Recent Changes in NY Custody and Support Laws

In addition to New York’s new no-fault divorce law, the New York State Assembly has made several other important changes to domestic relations law that took effect on October 14, 2010. These laws provide greater protections to the financially disadvantaged spouse in a divorce action and clarify the circumstances under which a parent can obtain a modification of a child support order.

In the past, it was common during divorce for the spouse with the higher salary or greater assets to wage a war of attrition against the other, driving up costs and forcing the financially disadvantaged spouse to use up his or her resources. The new laws in New York, however, seek to level the playing field and allow financially disadvantaged spouses to stand up for themselves during divorce proceedings.

Under recent legislation, a financially disadvantaged spouse can receive temporary maintenance—a monthly income payment while the divorce is pending—so long as his or her income is two-thirds the income of the other party or less. Additionally, the financially advantaged spouse is now presumed to be liable for the attorney fees of both parties unless he or she can show good cause why this should not be the case.

New child support laws have also taken effect. A parent may now seek a modification of a child support order following a 15 percent fluctuation in the salary of either parent. This law, however, does not include voluntary reductions in income and places an affirmative duty on unemployed parents to seek employment.

You need knowledgeable legal support during a divorce. Consult a highly qualified attorney with the skill to help you fight for your rights.

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