Temporary Spousal Maintenance
During the past year New York revolutionized its divorce laws. It adopted a new no fault divorce law that allows men and women to obtain a divorce in the State of New York by simply alleging that there have been irreconcilabledifferences between them for a period in excess of six months. The pleadings to obtain this type of divorce do not require the parties indicate what the irreconcilable differences were! This presents New Yorkers with simpler grounds to obtain a divorce.
With the new divorce law came a new set of rules for spousal maintenance (alimony). Unfortunately, the new rules are complicated, burdensome and tie judges’ hands. In the past Judges had discretion to do what was fair concerning temporary spousal maintenance (alimony) payments. That discretion has been limited by these new laws.
Prior to this new statute, Judges used a “balancing act” to determine what temporary spousal maintenance was fair in each given situation. The Court would review the family’s finances, take testimony about family obligations and try to arrive at a fair figure for temporary spousal maintenance (alimony). The theory was that the court should maintain the parties financial status quo during the pendency of a divorce. Items such as expenses for mortgage, rent, medical insurance, food and other necessities were taken into consideration by the Judge making a decision with regard to the payment of maintenance by one spouse to the other.
The New World of Spousal Maintenance
The new statute provides 19 separate financial factors in a formula that is to be used by the court in making determinations concerning spousal maintenance issues. The new statute provides a cap of $500,000 of income that can be subject to the calculations of spousal maintenance. In certain situations, Judges can discard the formula, but in those cases they must fully explain why they’re circumventing the formula. Unfortunately, Judges are utilizing the formula in almost all situations.
The Formula Doesn’t Work in All Cases
Supreme Court Justice Shannon Townsend, sits in Erie County. She is presently the head of the Office of Court Administrations Matrimonial Practice Advisory Committee. She has identified several problems with the Temporary Maintenance Statute. She has stated that some of the factors used in the temporary maintenance equation simply don’t make sense. Justice Townsend has stated that Judges are being forced to “fill in holes in the statute on a case by case basis”.
Statute Helps Low Income Wifes
The statute was designed to “even the playing field” between men, who often are the primary wage earners and women, who either weren’t working or had lower income. Emily Rubin, an attorney who worked for the Legal Aid Society of New York, claims the changes in the law have assisted low income women. She states the awards of spousal maintenance (alimony) are much fairer for women in low income situations or for women who don’t work.
Law Revision Committee
There is a Law Revision Committee who is responsible for studying changes in the divorce process, which also includes this Temporary Maintenance Statute. They are currently working on amendments, changes and modifications to this statute that may assist the courts and attorneys in obtaining balanced results.
The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been seeing to it fathers have equal rights and they are protected in the Family Courts and the Supreme Courts in the State of New York. This firm deals with all aspects of Family Law Practice and divorce. Issues such as child abuse, child neglect, spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, changing child custody, orders of protection and child abuse defense are the types of cases the law firm has extensive experience in handling. In addition, the firm litigates father’s rights cases involving parental alienation syndrome, relocation problems, equitable distribution of assets in divorce and no fault divorce issues in Nassau County, Kings County, Queens County, Suffolk County and throughout the rest of the Metropolitan New York area. In amicable situations, the law firm is involved in arbitration and mediation of issues. The Law Firm also draft pre nuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements and separation agreements. Call for a free consultation. The phones are monitored 24/7