Author Archives: mark

Attorney’s fees

In 2010, the divorce law changed in that the legislature created a presumption that the monied spouse (the spouse with more money and a higher income) must pay the legal fees of the spouse who pays less.  This means the spouse with more money pays the legal fees of the spouse who pays less unless there is a compelling reason why he shouldn’t.  How much in legal fees the monied spouse is required to pay is up to the judge.  The amount of legal fees depends on a variety of factors including how much money the parties have, how complicated the case is expected to be, how much money each party makes and where the case is litigated (NYC attorneys charged more than attorneys upstate).  The link above is an article explaining how this new law played out in a NYC divorce involving a hedge manager.  The husband was required to pay 1 million in legal fees to the wife before the judge finally ruled that the wife is to pay her own legal fees from that point forward.  This is an extreme example.  In the Albany, New York area, where I  practice, the amount of legal fees generally ranges between $2,500 and $10,000.
Attention New York City  Residents: Get more more information on new York Divorce law at the Mark Feldman Law main site

The Importance of Holiday Schedules

If you are going through a divorce and if you have children, it is important you think about a holiday schedule.  When people divorce, they typically know that they must come up with a schedule for the children.  But, when thinking of a schedule people usually think of their everyday lives, i.e. when they have work and the children have school or daycare.  However, people also need to think about holidays and special occasions.
There should be two separate schedules – a regular schedule for everyday life and a separate schedule for holidays and vacations.  The holiday and vacation schedule should trump the regular schedule.  In other words, if the holiday and the regular schedule conflict, the holiday schedule wins.  Otherwise, luck will govern who has the children on important holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.  So, if you are getting divorced, try to work out a separate schedule for holidays.  It could be as simple as listing the holidays that are important to you and your soon to be ex and stating that each parent will have parenting time every other year.
Another approach is that each holiday is divided even (maybe 9-2 and 2-8).  This only works if both parties’ families are close to each other geographically.  The schedule will of course have to be suited to your needs and the needs of the children.
In sum, if you are getting divorced, do not forget holidays!
Attention New York City  Residents: Get more more information on new York Divorce law at the Mark Feldman Law main site

Mark Feldman interviewed by Hyatt Legal Plans

Attorney Spotlight: Mark Feldman

Meet Mark Feldman!
Mark A. Feldman of the Law Office of Mark A. Feldman in Brooklyn, New York has practiced law for 37 years. After graduation from Hofstra Law School in 1976, Mark worked with litigation and defense law firms and as a principal law secretary for New York Supreme Court justices. Mark started his own firm in 1991 specializing in family law issues, including divorce, child custody/visitation, child support, domestic abuse defense, adoption and more.
Read on to learn more about Mark in our Attorney Spotlight:
What’s a typical day like?
A typical day involves arriving to the office early to prepare work and assignments for my staff, going to court and returning calls while waiting for my turn in court. Once I return to the office, I often have to dictate correspondence concerning the current case and other matters, prepare for the next court date and return calls and confirm appointments. Finally, I get to go home and spend time with my family. On rare occasions I may also have to work late into the night assisting clients in emergency situations mainly involving order of protection situations.
What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is knowing that I was there when the client needed me and was able to help him/her out to the best of my abilities. I feel fulfilled when I see my clients enjoy successful results from our efforts.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Hyatt Legal Plans attorney network?
The best part of being in the Hyatt network is receiving referrals on so many different areas of law and getting the opportunity to help people in need of legal assistance.
What advice do you have for clients about finding the right lawyer for their situation?
I advise clients to meet with an attorney who will be very involved in their case. I am very “hands on” and I always tell clients that I get the best results with clients who are also proactive in their cases. I welcome phone calls and emails and strive to respond as soon as possible. Clients should insist on an attorney who is responsive and available to them.

– See more at:



Unique Claims That Can Be Argued

Landlord-tenant disputes can have unique facts. Sometimes unusual fact patterns seem to fall outside existing regulations. In making a determination, the judge may have discretion in applying the law.
For example, let’s say you are living in an apartment where the original leaseholder, a family member, moved out. Every year he or she renews the lease for you. You pay your rent directly to the landlord, on time every month by personal check. Further, the landlord has been fully aware of this arrangement when accepting every renewal lease. Now, you have a fight with the landlord, and next thing you know a set of eviction papers is taped to your door. The documents say you are not the leaseholder and must go.
Situations like this raise many issues. Are succession rights available to you? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a sublet, or were you a roommate? It depends. The point is, there’s room for interpretation. A skillful Tenants’ lawyer may know how to argue to your advantage, even when the law isn’t clear or fully on your side.
In this illustration, if properly argued, the judge may decide that since the landlord accepted your rent and renewals, while knowing of your presence and the original leaseholder’s departure, you are entitled to stay. A persuasive argument can make all the difference in the world to a successful legal outcome, even when the law doesn’t apply in the usual way to the specific facts.
Attention New York City Tenants: Get more more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the Mark Feldman Law main site

