I am hoping you can help me figure out what my best course of action should be. My husband and I are married for one year, and it is his second marriage. The courts granted his divorce in 2006 by the Nassau County Courts. We currently reside in Queens, NY, and his ex and children in Nassau County. My husband earns 110K/year and I 100K/year. We don’t have a mortgage, and we live in a house (by ourselves), which his father owns. Currently, my husband pays his ex-wife $2,500 /month in maintenance and $2,500 /month in Child Support. In addition, he also pays 75% of children’s medical, $3,000 towards daughter’s dance, and $3,000 towards extra-curricular activities. (three children, each receives $1,000/yr towards extra-curricular activities). My husband’s ex currently works and makes anywhere between $35K – 40K per year. Her maintenance is set to expire in 2010. My concerns are: I have heard that NYS law dictates that should the ex-wife look to increase her cs payments, the courts COULD look at the 2nd wife’s income as a means for deciding whether or not an increase is possible. The courts could look at my salary, feel that my pay enhances my husband’s life and therefore, he can afford to contribute more money towards child support. How can I keep my money separate so that the courts won’t look at it for means of consideration? We spend a lot of time and additional money on the kids. I have no problem spending the money on them; however, I feel anything above and beyond should be at our discretion. Also, while I love my husband and his kids, I need to make sure we have our savings for our future. Currently, we have no children together, and I have no children of my own, but this may change, and I need to know that financially we can afford it and not have to worry about fighting in the courts. Please let me know what my options are. Is keeping a checking account in my name sufficient? Do my tax returns come into play? Should we be filing separately?
You pose an interesting question to which there is no specific, pat answer. Generally, the courts have looked to the second spouse’s income when considering a change of support, usually when the spouse requests that his/her support obligations be reduced rather than when the prior spouse requests that the support be increased.
In any case, I believe a clear separation of the incomes and a postnuptial agreement between you and your husband which outlines precisely your financial relationship It would be helpful in this case.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the preparation of a postnuptial agreement that would
address these issues.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. /Divorce Solutions