Frequently Asked Questions
While our attorneys are always prepared to answer your questions, we understand that there may be times when you want to research some legal issues on your own. Please find some commonly asked questions and answers below.
Family law FAQs
Criminal law FAQs
Skilled legal representation from an established Bay Shore, Long Island firm can be yours. Contact Long Tuminello, LLP online or call us at 631-666-2500 to schedule your free initial consultation. We look forward to discussing your case.
What do I need to do to begin the bankruptcy process?
Your first step is to inventory your past and present debts. You will also need a list of your assets to include in your petition in the bankruptcy filing. Schedules of assets and liabilities, along with a statement of your financial affairs, comprise the petition you will file with the bankruptcy court, accompanied by your filing fee.
When does filing Chapter 7 make sense?
Chapter 7 may be your best option if you meet the following conditions:
You can pay your debts
Your creditors are not pestering you or threatening to sue you
You do not have any debts with co-signers
When does filing Chapter 13 make sense?
If you need some breathing room to pay your debts, Chapter 13 could be your best bankruptcy options, especially if you—
Are behind on your mortgage payments
Owe the IRS
Do not qualify for Chapter 7
Need relief from collection proceedings
Have debts with co-signers
Can pay your debts within three to five years
How long does a bankruptcy stay on my record?
Bankruptcies remain on credit reports between seven and ten years. Deciding to declare bankruptcy is a serious decision. That is why it is important to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney so you fully understand the bankruptcy options and their consequences.
Family law FAQs
I have been divorced for a while and would like to change some of the provisions in the divorce decree. If my ex and I agree, would the changes be valid?
After your divorce, you might find it necessary or desirable to modify one or more of the stipulations in your divorce decree, property settlement, or custody and support arrangements. You must follow proper procedure if you want that modification or set of modifications to be valid. An experienced family law attorney can work with you to ensure your desired changes are valid.
Are my employment benefits and frequent flyer miles considered marital property?
In most cases, the benefits you have accumulated through your employment during the time you were married are subject to division in a divorce. Your spouse may be entitled to one-half of the value of your pension and 401(k) from the date of marriage until the date of separation or divorce. The same may be true for your unused vacation time and frequent flyer miles.
Can property acquired prior to marriage be divided upon divorce?
Generally, assets owned by either spouse prior to the marriage will remain that spouse's separate property after the marriage ends, and won't be distributed by a court as marital property. In some states, the court can define the starting date of a marriage as being earlier than the actual marriage date if it is ''equitable'' to do so.
I am the custodial parent. Can I deny visitation?
The purpose of visitation rights is for children of a divorced couple to understand they have two parents who are entitled to love their children and be loved in return. If the children come back from a weekend with their noncustodial parent and are upset or tell you they do not want to go anymore, that is not reason to deny visitation unless their health and welfare are endangered by the visitation. If you are having a disagreement with your ex or harbor ill feelings, that is not reason to deny visitation. However, the noncustodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation. That means if he or she wants to see your child in the middle of the night or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you do not have to permit visitation.
My income has increased since the court ordered child support. Can I be penalized for not paying more because of my increased income?
In most situations, child support increases are only retroactive to the date of the filing of a motion to modify child support. However, many courts and child support collection agencies require noncustodial parents to report their income on a regular basis to ensure smooth modification proceedings. If your orders do that, and you failed to do so, you might have some problems. If your orders do not require such, normally there is no obligation to pay anything more than what was ordered.
Criminal Law FAQs
What should I do if I am ever arrested?
Being arrested can be a frightening experience. It is important to remember that you have certain rights—specifically the right to remain silent. This means you can refuse to answer any questions in which you might incriminate yourself. However, you should answer all questions about your identification (name, current address, date of birth) honestly. Do not lie. If answering a question could incriminate you, it is better not to answer. Above all, do your best to be respectful toward the arresting officers. Giving them a hard time is not going to improve your situation and in fact may make things worse for you.
A loved one has been arrested. What should I do?
Receiving a call from a loved one that he or she has been arrested can be a shock. However, it is crucial that you remain calm and gather as much information as possible to provide an attorney. Specifically, a criminal defense attorney may find the following information helpful—
The name, birth date, and Social Security number of the arrested person
The crime he or she is being charged with
The name of the law enforcement agency made the arrest
The location where the arrested person is being held
If bail has been set, and the amount
How do I get released from jail after an arrest?
Bail is your best bet. If it has been set, someone must pay the bond for your release. A bail bond helps ensure that you appear at all subsequent legal proceedings. If you are released from jail on bail and fail to appear at all related legal proceedings you risk forfeiting the bond, facing a new arrest warrant, and losing any subsequent bail privileges.
It is important to note that bail is not guaranteed—it may be denied in certain cases. Typically, if the judge believes there is a high risk that the defendant will flee, or if the defendant has been charged with a serious crime like murder, the judge may deny bail.
People represent themselves in court sometimes. Do I need a criminal defense attorney?
Yes. Having an experienced criminal law attorney on your side may be your best chance of obtaining a positive outcome in your case. Regardless of the charges you are facing, a criminal lawyer has the knowledge, skill, and experience to ensure your rights are protected. Retaining a criminal law attorney is vital and is often your best bet after being charged with a crime. Many judges refuse to consider a plea bargain from a defendant without legal representation.