Divorce Is Rare In NY – And That Is Not Good News

According to recent statistics, only New Jersey has a lower rate of divorce than New York. Rather than assuming New York couples are happier in their marriages than the rest of the country, the low divorce rate may have more to do with how long and expensive the divorce process is in the state. Family law attorneys can streamline the process with EzSupport-NY, Easy Soft’s NY matrimonial law software, and make divorce available to a larger number of couples.

Cost Of Divorce

Divorce is expensive in New York, which imposes a filing fee of $335. Only four other states — Illinois, California, Minnesota and Florida — impose higher fees. At the other end of the spectrum, five states have filing fees below $100, the lowest being Mississippi with a paltry $52 cost. When you add the cost of attorney fees, divorce in New York is one of the costliest decisions a couple can make.

The net result is that people stuck in bad marriages simply can’t afford to split up. They might live separately and no longer communicate, but in the eyes of the law they are still married. What’s worse is people trapped in abusive marriages may be unable to find the financial help they need to leave and start new lives.

What Can Attorneys Do To Help?

Often divorce is the best decision for all concerned, spouses and children alike, and it is tragic that economic reality may force people to stay in unhealthy relationships. As a family law attorney, you can make divorce more affordable and available to anyone regardless of social background. You may not be able to reduce the state’s filling fee but they can reduce their own legal fees — without impacting your practice’s profitability.

Attorney fee boils down to a charge for the time spend on a matter. Although many divorce attorneys charge flat fees for simple divorce, those fees are based on the approximate time they expect to spend. If you can provide the same service and use less of your time, you can charge clients less and yet handle more cases per month to keep your cash flow healthy. That is where using specialized NY divorce software makes a difference. You can complete the information gathering, financial analysis and final paperwork in a fraction of the time it used to take when doing it by hand.

If you are still filling out the NY Statement of Net Worth by hand then you are wasting time and money. Start using EzSupport-NY, process cases more quickly, and provide better and more affordable services to your clients.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in Divorce Financials | Leave a comment

Easy HUD Evolves As the Law Changes

Last year the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created the new “Know Before You Owe” forms that are due to take effect in August 2015. Easy HUD, Easy Soft’s real estate closing program, will undergo significant changes to accommodate the new law.

New Forms To Protect Consumers

Much as the Good Faith Estimate form was created to allow consumers to be able to compare loans easily, the new CFPB forms are meant to give borrowers the information needed to make informed decisions when shopping for real estate loans. There will be two new forms:

  • The Loan Estimate will replace the Good Faith Estimate and provide a summary of the loan conditions, closing costs and other information consumers need. As with the GFE, this form will make it easy to shop loans so consumers can find the best deal.
  • The Closing Disclosure will replace the HUD 1 settlement sheet and will serve the same function, giving a detailed listing of all closing costs associated with a specific loan closing. This form will be provided shortly before closing to give borrowers time to look over the final costs, make sure they are getting the deal expected, and ask any questions about the figures involved.

The CFPB hopes the new forms will help consumers better understand short-term and long-term costs, risk factors, and the true impact of monthly payments over the course of the loan.

Free Easy HUD Update

Next year Easy Soft will update Easy HUD, our GFE and HUD-1 software, to reflect the new forms. Active Easy HUD subscribers will receive the update for free as part of our ongoing support commitment.

Watch the Easy Soft blog over the next few months as we explore some of the changes that the new forms will bring to the real estate industry. We’ll look at how the new forms protect consumers, and how they will affect closing.

The Easy HUD update is an example of how we stay abreast of changes in the law so that our software always reflects the latest regulations, requirements and government forms needed for your real estate practice.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in HUD Software | Comments Off

CIS Helps New Jersey Attorneys Comply With New Alimony Law

After many years of negotiation, Governor Chris Christie has signed a new alimony law for New Jersey. Family law attorneys in the state may find a surge of business as alimony payers look for relief under the new law, and law firms can use Easy Soft’s CIS software to recalculate fresh alimony agreements. Here are three key areas of the new bill.

Alimony Ends At Retirement

The most touted feature of the new law is the end of permanent alimony. Alimony payers can ask for alimony to end once they reach the federal retirement age of 67. This removes a significant burden to payers that prevented many of them from retiring.

This is one provision of the law that applies to all alimony in New Jersey, not just new divorce settlements. A payer currently under a permanent alimony agreement can petition the court upon reaching retirement age and ask that the alimony payments end. Attorneys calculating new agreements can use the payor’s age as a cutoff when calculating alimony buyout amounts.

Alimony Agreements No Longer Than The Marriage

Under the law, new alimony agreements cannot be longer than the marriage itself, unless the marriage lasted twenty years or more. So if a couple was married for five years, then the alimony agreement can’t be longer than five years. As with any aspects of the divorces settlement, this limit can be waived by the court in the event of special circumstances, but it will apply to most divorces.

This will not only relieve the burden on the payor but will also simplify aspects of divorce settlement such as alimony buyout. CIS case information statement software includes a calculator to determine how much an alimony agreement is worth if paid as a lump sum, but these calculations were tricky for permanent alimony. With a definite limit, such as five years, it will be easier for the software to determine a fair alimony buyout amount.

Alimony And Unemployment

There has been an unwritten rule in New Jersey that judges will reduce, suspend or eliminate alimony payments if the payor has been out of work for a year or longer. One objection is that a year is too long for someone to have to pay alimony when there is no money coming in. Another is that, as an unwritten rule, there was no guarantee a judge would consider unemployment to be a valid reason to lower payments.

