Is custody automatically granted to stay at home parents?

When a couple is getting a divorce, one of the biggest topics of discussion and concern is which parent will receive primary custody of the child or children. Some parents may fear that the parent who stays at home with the children will automatically be granted full custody simply because they spend more time together. However, it is important to know that this is not the case in many situations. Continue reading

Can I have sole custody?

Divorces are complicated matters that become further complicated when children become involved. Determining a custody agreement can be a highly emotional process because the thought of not seeing your child as much as you once did can be very upsetting for some parents. In fact, many parents wonder if it is possible for them to obtain sole custody of their children. Continue reading

What is no fault divorce?

When a couple in New York State makes the choice to get divorced, they will have to begin the process by declaring the reason for the divorce. However, New York is a “no-fault” state. No fault divorce means that you can just say that your marriage isn’t working anymore and there is no sign that the state of the marriage will improve in the future. Continue reading

Can I save my home from foreclosure?

If you find yourself in overwhelming debt and no way out, your home may be facing foreclosure. The idea of losing a home that you worked so hard to own in the first place can be devastating and incredibly stressful. If you are concerned about your home going into foreclosure, you should make sure you assess all of your options. One option that many people fail to remember is that filing for bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure and help you save your home. Continue reading

What should I know about equitable distribution?

When a couple files for divorce, they will have to discuss a variety of factors and answer some difficult questions about their future. These questions may include which person will have primary custody of the child, whether or not one of the spouses will receive support payments, and how all of the marital property will be divided between the spouses. Marital property includes anything that was purchased during the course of the marriage. Depending on how long the couple was married, they have likely acquired a number of assets. These assets may include a home, a car, all of the furniture in the home, and any other property that the couple may have acquired over the years. Continue reading

Residential Construction May End in Staten Island Neighborhoods

There are many neighborhoods throughout Staten Island that are especially prone to flooding, many of which saw devastation during Hurricane Sandy a few years ago. Over 300 homes that were in these neighborhoods were bought out from owners by the state to be torn down. Some of the neighborhoods where homes were torn down include Ocean Breeze, Oakwood, and Graham Beach.

The purpose of tearing down these homes and not rebuilding them is to allow the flood zones to restore themselves naturally. If new homes are built in these neighborhoods, the builders will have to follow a set of rules determined by the Department of City Planning. Some of the rules include that the homes can only be single family residences and that the builder needs to obtain a permit through the City Planning Commission. However, the commission is generally opposed to building any new homes in the area so it may be difficult to build a home.

The goal is to allow these sensitive areas to restore themselves through nature as well as keep city residents in locations that are safer in the event of a major storm that may cause similar devastation to Hurricane Sandy.

If you have questions about buying or selling a home in Staten Island or anywhere in New York City, contact an experienced real estate attorney today who can provide you with assistance.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

What are some of the benefits of owning a home?

Making the transition from being a renter to being a homeowner is a very exciting time but it is also a really big decision for someone to make. Even though purchasing a home can be costly, it may be one of the best investments you can make.

Arguably one of the biggest perks of being a homeowner is the freedom that comes with it. You can do whatever you want with your house, knock down any walls that you want, paint the walls whichever color you want, and make any renovations you want. You have full reign because it is your home.

Another benefit of owning a home is that while rent rates can change, your mortgage payments likely will not. Additionally, when you put money into your home, it is going to make the investment more worthwhile and may actually increase the value of your home.

Aside from the monetary benefits of buying a home, there are also a lot of benefits that yourself and your family can achieve from owning a home. You will be able to truly be apart of the community in which you buy your home. A home is a place you build your life around, raise your family, and will make a lifetime of memories.

If you have questions about purchasing a home, it is important that you consult with an experienced real estate attorney who can provide you with assistance.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

How do I know if I am ready to buy a home?

Many Americans choose to rent a home for many years before they buy one. There are a lot of different reasons why some people choose to rent a home instead of buy one, most of which are related to cost. Many people automatically assume that they will not be able to afford a home while others think they can afford a home when in reality they can’t. Determining whether you are ready to buy a home not only depends on your financial situation but also whether you truly believe that you are ready to commit to being a homeowner. Remember, owning a home means you are responsible for yard work, around the house maintenance, and other duties that you may not have had when you were a renter.

It is important that before you buy, you determine how the cost of renting compares with the cost of buying. You should also consider some of the unexpected costs of homeownership that you may not have thought about. For example, if you are currently renting a 1,000 square apartment but upgrade to a 2,500 square foot home, you will need to buy enough furniture to fill all of the rooms in that home.

In addition, if you choose to purchase a home that is in a community with a Home Owner’s Association, you will have to pay that fee as well. If you purchase an older home, you may need to do some updates that may become costly.

Your mortgage broker will only approve a home loan if they truly believe you can afford the home after conducting an assessment of your finances. If you need legal assistance when purchasing a home, contact our firm today.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

How does the Fair Housing Act protect me from discrimination?

The United States has many laws that protect individuals from being discriminated against in situations such as obtaining a job, practicing religion, who you choose to marry, and even where you live. The Fair Housing Act exists to ensure that no one is discriminated against based upon their disability, religion, race, color, sex, or whether they have children. There are a number of acts that are prohibited under the Fair Housing Act.

Anyone selling or renting a home is not permitted to use the previously mentioned excuses as a basis for discrimination on matters of:

  • refusing to sell or rent a home to you
  • refuse to give you a mortgage
  • convince homeowners to sell their house (blockbusting)
  • claim that housing is unavailable or purposely make housing unavailable
  • refuse to negotiate with you about cost or accommodations for a disability
  • impose different terms that others don’t have

If you have a disability, there are other factors you are protected from. For example, if you need to make reasonable changes to your home (such as the installation of a wheelchair ramp, etc.) your landlord must allow you to do so. All buildings built after March 1991 must be wheelchair accessible.

It is important that you are aware of your rights under the Fair Housing Act and if you believe you are being discriminated against, you should speak with an attorney.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

When should I consider downsizing my house?

When parents have children, they may move from a starter home to a home that has a little more room for your growing family. When those kids grow up and go to college, they may move out of the house to start their own lives and the parents are left with a big, empty house. The parents may be nearing retirement age and no longer need a four bedroom house, which may just be costing the money at this point.

Making the decision to downsize can be tough. The seller may have a hard time letting go of the home they raised their children in. Another factor to downsizing is that now you have too many belongings for the size of your smaller home. Some may see this as a great way to get a fresh start. Maybe they will take this as an opportunity to move out of the concrete jungle to somewhere warmer with a slower pace of life. There are a lot of options and of course, it depends on everyone’s situation.

Here are a few signs that you might want to consider downsizing your home:

  • Empty nesters
  • Rising property taxes
  • A home that is just too big for its residents
  • Retirement

If you are considering selling your home, contact an experienced real estate agent and real estate attorney who can help you through the process.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your residential and commercial real estate, bankruptcy, or family law matters, contact the Mark Scollar Law Office today to schedule a consultation.