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With the new no-fault divorce law in New York, what can a lawyer do for the non-filing spouse?

New York, NY |

My husband plans to divorce me under the new law. I retained a lawyer, but now I honestly don't know why. She tells me that I can't fight the divorce, that maintenance is all determined by a formula, and that special circumstances/considerations don't matter. Aside from plugging numbers into a calculator (which I can do myself) and sending me a bill for it, she hasn't done anything. All she says when I ask is that maybe he will negotiate, which is presumably when she would do something. But I know he won't negotiate, and he has no reason to if she is correct about the new law. If everything is as pre-determined as she indicates, what is the point in spending money I don't have on a lawyer? (She told me that under the new law, he would have to pay for my lawyer; now she's wobbly on that.)

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Simply put, a divorce has two components; the grounds of the divorce and the terms of the divorce. The "no fault" law addresses the grounds component. Your lawyer may still be able to assist you with the terms of the divorce, which includes the division of property, custody and visitation of children, child and spousal support, etc.

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Posted

You can't fight the divorce itself, but equitable division, child support and maintenance are not necessarily pre-determined by formula. What is pre-determined is certain support and maintenance areas are pendente lite payments, meaning, payments that are required during the pendency of the case.

However, depending upon the circumstances, the amounts from the various formulae may be changed upon sufficient showing to the court prior to trial or at trial.

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