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Thread: Alimony in NY State (Interesting Read)

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    Super Moderator Jason kiDD's Avatar Jason kiDD is offline
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    Alimony in NY State (Interesting Read)

    Ending the Alimony Guessing Game
    By ALEXANDRA HARWIN
    Published: July 3, 2011


    Times Topic: Alimony

    FAMILY law reform is gaining momentum in New York State: last month lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage, while last year they adopted no-fault divorce, allowing couples to end a marriage without a demonstration of wrongdoing. In separate legislation adopted at the same time, New York also became one of the few states to adopt a formula for setting certain alimony awards, making them fairer and predictable. The rest of the country should do the same.

    According to the Internal Revenue Service, former spouses pay around $9 billion in alimony each year. The amounts and payment schedules are usually decided by family court judges using a list of factors, including the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the spouses, their financial situations, their earning potential and their contributions to the marriage, financial and otherwise.

    These criteria are sensible enough. But judges are on their own in deciding how to prioritize the various factors and how to translate them into dollar amounts, resulting in wildly inconsistent alimony awards. When asked how much alimony a lifelong homemaker married to a doctor deserved, judges in an Ohio survey estimated as little as $5,000 a year and as much as $175,000.

    The unpredictability of alimony rules imposes several costs. Negotiating a settlement deal is much harder when spouses have no idea what theyíll end up with if they take their chances in court. Litigation drags on and the bills pile up when lawyers and experts have to prove their clients deserve any alimony at all.

    All the while, the emotional costs mount as people awaiting divorce continue in unhappy marriages; some stay married indefinitely because they donít know if divorce will leave them with enough money to make it on their own. Thatís particularly troubling in cases of domestic violence: some wives endure years of abuse because they canít be sure husbands who control the family finances will be required to give them the money they need to live if they leave.

    New Yorkís law minimizes these costs by establishing a mathematical formula to calculate temporary alimony, which one spouse pays the other while the divorce is pending; it also allows judges to adjust those awards up or down under special circumstances.

    Under the formula, alimony is set at 30 percent of the higher-earning spouseís income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouseís, as long as the recipient doesnít end up with more than 40 percent of the coupleís combined income. For example, a banker making $500,000 a year married to a writer earning $50,000 could expect to pay around $140,000 a year.

    Along with New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado have also switched to numerical guidelines. But these apply only to temporary alimony, which ends once a divorce is finalized; no state has applied a formula to ordinary alimony, which is paid for months or years following a divorce.

    There is no reason they, and the rest of the country, shouldnít go all the way: the group that created the formula adopted by the Legislature, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, intended it to be used for all alimony awards.

    Moreover, several local bar associations and family law organizations have come up with their own, slightly different, formulas for permanent alimony, giving state legislatures plenty of models to choose from. And lawmakers, recognizing that no formula will get it right every time, can also allow judicial discretion to modify alimony awards in unusual circumstances.

    In fact, judges already have the discretion to rely on formulas if they want. But many are reluctant because state laws tell them to rely on their own judgment; consulting a mathematical formula can thus seem like dereliction of duty.

    Maryland has taken the lead in putting this concern to rest. Last year its top court ruled that, even though the state alimony law mandates that judges exercise discretion, it allows them to consult a formula to inform their decisions. Thatís a big victory: itís a lot harder for judges to make outlandishly large or small alimony awards when parties can point them to an objective standard.

    Legislatures should go further and require judges to start with alimony formulas, and then apply discretion. Changing alimony from a gamble to something more predictable would make the judgesí jobs a lot easier ó and the divorce process a lot fairer.

    Alexandra Harwin is a 2011 graduate of Yale Law School.

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    Registered User iPicong's Avatar iPicong is offline
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    I wonder what the stats on men seeking alimony..........
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    Registered User SKBai1991's Avatar SKBai1991 is offline
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    is that shit make me ain wanna get married...40% of income? for how long? and wha fvckry is dat?

    Combine that with child support costs and you can easily have a man paying half he salary straight to he ex-wife. That plus taxes & wha de hell he gon buy food wid afta dat?
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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Interesting...seems alright to me.

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    Super Moderator Jason kiDD's Avatar Jason kiDD is offline
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    Summation. Never marry a woman that makes less that you..
    ladyrastafari and SKBai1991 like this.

