April 5, 2012: New York Judge Reverses No-Fault Alimony and Child Support Ruling
In an eye-opening judicial about-face that may foretell changes to New York’s newly-minded no-fault matrimonial laws, a Nassau County judge has declared that his decision last year regarding the temporary alimony and child support amounts that a husband must pay his soon-to-be ex-wife during their divorce were “unjust and inappropriate.”
In March of 2011, Judge Norman Janowitz ruled that Jeffrey Goldberg, per new temporary alimony and support provisions arriving with the state’s no-fault legislation package, would have to pay his wife more than $17,000 a month – even though his take home pay at the time was $12,775.
The impossible financial burden placed on Goldberg didn’t sit well with him, his family lawyer, and most influentially, New York’s independent Law Revision Commission, which cited Janowitz’s decision as evidence that the state’s new temporarily alimony and child support laws were seriously flawed.
While it’s not clear how persuasive Goldberg or his lawyer’s arguments were, being called out by the Law Review Commission certainly inspired the Judge to re-think his ruling.
“The Court did not consider how the totality of the court-directed payments would impact the parties’ economic reality on a month to month basis,” wrote Judge Janowitz in his new decision.
As a result, Goldberg’s new monthly alimony payments have been cut by more than 50% from $10,783.33 to $5,000, and his new monthly child support payments have also fallen more than 20% from $2,594 to $2,000.
While Goldberg may still have an axe to grind – he lost his job in August of last year and $7,594 a month in payments is likely $7,594 more than it would take to have him dancing in the aisles – his New York family lawyer is nevertheless impressed with the reversal.
“They had the gumption to go back and re-evaluate it long and hard,” Kyle Halperin told the Wall Street Journal. “To me, that deserves a standing ovation.”
Less impressed is Ms. Goldberg, who said that she’ll appeal the ruling – especially the one that now obliges her to pay all of the couple’s household costs, including the mortgage.
“Parts of it are fine, and parts of it I just feel are – again — unfair,” commented Ms. Goldberg. “I feel like they can’t get this right… They never should have put [the new laws] into effect until they knew what they were doing.”
The Law Review Commission is expected to release its recommended changes to New York’s new and much-criticized no-fault divorce laws in mid-April.
That may lead to good news for thousands of spouses across the state, but the light at the end of the divorce tunnel for the Goldberg’s is still fairly far away. They still need to settle issues regarding their three kids, and their Long Island home.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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