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The New Spousal Maintenance Law In New York

divorce attorneyIn late 2015, the law in New York concerning spousal maintenance (alimony) changed. The following are some excerpts from this new statute:

  1. The new law establishes a $175,000 income cap with regard to determining how much spousal maintenance (alimony) should be paid.
  2. The new law establishes formulas which cause the non-custodial parent who is the “monied” parent already paying child support to pay less in spousal maintenance. When applying the formula for spousal maintenance, it is deducted from the parent’s income before calculating child support payments.
  3. Courts now have more discretion to deviate, make modifications or changes to the guidelines to deal with situations where the payment of spousal maintenance would be inappropriate or unjust.
  4. The law eliminates something called enhanced earning capacity as a marital asset in equitable distribution of the assets of the family. Enhanced earning capacity could be a degree such as a doctor holds, or a lawyer holds, which entitles them to earn more money by practicing their profession.
  5. The duration of the spousal maintenance now specifically relates to how long the parties were married for.
  6. Spousal maintenance ends when the person receiving the spousal maintenance remarries or dies.

Conclusion

The new spousal maintenance law will provide benefit to the monied spouse who is paying the spousal maintenance and also, sometimes, child support to the custodial parent who also happens to be the non-monied spouse.father's rights lawyer in New York

Mother Given Sole Custody of Children

custody attorney for fathersIn a case before Supreme Court Justice Sharon Gianelli, in Supreme Court Divorce Part in Nassau County, Judge Gianelli granted residential custody to a mother in spite of the fact the father has a nicer home, greater financial resources, space in his home for the children and he was retired which gave him a significant amount of time to spend with the parties’ children.

Irreconcilable Differences

The divorce case was based on irreconcilable differences pursuant to Domestic Relations Law section 170(7). In the lawsuit the mother sought sole custody of the two minor children of the parties. Justice Gianelli found “children are not grocery items”, stating that “charting a course to meet their best interests was a ‘nuanced undertaking’.”

Father Unreasonably Rigid

Justice Gianelli found the father had a pattern of unreasonable rigidness and inflexibility. She found further he showed his negative feelings towards the mother which motivated his actions. Instead of acting in the children’s best interests, the judge felt he acted in a manner to show his anger and dissatisfaction with his spouse.

Justice Gianelli found she was not convinced the father would work towards developing a healthy relationship between the children and their mother. Judge Gianelli also took into consideration the attorney for the children had recommended the mother receive sole custody of the children because this was in the children’s best interests. In addition, Justice Gianelli found co-parenting pursuant to a joint custody arrangement was not feasible in this case. In the end she awarded sole residential custody to the mother because she found it was in the children’s best interests.

Conclusion

Fathers who seek to obtain custody of their children must be careful. In addition to providing the children with an appropriate place to live, the father must show that he respects the mother’s relationship with the children and acts in a manner to promote the children’s relationship with their mother. Fathers should be aware courts take into consideration, it is in the children’s best interests to have good relationships with both parents. Conveying to the children negative impressions of the other parent is considered to be disturbing behavior by judges when deciding who should receive custody of the children.

father's rights attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.

Who Gets the House When There Are Children?

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Elliot S. Schlissel has been representing fathers for more than 35 years in all aspects of family law and divorce law.  He and his associates are available for consultation.  To schedule a consultation, please call 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Child Support Provision Declared Invalid and Unenforceable

child support assistance for fathersJustice Jeffrey Sunshine sitting in the Supreme Court Divorce Part in Kings County presided over a case where the husband moved for a declaratory judgment that the provisions of a judgment of divorce concerning child support payments were invalid and unenforceable. A referee had addressed these issues. The referee found the child support payments of $400 per week should be paid by the husband to the wife. This determination was based on 25% of the husband’s adjusted gross income payable concerning his two children.

The husband alleged in his application to the court this provision did not contain necessary language under the Child Support Standards Act and pursuant to the New York Domestic Relations Law. Wife argued in her papers the support provision was valid and enforceable. She stated the parties knew their rights relating to the Child Support Standards Act and the Domestic Relations Law.

