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“No-Fault Divorce” Adopted in New York State. Effective October 12, 2010, New York State became the final state in the union to adopt a fault-free ground for divorce. The plaintiff need merely allege under oath: “The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months.” No divorce will be entered and finalized, however, until all issues surrounding the division of marital assets, the custody and visitation of any children of the marriage, and the payment of attorney and expert witness fees, if any, have been resolved by agreement or after trial (Dom. Rel. L. §170 [7]). The change eliminates the need for the plaintiff spouse to show cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment for one or more years, infidelity, or prison confinement for three or more years. It also eliminates the need to wait for a period of one year after a separation agreement is made before a divorce can be obtained.

“Automatic Restraining Orders” in Divorce Cases. Effective September 1, 2009 upon the filing of any action for divorce, Supreme Court automatically will issue a Restraining Order that prevents each spouse from making any substantial transfers of marital or individual assets (including 401K accounts), encumber property, conceal property or incur any unreasonable debt. An exception exists for transfers made in the ordinary course of business. The parties are prohibited from removing each other and the children, if any, from any health insurance or live insurance policies. The Order is effective on the plaintiff when he/she files the Summons in the Clerk’s Office, and is effective on the defendant when he/she is served with the Summons and Order. Disobedience of the Order may result in a finding of Contempt of Court, and an award of damages and attorney fees in favor of the wronged spouse (Dom. Rel. L. §236 [B] [2] [b]).

Vehicle and Traffic Law Update

Effective June 1, 2013 the State of New York has increased the fine for using a cellular phone while driving from $100.00 to $150.00. The violation points on the offender’s license is increased from 3 points to 5 points. The driver also is subject to a mandatory $85.00 surcharge.

At Pajak Law OfficesSM we are able to handle most of your Vehicle and Traffic citations, including speeding tickets, by mail. Our flat fees, provided that a court appearance is not required, start at $200.00. Mr. Pajak is a former Town Justice and is able to help you throughout Western New York State, from Buffalo to Syracuse.

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