Judge Declines to Apply Marital Property Rules in Same-Sex Divorce

November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

pic12In the last week, the New York Law Journal’s Andrew Keshner reported that a New York judge handling the dissolution of a same-sex couple’s Vermont civil union could not apply New York’s equitable distrubtion rules on marital property to assets acquired during the civisl union and prior to their marriage. Given the language of the current law, the judge believed that any ‘civil union’ property stayed titld in the name of the current title holder. Marital properly acquired after the 2006 civil union would therefore be reserved for trial.

The depth and uniqueness of this case spans multiple countries, states, years and unions. To read Keshner’s article in full, visit: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202741076956/Judge-Declines-to-Apply-Marital-Property-Rules-to-Dissolved-Union 

Russell I. Marnell Earns Distinction on 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers List

October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Super-Lawyers-logo-customThe Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. proudly announce that family law attorney and firm founder Russell I. Marnell has been named to the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyer® & Rising Stars list.  Mr. Marnell has consistently been ranked year over year as a New York Super Lawyer®, while also earning the highest rating of 5.0 (AV Preeminent®) on Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™,  and the most elite rating of ’10-Superb’ by AVVO. Each of these noteworthy distinctions is based on Mr. Marnell’s dedication to professional excellence in the practice of complex divorce and family law.

 

“Inclusion in the New York Metro Super Lawyers list highlights the exceptional work done by attorneys dedicated to not only their craft, but their clients,” said Russell I. Marnell, founder of the East Meadow, NY-based firm. “Our firm refuses to rest on its laurels and consistently operates at the highest level of excellence. This dedication has paid dividends not only in the form of satisfied clients, but distinctions that mark a concerted effort to excel in our profession. We are incredibly pleased to have been again named to the Super Lawyers list.” russell

 

With extensive experience across both legal and financial disciplines, Russell I. Marnell, is highly regarded as an expert in complex divorce, matrimonial and family law. When not litigating on behalf of his clients, he is a sought after guest lecturer and news media resource.  He successfully navigates clients through challenging legal situations which require a disciplined legal and financial eye given his cross-industry expertise in both finance/accounting and law.  Currently, Mr. Marnell is admitted to practice law in New York, California, Nevada and Florida, as well as the United States Tax Court and Federal District Court.  He earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law (Long Island), holds an MBA in Accounting, and passed the Certified Public Accountants examination.

 

An Elite Distinction

 

In order to determine the top lawyers in each state, Super Lawyers uses a multiphase selection process that evaluates candidates on 12 indicators of peer recognition. The organization uses nominations, evaluations, and independent research to find which attorneys are the leaders in their respective fields. Each year, Super Lawyers seeks to compile a diverse, credible, and comprehensive list of outstanding attorneys.

 

During the selection process, candidates are evaluated by the Super Lawyers research department after being nominated for recognition by fellow attorneys. Evaluations of an attorney’s honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within law firm; verdicts and settlements; professional activity; pro bono community service; transactions; representative clients; education and employment background; scholarly lectures and writings; and other outstanding achievements are completed and included within a patented, multiphase process.   The result of these efforts is a comprehensive list of the top five percent (5%) of attorneys in each state—and a resource to be used by both attorneys and consumers in their search for outstanding legal counsel.

 

For more information about the divorce and family law attorneys from the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. visit http://www.nyfamilydivorcelawyer.com.

 

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Spousal Maintenance: Revised Law in New York State

 

October 2, 2015 in Published Works by nyfdl

 

divorce-cash-25545550Significant revisions have been made to the guiding laws used to decide both pre- and post-judgement maintenance payments (support) in New York. The new law (Bill A7645/S5678) was officially signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on September 25, 2015.

 

“Establishing revised formulas to calculate both the duration and amount of maintenance and spousal support, the new law will hopefully bring more uniformity to judicial decisions,” said Russell I. Marnell, divorce attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. “It will also make it easier to advise clients with greater confidence as to the amount and duration of the probable final maintenance award.”

 

Mr. Marnell continued, “The revisions will also simplify equitable distribution since licenses, degrees and enhanced earning capacity are no longer marital assets subject to valuation and distribution.”

 

To review the bill in full, visit: Bill A7645, or read Joel Stashenko’s comprehensive article in the New York Law Journal.

