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All Press Releases for October 03, 2012 »
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The Honeymoon Is Over: Concerns Raised Over New York Alimony Payouts

The New York no-fault divorce law of 2010 was intended to reduce complications between separating couples and to help the lower earning spouse, but it has raised new issues of fairness.
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    October 03, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Until recently, the legal breakup between married couples in New York was over-complicated and had the potential to be particularly bitter. Prior to the state adopting no-fault divorce in 2010, spouses had to validate the divorce with proof of an act of infidelity, cruelty or abandonment by the other. Initially, the no-fault divorce law brought relief to lawyers and families collectively. But the honeymoon stage of the law did not last long.

Under the legislation, judges must follow a structured formula when awarding temporary alimony during divorce. Though it was intended to soften the financial blow of hiring a divorce attorney for low-income New Yorkers, experts say the law has actually worked to severely reduce the wealth of the more affluent spouse.

In one example, prior to the no-fault law, a woman was awarded $285 per month in alimony. After the law was passed, the new formula gave her more than $2,000 per month. In a few instances, the law has made wealthy spouses tap into their retirement savings to make payments. The law also mandates that the richer spouse must cover all legal fees, even if the other party is also well-to-do.

The formula is used for people who earn a salary of up to $524,000 per year. Bonuses, mortgage payments and savings accounts are not factored in. Judges have the flexibility to deviate from the formula and alter temporary alimony payouts. As a deterrent to deviation, however, the judge is required to submit a detailed explanation of his or her changes and reasoning, a requirement that many feel is too time-consuming, especially during an age of budget cuts and increased workloads.

Supporters praise the New York no-fault divorce law because it standardizes rulings and alimony awards for lesser earning spouses. Critics say the language is confusing and reference the fact the formula was originally intended to be an experiment.

Ultimately, New York divorce lawyers and policy experts agree there may be flaws with the current structure of the formula but say they are remediable. They reference the child-support law in 1989 that was similarly polarizing, saying now that most agree the law is fair.

If you are considering divorce or would like to know how the New York no-fault divorce law or alimony formula may affect you, contact an experienced New York divorce lawyer.

Article provided by DeRoberts Law Firm
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