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Divorcing in New York

11-02-2011 by



We are now just beyond the year anniversary for no-fault divorce in New York, which has meant a significant change in how divorces are obtained in our state. 

Briefly, the most noteworthy changes include:

  •  Fault grounds no longer needed for divorce – Only one spouse need claim that “the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months.”
  • A new formula to determine temporary spousal support – The new formula allows the court less discretion in determining temporary spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony.
  • Higher income spouse pays both parties’ attorneys’ fees – The presumption under the new law is that the higher income spouse will pay both sides’ attorneys’ fees.
  •  Modification of child support orders to protect children – The new law also strives to protect the children of any couple that is divorcing by allowing for modifications in child support in the event of a “substantial change in circumstances.”

Like our other laws, those governing divorce continually evolve, and it would be unrealistic to expect an individual in a given situation to fully understand the law and how its implications may affect his or her circumstances.  Clients do, however, have every right to assume that their attorney, in whom they have placed their faith and trust, is completely up-to-date on any legal development that might impact their case so that they can provide the best possible legal representation.



When Same-Sex Marriages End:

The Law of Unanticipated Consequences

If same-sex marriages – which became legal in New York State on July 24, 2011 – are anything like those of heterosexual couples, a sizable number are likely to end in divorce.  But these unions may prove particularly hard to un-do, given geographic mobility and the different – or nonexistent – laws that govern same-sex unions from one state to another, leaving the parties in a sort of legal no-man’s-land.  This outcome is a distinct possibility should an out-of-state same-sex couple marry in New York, and then return to their own state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  According to such a scenario, the couple’s state of residence will not have procedures in place for a same-sex divorce and, in most cases, such relief cannot be sought in New York.

The following article, which appeared in the New York Times, examines some of the unanticipated and difficult consequences that may arise given the new law in New York State, and underscores the need for competent legal counsel:  


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