Divorce & Separation

On August 14, 2010, N.Y.S. Govenor Paterson signed into law a no-fault divorce provision, making New York State the last State in the nation to offer no-fault divorce. This law provides that one spouse can declare that a marriage has been "irretrievably" broken for at least six (6) months.

The former five (5) grounds for divorce remain:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel & Inhuman Treatment
  • Imprisonment of one of the parties for at least three (3) years
  • Abandonment or Constructive Abandonment for one (1) year or more
  • Living separate and apart for at least one (1) year pursuant to a properly executed Separation Agreement or a Separation Decree granted by a Court.

Property Division & Distribution at Divorce

New York divides property at divorce pursuant to Equitable Distribution Law which has as its basis the philosophy that marriage (especially one of long term duration) is an economic partnership. This is different than community property where everything is divided equally. Unless there has been a wasteful disipation of marital property by one of the parties, fault should not be a factor in the division of property.

There are two classes of property - marital and separate. Marital property is all property acquired during the marriage except for inheritances, gifts from third parties and compensation for personal injuries.

At divorce, all marital property (and marital debts) are distributed to the spouses based on equitable (not necessarily equal) and flexible principles. The court looks at many factors set forth in the statute when determining the equitable distribution of marital assets. The valuation of marital property often requires expert advice. For example a family business or a pension plan often needs to be evaluated by experts.

Maintenance Payments

On September 15, 2015, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that revised New York State's Maintenance (Alimony) Law. This bill took effect on October 25, 2015 for Temporary (while the case is pending in the Courts) Maintenance and on January 25, 2016 for Permanent (after the divorce is final) Maintenance. This new law provides a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of maintenance the "needy" spouse should receive. This formula is based on each spouse's income. The duration of this maintenance takes into account the length of the marriage.

Child Support Payments

Child support is governed by the Child Support Standards Act which states that the parents of a child under age 21 are chargeable with the support of such child. In simple terms, the child support percentages in New York State are 17% of the combined parental gross income for 1 child; 25% of the combined parental gross income for 2 children; 29% of the combined parental gross income for 3 children; 31% of the combined parental gross income for 4 children; and no less than 35% of the combined parental gross income for 5 or more children. There are some deductions which can be taken from the gross income, i.e. FICA, local (city) taxes, previous support orders which are still in effect.

Custody And Visitation

Unless the parties come to an agreement on who will be the custodial parent and the visitation of the non-custodial parent, the court will hold a hearing to determine same considering, above all, the best interests of the child. The court may, of its own volition, direct that an attorney for the child be appointed to represent the child and/or that a forensic (psychological) evaluation of both parties be made. The cost of the law guardian and the forensic evaluation is borne by the parties and can be quite costly.

Expert Advice

The distribution of marital property and the award of support may involve complicated and vital tax consequences to both parties which require expert advice.

Currently based in Valley Stream, New York, Harriet Causin is a New York Divorce Attorney with over twenty years experience including divorce mediation and collaborative law.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a process wherein a couple, who have decided to divorce, meet out of court and, with the aid of a trained mediator, acting as neutral third party, resolve their own divorce issues.

The process involves a number of meetings where the two parties sit together with the mediator and reach conclusions that are mutually acceptable to them. The number of sessions required depends upon how complex the issues are.

During the mediation process, all pertinent information is discussed openly and honestly. If appropriate, consultations with financial professionals, appraisers and child specialists may be suggested.

As communications between the parties are facilitated, a fair and mutually satisfactory resolution can be reached resulting in a final divorce or separation agreement.

Collaborative Law

A civil alternative to matrimonial litigation. In the collaborative process, each spouse agrees not to litigate and hires a specially trained attorney. The couple and their attorneys work to mutually decide all divorce related disputes (finances, child custody, etc.) These face to face meetings continue until issues are resolved and a settlement agreement is reached.

When helpful, other professionals are called upon such as mediators, financial planners and mental health professionals (divorce coaches & child specialists.)

If the negotiations fail and the parties decide to go to court, the collaborative process ends and both parties must retain new counsel. Communications made during the collaborative process are confidential and cannot be used against either party in future court proceedings.

Baby with Law Books
Divorce is a life changing event. Know your options and rights.

There are several different approaches to the divorce process:

  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Mediated Divorce
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Litigated Divorce (Your Day in Court)

Harriet Causin has the experience and the training in all four approaches to successfully address your legal, financial and emotional concerns.

Regardless of the legal route you choose, the issues to be resolved remain the same.

Harriet Causin, Esq. 104 South Central Avenue, Suite 14 Valley Stream, New York 11580
© Copyright 2016 Causin Law, All Rights Reverved
  Telephone (516) 823 0100

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