News: Divorce and Attorney’s Fees

On August 19, 2010, in Divorce, Family Law, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

Along with the no-fault divorce bill, Governor Paterson also signed bill A7569-A/S4532-A which creates a presumption that a less monied spouse in a divorce case is entitled to payment of attorneys’ fees. The following are excerpts from the bill:

“This bill provides for a rebuttable presumption of interim attorney’s fees to the non-monied spouse in a matrimonial case or in proceedings to enforce a judgment therein. It also authorizes the court to order expert fees to be paid by one party to the other to enable the party to carry on or defend the action.”

The parties are also required to provide financial information to the court to enable the court to make its determination regarding counsel and expert fees.

Also see bill A11576/S.8391 which changes the effective date from 120 days after it shall have become a law to 60 days after it shall have become a law.

If you have any further questions about this new development in New York Law, please feel free to contact us today at (516) 858-2620.

Click here to read the bill

No Fault Divorce in New York

Press Release

….Governor Paterson also signed into law a package of four bills that would bring significant reform to New York’s outdated divorce laws. In particular, the Governor signed into law A.9753A/S.3890, which would make New York the last State of the fifty to adopt no-fault divorce. The bill would end the requirement that a party seeking a divorce had to claim one of a limited set of reasons as the basis for doing so, a rule that forced parties to invent false justifications, and that prolonged and aggravated the painful divorce process.

The reform package also included legislation that would revise the process for setting awards of temporary maintenance while a divorce is pending, by creating a formula and list of factors that would presumptively govern such awards (A.10984/S.8390 and A11576/S.8391). This would allow for speedy resolution of the maintenance issue, and prevent less well-off parties to divorce proceedings from falling into poverty during litigation, because they lack the resources to obtain a temporary maintenance order. Another bill (A7569-A/S4532-A) would create a presumption that a less monied spouse in a divorce case is entitled to payment of attorneys’ fees. Under current law, a party that cannot afford to secure representation in a divorce proceeding must make an application for fees at the end of the process, which can force a poor individual to proceed without a lawyer, or to surrender on important issues due to lack of means. These bills received strong support from women’s groups, advocates for victims of domestic violence and legal aid organizations.

“Finally, New York has brought its divorce laws into the twenty-first century,” Governor Paterson said. “These bills fix a broken process that produced extended and contentious litigation, poisoned feelings between the parties and harmed the interests of those persons – too often women – who did not have sufficient financial wherewithal to protect their legal rights. I commend the sponsors on providing a real and effective legislative solution to a problem that has for too long bedeviled ordinary New Yorkers.”

Please see our earlier post on this issue (No-Fault Divorce: Not as Easy as it May Sound).

If you have any further questions about this new development in New York Law, please feel free to contact us at (516) 858-2620 today!

Click here to read the entire press release

Click here to read the no-fault divorce bill

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