Four Critical Topics to Discuss with Your New York Divorce Attorney

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New York divorce cases can be complex and involve many topics. Each case is unique. It is important to have a firm understanding about the process involved in a New York divorce, the stakes of the case and what your rights are. A divorce lawyer can discuss the following topics with you and explain the rules about these topics in New York.

Property Division

Different states have different approaches to how they divide property. The two most common methods of dividing property are community property and equitable distribution. In community property states, all assets acquired during the marriage and all income earned during the marriage are considered equally owned by the spouses. These jurisdictions generally divide property 50/50. In equitable distribution states, the court tries to divide the property fairly between the parties. In these states, equal distribution may not occur. Everything that a spouse owns with the other spouse may be subject to distribution during the divorce. Even if a spouse had kept certain property separate and considers it his or her own, it may still be subject to division. For example, a spouse may consider his or her contributions to a retirement account. However, this account may still be subject to division in the divorce because the funds were accumulated during the marriage. Property division also divides debts.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is not automatically ordered in New York divorce cases. It is not uncommon for one spouse, regardless of gender, to out earn his or her spouse. This imbalance of income is considered during a divorce. When the spouses’ incomes or earning power are disparate, spousal support may help to better balance the spouses’ income. This type of support may be ordered in cases in which the spouses have different income levels in order to help both spouses maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage. For divorces before 2016, 20 different factors were used to determine whether to award spousal support, such as the duration of the marriage, the parties’ health and the educational level of each spouse.

However, in 2016, the law was changed to only consider the income figures of the spouses. A special calculation is used to determine whether spousal support should be ordered and in what amount. If child support is not ordered, the court considers which party makes more money, considering all sources income. The court multiplies 30 percent of the income of the spouse who makes more money. It then multiplies 20 percent of the lower earning spouse’s income. The income of the recipient is deducted from the income of the higher earning spouse. Both of these incomes are added together and multiplied by 40 percent. The lower earning spouse’s income is subtracted from this amount. The lower of these two calculations is used to determine how much support should be paid.

Child Support

Child support is an obligation of one parent to pay for the financial needs of their child. Although the funds go to the other parent, they are for the benefit of the child. The parent who has primary custody of the children can receive child support. This custodian also has a financial obligation to the financial support of the child. Child support orders consist of fixed, variable and controlled costs. A child support lawyer in New York can provide information about what these different types of costs mean in your particular case.

Child Custody

The most important divorce decision in cases involving married couples with children is custody. When parents do not agree on who the children should live with or how they should be raised, the court may be asked to make a decision regarding custody. When the court considers custody determinations, the guiding principle is what is in the child’s best interests. A court cannot order custody to an unfit parent. There are two types of child custody. Physical custody provides for who the child will live with. Legal custody refers to which parent can make important decisions for the child, such as where he or she will attend school or what medical treatment he or she will receive.

Preparing for Your Case

Because of the important stakes involved in a divorce in New York, it is important to be prepared for your case. Gather all financial documents that may impact the topics discussed above. Then, contact an experienced New York divorce lawyer for assistance with your claim. A lawyer can discuss your legal options and develop a strategy to assist you.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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