We Practice Law for Your Peace of Mind

Why Do Domestic Violence Victims Stay With Their Abuser

Author: Robin Friedman

September 15th, 2014

If you are anything like me, you probably watched the video of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer(now Janay Rice) in the face and cringed with anger and sadness.  I was shocked by the brutality of it.  And then I thought when it couldn’t get much worse, I heard the part of the story about how Ms. Palmer went on to marry Ray Rice and refused to testify against him in court.  It gave me the chills.

Those of us who have not lived through the experience of being in an abusive relationship cannot fathom how anyone would allow a significant other to treat them like that.  Initially, I became angry with Ms. Palmer for marrying Mr. Rice and refusing to testify against him, and that is the natural reaction most of us have. But, it is the wrong reaction.  Statistics show that a victim of domestic violence will attempt to leave her (or his) abuser numerous times before actually leaving for good and ending the relationship.  Leaving exposes the victim to great risk- roughly 75% of women who are killed by their abusers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left a relationship.

We(meaning the friends, family and supporters of victims) cannot effectively convince a victim that she must leave her abuser.  That is a decision that must come from within.  So, the correct response from us in this situation would be to support Ms. Palmer, be a resource for her when she is in need, get her in touch with professionals that can help, and encourage her to make the decision to leave on her own.

If you are ready to leave an abusive relationship and need assistance obtaining a domestic violence protective order, contact one of our family law attorneys to schedule an appointment.

Latest Email Scam

Author: Hogan Willig

January 3rd, 2014

HoganWillig has learned that the New York State Unified Court System and local courts have received inquiries regarding email notices to appear in court proceedings. Many of the notices purport to come from the NYS Unified Court System. The notices also state that the recipient must open an attachment to learn the time and location of the court appearance.  The notices are an email scam and the attachments contain a computer virus.

Members of the public should be aware that the e-mails are not from the New York State Unified Court System and they should delete the emails without opening the attachment.

The Affordable Care Act and You

Author: Amanda Kelly

December 6th, 2013

Who is required to participate?

All taxpayers must enroll themselves and dependents with “minimum essential coverage” by January 1, 2014 or pay a penalty.

What is the cost of not participating?

The greater of:

  1. 2014 = $95.00 or 1% of income (the lesser of)
    2015 = $325 or 2% of income (the lesser of)
    2016 = $695.00 or 2.5% of income (the lesser of)
  2. 1% of the excess of the tax payer’s income over the income tax return filing threshold (2% in 2015 and 2.5% in 2016)

The penalty is capped at 300% of the adult flat dollar penalty or “bronze” level premium.

**For taxpayers under 18 years of age, flat dollar amount is one-half the amount above.
**The penalty is calculated on a monthly basis and is payable with your year-end tax return. 

What is the “Exchange”?

 In the past, most individuals obtained health insurance through their employer.  For those without this option or for those not offered affordable coverage through their employer, a Health Insurance Exchange will now be an available option for purchasing coverage.  It is best to think of the exchanges as an online marketplace. The exchanges are user-friendly and will now allow these consumers, including some employer groups, to research and shop for health insurance plans with ease and clarity.

The general public will now easily view and more importantly, compare the following for each plan:

  • Rates
  • Scope of services covered
  • Provider Networks
  • Geographic coverage by defined ranges
  • Quality ratings

Health plans on a public exchange will be given a metallic designation: platinum (covers 90%), gold (covers 80%), silver (covers 70%) or bronze (covers 60%). This metallic level will help shoppers understand the level of coverage a plan offers and how much they will need to pay out of pocket and what the plan pays.

Subsidies and tax credits will help make insurance affordable for many qualifying consumers who shop on the public exchanges.

The exchanges are due to be open for business starting in October, 2013, allowing individuals or employer groups to shop for health insurance coverage that will begin on January 1, 2014.

The health care reform law creates a new web portal, www.HealthCare.gov, that   will help individuals and small businesses find health insurance coverage.

All states are given the option to create and run their own exchange.  In the event any state does not run their own Exchange, its citizens will have the option to shop on the Exchange run by the Federal Government. All citizens will have an exchange available to them, despite their state’s offering.

There will also be private exchanges offered by private companies.

Am I eligible for a subsidy?

