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Divorce Archives

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE FACTORS UNDER THE REVISED NEW YORK LAW

Spousal maintenance calculations in New York divorces are now governed by a new law that makes several changes. This includes a shift in terminology from alimony to maintenance. The temporary maintenance rules, which apply to divorces filed on or after October 16, 2015, continue to follow a fairly straightforward formula based on the income of each spouse. New permanent maintenance rules are in effect for all divorces filed on or after January 25, 2016.

FACTORS IN NEW YORK CHILD CUSTODY DETERMINATIONS

New York courts determine child custody according to what they consider to be in the best interests of the child. There is no automatic presumption in favor of either parent. Of course, what constitutes a child's "best interests" can be highly subjective and requires analysis based on each family's unique situation. In many cases, the court will appoint an attorney to advocate for the child. Though each case differs, there are some common factors that the court considers in determining custody:

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN AN EVEN SPLIT

New York now abides by the principle of equitable distribution when dividing the property of a divorcing couple. People sometimes misinterpret the word equitable to mean "equal," which is not always the case. Judges often decide that the fairest resolution is to give one spouse a greater portion of the shared assets, and they base their decisions upon a variety of factors, including:

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO GATHER FOR A NEW YORK DIVORCE

New York requires divorcing parties to file numerous forms with the Supreme Court in the county of residence. A qualified divorce attorney can help you with obtaining and completing these documents, but the process will run much more smoothly if you can provide your attorney with copies of personal papers. With this information, your attorney can give you the best possible evaluation of what you can expect as the case proceeds.

WHEN TO HIRE A DIVORCE LAWYER

New York's complex laws make it very difficult for couples who try to tackle divorce without the help of lawyers. Relying on advice from friends or the internet exposes people to costly mistakes and adds even more burdens at an already stressful time. If the parties are looking to save expense and they agree on key issues, an uncontested divorce with attorney support can accomplish those goals while providing legal protection.

THE FIRST STEPS IN OBTAINING A NEW YORK DIVORCE

In 2010, New York became the final state to introduce no-fault divorce. To obtain this type of divorce, one of the spouses must affirm that the relationship has been irreparably damaged for at least six months. But even simple, uncontested divorces require detailed paperwork to be filed. Jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court in the county where the couple resides. Brooklyn residents must file with the matrimonial clerk in the Supreme Court, Kings County, and must serve the other party with a Summons with Notice. Even in a no-fault divorce, the parties still must resolve issues of property division and child and spousal support either in court or by an agreement.

THE FIRST STEPS IN OBTAINING A NEW YORK DIVORCE

In 2010, New York became the final state to introduce no-fault divorce. To obtain this type of divorce, one of the spouses must affirm that the relationship has been irreparably damaged for at least six months. But even simple, uncontested divorces require detailed paperwork to be filed. Jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court in the county where the couple resides. Brooklyn residents must file with the matrimonial clerk in the Supreme Court, Kings County, and must serve the other party with a Summons with Notice. Even in a no-fault divorce, the parties still must resolve issues of property division and child and spousal support either in court or by an agreement.

CHILD SUPPORT IN NEW YORK: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

New York's child support laws are an essential tool to protect children and their parents. When parents aren't living together, the state often requires one parent to pay another parent money in order to contribute to the costs of raising a child. While this may seem straightforward, conflicts often arise out of issues related to the amount paid, the duration of payment, the collection of payment and the need to modify a support award as life changes.

UNDERSTANDING NEW YORK'S UPDATED ALIMONY LAW

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill into law that changes the way the state's courts calculate alimony payments. The bill institutes guidelines for temporary maintenance and post-divorce alimony. The most important changes in the new policy are a lower cap on income counted in the calculation of payments and the removal of a policy that calculated the lifetime value of a professional degree or license. The law is being hailed as a necessary compromise between many groups and a victory for both low- and high-income New Yorkers.

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