You Don't Owe Landlord Legal Fees Unless the Court Says So

If you litigate with your landlord and reach a settlement under which you will pay what you agree you owe, it does not automatically make you liable for the landlord’s legal costs. Unless you agree to it outside of the court’s ruling, only the court can award payment of legal fees. Until this has happened, you can’t be forced to pay for the landlord’s lawyer. However, this won’t stop some landlords, or their attorneys, from attempting to collect attorneys fees from you without a court order. Depending on the facts of your case, these attempts might violate certain Fair Debt Collection laws. It would be to your benefit to consult a lawyer about potential remedies available under these provisions, and what additional legal leverage you may have to help achieve a settlement.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the Mark Feldman Law Website

Landlord Tricks With Walls

“First rent” is a principle of law that applies to certain legal rents and registrations after construction work qualifies renovated apartments as new units. For example, if the landlord changes walls in an apartment with the effect of increasing or decreasing it’s overall size, the “first rent” provision may come into play.

When a landlord alters a rent-stabilized unit to transform it into an apartment that did not exist before the construction, he or she may lease it out as a new, unregulated apartment. This may justify a rent increase above one calculated on the base rent charged for the old apartment, even if the difference in rent is beyond amounts the rent stabilization guidelines have established. After all, the landlord’s lawyer might argue, the apartment is not the same unit it previously was, in terms of space or configuration, so the first rent doctrine should apply. The fact it was formerly rent-regulated may never be discovered unless a tenant is able to research the building’s registration history of rent rolls, alteration permits at the Department of Buildings (“DOB”), amendments to the certificate of occupancy (“C of O”) at Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”), etc.

If the tenant is able to show that the unit is substantially the same as it was before, with only minor alterations, a judge might agree that the apartment should still be rent-stabilized, giving the tenant a right to renew the lease, possibly at a lower rent. You might also be awarded substantial damages for the landlord’s overcharging.

If you learn that the landlord claims your unit was reconstructed, do your homework. Check the websites of the DOB for alteration permits and HPD for amendments to C of O filings, and try to get certified rent history printouts for your apartment from Homes and Community Renewal (formerly DHCR, the Department of Housing and Community Renewal).

A Tenant’s lawyer might be able to give you further advice in these investigations. Sometimes there are complicated elements to these cases. For example, your unit may have a rent history listed under different apartment numbers. However, it can be worth investing the time to look into details, because in the end you might have a rent overcharge case and get triple damages. There’s no guarantee the court will agree with the landlord, and with skillful representation you may win.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the Mark Feldman Law main site here.

When to Forward Mail to Your Attorney

One ploy unscrupulous landlords have used is suing for rent after the tenant moved out, claiming the apartment was never surrendered. Your first defense to this is carefully documenting the end of your tenancy and return of the premises to the landlord. If you suspect the landlord may attempt something like this, you can also have your lawyer follow up with additional correspondence to confirm your departure and surrender of the unit. This shows your landlord you are represented and can defend your rights, so he or she should think twice before starting a fight. The landlord shouldn’t get away with collecting double rent if the unit has been leased to someone else. For this reason it’s also a good idea to stay in touch with neighbors to learn if and when the apartment is re-rented.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the Mark A. Feldman Law firm site here.

Do Your Homework Before Calling the Landlord


If you see that a problem you’re having with your landlord may develop into a full-blown dispute, research the issues before saying or doing anything rash. Frequently, difficulties between landlords and tenants cause tempers to flare; situations which could be handled better turn into bad blood and unnecessary legal expense.Start with the free information available from an Internet Search (but beware of inaccuracies). Of course nothing takes the place of advice from a competent tenants’ lawyer. But at least you’ll have an idea of the legal terrain. Read up on it so you don’t forfeit important rights without knowing about them. Solid information puts you in a stronger position to formulate a strategy for working toward an advantageous compromise in which both sides preserve what is most important.This strategy minimizes the risk of saying or doing something which may have unexpected consequences … and may even cost your tenancy.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the Mark Feldman law firm main site here.

Protect Your Privacy

At times, landlords will send out forms to tenants asking for personal information. Unfortunately, sometimes supplying what appears to be harmless data that’s being reasonably collected can be dangerous. Income, occupancy, and other data may be used against you. So be wary of revealing anything you aren’t legally obliged to. If the landlord sends you questions, check with a Tenants’ lawyer to be sure of your rights before you fill out and send in anything. While you are legally obligated to report certain information, there generally is no advantage in saying more than you absolutely have to.