Equitable Distribution, Spousal Maintenance, Child Support, and Divorce

Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer said this appeal results from the judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County.  The Court declined to “award the Defendant spousal maintenance,” declined to award the Defendant child support, found the subject children, then age 20, and age 17, were emancipated, and declined to equitably distribute alleged marital debt.

The Appellate Division, Second Department ruled that the Defendant should have awarded durational spousal support and child support.  As the Supreme Court determined, during the parties’ 11-year marriage, Plaintiff earned $45,000/year while the Defendant cared for the children at home.  A Nassau County Divorce Attorney said such spousal maintenance would allow Defendant to become self-supporting.  The Appellate Division based such finding on “the disparity in the parties’ present and future earning capabilities, including the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage.”  The Appellate Division determined that the Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence which might demonstrate the children to be economically independent or otherwise emancipated.  Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer said such a standard is used to determine whether a child is emancipated.

In addition, the Appellate Division ordered a new trial on the issue of equitable distribution of alleged marital debt.  The standard is that “[e]xpenses incurred prior to the commencement of an action for a divorce are marital debt to be equally shared by the parties upon an offer of proof that the expenses represent marital expenses.”  The Defendant offered proof of credit card statements relating to credit cards in her name only, however the Appellate Division found the Supreme Court improperly refused to admit such evidence.  The Appellate Division said it should have been considered because the Defendant testified that the credit cards were “opened during the marriage to pay the parties’ expenses” and also that the Defendant never showed the debt was paid off prior to trial.

Divorce proceedings can be complicated. Spousal maintenance, child support, equitable distribution and marital debt are only a few of the many areas visited through divorce proceedings.  Seek out the advice of the experienced divorce lawyers at Simonetti & Associates.