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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    This makes for an interesting discussion, particularly when it comes to men. Many men want a more traditional relationship where the woman stays home or has a much less demanding profession. But they may have to forego that or some of it, if they are concerned with possible divorce and having to share their a significant amount of their earnings with their ex-wife. Wonder how it will all play out...

    (Of course, the proposed reform would work both ways)

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    Registered User trinifrombx is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dollbabi View Post
    This makes for an interesting discussion, particularly when it comes to men. Many men want a more traditional relationship where the woman stays home or has a much less demanding profession. But they may have to forego that or some of it, if they are concerned with possibly divorce and having to share their a significant amount of their earnings with their ex-wife. Wonder how it will all play out...

    (Of course, the proposed reform would work both ways)
    Them days over, you need two income to make it.


    These laws are unjust, i wouldn't advise any youngmen to get caught up in this legal racket until they change the laws, even if the woman is the high earner, the laws need to be changed.

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    where de crix Oneshot's Avatar Oneshot is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by trinifrombx View Post
    Them days over, you need two income to make it.
    only if you broke.

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    Registered User iPicong's Avatar iPicong is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dollbabi View Post
    This makes for an interesting discussion, particularly when it comes to men. Many men want a more traditional relationship where the woman stays home or has a much less demanding profession. But they may have to forego that or some of it, if they are concerned with possible divorce and having to share their a significant amount of their earnings with their ex-wife. Wonder how it will all play out...

    (Of course, the proposed reform would work both ways)
    realy?
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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by trinifrombx View Post
    Them days over, you need two income to make it.


    These laws are unjust, i wouldn't advise any youngmen to get caught up in this legal racket until they change the laws, even if the woman is the high earner, the laws need to be changed.
    Not necessarily. There are still a number of couples where the husband works and the wife is home. And consider the other scenario, where the woman has a far less demanding career and makes less. The second is quite common.

    As for the laws, I do agree with the attempt to cap the amount provided to the receiving spouse.

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    where de crix Oneshot's Avatar Oneshot is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by iPicong View Post
    realy?
    i'm one jed.

    It doesnt make sense, to have two parents hustling trying to make ends meet, and the kids not getting the appropriate support.

    all that stress is not healthy.

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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by iPicong View Post
    realy?
    Yes, in my experience. Perhaps it is more common within some cultural groups as opposed to others. But it seems many men definitely still desire that to some degree...especially the less demanding profession.

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    Registered User iPicong's Avatar iPicong is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneshot View Post
    i'm one jed.

    It doesnt make sense, to have two parents hustling trying to make ends meet, and the kids not getting the appropriate support.

    all that stress is not healthy.
    Quote Originally Posted by dollbabi View Post
    Yes, in my experience. Perhaps it is more common within some cultural groups as opposed to others. But it seems many men definitely still desire that to some degree...especially the less demanding profession.
    I could understand for up to maybe the kid being school age......but no need after that to be getting fat on the couch eating bonbons and watching bold and beautiful......money have to make.......even if it means opening a daycare.....
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    Super Moderator Jason kiDD's Avatar Jason kiDD is offline
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    Boonoonoonoos jamaicangirl's Avatar jamaicangirl is offline
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    I was shocked to discover how many housewives there are in modern America.

    I even met a woman once who described herself as a nurse. I know tons of nurses I asked her where she worked. She looked embarrassed and said that she no longer works. She said "I take care of my family." Her youngest child was 16!!!

    WTH does she do all day? A friend of mine is a nurse and she works part time because she has three kids and daycare is mad expensive. She says that she doesn't know how women become housewives and just be a maid and nanny all day. It would drive her batty if she couldn't work at least half time.

    I know scores of housewives who have no children or children who are adults. Not everyone is broke.

    And I have dated guys who wanted that from me. I have a good job and worked hard and went to ALOT of school so I would never be a housewife but several of the guys that I have dated have told me that they would expect me to stay home once I had children. One guy even wanted me to stop working right after marriage.

    I have lost a lot of respect for men because when they have the income they get to have complete control over you. They can beat you. They can have affairs. Because you are earning less (or nothing). Women don't even realize it sometimes. And then when things don't work out and there is a divorce, they complain about giving the woman half of their money. It is very confusing. You can't have it both ways. No woman should enter a marriage without the ability to support herself.
    Anything can happen. Even a good husband can drop dead one day and leave her with kids and bills and no income.

    Nowadays, there are plenty of rich women and some smart guys are jumping on the gold digger bandwagon. More power to them....

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