Archive for February, 2016

What’s New in New York’s Spousal Maintenance Law?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

The rules regarding spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony in divorce law, has gone through a tremendous change last 2015. Last September 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a huge divorce law overhaul that has since gone into effect October 25th.

This recently enacted statute keeps the transitory maintenance guidelines, that is, the expected payments made during the ongoing trial and also extends this to alimony awarded after the divorce, or maintenance for a set, finite amount of time after the judgment has been entered.

In addition, the previous law had a capacity of $543,000.00 set for the spouse’s earnings to be considered in any maintenance guideline calculation, whereas now the maximum is $175,000.00. The limit, however, will change, with respect to the Consumer Price Index and its fluctuations.

At a court’s discretion, a judge may allow a higher income, more than what is allowed or even deviate from what is stated in the guidelines. While the divorce process is ongoing, family expenses need to be continuously allocated and considered between the two parties by the court where it is deemed fitting.

What Communication From Your Spouse Should You Collect For Your Attorney?

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

You may hate them, you may despise them on a cellular level, but it’s not realistic to think that you will never speak to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, especially if there are kids involved. The best thing you can do, both for your kids (if there are any), as well as for yourself, is either be civil when communicating with your spouse, or just don’t communicate with them at all. You can leave the communication aspect to your attorney and your spouse’s attorney, as they are much more likely to not write something or say something that will sabotage your chances of a favorable divorce agreement.

Since it’s been clarified that you will likely have to communicate with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to some extent, what do you think is worth handing over to your lawyer, and what can just be deleted? One would be if your spouse sends you threatening or harassing messages, that is certainly something you would want to print out and give to your attorney, and you should probably keep a copy for yourself as well. Remember that aforementioned bit about ruining your chances for a favorable outcome in your divorce? Well, that goes both ways; if your spouse writes the wrong thing to you, be it in a drunken stupor or a frenzied moment, you should absolutely forward that to your lawyer (talk about being placed in a bad light).

Another thing that you should keep a record of is anything that may have to do with your spouse’s finances and their job. They may be telling the court that they didn’t get a promotion, or that they were recently laid off; basically, anything that can show that your spouse is not being entirely honest to the court can be a huge gain. Don’t try to instigate these kinds of things however, as you are not the only one who can keep a record of conversations.

How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce – 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Social media has forever changed every single aspect of our lives, and that extends well into divorce proceedings. Posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have been used as evidence and deciding factors in trials, which in some situations have ruined many spouses’ chance of achieving positive settlements during divorce.

With that being said, here are 5 do’s and don’ts with regard to social media, and your divorce.

Do’s:

  1. Censor yourself! Pictures, videos, posts and such are routinely brought into court proceedings. Don’t trust yourself, have a friend serve as your “guardian” with regard to your posts, sometimes your decision making skills aren’t as good as you think.
  2. Have your friends and family help out as your “eyes and ears”. Your spouse may block you or “unfriend” you on social media, at which point you can’t really see what they are doing or posting. Asking (not demanding) your friends to keep an eye on your soon-to-be ex-spouse is a good way to have a way of monitoring them without having the actual ability to. Of course, not everyone will be comfortable doing this, especially mutual friends between you and your spouse. In fact, you might be better off not asking them at all, because they might tell your spouse you asked, and that just won’t look good at
  3. Depending on the circumstances, you might just be better off removing your spouse on your social media account. If you can’t control yourself from contacting them, or you’re worried that you cannot control what you post, deleting your spouse and any common friends who will likely favor on your spouse would be a wise move.
  4. Change your relationship status as soon as you are sure about the separation. It will help you begin the long process and for people around you to be aware of that you are not only going through a rough time but also to be not mistakenly thought of being still together.
  5. If you feel like its right, you should temporarily disable your social media. Deactivating your account will prevent you from posting anything that will negatively affect your standing during divorce trials.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t post a picture or write a status about you making a big expenditure. This will kill any motion to reduce payments such as child support and alimony before you even file for either. You can’t state that you can’t afford to pay them when you are caught buying expensive things like cars or spending on friends, both old and new.
  2. Don’t write about trips or dates or anything you wouldn’t want your kids to know, because your spouse will most certainly make sure they see it. Don’t sell yourself as sleazy on social media, and certainly don’t if you had family-related obligation that you were supposed to attend to. It simply isn’t worth it – a few measly “likes” in exchange for looking terrible in the eyes of the court.
  3. No pictures of you drinking! How can you prove to the court that you are a responsible adult if you are seen partying like a teenager? Yes, adults drink, but it’s usually low-key and not broadcasted. Again, it just isn’t worth it. If you are fighting for child custody, one picture demonstrating you as a “drunk parent” may ruin your chance.
  4. Generally, just watch what you write on social media. What you may find to be a funny joke, the court might deem as a reflection of your character. Moreover, don’t post negative things about your spouse. It shows lack of self-control, and no one likes a troll.
  5. Don’t start messaging mutual friends and spreading rumors about your spouse, and especially don’t share private things with your spouse’s friends. They will most likely just tell your soon-to-be ex what you did, and if they get a hold of that conversation, you are automatically the preverbal “bad guy” in the eyes of the court. As much as you may want to vent, social media certainly isn’t the place, not where everything is permanent. Seek a close friend or a therapist for that.