 

 

Spousal Maintenance: Revised Law in New York State

October 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

divorce-cash-25545550Significant revisions have been made to the guiding laws used to decide both pre- and post-judgement maintenance payments (support) in New York. The new law (Bill A7645/S5678) was officially signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on September 25, 2015.

 

“Establishing revised formulas to calculate both the duration and amount of maintenance and spousal support, the new law will hopefully bring more uniformity to judicial decisions,” said Russell I. Marnell, divorce attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. “It will also make it easier to advise clients with greater confidence as to the amount and duration of the probable final maintenance award.”

 

Mr. Marnell continued, “The revisions will also simplify equitable distribution since licenses, degrees and enhanced earning capacity are no longer marital assets subject to valuation and distribution.”

 

To review the bill in full, visit: Bill A7645, or read Joel Stashenko’s comprehensive article in the New York Law Journal.

Does Marriage in New York State Hinge on a License?

July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

In a recent New York Supreme Court decision, Justice Matthew Cooper cited the case Ponosovskaya v Stecklow calling New York Domestic Relations Law § 25 a “forgotten relic” from a time when marriage was still primarily a religious institution.  Justice Cooper’s decision in Devorah H. v. Steven S. centered on a discussion of the relevance of § 25 and the importance of obtaining a marriage license today.

 

Devorah H. and Steven S. participated in an on-the-spot Jewish wedding ceremony in December 2004 when their rabbi insisted that they be married after helping them find an apartment for their families to live together.  The ceremony lacked most of the traditional components and consisted of only the bare-boned necessities for a valid Jewish marriage.  Despite being urged to do so by the rabbi, the couple failed to obtain a marriage license thereafter.  DRL § 25 states “Nothing in this article contained shall be construed to render void by reason of a failure to procure a marriage license any marriage solemnized between persons of full age nor to render void any marriage between minors or with a minor under the legal age of consent where the consent of parent or guardian has been given and such marriage shall be for such cause voidable only as to minors or a minor upon complaint of such minors or minor or of the parent or guardian thereof.”  Under this statute, any marriage would be valid if the partners participated in a formal ceremony, regardless of whether they obtained a marriage license.

 

The court ultimately found that the marriage between Devorah H. and Steven S. was void.  Though the couple had technically been wed in a formal ceremony, both of them had entered the ceremony with the intent of securing a new apartment and not of being wed.  After the ceremony, each of the parties continued to conduct themselves as though they were single.  Devorah H. filed her tax returns as “single,” continued to receive benefits as a single mother, and never referred to Steven S. as her husband in any court documents in the time that they were “married.”  Steven S. only claimed that they were married once, when they applied to join a new synagogue and sought a discounted membership fee.

 

In the words of Justice Cooper, “DRL § 25 can only serve to subvert the important governmental interest in regulating the method by which citizens of this state marry.”  The language of § 25 runs inconsistent with the requirement in § 13 that “It shall be necessary for all persons intended to be married in New York state to obtain a marriage license from a town or city clerk in New York state.”  The language of § 13 was also amended after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to mandate that marriage licenses could not be denied to same-sex couples on the basis of being same-sex when other statutes had not been modified, something Justice Cooper referred to in his footnotes as “further indication of the legislature’s focus on the marriage licensing process — as opposed to the solemnization process — as the essential component of the method by which two people marry.”

 

Justice Cooper clearly urged that the Legislature should repeal or reform § 25 to fit within the mold of today’s laws and society, and to ease the burden on courts where parties claim false marriages in an attempt to claim remedies only available through divorce.*

 

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.

New York State Alimony Laws in Flux

July 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

Governor Cuomo’s administration is currently reviewing a bill recently passed in the state Senate that would create major changes to New York’s current alimony laws.  The current legislation created a formula for calculating temporary maintenance awards, but it applied the same formula to all income levels below $543,000 without considering complicated financial situations and didn’t extend application of the formula to post-divorce maintenance.  It also included an enhanced earning capacity calculation based on degree/license earned, even if the spouse was no longer working in that career.

 

The new bill reserves the formula for application to income up to $175,000 and extends its application to post-divorce awards, while offering suggested guidelines for judges deciding the lengths and amounts of awards.  Additionally, it removes the award of a percentage of the enhanced earning capacity calculation based on degree.  The bill first passed in the Assembly 146-1, and many matrimonial associations have voiced support for the changes.

 

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.