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News about Divorce Law in New York State
Divorce Survival Kit —
Financial Settlement And Fault
ContentsWhat can I expect financially from my settlement? What is realistic and what is popular myth? People misplace their confidence in "old wife’s tales". The most popular yet most mythical of these beliefs is that the cheating husband will be stripped of all marital assets, while the good and dutiful wife gets everything, including alimony. This is a popular misconception.
Warning: The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for legal advice from your own retained lawyer in new york state. This article is merely informational in nature, and is based upon one attorney’s knowledge of the practice of family law, matrimonial law, domestic violence, child custody, child support and orders of protection.
Many wives that come to their divorce lawyers seeking revenge are likely to be disappointed. The impact of the Woman's Liberation Movement on the matrimonial laws throughout the United States has denigrated fault as being a factor in the financial matters of a marriage.
In determining alimony, or maintenance as it is called in the State of New York, most states disregard the old notion of fault and look instead upon the issue as one of the need of both spouses to be financially responsible for each other as part of the original marriage contract.
They approach the financial issues of support with the test of "need verses ability to pay", length of marriage, age of parties, and ability to pay.
The "need of one spouse verses the ability of the other spouse to pay" is what will typically govern a court award of spousal support. Thus, it is important to have a handle on not only your current financial circumstances, but on what your living expenses will look like after the ultimate dissolution of your marriage.
The first thing your attorney will have you do is to sign a retainer agreement and acknowledge receipt of a Client’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. They will also ask that you prepare what is called a “Statement of Net Worth” or "Financial Affidavit". The Affidavit will ask you to list and itemize your monthly expenses. Another section of the Affidavit will have you fill in what your earning are, separate and apart from those of your spouse. The difference between what you earn and what you need in order to live is called the "shortfall". If you suffer a shortfall in income due to your spouse's lack of financial support in the face of divorce, then you may be entitled to spousal support.