Major Media Outlets Highlight the Shift in Custody Disputes
Major media outlets highlight the shift in custody disputes towards a presumption of 50/50 joint shared custody.
The Wall Street Journal has recently commented on what we have been seeing as a huge shift in the tectonic plates of parenting. In the last two years, we have heard from many judges that unless there is an allegation of poor parenting, they will start with a presumption of 50/50 shared parenting.
Most specifically, in approximately 2013 we began to hear of this in Westchester, Yonkers and White Plains. It then migrated to the boroughs of New York City and towards Suffolk and Nassau Counties. It is quite different then what had been the norm for over 15 years.
For almost 20 years men would present at our law office with the attitude that “unless the mother is a drug addict or abusers, courts will favor the mother and give her custody and a man will be relegated to every other weekend and Wednesday”. We heard this time and time again. This is no longer the case. We have been shocked in the counties mentioned above when even cases involving “family offenses”, orders of protection and violence have resulted in Judges who state that it is there position custody will be 50/50 unless such an arrangement would not be in the child’s best interests.
The Judges in New York State have already begun to act these various proposals set forth in the bills have already been law. In fact, gone are the days that chain of custody and primary care givership are the guiding factors, based on winds of change that are giving men more rights now than ever.
Starting in 2008 and continuing to date, men are being laid off and becoming unemployed at a higher rate than their female counterparts. Men in previously office centered jobs are now finding themselves working from home in both the areas of finance and equity. Women, according to our studies and statistics, are waiting to have children later in life. This has harmed their chances in custody because when they do have children, they are not doing so in their early 20s but in their 30s and they are returning to work.
The Wall Street Journal reports that many who are against shared parenting legislation (a law that would require judges to award equal time to each parent unless there is proof that the arrangement wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests) are only seeking to inflate legal bills and enrich lawyers. This is nonsense. Shared parenting legislation will cause higher legal bills and more litigation than the old school, tried and true law of custody to the mother unless there is something wrong with her. Under that law, our client’s came in to our office and had to be prompted to fight. They would often think it was a lost cause and wouldn’t even see the possibility that they could take custody or shared time from a good mother. Therefore, most all cases resolved without a big fight. Here, when you have both parents starting in an equal footing, there is an incredible legal boxing match with respect to the finances, the schedules, and the decision making arenas.
Currently, the financial aspects of shared parenting is so far behind actual reality that it is causing incredibly lengthy, complex and harmful litigation battles. The child support standards act has many flaws in it. The major flaw is that if there is shared parenting, based on case law, the parent that makes one dollar more than the other parent is presumed to pay the full amount of child support. Therefore, if the wife makes $51,000 and the husband makes $50,000 the wife must pay the full amount of support to the husband (17% of the 51,000 minus a small amount of taxes). In the above scenario, the wife is pushed into a corner to fight for sole custody as it is not fair for her to pay full child support when she makes only $19.23 a week more than her husband. Indeed, in our scenario the wife will be charged with having to pay over $150.00 per week in child support only because she makes $19.23 more than her husband a week.
I answer the legal complexities that will push a wife or a husband to seek sole custody, would be the legal complexity in the support arena to either adjust one’s income for self-employed people or to reduce overtime so as to come in just below your counterparts salary at the time the custody litigation is completed. Therefore, husband who has a commission or job that is based on sales or owns his own business could self-adjust his income to be just below his wife’s income at the time the shared custody arrangement is entered into in court and then receive full child support from his wife. Conversely the wife could do the same and/or refrain from additional employment for fear of coming in a dollar over her husband.
The Child Support Standards Act was started September 15, 1989, and at that time we were hesitant to believe that it would solve the problems of the divorce practitioner in child support. It has only gotten worse over time. If a man has three children from three separate women in the same year, and he loses custody of all three children to the mothers, he will pay over a 100% of his income in child support and daycare combined. Furthermore, if a man or a woman has a child with another during the marriage, the existing children will be greatly harmed if the current spouse does not start an action. Furthermore, daycare and maintenance have complicated the Child Support Standards Act to a degree that it is no longer an effective or appropriate measure of child support. This combined with the new no fault laws on divorce with a maintenance calculator under the uniformed court system (https://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/calculator) have made it nearly impossible for cases to settle because the amount of support the spouses receive from the “monied” counterpart will only go down after the divorce settles. That is a general 100% rule. Therefore, it absolutely is contra indicated and it absolutely is contrary to any good settlement. The Child Support Standards Act is outdated and wholly flawed. The no fault law of 2010 is inappropriate and flawed with respect to temporary maintenance and attorney fee awards; this together with the new trends towards joint shared parenting have all come together is a diabolical triangle and/or perfect storm of litigation. All of these developments in the law have only made things more complex; lengthier and more expensive for the average person.
Here at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. we cover divorces whether they are uncontested, mediated and/or high conflict. We are seeing a rise in the amount of high conflict custody cases solely because of the opening of the flood gates towards joint shared parenting and the dyer and severe child support consequences connected to same.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. has been handling matrimonial matters for almost two decades and has the largest staff of full-time divorce lawyers, many from Long Island. They are available for free consultations on selective matters. Visit the website or contact them. Visit the website to schedule the consultation.