While no-fault divorce was signed into law in New York this summer with great fanfare, the bill included numerous unheralded provisions that have left many divorce lawyers uneasy.This will surely cause a further decline of marriage in New York. A non-working wife can now file some papers and get 30% of her husbands income, and she does not even have to state a reason. If there are kids, then she gets child support on top of that, and she does not have to spend any of it on the kids.
Now, with the bill set to take effect next Tuesday, divorce lawyers are bracing for change and squeezing in as many claims as possible to avoid some of what they consider undesirable provisions of the new law.
Perhaps the most troubling new provision is a formula for judges to determine alimony. Under the current system, judges have broad discretion and consider the needs of a family and its budget to determine what is necessary to maintain that marital lifestyle, said Susan M. Moss, a divorce lawyer with the firm of Chemtob Moss Forman & Talbert.
Under the new law, however, only up to $500,000 of a spouse’s income will be counted when determining alimony. So, for instance, if a spouse earns $2 million a year, only $500,000 of that will be counted toward the formula.
And here are the two formulas judges will consider:
1) Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income.
2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.
The lesser outcome of these two formulas will be the alimony award, although the law does give judges the option to consider further factors.
Monday, October 11, 2010
New York's new divorce law
New York used to the only state to require cause for divorce. Not anymore, and there is a new alimony formula: