital asset unless the party alleging that it is separate property can prove that the asset is their separate property and not marital in nature.

In a recent case from our Judicial District involving a life insurance policy the Court held that the plaintiff’s life insurance policy with New York Life with a face value of $50,00.00 should have been considered marital property where there was no evidence produced at trial that the policy was not purchased with marital funds and therefore the defendant was entitled to fifty percent of the asset. See Miceli v. Miceli 78 A.D. 3d 1023, 911 N.Y.S. 2d 473 (2nd Dept. 2010). See also Domestic Relations Law section 236B ((1)(c), (d) (1))

In the above case, if the plaintiff, the party alleging that the property is separate and not marital, could show that either the policy was purchased prior to the marriage or that his separate property funds were used to pay the premiums of this policy, he would have been able to make out a separate property claim and the defendant would not have been entitled to any portion of this asset.

To summarize, the party claiming that the asset is separate property has the burden of proof to show that the asset is, in fact, separate property and therefore must submit evidence at trial that the asset is his or her separate property and that the other party is not entitled to a portion thereof.

Suffolk County Divorce Attorney | Phillip J. Jusino.


Below is the forward from the official New York State Parent’s Handbook for Divorce:

Dear Parents:
As divorcing or separating adults, you may be experiencing one of the more
stressful and painful times of your life, with many personal changes and adjustments
to make. But the breakup of your marriage can be even more stressful and painful for
your children. You may stop being husband and wife, but you both always will
remain parents of your children.

You will celebrate their successes and support them during times of disappointment. If your children have children, you will be grandparents together. As difficult as it may be, you have to continue to be responsible parents at what may be
a very challenging time.

The Parent Education and Awareness Program was designed to help you gain
a better understanding of what your children are experiencing and to give you the
practical tools and guidelines that can help reduce the stress of your breakup on your
children. By participating in the Program, you have taken an important step that we
hope will help you assure the emotional and physical well-being of your children.

This Handbook was prepared to summarize the material presented in the
classes, so that you can keep it with you and refer to it whenever you wish. I hope
that the Program, and this Handbook, will prove to be beneficial to you and your

Jonathan Lippman

If you require a Divorce, contact Phillip J. Jusino today for a free consulation,
Divorce Attorney Suffolk County.

Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce
By Lois Misiewicz

The Do’s:
1. If you have children make sure they know they are not the reason for the divorce.
2. Always show respect towards your spouse in front of your children.
3. If you’ve moved into a new place make your children feel that your new home is also their home, including making them responsible for whatever chores they were previously responsible for.
4. Remember that your children have a social life. They have soccer, birthday parties and friends. It is important that their social life be as normal as possible.
5. If you are going to use an attorney, choose one that is experienced in family law. A good divorce lawyer will know what is reasonable and what is not. Keep in mind though that the proverbial “shark” is usually not the best choice.
6. Be straightforward with your attorney. For your divorce attorney to do their job effectively you have to be open and honest, especially about your financial matters.
7. Be practical and flexible. Finding the middle ground often results in a quicker and easier conclusion in divorce cases.
8. Document everything that you might think will be important. Also, keep a journal of important dates and events.
9. Use common sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.
10. Get professional help if you need it to cope with the emotions of your divorce.

The Don’ts
1. The Internet is not the place to air your dirty laundry. Don’t give in to the temptation to “tell all” on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Though they may have good intentions, don’t listen to your friends who try to tell you what to do. That is your attorney’s job…. that’s what you’re paying them for.
3. Don’t pay your child support or spousal support late.
4. Your children should not know the details of your divorce… regardless of their age.
5. If you are in a new relationship don’t expect your children to fall head over heels for that person just because you have.
6. If you feel the need to talk trash about your spouse don’t do it when there is even a remote possibility your children will hear you.
7. Don’t question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse.
8. You can’t change what has already ready happened so don’t rehash the things in the past.
9. Your children are not messengers. Aside from putting them right in the middle, you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse correctly and in the manner you meant it.
10. Don’t stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.

If you are seeking a divorce, contact Phillip J. Jusino today, Divorce Attorney Suffolk County, for a free consultation..

New York State Grounds for Divorce

New York Divorce Laws:

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:To get an annulment, divorce, or separation, the following residency requirements must be met:

  • If the couple was married in the state and at least one spouse has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of one year prior to filing.
  • The couple has resided in the state as husband and wife, and either party has resided in the state for a continuous period of one year prior to filing.
  • Either party has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action.

[Based on New York Domestic Relations Laws - Article 13 - Sections: 230]


LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:A divorce may be granted on any of the following grounds:

  • The cruel and inhuman treatment.
  • Abandonment of the plaintiff by the defendant for a period of one or more years.
  • Imprisonment of the defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage.
  • Adultery
  • Living separate and apart pursuant to a decree of separation for a period of one or more years.
  • Living separate and apart pursuant to a written agreement of separation, for a period of one or more years after the execution of such agreement and satisfactory proof has been submitted by the plaintiff that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such agreement. Such agreement shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county wherein either party resides.

[Based on New York Domestic Relations Laws - Article 10 - Section: 170]
LEGAL SEPARATION:A couple may receive a judgment separating the parties from bed and board, forever, or for a limited time, for any of the following causes:

  • The cruel and inhuman treatment.
  • The abandonment of the plaintiff by the defendant.
  • Failure to support the other spouse.
  • Adultery
  • The confinement of the defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant.

[Based on New York Domestic Relations Laws - Article 11 - Section: 200]

If you require a Divorce or Legal Seperation in Suffolk County, Long Island
Contact Phillip J. Jusino & Associates, Divorce Attorney Suffolk County, for a free consultation.