Financial Divorce Matters
Going through a divorce can take a lot out of you. You may be worried about how much it can drain you financially. To put your worries at ease, here are some common financial divorce matters that our Rochester divorce lawyers handle.
Financial Divorce Matter | Legal Fees
A lot of people come into our Rochester office wanting to know if they can force or require their spouse to pay their legal fees. While the simple answer to that question is no, there’s nothing you can do to force your spouse pay your legal fees, what you can do is make application to the court asking the court to consider having your spouse pay all – or a portion – of your legal fees. Generally, the court will apply a standard based on the income and resources of the two parties. If both people are making approximately the same amount, the court will usually say no. Then, each person is responsible for their own fees.
On the other hand, if there is a great disparity between the two parties’ income levels, the court is more likely to decide in favorably of the application for one person to pay the other’s legal fees. It’s based on the parties’ income and resources of the parties – and on whether the husband or wife has done things to delay the proceedings. A court may make an initial determination right up front as to whether a person is entitled to some assistance with legal fees. Very often, however, the court will delay the decision on legal fees until later, making its decision toward the end of the divorce action.
Financial Divorce Matters | Pension
When someone who has a pension – or someone whose spouse has a pension – comes into our office, they often ask what will happens to the pension. In New York State, the courts have devised a formula which sets forth how that pension is to be divided. The simplest way to explain it is this: If you have been married to your spouse for the entire time he or she has been working at the company that provides the pension, you would generally receive 50% of that pension.
The court considers two factors: how long you have been married and how long you have been married during the time when your spouse worked at the company whose pension is under consideration. It’s not an often-negotiated issue like some others where a formula is applied. The formula for dividing pensions is very cut and dry, and if you simply apply the formula, it will give you the exact amount you and your spouse will receive from the pension.
Financial Divorce Matters | Inheritance
Sometimes a client comes into our Rochester office saying they received an inheritance from their grandparents sometime in the past, or their mom or dad just died recently and left them a significant amount of money. In contemplating divorce, they want to know how that inheritance is going to be treated. The general rule is that an inheritance is separate property and not subject to being divided with your spouse.
On the other hand, if after receiving that inheritance, you have comingled the money with your marital funds or used it to purchase a house in the names of both parties, the argument is sometimes made that the inheritance (or separate property) has lost its separate character and is, therefore, subject to sharing between the parties. If you have an inheritance that is clearly separate, and the property is clearly located and clearly defined, such inheritances and other separate property are not subject to being shared with your spouse.
If you would like strong legal representation in your divorce, please call our experienced Rochester divorce lawyers today. Friedman and Ranzenhofer have the skill to fight for you.