Archive for September, 2016

Spousal Support When One Spouse Makes More Than The Other

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Historically, when men were the predominant “breadwinners” in a typical family, it was often the case that, in a divorce, the husband would pay what is known as spousal support to the wife. Spousal support is a financial help that recognizes a spouse’s contribution to the marriage and helps the recipient achieve financial independence. However, times have certainly changed, and women are just as likely to be bringing home the majority of money as their male counterparts.

What is great about spousal support, amongst many things, is the fact that it is designed to be gender neutral, as to not set a standard of one gender paying the other, but instead to make it about the total income. So, it is more than likely that the husband can receive spousal support from his soon-to-be ex-wife, depending on other factors, such as the duration of the marriage.

Other reasons a court might grant spousal support is if the spouse receiving the support is disabled or is unable to work. The courts are very aware that some spouses may claim they are not able to get a job, or purposely leave a high-paying job for a lesser one in the hopes of not only avoiding paying support but instead being granted with alimony. Likewise, you cannot choose to be unemployed and expect just to receive support; it exists solely for the spouse who not only need it but are separating from someone who can, quite literally, afford to pay the support.

It should be noted, however, that spousal support does not extend to every expense. For example, just because a spouse has been awarded spousal support, it doesn’t mean that the “paying spouse” must also take on their legal expenses. Having to pay for your spouse’s legal fees is usually a punishment leveled by the court, not something that is usually earned. The courts tend to think that each party is responsible for choosing an attorney who is within their means.

My Spouse Is Filing for Divorce. Can I File for Spousal Support To Help Pay Debts I Incurred In His Behalf?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The purpose of alimony or spousal support is to limit the economic effects of a divorce proceeding. It is granted to the unemployed or lower-wage-earning spouse as a source of continuing income.

The court is aware that there are countless, justifiable reasons for one of the spouses to be unemployed or earning lower wages. For instance, it is very common for one spouse to end or halt their career to support the family, be it at home or anywhere else outside of work. The court sees a significant importance in continuing the standard of living that a spouse may have grown accustomed to during the marriage.

Unlike child support, where there are very specific monetary guidelines, there is more leeway concerning the awarding, the duration, and the amount of alimony. Under the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, where most states’ spousal support statutes are based on, are a few recommendations for the court to consider when making decisions related to alimony. Things like age, physical and emotional condition, as well as financial conditions are the big factors that courts look at first. Then they decide how long the recipient would need spousal support until they became self-sufficient enough to get back into the workplace.

Next, they examine what the standard of living was during the marriage, as well as how long the marriage lasted. And finally, the ability of the PAYING spouse to support the recipient, while still being able to support themselves (imperative to note).

Unlike with child-support, where the court “has ways” of punishing you for not paying, there are not too many things a court can do if one spouse isn’t paying alimony. However, the spouse who should be receiving the payments can go to the court in a contempt proceeding to force the payment. Once there is a court order for alimony, the court can leverage punishment to a spouse who is supposed to be paying the entitled person.

Who Pays For The Divorce Costs?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Divorce isn’t only an ugly process; it’s an expensive one, too. And not only have that, 21st-century divorces tended to last upwards of seven months to a year. And as one would imagine, many spouses cannot afford to pay their legal expenses, and when this occurs there are a few different ways of having those legal costs covered. At an average hourly rate of $250 an hour, the accumulative fees can mount up.

One recourse in deciding who pays for attorney fees and litigation costs is looking at total income by each spouse. In most states, if one spouse earns considerably more than the other, the court may order that they cover all the expenses throughout the divorce, in the sake of fairness.

Another method is tapping into properties, such as retirement funds and assets, but this is only a viable option if your spouse has no claims to the property. If the court decides that it is a marital asset and that your spouse has a legal right to share, you can’t liquidate that asset to cover legal fees.

Whatever the court decides, it is important to keep a few things in mind. No one benefits from a long, drawn out divorce, and more times than not, the spouse who makes more money and decides to use that to their advantage, is forced by the court to cover divorce attorney fees and legal expenses. For example, if the “money-maker” files motion after motion in an attempt to drain the other spouse’s funds to compel them just to give in to their demands and settle the case. The court takes caution in not allowing this to happen and has this rule in place to protect the spouse that has not yet been granted their motion to have their legal expenses covered.

Can You Secretly Record A Conversation With Your Spouse, And Use It In A Court Proceeding

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

A controversial, yet sometimes useful tactic used by parties of a divorce case is to record a phone conversation between the spouses, usually one spouse doing so in secret from the other. The idea is that the unknowing spouse will slip up and say something so profound that, if brought before a judge, it could very well impact their decision on things like child custody and child support.

A common question of whether this recording of the phone call, and using it as the “smoking gun” in your case is answered by N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05. This law is what is known as a “one-party consent” law. New York makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on an in-person or telephone conversation, unless one party to the conversation (either spouse) consents. And here, the consent is the act of the spouse that initiates the recording of the conversation. In short, if you are going through a divorce and you record a conversation between you and your spouse, and they are not aware of it, you are, by law, allowed to do so. Furthermore, these conversations are admissible in court, and the content of these conversations vary from state to state.

Other states have a “two-party consent” law, which means that both spouses would need to consent to the conversation being recorded, which makes it a lot less likely to get something out of them that can hurt them in court.