Just plug in the numbers????

Posted on March 21, 2018 in Blog



After 20 years of marriage, a house, two children, pets and plans a couple decides that divorce is the only solution to their difficulties.


The husband, a NYC schoolteacher earning a little over $100,000.00 per year is basically the sole source of income in the household. The wife, works part time, ensuring that she is home at the end of the school day for the 7 and 9 year old. Her income is merely a supplement to the husband’s income.


Living on the South Shore of Long Island the expenses for the family include a first mortgage and an equity line and real estate taxes over $10,000.00 per year. Combined with credit cards, cash advances and the like the family has just made it on a month by month basis with little or no savings, other than the husband’s TDA with the NYC Board of Education.


The husband was the first one to visit with counsel. After paying for the consultation the attorney discussed the fact pattern with the husband. The attorney requested a $10,000.00 retainer (from where the husband did not have a clue) and then went through the numbers with the husband.


When done, the attorney took out his calculator and advised the husband that we were going to just plug in the numbers.   The entire matter of support would be decided by a formula, applied uniformly throughout NYS without much regard to the other vagaries included in one’s salary, take home pay and expenses. “If you go to Court, this is what the Judge will do.” Those words echoed like a sledgehammer.


The husband reacted with shock, his take home pay is close to 55% of his actual earnings. With the expenses of raising two children there was no way in which he could get his own apartment, adding to the family’s expenses.   When he got home from the consultation he sat down with his spouse to discuss what he had been told.


Thankfully, and despite their differences, the couple retained a certain level of civility and respect.   They both decided that it would be impossible for them to follow the Child Support and Maintenance formulas and that they would have to devise a solution that specifically suited their needs, income and expenses.


The Court will decide what the law dictates, the couple decided to look into alternatives.   They discovered MEDIATION.   A discipline where YOU CRAFT A SOLUTION TO YOUR SPECIFIC PROBLEMS.   You create with the assistance of a neutral mediator, a settlement that CAN BE COMPLIED WITH.  


Numbers and formulas can not be universally applied. Every situation is different. Courts do not have the time and/or resources to explore different creative solutions to each party’s circumstance.   Mediation involves very little investment, other than your time, energy and willingness to cooperate and keep an open mind.   Financially, mediation is a fraction of the cost of litigation with no retainer.   After 20 years your family should not find that their future is decided by just plugging in the numbers.   Isn’t a fair and workable solution in which you have a presence and say what you are entitled to. What your children and family are entitled to? Try it, the risk-reward makes it worth your while.

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