Consumers are eligible for a subsidy if their household income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level and they purchase insurance coverage on the exchange.

Employees are not eligible for a subsidy if they are covered through their spouse’s plan that meets Affordable Care Act requirements or if they are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.

I am uninsured with a pre-existing medical condition. How do I obtain coverage right now?

Uninsured residents with medical conditions that are expensive to treat may be eligible for the NY Bridge Plan, a new pre-existing condition insurance plan. (Until January 2014 when more options will be available through the exchange)

I am currently enrolled in Healthy New York-What are my options after January, 2014?

 As of January 1, 2014, Healthy NY will no longer be available to individuals or sole proprietors.

DON’T WAIT! Individuals and families will be able to shop for and enroll in coverage on the New York Health Benefit Exchange beginning in October 2013 for coverage starting January 1, 2014.

For additional details and information, please feel free to contact us at (716) 636-7600.

Don’t Worry About Olympus, We Have a Plan…

Author: Jeffrey Novak

March 25th, 2013

An interesting occurrence took place this week with both the President and Vice-President of the United States absent from American soil for a brief period of time. On March 19, President Obama was aboard Air Force One over the Atlantic Ocean on his way to Israel for a trip to the Middle East while Vice-President Biden was returning from Rome where he had attended the inaugural Mass of the new Pope, Pope Francis, at the Vatican.

This left, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, Speaker of the House John Boehner, not a member of the President and Vice-President’s political party, the top governmental official on American soil.

Speaker Boehner’s place as the number 3 man in American government is the result of current law. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 establishes the line of succession to the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States in the event that neither a President nor Vice-President is able to “discharge the powers and duties of the office.” The Act places the Speaker of the House as the first successor. The Act reads, in part:

…[i]f, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall…act as President…

Now pair this rare event with the release of a new movie this past week, Olympus Has Fallen, about an attack on the White House that results in the President of the United States being taken hostage by terrorists, and some might be wondering: “who is in charge if the President is out of communication or incapacitated?”
Now, I haven’t seen the new movie but I can guess, much like the late-1990’s tour de force Air Force One starring American treasure Harrison Ford, there is a scene where the nation’s national security team debates who is in charge with the President in a position where he is incapable of giving directives to his government and military.

The Constitution of the United States offers some guidance. Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

So before anyone starts to wonder why Speaker Boehner didn’t take his 15-20 minute window to repeal Obamacare or implement his solutions to the debt-crisis, the fact is that to have actually been cloaked with any of the powers of the Office of President of the United States, there would have to have been an invocation, twice, of Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.


Adoption Tax Credit

Author: Amanda Kelly

November 2nd, 2012

If you are considering adoption as a means to create or add to your family, you may be aware that the United States Internal Revenue Code allows for an Adoption Tax Credit of up to $12,170.00+ for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by adoptive parent taxpayers. Please keep in mind that the Code allows for a tax credit (a dollar for dollar reduction of federal tax) and this is not a mere deduction against taxable income. This is by far the largest tax credit available to individual taxpayers. The Credit was made refundable by law for 2010 and 2011, but is not refundable in 2012- meaning only families with federal income tax liability will benefit from this Credit in 2012. Also of significance is that the Adoption Tax Credit is available per child. The Adoption Tax Credit not only encourages parents to adopt children in need, but it makes adoption affordable for many that would otherwise be unable to complete their families.

Should My Child Have a Cell Phone?

Author: Hogan Willig

October 30th, 2012

Before purchasing a cell phone for an adolescent, parents should consider some potential consequences for both their child and themselves if the cell phone is not used responsibly. The consequences of the behavior below may outweigh the benefit of being able to pull up the internet to resolve a friendly debate.

Animals Are People Too….

Author: Doreen Letty

February 8th, 2012

or at least that is how a great many people who live with pets feel – they are a part of their family.

Unfortunately, the laws of this and other nations have not always reflected this same belief and have failed to protect animals. Although the first laws passed in English-speaking nations to prevent animal cruelty were enacted in Ireland in 1635, and were followed in North America, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1654, and in England in 1654, they were based on the view of animals as property only and essentially protected the animals’ “owners” more than the animals themselves.


We Practice Law for Your Peace of Mind