Divorce and Stay Classy, New York

In the category of “things that should have happened a long time ago,” a new Anchorman-themed bar has opened in the Lower East Side. Lucky for me, it’s only forty-five minutes out of the way when I’m coming home from work, therefore I will be stopping in nightly.

To be fair, the bar is actually Will Ferrell-themed, not Anchorman-themed, and it offers, for example, cocktails named after lots of his movies, not justAnchorman. But let’s be really clear here: Anchorman was the best Will Ferrell movie. (I will accept no objections to this.) Ok, maybe Step Brothers was but that can, in large part, be attributed to the genius that IS John C. Riley.Anyway, the bar owners must have mulled this over for days before coming to the name the place Stay Classy New York.

And classy ’tis. 

The cocktail menu is basically the best thing I’ve ever seen, heard or read. As you muddle through your divorce proceedings, methinks you’ll find considerable solace at the end of the day by burying your troubles in a Smelly Pirate Hooker (it’s a cocktail, people—get your minds out of the gutter) and/or a Whale’s Vagina.

Now, while I can confidently assure you that I am not in any way being compensated by Stay Classy New York to promote them or their awesome cocktails, I will tell you this: the first Anchorman movie more or less made me the man I am today. I now routinely use lines like “Don’t act like you’re not impressed” while showing off the many leather-bound books in my office. You only think I’m kidding.

So how should you make the most of this new NYC resource as you begin a new chapter in your life? Some suggestions:

  1. Invite people to Stay Classy as a part of your whole making new friends exercise. 
  2. Come to Stay Classy when you just need a break from people asking uncomfortable questions
  3. Meet a blind date here. Even if it goes horribly, you’ll have lots of Will Ferrell memorabilia to fill the awkward gaps in conversations.
  4. Establish this as your new “local bar,” even if it’s not actually local. Make everyone meet you here. 
  5. Come here to read all of the Open Letters (they will be increasingly good as you work your way through the cocktail menu).

Let me know if you happen to stop into Stay Classy New York, and feel free to offer up a review in comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

The New York City Marathon & Your Divorce: Basically the Same Thing

Several months of dedicated, grueling, and emotional work. Crying before dawn and after sunset. Every muscle in your body aching and nearly giving up. Only getting relief sitting in a bathtub full of ice. The only food that your stomach can handle is liquid calories.

Am I talking about training for and running the New York City Marathon, or getting through a divorce? Both actually. You’d be shocked how much your divorce and the marathon have in common. Both are long in the making. Both take a lot of preparation. And both are mostly total misery, but so absolutely fantastic when finally over.

So, as it is marathon time here in New York City (didn’t you notice your gym was full of people you’ve never seen before, all pulling up a freshly downloaded C25K apps on their phones?), I’d thought it’d be fun to combine two topics I’m extra familiar with in the infographic below.

15 Things You Might Not Know: Child Custody Law in New York State

If you’re considering a divorce in New York and you have children, it will be important for you to understand the legality around child custody. To that end, I’ve compiled an overview of the basics. For a more in-depth look at your particular situation, please feel free to contact me to discuss.

Child Custody Law in New York State

For New York courts to have jurisdiction on your case, the child must have lived in New York for the past six months. If the child is younger than six months, he or she must have been born in New York (except under extenuating circumstances).

Neither parent has a preferred right to custody of their children in New York.  If there is no custody order, either parent can keep the child with him or her. If the case goes to court, the custody decision must be made in the “best interests of the child.”

Either parent can apply for custody in Family Court. You can attempt to get custody in Supreme Court after divorce proceedings have begun, but you may only have one case ongoing at a time.

The status of “primary caretaker” of the child is likely to be important in making decisions regarding custody.

The parent who has physical custody of the child when the custody application is made to the court may have an advantage in the courts.

The court can consider where the child wants to live, but does not have to follow the child's wishes. The older a child is, the more a court will consider his or her wishes.

Parents may share joint legal custody in New York. The court usually will give custody to only one parent if parents are not able to cooperate.

Custody or visitation can be changed if there is a significant change of circumstances that affect the child’s interests.

If the parent who has custody of the child wants to move, he or she may need to get permission from the court. Alternately, the other parent can apply to the court for an order that prevents the move or changes visitation.

If the parents were never married, and the parents never signed an “Acknowledgment of Paternity,” the father has no custody or visitation rights. To apply for custody and visitation, he must first legally establish paternity.

If you have a custody order and the other parent takes the child from you or won’t return the child from a visit then the other parent could be arrested for kidnapping. He or she could also be charged with interfering with your custody.

The parent who does not have custody of the child can almost always get “frequent and meaningful” visitation. Visitation rights will only be denied if visitation is deemed to be harmful to the child in some way.

A lack of payment of child support is not sufficient means to refuse visitation. It can, however, lead to the non-paying parent to go to jail.

Court-ordered visitation cannot be refused unless it is believed that it would put your child in danger.

Half-siblings and grandparents can apply for visitation rights, although the court isn’t obligated to grant these.

While this covers the basics of New York child custody law, it’s highly likely that you will benefit by seeking legal counsel on these matters. If you’d like to discuss your particular situation, please feel free to contact me.



James J. Sexton