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How can I afford a divorce when my husband or wife is wealthier than me?
April 3, 2014
DOMESTIC RELATIONS LAW 237 ALLOWS FOR A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT THE LESS MONIED SPOUSE SHOULD ASK THE COURT FOR COUNSEL FEES AND COUNSEL FEES SHOULD BE GRANTED UNLESS JUT CASE IS FOUND AGAINST IT.
Lisa Beth Older, Esq. a high profile New York divorce lawyer, offers information to nonmonied or lesser-monied spouses undergoing a divorce case in court in New York,
Counsel fees and expenses.
This new amended Domestic Relations Law in New York is important to know about and utilize if you are a spouse who is afraid to go to court and ask for relief for spousal support and child support and distribution of property rightfully theirs because they feel there is an uneven parity and uneven playing field because their spouse can out -spend them in court.
This amendment occurred in 2010 and provides the court with expanded discretion to award counsel fees to the less monied spouse.
Support during a New York divorce.
The amendment to DRL also provides for temporary spousal support as the case ensues.
Also as to custody claims in a New York Divorce, New York Divorce Attorney Lisa Beth Older says that you are entitled to a lawyer even if you cannot afford one, but this is only as to that aspect of the divorce case in New York where you are seeking custody or defending against a custody claim from your spouse.
Below cited is the new law on counsel fees:
(a) In any action or proceeding brought (1) to annul a marriage or to declare the nullity of a void marriage, or (2) for a separation, or (3) for a divorce, or (4) to declare the validity or nullity of a judgment of divorce rendered against a spouse who was the defendant in any action outside the State of New York and did not appear therein where such spouse asserts the nullity of such foreign judgment, (5) to obtain maintenance or distribution of property following a foreign judgment of divorce, or (6) to enjoin the prosecution in any other jurisdiction of an action for a divorce, the court may direct either spouse or, where an action for annulment is maintained after the death of a spouse, may direct the person or persons maintaining the action, to pay counsel fees and fees and expenses of experts directly to the attorney of the other spouse to enable the other party to carry on or defend the action or proceeding as, in the court's discretion, justice requires, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties. There shall be rebuttable presumption that counsel fees shall be awarded to the less monied spouse. In exercising the court's discretion, the court shall seek to assure that each party shall be adequately represented and that where fees and expenses are to be awarded, they shall be awarded on a timely basis, pendente lite, so as to enable adequate representation from the commencement of the proceeding. Applications for the award of fees and expenses may be made at any time or times prior to final judgment. Both parties to the action or proceeding and their respective attorneys, shall file an affidavit with the court detailing the financial agreement between the party and the attorney. Such affidavit shall include the amount of any retainer, the amounts paid and still owing there under, the hourly amount charged by the attorney, the amounts paid, or to be paid, any experts, and any additional costs, disbursements or expenses. Any applications for fees and expenses may be maintained by the attorney for either spouse in his own name in the same proceeding. Payment of any retainer fees to the attorney for the petitioning party shall not preclude any awards of fees and expenses to an applicant which would otherwise be allowed under this section.
(d) The term "expenses" as used in subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section shall include, but shall not be limited to, accountant fees, appraisal fees, actuarial fees, investigative fees and other fees and expenses that the court may determine to be necessary to enable a spouse to carry on or defend an action or proceeding under this section. In determining the appropriateness and necessity of fees, the court shall consider:
1. The nature of the marital property involved;
2. The difficulties involved, if any, in identifying and evaluating the marital property;
3. The services rendered and an estimate of the time involved; and
4. The applicant's financial status."