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Question #15:
I want to know what will be the outcome if I divorce. My husband has been the main provider of the family for the last 6 years. I only work 15 hours a week just to keep my skills up. We have a 18 month daughter and if we divorce I really wish not to return to the workforce full time so I can spend the important years with my daughter. Is my husband required to provide any alimony to me in this case? And as far as what am I entitled percentage-wise?. Is it 50% of everything? He is a partner in a business; what kind of benefits can I get from him there? As far as health insurance, his work provides that for us now .Will he still be required to do that until the divorce is final or until a certain time period? On an average, how long do divorce proceedings take? One last question. If I were to separate and live with another male, would that in any way hinder my benefits?
You did not indicate what State you are in and therefore I cannot tell you with any certitude what the precise answer would be in your case. In a jurisdiction like New York, where there is Equitable Distribution, the courts will generally provide the non working spouse with an opportunity to improve his her skills and in the interim have the working spouse provide some spousal support, especially if there is a small child involved which requires parental supervision and care. The amount and the length of time will depend on the specific circumstances and the inclination of the judge.

In an Equitable Distribution state, the parties will generally divide all of the marital property in approximately half. Marital property is defined in an earlier letter in this question and answer column. Marital property would also include any business interest of your spouse which he acquired during the course of the marriage .

As part of the spousal support, your spouse would be required to continue to cover you under his policy until the date of legal divorce, and would probably be responsible for the continued payments of your separate health coverage after that time for a period to the determined by the judge.

The length of time it takes to get a divorce depends on many factors including the number and intensity of the issues that must be negotiated and resolved, the acrimonious relationship between the parties, the court docket and the availability of the judge, etc. Generally, it could take about two years.

If you possibly could mediate rather than litigate the divorce, the period of time it would take would be much less and the cost considerably cheaper.

Many states, such as New York, still require "Cause" to grant a divorce. The definition of "Cause" can be found] in an earlier question and answer in this column. Therefore, your spouse would have to prove one of the acceptable causes, which includes adultery. However, most states today do not consider the cause when determining the financial distribution of the marital assets, although the court may consider the nature of the cause of divorce when determining child custody.

If you are in the New York City metropolitan area please give me a call at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter in more detail. Good luck!

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

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