Justice Sunshine found the husband had made a prima facie showing the provision regarding child support was invalid and therefore unenforceable pursuant to New York Domestic Relations Law Section 240(1-b)(c). He stated in his decision that support payments under this section of the law must be based on the combined parental income not only on one parent’s income. Judge Sunshine went on to state the final judgment of divorce only reflected husband’s adjusted gross income. The wife’s income was not taken into consideration at the time of the calculation of the child support. He therefore ruled there was too much ambiguity to speculate on what the combined income of both parents were. He therefore declared the child support section of the judgment of divorce to be invalid and unenforceable.

Conclusion

The child support breakdown must be specifically set out in divorce settlement agreements that are part of the Judgment of Divorce.father's rights lawyer

Husband Denied Temporary Spousal Maintenance

father's rights advocate in New YorkIn a recent case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein pending in a Supreme Court Divorce Part in Nassau County, New York, a husband sought a temporary spousal maintenance (alimony) award from his wife.  He asserted that he had had discussions with the wife.  As a result of these discussions he retired and closed his armored car company.  He claimed he had not earned any income since 2010.

Justice Jeffrey Goodstein in his decision regarding the husband’s motion stated there were no claims concerning the husband being disabled or any explanation as to why he was no longer able to find employment.  Justice Goodstein suggested the husband should have looked for a job prior to bringing the application for spousal maintenance.

The wife argued in this case the husband was supporting himself, his girlfriend and in addition, his parents.  She therefore claimed the husband’s application for spousal maintenance from her should be denied.

Husband Supported Parties During The Marriage

Judge Goodstein found the pre-separation standard of living of the parties to the marriage was funded by the husband.  He had been earning more than one million dollars a year.  The husband had stated in his moving papers he wanted the wife to work because he felt it was important she develop a work ethic.  Justice Goodstein’s decision stated the husband’s retirement was a lifestyle choice and the husband had no real need for receiving funds from the wife.  Justice Goodstein found if he granted the husband’s application for maintenance it would serve as a disincentive for non-monied spouses to make any effort to earn independent income after a marriage failed.  Justice Goodstein therefore imputed $300,000 to the husband based on his prior earning capacity.  Based on this imputed income, Justice Goodstein found the husband was not entitled to a temporary maintenance award.  He found the husband was the more monied spouse and not entitled to any spousal maintenance whatsoever.

Conclusion

If you are thinking about getting divorced, don’t retire!father's rights lawyer Long Island

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling That Wife Pay Husband’s Legal Fees In Divorce Case

father's rights attorneys in Metropolitan New YorkThe Appellate Division of the First Department, an appeals court, recently affirmed a lower court’s ruling in a divorce lawsuit which ordered the wife to pay $750,000 into an escrow account to cover her husband’s legal fees in their divorce lawsuit. In addition, the appellate court also upheld the lower court’s ruling fining the wife $15,000 for frivolous conduct with regard to filing a jurisdictional challenge to the authority of the courts in New York more than two and a half years after the litigation started.

Lower Court’s Decision

The lower court had found the defendant wife, Guni Murjani, had “unnecessarily delayed discovery and removed the parties’ art collection.” In addition, the court found she had “controlled the parties’ liquid assets.” As a result of these actions, the lower court found she should sell or take other action with regard to her property to fund the husband’s $750,000 legal fees. The court also found the wife should be enjoined (stopped) from taking further action with regard to a suit filed in Bombay, India, which was designed to block her husband’s divorce action in the State of New York.

Channel Islands Trust

The husband and wife were the beneficiaries a Channel Islands Trust. This trust had value of between 40 and 60 million dollars. It had been established by Mohan Murjani, a Hong Kong garment industry entrepreneur. The proceeds of this trust were the principal source of income for the family. Unfortunately, Channel Islands laws keep secret all information regarding trusts. As part of the lower court decision, Judge Drager ordered Guni Murjani to ask the Royal Courts in the Channel Islands make the files concerning the trusts available to the judge.

divorce lawyer on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer representing clients throughout the Metropolitan New York area.