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How to maintain your maintenance​

If you do not pursue your maintenance, you cannot keep it. Family law has many clauses that are based on equitable distribution. Much of which is not set in stone and often finds its base in the subjective view of the judiciary on objective circumstances. Whether divorce, maintenance, custody, whatever the matter at hand, much can turn based on evolution of life circumstances and displayed behavior.

This became especially evident in a case in January 8, 2020. In Makris v. Makris, — A.D.3d —, — N.Y.S.3d — (Second Dept. 2020), Brett Makris appealed an order of the Family Court, Westchester County from a year prior in the Appellate Court. Previously, Elaina Makris’s petition to enforce the maintenance provisions of the parties’ judgment of divorce whereby Mr. Makris had to pay maintenance arrears in the sum of $53,312.

The court found that to waive maintenance requires only voluntary and intentional abandonment of a known right, including an obvious lack of intent to exercise that right. Ms. Makris did not pursue the payments for 16 years. Even if in the event that she wanted to argue she does not know how to pursue her legal rights, she almost immediately put in an action for child support. The appellate court found that he owed nothing. If this was something she wanted to pursue, that do not act in a way that is indifferent to what was contractually coming to you. A good counsel could advise but if you take actions that are completely unforeseeable, it can undo all the work and corresponding billing.

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    FAQ’s

    • What grounds do I need to file for divorce?
      • New York is a no-fault jurisdiction which means the most commonly cited cause is IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN IN RELATIONSHIP. So, for example, if your spouse had adultery, it is not really relevant to the actual divorce grounds.
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      • Uncontested means both parties agree to sign a settlement outside of court and are relatively close in terms of what they want in the terms.
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      • Uncontested divorces are considerably cheaper, the range is between $1,000-$3,000 depending on complexity. For a contested divorce, it will depend on how willing the spouses are to work together, if so, it can cost as little as $7,000 but if there is excessive fighting the divorce can last years and the sky is the limit.
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      • Fortunately, NY is not a state that requires a separation period. So as long as you and your spouse have been married for at least 6 months and are an NY resident, you can begin the process immediately. If the divorce is not contested it can be completed in as fast as two months and may take as long as eight months. If the divorce is contested and the parties find it challenging to agree, divorce can go on for many years.

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