No-Fault Divorce. What does it all mean?

New York State has finally adopted a no-fault divorce policy!

No-fault divorce means that a couple need not prove any instances of wrongdoing or abuse in order to file for divorce in a court of law.  New York is the last state to adopt this stance.

Under the no-fault law, which takes effect this October, couples will be able to terminate their marriages within a period of six months after declaring that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The current law requires a reason, such as allegations of cruelty, abuse, adultery or abandonment, all of which are codified within the New York State Domestic Relations Law section 170.

Clearly, this new law will come as a great relief to many people considering a divorce. Passage of a no-fault divorce provision stands to reduce long, cutthroat court battles over who’s to blame when marriages fail. The end result should mean lower legal fees as well…right???

Maybe not.

The law appears to have some unresolved issues regarding the details in calculating maintenance amounts (i.e., alimony and child support).

Perhaps the most troubling new provision is a formula for judges to determine alimony. Under the current system, judges have broad discretion and consider the needs of a family and its budget to determine what is necessary to maintain that marital lifestyle.

Under the new law, however, only up to $500,000 of a spouse’s income will be counted when determining alimony.

This might not be an issue which will impact the middle and lower classes, but it IS an issue for those with a household where a spouse has been earning in excess of $500,000 per year.

To illustrate…if a spouse earns $2 million a year, only $500,000 of that will be counted toward the formula for determining an alimony award.

And here are the two formulas judges will consider:

1)  Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income.

2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.

The lesser outcome of these two formulas will be the alimony award, although the law does give judges the option to consider further factors.

What does all of this really this mean?

Well, apparently even if you’re married an extremely short time, a spouse could be entitled a substantial amount of alimony. On the other hand, those non-working spouses (or low earning spouses) who were living a lavish lifestyle due to high earning spouses…better get ready for a substantial downgrade.

Other concerns I have are over a provision that would make the higher-earning spouse responsible for all the legal fees for both sides. Spouses earning more than their mates likely will be ordered to fork over temporary alimony payments -- even if their soon-to-be ex's don't really need it.

There is also a provision that places a three-year expiration date on child support orders, meaning spouses would have to return to court to have it renewed. While returning to court every three years might be good for an attorney’s earnings, it will mean continuing legal fees for the clients and continued haggling over money.

Final note: as with much new legislation, it will take time (and perhaps money) to sort out all of the complexities of this no-fault provision. Patience is a virtue…but then that runs somewhat contrary to the expedited motivation behind this law does it not? More to follow………..

NY Gyms Not Obligated to Use a Defibrillator

posted Feb 8, 2013, 9:59 AM by michael scibetta

While state law requires New York health clubs to have defibrillators and train staff to use them, they aren't required to use them when a patron goes down.
 
That's the ruling of New York's top court in the 2007 death of Gregory Miglino Sr., who collapsed in cardiac arrest at a Long Island health club owned by Bally Total Fitness of Greater New York.
 
Gym staff called 911, broadcast an in-house request for anyone with medical training and brought the club's defibrillator to Miglino's side, where a trainer detected breathing and a pulse but didn't use it.
 
A doctor and medical student began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, paramedics arrived and shocked Miglino, but he died.
 
The Court of Appeals says Thursday a negligence lawsuit can proceed but the gym's duty is limited.

No-Fault Divorce...what does it mean?

posted Oct 14, 2010, 8:36 AM by michael scibetta

New York State has finally adopted a no-fault divorce policy!

No-fault divorce means that a couple need not prove any instances of wrongdoing or abuse in order to file for divorce in a court of law.  New York is the last state to adopt this stance.

Under the no-fault law, which takes effect this October, couples will be able to terminate their marriages within a period of six months after declaring that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The current law requires a reason, such as allegations of cruelty, abuse, adultery or abandonment, all of which are codified within the New York State Domestic Relations Law section 170.

Clearly, this new law will come as a great relief to many people considering a divorce. Passage of a no-fault divorce provision stands to reduce long, cutthroat court battles over who’s to blame when marriages fail. The end result should mean lower legal fees as well…right???

