Divorce comes with so many worries and concerns. First, people must overcome the devastatingly difficult emotional impact. They are faced with the need to completely rethink and rebuild their lives. Then, they must endure the process of grief, which includes anger, depression, and more.
If that weren’t enough, people must face very real, pragmatic concerns. In a divorce, four primary matters can keep someone up at night: property division, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support. Each comes with so much uncertainty about the future, the experience can be overwhelming.
Within this two-part series, we hope to shed some light on these subjects. We will offer a general overview of each topic and offer solutions on how to deal with them in court.
In a New York divorce, property is divided equitably. The state isn’t concerned with who paid for assets. It’s most interested in who used, cared for, and maintained the item.
Take the family dog, for instance. Pets are, legally speaking, property. Imagine someone adopts the pet, assuming they will be its primary owner. Over time, however, it latches onto their other spouse, creating a deep bond. The two are inseparable, and the spouse does all the feeding, cleaning, training, veterinary visits, and so on. The first person thought the dog would belong to them, but it clearly belongs to the spouse, now.
The court considers scenarios like these to determine who is the rightful owner of property. The person who put the most work into the home may get it, even if they didn’t pay the mortgage; one spouse may have bought and paid for the car, but the other is its primary user; etc.
What You Can Do
To protect your property, you must argue for your ownership. Consider which property is most important to you, and work closely with your lawyer. You can begin developing strategies for proving your entitlement. This will include situations like those mentioned above. You must demonstrate how you are the rightful owner of the asset.
Emotionally, be prepared to make sacrifices. Ultimately, property is now out of your control. The court decides what is fair and goes from there. Put up a good fight for what you believe is yours, but understand you may not receive everything you want.
Spousal maintenance goes by many names. It can be called alimony, spousal support, rehabilitative maintenance, and more. At its heart, spousal support is a good, compassionate idea. When two people are married, the law considers them family. All assets, income, and so forth are meant to be used in support of this family. Even when both spouses are employed, one still tends to rely on the other. When this marriage – or family – abruptly ends, one of the two spouses could be left in a financial bind.
There must be a system to keep divorcees from falling into financial despair. Thus, spousal support was born. At its best, alimony helps protect someone until they stand on their own. It keeps them fed, clothed, and within their accustomed lifestyle while they rebuild their lives.
What You Can Do
If you are concerned about how much you will pay, there is not much you can do. Courts look at the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, both parties’ incomes, and more to make support decisions. It’s difficult to argue against these standards.
However, you should not be fleeced by a divorce. If your spouse is making unrealistic demands for support, challenge them. Work with your attorney to argue for a reasonable amount of support, an amount that keeps your ex comfortable while they build their independent life.
When need support, prepare to argue for that need. Explain your circumstances. If, for example, you have been a stay-at-home parent for years, that fact influences your marketability when seeking employment. Work with your attorney to prepare a list of expenses and the time it will take to become independent. Show how you contributed to your spouse’s welfare or even their career. If you were the victim of abuse, present evidence to that effect. All these things will help you secure a healthy, reasonable amount of support.
Empire Law can help with all the major aspects of a divorce. For a free consultation, call (347) 378-1170 or contact us online.
You can find Part 2 of this series here.