Saturday, January 13, 2018

Precedent-Setting New York Case Allows Facebook Page Access

A respected White Plains, New York, attorney, Gordon Burrows handles a wide range of litigation issues in family and matrimonial law. Among Gordon Burrows’ noteworthy cases was a 2015 custody ruling in which social media disclosure was admitted, through Facebook page access, within the court decision.

As reported in the New York Post, the case centered on Anthony DiMartino’s court battle with his estranged wife Christina Antoine over physical custody of their 4-year-old son. Having spent a majority of the time raising the boy over his first years, the social worker was described by his attorney as “primary caregiver.”

Represented by Mr. Burrows, Mr. DiMartino successfully argued that perusal of his wife’s Facebook page would show that she had frequently been out of state traveling while he was at home and caring for the child. Publicly accessible portions of the private account showed pictures of the wife’s vacations in Boston and Florence, Italy.

In allowing Facebook materials as evidence, Justice Lawrence Ecker of the Westchester County Supreme Court made a precedent-setting decision, noting that such information could be material and relevant in the ultimate custody determination. This use of social media within a court setting was the first of its kind statewide, although a Minnesota judge had previously allowed its use on certain occasions.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Who Should Choose Divorce over Mediation

Gordon Burrows is an attorney practicing matrimonial and family law in White Plains, New York. Working in the field for more than 30 years, Gordon Burrows has successfully managed numerous divorce cases.

Some couples choose to use mediation rather than litigation to avoid creating animosity during the process of separation. However, some couples are not good candidates for mediation, and both parties are better off retaining the services of a lawyer to manage their divorce. Here are six signs an individual should hire a lawyer as opposed to going through mediation:

1. Your spouse shows little intention of resolving key issues. Some spouses may have no desire to reach agreement on issues such as paying child support or arranging a fair child custody agreement, and may use mediation as a means of legally avoiding such issues, since mediation cannot force the other party to do something.

2. You want a quick divorce. Mediation is a slow process that can last for several months. 

3. When the divorcing couple has had a marriage involving violence. Couples who have had a marriage involving abuse typically do not agree with one another on many important points. Mediation may promote more conflict between couples who have already had a stressed marital relationship. 

4. The other party does not wish you well. Successful mediation depends on both parties working together to reach agreement on various issues. When one party refuses to listen and compromise, mediation cannot be effective. 

5. If you cannot advocate for yourself. A person who is submissive and weak may not be able to successfully work through a mediation process with a person who is aggressive or dominating.

Friday, October 13, 2017

American Bar Association Presents Webinar on Premarital Agreements

A licensed attorney with more than three decades of experience, Gordon Burrows represents clients in cases involving matrimonial and family law. Gordon Burrows maintains membership in the American Bar Association (ABA), which provides legal professionals with a variety of educational opportunities. Upcoming family law webinars include “Premarital Agreements in the 21st Century and the Law of Validity” in December. 

A rising number of couples are entering into premarital agreements, which enable couples to define the economic terms of their marital relationships and expectations. However, they can only hold up in court if properly written. “Premarital Agreements in the 21st Century” offers a comprehensive overview of important family law issues in regard to these agreements, such as agreement construction, choice-of-law clauses, and questions of validity. 

Participants who complete the program will obtain a thorough understanding of how to advise clients considering premarital agreements and how to conduct negotiations from the side of either party. Furthermore, the webinar will cover the law of validity and the necessary steps to obtain a valid agreement, including spousal support waivers and term options. 

The webinar will offer 1.50 general continuing legal education credits and feature sponsors from several ABA sections, such as the Law Practice Division, the Section of Family Law, and the Center for Professional Development. ABA members and sponsors may register at a discounted price. The webinar will take place will take place on December 5, 2017.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Joint Legal and Physical Custody in New York

As owner of a law practice in White Plains, New York, Gordon Burrows focuses on family and matrimonial law matters. Gordon Burrows draws on diverse experience in handling custody cases, which often involve decisions regarding both joint and physical custody of minor children.

In the state of New York, legal custody refers to a parent's right to make decisions for a child, whereas physical custody determines where the child will live. Joint legal custody, then, means that both parents have the same authority to make significant decisions, including those related to the child's education and medical care. Since both parents' opinions carry the same legal weight, both must be in agreement for a decision to be valid.

Joint legal custody works best when the parents' relationship is stable enough to discuss the child's best interests calmly and amicably. If they cannot do so, neither has any ability to sway the other and decisions often stall before any final determination is possible. For this reason, courts rarely encourage joint legal custody for embattled divorces.

Joint physical custody is less common in the New York court system, primarily because it requires an equal division of parenting time. Because this can be difficult for a number of logistical and personal reasons, courts often name one parent as the custodial or residential parent. If parenting time is split relatively evenly, however, the situation may be one that parallels joint physical custody, though the term itself may not be a part of the parenting plan.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Grounds for Annulment in New York

Accomplished attorney Gordon Burrows has spent more than three decades serving clients in the New York area. A graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and former assistant county attorney for Westchester County, Gordon Burrows handles family and matrimonial legal matters such as divorce and annulment through his own legal practice.

In the state of New York, an annulment removes all record of a marriage, but it is not very easy to get. Annulments are only given out when the marriage was void from the beginning and it meets one of the following five strict requirements laid out by the state:

1. When the marriage occurred, one or both individuals were under the age of 18. If the two individuals stay married until they are both over the age of 18, this stipulation can be waived.

2. At least one spouse was incapable of agreeing to marriage due to a mental incapacity. This stipulation may also be waived if it is proven that the spouse who is mentally ill was of sound mind at any point in time during cohabitation.

3. Either party involved in the marriage is medically or psychologically proven to be incapable of having sexual intercourse.

4. Either spouse develops an incurable mental illness that persists for at least five years. The mental condition afflicting the spouse must be proven by a doctor.

5. Consent for marriage was obtained from one spouse through the use of fraud, duress, or coercion.