Maybe not.

The law appears to have some unresolved issues regarding the details in calculating maintenance amounts (i.e., alimony and child support).

Perhaps the most troubling new provision is a formula for judges to determine alimony. Under the current system, judges have broad discretion and consider the needs of a family and its budget to determine what is necessary to maintain that marital lifestyle.

Under the new law, however, only up to $500,000 of a spouse’s income will be counted when determining alimony.

This might not be an issue which will impact the middle and lower classes, but it IS an issue for those with a household where a spouse has been earning in excess of $500,000 per year.

To illustrate…if a spouse earns $2 million a year, only $500,000 of that will be counted toward the formula for determining an alimony award.

And here are the two formulas judges will consider:

1)  Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income.

2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.

The lesser outcome of these two formulas will be the alimony award, although the law does give judges the option to consider further factors.

What does all of this really this mean?

Well, apparently even if you’re married an extremely short time, a spouse could be entitled a substantial amount of alimony. On the other hand, those non-working spouses (or low earning spouses) who were living a lavish lifestyle due to high earning spouses…better get ready for a substantial downgrade.

Other concerns I have are over a provision that would make the higher-earning spouse responsible for all the legal fees for both sides. Spouses earning more than their mates likely will be ordered to fork over temporary alimony payments -- even if their soon-to-be ex's don't really need it.

There is also a provision that places a three-year expiration date on child support orders, meaning spouses would have to return to court to have it renewed. While returning to court every three years might be good for an attorney’s earnings, it will mean continuing legal fees for the clients and continued haggling over money.

Final note: as with much new legislation, it will take time (and perhaps money) to sort out all of the complexities of this no-fault provision. Patience is a virtue…but then that runs somewhat contrary to the expedited motivation behind this law does it not? More to follow………..

FLASH...DWI LAWS HAVE GOTTEN TOUGHER!!!!

posted Oct 12, 2010, 2:11 PM by michael scibetta   [ updated Oct 13, 2010, 8:03 AM ]

Effective August 15, 2010, there are new rules in effect for all New York DWI or Aggravated DWI cases. The rules apply to any motorist charged after December 18, 2009, and convicted or pleading guilty after August 15, 2010. The new law does not apply to convictions of DWAI, which is a traffic infraction, but to all misdemeanor and felony DWI convictions.

This is the second part of a tough new state law (Leandra's Law) forcing anyone with a DWI conviction to get a device installed in their car which requires them to pass a breathalyzer test to start the engine. The device is referred to as an ignition interlock device (IID).

The law was named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who died last October when the car she was in flipped over on the West Side Highway.

The first part of the law took effect in December, making it a felony for anyone to drive drunk with a child younger than 15 in their car. In the first six months, there were 248 Leandra's Law arrests across New York State. Drivers convicted under Leandra's Law, could face up to four years in prison.

Nine other states have laws requiring the IID to start the car, and many have shown declines in repeat offenses. According to proponent’s of the law, a study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that if interlock devices were more widely installed, they would save up to 750 lives a year.

The IID costs drivers about $170 to $200 for installation and $80 a month for maintenance. The device must be installed on every vehicle the DWI convict drives, adding to the costs.

Under Leandra's Law, judges can decide whether a DWI convict must also have a camera installed to record each test and a GPS device.

After the IID tests the driver at the start of the ride, it monitors them while on the road. An IID is similar to a breathalyzer, however an IID is connected to the vehicle dashboard or other location inside the vehicle and requires that a driver breathe into the device prior to starting the vehicle. If the ignition interlock device detects the blood alcohol concentration of the diver to be above the programmed limit in the IID, then the engine of the vehicle will not start.

Motorists who have a .025 blood alcohol content flunk, even though the legal threshold for drunken driving is .08 - because drivers with DWI convictions are not allowed a single drink before getting behind the wheel.

The IID records all the times a driver takes the test and their alcohol level. Each month's results are sent to the driver's probation officer. Failing the test could add to the time a driver has the IID.

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