Calculating Divorce Maintenance

In New York, determining maintenance (spousal support or alimony) can be a burdensome task.  This task can become more complicated in situations where one spouse is receiving disability or a long term/permanent personal injury settlement in the form of a tax free annuity.  Although the line between separate property and marital property with regard to such payments is often blurred, the fact of the matter is that these payments can have an effect on child support and even maintenance.  Disability or annuity income can be factored in for the purposes of calculating how much maintenance a spouse should be paying to the injured party.

More importantly, the disability or annuity income should be used by the disabled spouse for the purpose of taking care of the children.  This money should not be discounted when determining who pays carrying costs.  It absolutely should be used to contribute to the support of the children.

Divorce Attorneys

If you are contemplating a divorce in which one of the spouses is receiving some type of disability or personal injury settlement payment, call (516) 858-2620 to speak to a divorce attorney today!

Child Support in NY

On May 1, 2012, in Divorce, Family Law, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

New York Child Support Standards.

Child support in New York is governed by the New York Child Support Standards Act, Domestic Relations Law 240 Section 1-b and Family Court Act 413 (identical statutes). The Act assigns to courts a standard for allocating child support obligations between divorced parents. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that children of divorced parents receive the same standard of living they would have enjoyed had their parents remained together, while at the same time dividing financial obligations fairly.

Generally, the Act directs courts to take the following steps:

(1) Determine the combined total income of the parents.

Courts are directed to look at each parent’s gross income, but may make certain deductions or consider additional income sources or assets where appropriate. Additionally, if a court believes that a parent is misrepresenting income, it may assign a number it considers to represent the actual income of the parent.

(2) Calculate the children’s share of the parents’ combined total income.

Usually the court will determine the child or children’s expenses to be a statutorily assigned percentage of the parents’ total income, but some exceptions may be made in high-income cases.

(3) Assign a pro-rata share of the child/children’s expenses.

Generally, this means that each parent’s obligation to the child/children’s expenses will be in proportion to each parent’s share of the total combined income. Again, a court may assign an amount greater than the statutorily assigned proportion in high-income cases.

High income exceptions may be made at any step in this process, and a court may assign add-on expenses such a child care, medical expenses, or tuition. Tax issues also often arise in determining child support obligations.

As always, if you are have any questions regarding child support or you are having an issue with child support, please call (516) 858-2620 to speak with a Family Law Attorney today!

*Contributions of research and preparation for this blog were made by Jason Bernard Mays, J.D. (awaiting admission in NYS)

Separation Agreements

On December 6, 2011, in Divorce, Family Law, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Separation Agreements

Separation Agreements need to be artfully drafted.  Each sentence should be carefully selected.  There are certain errors or omissions that can be fatal to the document’s survival.  It is highly recommended that these types of agreements are drafted by or at least reviewed by an attorney.  The risk of not doing so, regardless of the cost, is too great.  In the last couple of days, we have seen an increased number of clients who have attempted to draft their own agreements and have come to our firm to fix them.  This ends up costing more money in the long run.

We are aware that there are certain online programs that can assist you in drafting these agreements thru a data entry interface.  These programs are very general and not capable of adjusting to the unique intricacies of your particular situation.   Although these interfaces may be capable of pumping out a Separation Agreement in minutes, the quality is certainly declined.  The validity and effectiveness of the resulting agreement is going to be questionable at best.

I understand that the economy is currently struggling and funds are hard to come by.  We see it here just like every other type of business.   There are certain things that need to be done correctly however.   Taking shortcuts will only result in a longer and more expensive road later.  So if you feel that a Separation Agreement is important to you and you would like to feel comfortable that the terms will hold up in the event that they are ever challenged; then you should seek the assistance of an attorney to draft it for you.  As always, if you have any questions about Separation Agreements or Divorce in general please call (516) 858-2620 to speak with a Family Law Attorney!

New York Uncontested Divorce

On July 21, 2011, in Divorce, Family Law, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Uncontested Divorce

In the past few months we have received a lot of phone calls from people who either attempted to file their own uncontested divorce or hired the cheapest attorney they could find to file their uncontested divorce for them.  Unfortunately, these folks have found out the hard way, that mistakes in the paperwork or the filings of these uncontested types of divorce can lead to serious delays and stress.  Although an uncontested divorce is not as technically challenging as a contested divorce may be, it should still be taken seriously.  An uncontested divorce controls the manner in which a marriage is dissolved.  Issues of child custody, child support, maintenance, and property distribution are all at stake when these divorce papers are prepared and filed.  It is very important that you find a competent professional to prepare and file your divorce.  Saving several months time and a lot of money that it takes to fix mistakes in the divorce process is well worth the slightly higher cost that you may pay.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at (516) 858-2620!

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