Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost to get an uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce in the context of a short term childless marriage scenario can be prosecuted by Galasso & Langione at a flat fee cost of $5,000 and would contemplate the preparation of a contract that includes, among other terms and provisions, a representation that the parties have already divided their assets and that neither party is seeking support or disclosure from the other party. The cost of an uncontested divorce naturally increases when negotiations and the exchange of disclosure must be conducted to reach a settlement.
Why should I hire G&L to represent me in my contested divorce action? The best reason is our experience in successfully handling matrimonials since 1989. Another reason to be confident in us is the objective fact that Peter is and has been for over 20 years a Fellow to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”), which punctuates his reputation as a highly skilled matrimonial lawyer. As any internet search will confirm, the AAML is the most selective and prominent national matrimonial organization. Before accepting an applicant to the AAML, the AAML rigorously tests the hopeful candidate’s knowledge and experience by administering an exacting written test and by conducting an in person oral test administered by an erudite panel of AAML Fellows. As part of your due diligence, we encourage you to visit our website and read a sampling of Peter’s published articles. The content of many of those articles reflect his cutting edge thinking on pivotal issues confronted by litigants statewide and represent a compelling argument for engaging him to manage your marital issues. While committed to our mission statement to resolve every case collaboratively, through a smart, civil, and a good faith negotiation, Peter’s documented history as a sage trial attorney is amply reflected in the magnitude of the cases he has handled that have gone to trial. From representing P. Diddy in a child support proceeding that was then front page news, to his representation of Toukie Smith in settling and managing custody and support issues relating to her two children with Academy Award winner Robert DeNiro, not to mention his involvement in cases that are regularly cited by the Appellate Division involving high wealth litigants and in cases inundated by complex business valuation issues, very few attorneys in New York State can boast a more impressive resumé of achievement. Once you meet Peter, we are confident that you will find that he is in all respects learned, pragmatic, and meticulous in managing matrimonials. As Peter’s body of work reflects, he has articulated some very imaginative and provocative intellectual perspectives on a variety of issues that have grown his reputation as a thought leader on matrimonial matters.
What issues usually stand in the way of settling a divorce action? The level of animus between the divorcing parties is usually the driving force in over-litigating a divorce action. Custody cases involving psychologically healthy parents are normally settled without much drama. However, where a spouse is suspected of abuse, beset by psychological infirmities, engages in an infidelity, or succumbs to habitual intoxication, among others dysfunctions, reaching an agreed upon resolution inevitably becomes more complicated. As the attorney engaged to manage an action encumbered by an angry or unrepentant or simply an unreasonable litigant (or attorney), the challenge can be understandably difficult. However, in those tougher cases, an attorney’s imagination, experience, and perseverance play a pivotal role in limiting the damage and guiding the case to a fair and speedy outcome. That is what we provide at Galasso & Langione.
Does G&L have any special expertise in handing cases where a business valuation is at issue? Because Peter has probably written and lectured more than any other New York matrimonial attorney on business valuation issues, he is often asked to join forces with colleagues in the matrimonial bar who find themselves in a case where proving the value of a business has multi-million dollar implications. Any valuation expert who has worked with Peter or who has been cross-examined by him will attest to Peter’s skill set in ably guiding a Judge through the arithmetic and economic factors that determine a business’ future success or failure. Illustrative of the difference Peter’s stewardship of your case might make, in one divorce case Peter tried in Nassau County, rather then splitting the difference between business values proffered by each of the parties’ experts after 10 days of questioning, the trial judge valued his client’s business at $50 million, $16 million more than the $34 million value attributed to the business by Peter’s expert but $32 million less than the $82 million value attributed to the business by his client’s spouse’s expert. The added value of Peter’s representation was also found in the trial court’s decision to award his client’s wife only 20% of the value of the business, despite the fact that the parties were married for 28 years and had raised two sons together.
How does the Court decide the proper amount to award in maintenance? In high wealth cases, the Court primarily looks to the marital standard of living to guide it to a result. In cases where the parties’ joint earnings are less than $200,000, the Court looks to a statutory formula embodied in the Maintenance Guidelines promulgated by the New York State Legislature. For example, in cases where child support is also to be paid by the monied spouse, the maintenance calculation requires that the payor spouse’s income be multiplied by .2. From that total, .25 of the payee spouse’s income must be subtracted to arrive at the annual maintenance to be paid. To illustrate, if the payor spouse earns $120,000 and the payee spouse and residential parent earns $40,000, then the math looks like this: $120,000 x .2 = $24,000 $ 40,000 x .25= $10,000 Guideline Maintenance $14,000 per year However, because the Guidelines were was created before the tax law allowing for the deductibility of maintenance to the payor spouse was repealed by Congress, the Guideline amount would likely be tax-adjusted downward by factoring in the tax rate paid by the payee spouse. If the payor spouse does not have to pay child support, the maintenance math can best illustrated as follows: $120,000 x .3 = $36,000 - $40,000 x .2 = $8,000 Guideline amount $28,000 per year Again, subject to a tax adjustment.
How is child support set? In accordance with the Child Support Standards Act, which mandates that the non-custodial payor parent pay 17% of his or her annual income, less City tax, Medicare tax, and FICA, in annual child support if only one child is at issue, 25% if there are 2 children, 29% if 3, and 31% for 4 or more children. In addition, each parent is obligated to contribute pro rata toward the children’s medical expenses and their childcare costs. In high income cases, the Court looks, again, at the marital standard of living in setting child support.
Can the Court order my spouse to pay my attorney fees? Yes. Attorney fee awards are based upon the totality of the parties’ financial circumstances, which includes your comparative ability to pay your own counsel fees, the relative merits of the positions you each took during the litigation, and either spouse’s prolongation of the case by obstructionist behavior.
What are the typical grounds for divorce? While the traditional grounds for divorce, such as adultery and abandonment, remain on the books, virtually all divorce actions allege the “No Fault” ground for divorce that allows the mere allegation that the marital relationship has been irretrievably broken for over 6 months to establish a legal basis for a divorce.
Why should I hire G&L on my personal injury or medical malpractice case? G&L has attained over 20 awards of $1 million or more for their grateful clients, let alone the innumerable six figure awards we have achieved over the years. As in all personal injury matters, the key to a successful prosecution of a client’s claim for damages is to translate pain, discomfort, physical limitations, and lost wages into their highest economic value. Our attention to detail from our initial investigation, to our client preparation, and at trial have historically reaped enhanced and satisfying awards for our clients.
What other legal issues do G&L handle for their clients? Because of our experience in trying cases, valuing businesses, and drafting contracts, G&L is able to strategically manage complex business dissolutions and business disputes. We also work hand in glove with prominent investment advisors and, Estate, Trusts, and Elder law experts to help clients safeguard and grow their estates.
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