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Five predictions for divorce lawyers in 2016

Divorce graphic

With the new maintenance (spousal support laws) becoming effective in late January, there will be a lot of strategic divorce planning going on. For the non-monied spouses who are going to need spousal support, they will be racing to file for divorce before the end of January so they are not necessarily falling under the new maintenance laws which are more restrictive than what we have now. However, for the monied spouses who will be paying support, Feb. 1 will be the day to file.

Same Sex Divorces will Increase

While enough time may not yet have passed for many same-sex couples who got legally married to be ready to get divorced, I would predict that more same sex divorces will start making headlines and case law in 2016.

Divorce Filings will Increase in 2016

With Wall Street bonuses predicted to be lower this year, stresses levels will be higher. It is easier for couples to get along when money is flowing but when the tap begins to dry up, then everyone’s annoying habits become that much more annoying.

Divorces among the High-Net-Worth will be more litigious

With the passing of the new maintenance law – which includes a provision of capping income at $175K when calculating spousal support and child support – high-net-worth couples will need to convince a judge why income above that cap should be considered when calculating support (or have to refute it if you are the monied spouse). This is going to lead to many forensic accountants conducting a lifestyle analysis of spending and parties arguing over every penny spent during the marriage, yet not truly realizing that the money they are arguing about is instead being spent on lawyer’s fees.

Mediation and collaborative law will become the more favored process choices for divorce

As more and more people read about the nasty divorces on Page 6 and on the internet – as stated above, there will be plenty – they are going to want to do everything they can to “not be one of those couples.” Meanwhile, mediation classes and collaborative law classes are being taught in law schools, and the young divorce lawyers not entering the scene do not always see mediation and collaborative divorce as “alternative dispute resolution” techniques. Instead, more and more people will learn how tough and expensive litigation is and that there are viable options out there that also result in them getting divorced, but yet maybe with a few less therapy bills.

Jacqueline Newman Jacqueline Newman is a family law attorney and managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd in New York City. Her practice consists of litigation, collaborative law, and mediation. Jacqueline specializes in complex high-net-worth matrimonial cases and negotiating prenuptial agreements. She has appeared as a commentator on various television shows and has been quoted as an expert in numerous publications, including Glamour Magazine, Crain's New York Business, U.S. News and World Report, Woman's Day and The Huffington Post.