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In 1987, Jim Winkler, Sandy Kurtz and Rich Winkler established the law firm of Winkler, Kurtz & Winkler, LLP in Port Jefferson Station, New York. These three young men brought together into one firm their shared expertise in the areas of personal injury law and family law. From the start “Winkler Kurtz” has been devoted to helping Long Islanders normalize their lives after a tragic accident or the loss of a marriage. Today we have seven attorneys each of whom has developed expertise and a commitment to one field of law.

In 2005, Winkler Kurtz expanded the firm to help our clients plan for terminal illness and death. Our Estates,Wills and Trusts department developed because our existing client’s needed these services. Unfortunately, serious accidents often result in death or disability requiring estate administration, probate or complex estate planning. Divorce always requires a new estate plan to protect children or to satisfy requirements of a marital settlement agreement. Today we offer estate planning, administration and probate to everyone and do not charge for an initial consultation.

Thankfully, Winkler Kurtz did not develop its exemplary reputation from advertising or tacky jingles. We grew our practice “one satisfied client at a time.” We are proud that our past clients, members of the judiciary and other lawyers refer their friends and family members to our firm. We provide personal representation to our clients. We promise to be responsive; to communicate regularly; to be truthful and direct.


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divorce & relocation - long island divorce lawyers

Whether from first-hand experience or through the media, most are familiar with the common areas of divorce such as child support and custody. While working toward managing these difficult issues, divorcing couples may overlook lesser-known issues which can arise in the future. It is beneficial for all parties involved to gain knowledge in these areas before they arise. Relocation of the custodial parent is one of these important areas.Relocation – While in the process of divorce, emotions run high for most typical divorces, and the concept of relocation doesn’t come up because it is not prevalent in the moment. However, sometimes a custodial parent needs to relocate for career purposes. In other instances, the custodial parent feels it is in the best interest of the children for economic and/or educational purposes to relocate. Having this conversation early on can mean the difference between appearing back in court or not.With divorce comes financial change and stress. Whereas two people previously were sharing the financial responsibilities, now each party is responsible for their own finances. Relocating is sometimes the only alternative for a custodial parent and their children to thrive. However, under the laws in New York, one parent cannot simply up and relocate with their children without the consent of the other parent. If the non-custodial parent objects, the custodial parent cannot relocate without the Court’s approval.FactorsIn relocation, the custodial parent must present evidence that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. The court decides what is in the best interests of the child based on what is known as Tropea factors; Tropea v. Tropea, 87 N.Y. 2d 727 (1996)Since there are varying factors, a review of each individual case is necessary; however, the premise is based on the standard of what is in the best interests of the child. There are several factors to consider, but not limited to, in evaluating a custodial parent’s request to relocate:Both the custodial and non-custodial parents reasoning for requesting or opposing of the relocationThe relationship between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parentThe effect of the move on maintaining the quantity and quality of the child’s future relationship with the noncustodial parentThe benefit on the child’s life economically, emotionally, and educationally by relocatingSuitable visitation rights of the non-custodial parentThe impact on extended family relationshipsIf a custodial parent is establishing a new family unit and the Court feels it is in the best interest of the child to relocate, the Court may allow the move. On the other hand, if the Court feels that transferring custody to the non-custodial parent is in the best interest of the child, the Court may rule in favor of a custody change. Again, each case is unique unto itself and it all ultimately comes down to the facts, circumstances, and evidence supporting what is in the best interest of the child.If you are divorcing and relocation is possible in your future or if you want to safeguard your child’s best interests in the future, make sure you get the most current information available to you by contacting one of our highly experienced attorneys. We can help you to ensure your child’s best interests are met. ​

New Tax Laws Effecting Divorce - Long Island Divorce Lawyers

In December of 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts. Along with this piece of legislation, went the passing of a tax code which will eliminate tax deductions for individuals who pay alimony. The new law goes into effect beginning on January 1st, 2019. For any couple divorcing on or after the January 1st 2019 date, the payer will no longer be able to deduct alimony from their tax returns. Continue reading to find out how will this impact divorcing couples: For over 75 years, the payer of alimony had the ability to deduct that alimony from their tax returns. In addition, the payee paid income tax on the amount of alimony received. That will change as of January 1st, 2019 where payers will not be able to deduct the alimony and the payee will not have to pay taxes on same. While divorce is difficult enough in its current state when it comes to financial issues, this new tax law makes it even more daunting. Here are some of the potential financial implications of the new law:The Financial ImpactPreviously, offering the benefit of a tax deduction for the payer provided more legroom for bargaining in this area. For example, a husband may have been more inclined to agree to higher alimony due to the ability to claim it as a deduction on his taxes. With this new law, the payer will more than likely be inclined to fight harder when it comes to alimony.There is also a potential impact for women who earn less than men. If men are still the higher wage earners and the ones who need to pay alimony, this will make negotiations more difficult. This has the potential to negatively impact women and the children who reside with them full time.According to a Press Release from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released on January 17, 2018: USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS FOURTH QUARTER 2017 “Highlights from the fourth-quarter data:• Median weekly earnings of full-time workers were $857 in the fourth quarter of 2017. Women had median weekly earnings of $769, or 81.3 percent of the $946 median for men. (See table 2.) • The women's-to-men's earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 80.5 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with Black women (96.0 percent), Asian women (72.3 percent), and Hispanic women (88.4 percent). (See table 2.)”For the rest of the Press Release, click HERE.Additionally, the systems and processes in place to calculate alimony may prove ineffective. Currently, a higher percentage of men pay alimony; without the benefit of the tax break, men can argue to minimize those payments. It seems women will be the most negatively impacted since they will be in the firing line to receive less.Divorce RatesAccording to an article in “The Daily News” couples marrying in their mid-30s divorce at a higher rate than younger people. That may change this year with the implementation of the new tax law. Couples contemplating divorce may not want to wait. There may be a mad rush to the finish line for couples of all ages to divorce before that January 1st, 2019 date.The IncentiveIt is difficult enough to maintain the expenses of raising a family with two incomes not to mention the negative impact divorcing can have on a couple’s finances. Some may view divorcing sooner rather than later as an incentive due to the new tax law plan. For those close to settlement, the looming deadline of January 1st, 2019 might be all the incentive they need to speed the process up.If you are considering divorcing and need assistance understanding the new tax laws and its implications, contact one of our expert Long Island Divorce Law Attorneys to schedule a consultation. ​


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