2010 is a sad year for families of New York who are considering divorce. If you are considering divorce in New York you must read this before you file a Request for Judicial Intervention.
New York matrimony laws are in crisis. In New York we face the highest divorce costs in the nation with a state divorce industry that is entirely unregulated and easily exceeds $1 Billion. We face grave
violations of our civil rights in New York if we can’t afford to defend
ourselves in a contentious divorce. We lose our children, we lose our
homes and we face financial ruin solely because we can’t afford the
process. As New Yorkers we are bound by our constitution to go to the Supreme Court if we can’t settle our differences in divorce but we have been betrayed by our constitutional system. Our courts support a bloated and predatory divorce industry and our legislature works hard to keep this in place. We are forced to go to court by the laws and the justice system has sold us to the divorce industry.
New York had a tremendous chance to fix this in a recently passed bill S5667A, sponsored by Suzi Oppenheimer, which is liberally called the ‘Divorce Reform Bill of 2010’. For those of you who missed this embarrassing legislation here are the highlights. Maintenance can now be awarded for life, attorneys are now guaranteed that the richest party will pay both bills at hourly rates that the ATTORNEYS decide and we now have a new fault of irreconcilable differences.
Whenever the inept New York legislature looks at matrimony reform they always flaunt the legally esoteric issue of fault. It is true that New York is the only state in the county left with a fault but statistics
show that it has little material value in the legal process. In 2008,
according the NY Department of Health statistics, out of 52,619 over 90% of couples agree to divorce or gain divorce through imprisonment or severe abuse. Only 196 cases were decided on adultery even though infidelity is a frequent contributor to marital problems. So if the majority of New Yorkers are agreeing on divorce grounds or facing extreme circumstances why would the New York State legislature take this as a central cause? If fault is such a bad thing why did the Divorce Reform Bill of 2010 add another fault? Incredible logic.
Fault is truly a smokescreen and this will be the campaign rhetoric.
However, the true damage of this bill lays in how it now protects
attorney fees even more than they were protected in the past. Section 6
reads "THERE SHALL BE A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT COUNSEL FEES SHALL
BE AWARDED TO THE LESS MONIED SPOUSE." and continues "AT THE HOURLY RATE
ORDINARILY AND CUSTOMARILY CHARGED BY SUCH ATTORNEY FOR SUCH LEGAL
SERVICES." What? We now have a law in New York that lets attorneys set
the fees they charge and the fees are guaranteed to be paid by the
monied spouse (unknowingly), simply because we needed the Courts
intervention? Who decides what is customary? I have very different
customs from my divorce attorneys, trust me. Under the illustrious
Divorce Reform Act of 2009 if you fill out a Request for Judicial
Intervention both lawyers have a right to demand a retainer fee from the monied spouse and that the funds "… SHALL BE AWARDED ON A TIMELY BASIS."
We are constitutionally bound to go the New York State Supreme Court to obtain a divorce if we can’t solve our differences for any reason. This is our right as citizens. But what a sucker’s game it is.
Furthermore, now maintenance is awarded for lifetime. A person who had a good run but lost their job or changed careers or just burned out is now burdened for the rest of their lives by what may have been a fleeting success. You don’t need to be any great scholar of history to see that economic cycles change, markets change and people change. New York has now legislated a fairyland where things never change and we are lawfully bound to pay attorneys at and HOURLY RATE until we die.
I have never been so disgusted as a New York citizen in 15 years as a taxpayer here. This is a truly pathetic period in New York State
politics and I pray that you will take notice of my letter and give it
serious consideration. This is a severe tragedy for the families of New York and it needs to be repealed.
The only steps that will fix the problems in New York will require civil
rights litigation and divorce industry regulation. It will require
people who have lost complete access to their children based on
fraudulent information or sham forensic reports to seek amends. It will take a powerful organization to fight on behalf of children who have had a parent violently ripped from their lives by the State. It will require people who were denied access to their constitutionally deemed court simply because they could not afford retainer fees to act. It will take a large organization like the ACLU or a child rights group to step up tothe plate and challenge New York’s unconstitutional laws that discriminate access to the courts based on economic status. It will takelaws that require the people who decide the fate of our children,
forensic psychologists, to register with New York and agree on a
standard battery of evaluations.
Something has to change and we can’t rely on our legislature or the
court system to make it happen. We need outrage to change this and weneed to repeal the Divorce Reform Act of 2010.