People contemplating divorce experience many difficult emotions which include sadness over the breakup of their marriage, concern for their children’s physical and emotional well-being during and after the divorce, and concern for their financial future.  Ms. Daniels understands the complex nature of these emotions and can help guide you through the process in a caring, sensitive manner, while addressing each of these issues.

No Fault Divorce

In 2010 the New York State Legislature passed Domestic Relations Law §170 (7) which allows for couples to be divorced based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  This new law has enabled divorce to move away from an atmosphere of blame and accusations towards settlement of issues of equitable distribution, child custody, support and parenting plans.  Ms. Daniels is experienced at negotiating these issues and will help you to reach a fair settlement with your spouse which will enable you to have a fresh start financially and to formulate a successful parenting plan to care for your children.

Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets

Domestic Relations Law §236B states that marital property shall be divided equitably between the parties, in consideration of the following factors:

  • The income and property of each party at the time of marriage and at the time of commencement of the action;
  • The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
  • The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects;
  • The loss of any inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution of the marriage;
  • An award of maintenance under subdivision six of this part;
  • Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker and to the career and career potential of the other party;
  • The liquid and non-liquid character of all material property;
  • The probable future financial circumstances of each party;
  • The impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
  • The tax consequences to each party;
  • The wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse;
  • Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration; and
  • Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.

The 2015 Maintenance Guidelines Law (see Spousal Support) also brought an important change to the determination of equitable distribution law.  With the new maintenance guidelines, enhanced earning potential arising from one party acquiring a professional license, degree, celebrity status or other career enhancements, will no longer be considered a marital asset to be distributed, except that such career enhancements may be considered when making the overall distributive award.

Ms. Daniels is experienced in the application of these factors to each unique case in order to negotiate a favorable settlement or to successfully litigate equitable distribution of marital assets.

Spousal Support

New York law uses the term “maintenance” instead of alimony for spousal support.  The purpose of the term is to designate spousal support as a means by which a spouse or former spouse is “maintained” financially due to the needs of that spouse during and sometimes after divorce, instead of the term “alimony.”  Either spouse, irrespective of gender or fault, may receive maintenance.

2015 Maintenance Guidelines Law

In 2015 the New York State Legislature passed a new maintenance law that establishes a formula to determine temporary and permanent maintenance awards in order to bring uniformity to the awards.  The law allows for a different formula in cases where the recipient is receiving child support.

The two formulas are as follows:

  • When a party liable for maintenance is also the party liable for child support payments:
  • Subtract 25% of the maintenance payee’s income from 20% of the maintenance payor’s income;
  • Multiply the sum of the maintenance payor’s income and the maintenance payee’s income by 40%, then subtract the maintenance payee’s income from the result;
  • The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of maintenance
  • When the party liable for maintenance is the custodial parent for child support purposes:
  • Subtract 20% of the maintenance payee’s income from 30% of the maintenance payor’s income;
  • Multiply the sum of the maintenance payor’s income and the maintenance payee’s income from the result;
  • The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of maintenance

Ms. Daniels will advocate aggressively to ensure that you receive or pay the fair amount of spousal support, as it specifically relates to your case.

Same-Sex Divorce

New York’s Marriage Equality Act was passed in 2011 which allowed for gender-neutral marriages.  Ms. Daniels is sensitive to the needs of these families and the way in which the family unit may differ from that of a more traditional family, while ensuring that existing laws related to maintenance, child support and equitable distribution are applied to the families of same-sex couples in the same equitable way as other divorces.