The new law specifies anyone out of work for three months or longer can ask the court to adjust the payments. This can be a great relief to someone paying alimony who is obligated to make payments even at the risk of losing the house or being unable to buy food. New alimony agreements can be created in CIS for presentation to the court.

As more changes come, Easy Soft will stay in front of new laws and update CIS accordingly.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in NJ Family Law Software | Comments Off

Are Changes Coming For New Jersey Alimony?

As of this writing, bill A845 is waiting for Governor Christie’s signature. This bill is an attempt to reform New Jersey alimony laws by eliminating permanent alimony and adding provisions for the payor’s changing income status. Easy Soft is watching the bill to see how it will affect our NJ family law software, CIS.

You can read plenty of horror stories about alimony in New Jersey. Men have been financially ruined and even sent to jail over their inability to provide what some people feel are unreasonably high spousal support payments, payments that will never go away in their lifetimes.

The bill is actually a conglomeration of three bills, merged to form a compromise measure. It was passed by the state Senate and Assembly and now needs Governor Christie to sign or veto it. Supporters of the bill say permanent alimony is an outdated concept that goes back to the 1950s when women didn’t work outside of the home. Others feel the bill should be vetoed because it doesn’t go far enough or because they disagree with changes that are made.

We aren’t going to wade into that debate since it’s not our place to. However we always keep an eye on New Jersey family law changes so we can be sure that CIS is always relevant to today’s laws and not the laws of five years ago. Whether it’s a change in the CIS statement NJ divorces require or a modification of the alimony formula or an update of child custody determination rules, you can be sure that Easy Soft will stay on top of the changes and update CIS accordingly.

Laws change. Societal attitudes change. Even individual beliefs about marriage and divorce and raising children change. Our goal is to maintain CIS as an open-ended tool to allow family law attorneys to find a divorce settlement that is best for all parties involved while still remaining true to the letter and spirit of New Jersey law.

This is one of the many advantages of using Easy Soft’s CIS software in your New Jersey family law practice. We help you stay on top of the latest changes in the law, so you can provide your clients with the best option available under current rules. If you aren’t sure of the value of the software, then try CIS free for 30 days without any obligation.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in NJ Family Law Software | Comments Off

Today Is A Good Day To Refinance

Mortgage rates are falling. Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey reported 30-year fixed mortgages are averaging 4.1% for the last two weeks of August 2014, the lowest since October 2013. There may be a rush to refinance and you need a good real estate closing program like Easy HUD to help you with the spike in business.

Slow And Steady Doesn’t Always Win The Race

People love to quote Aesop as some kind of justification for doing things inefficiently. They feel like if they take their time filling out the HUD 1 settlement statement (actually the HUD 1a for refis) then they will do better than their competitors who rush through it. They will make fewer mistakes, which means they will have to issue fewer corrections and in the long run they will save time.

Yes it’s true that accuracy counts for more than speed when filling out government forms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have both. The fact is the tortoise in the fable won the race not because he was slow but because the hare was lazy. Speed is an asset, and when combined with focus and determination it is a critical competitive edge.

Fast And Steady Is Better

Easy HUD software offers the speed of the hare and the steadiness of the tortoise. You can fill out the form quickly. The software automatically does the math for you so you save time that would normally be spent pounding on calculator keys. Our users report they can close up to 70% faster when using Easy HUD.

However you are also steady. Easy HUD calculations are not just fast; they are accurate. The form is already compliant with the latest RESPA requirements, and is automatically updated as HUD issues new rules. You also get the benefit of accurate tax tables for over 40 jurisdictions, automated GFE-HUD comparison sheet preparations, and a host of productivity tools to keep your business organized.

You don’t need to choose between the tortoise and the hare. Instead you can get the benefits of both with Easy HUD. You will be ready for the rush of clients who are even now headed for your business. The faster you process closings, the better your cash flow will be. Try Easy HUD free for 30 days to see how much easier it is to process refinances.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in HUD Software | Comments Off

Great News: New York Court Defines The Word “The”

We’ll all breath a little easier now that the Appellate Division, First Department has weighed in on the meaning of the word “the”. Reminiscent of Bill Clinton debating the meaning of “is”, in this particular divorce case that little “the” was worth millions of dollars because it impacted how certain assets on the NY net worth statement were interpreted.

The Financial Impact Of One Word

The case was Babbio v. Babbio and the decision was handed down on July 17, 2014. The issue boiled down to a sentence in the couple’s premarital agreement that laid out two possible ways to divide assets. They would be divided equally unless either party contributed more than a million dollars to “the Marital Property”, in which case that contributor would get the contribution plus half of the remaining value.

The debate came from the meaning of “the”. By stating “the Marital Property”, did that mean each piece of property had the million-dollar provision, or did it refer to the aggregate property? The court decided that “the” meant each asset individually. In other words, it wasn’t enough that the husband contributed over a million to their joint assets. He would get the advantageous split only on assets he contributed more than a million to individually.

Adapting To Changing Conditions

How easily could you handle this kind of property settlement? Tracking each asset and determining how much if it belonged to the husband or wife could be a terrible task if done in a spreadsheet — or with pen and paper if you are really old school. Are you able to divide each asset and liability according to different rules with your current NY family law software?

With EzSupport-NY you can propose distribution by percentage or by amount, and you can set this on each asset and liability independently. So in the “the” case, you could set most assets to split 50/50 but on any asset where a spouse contributed beyond the threshold, you could enter the distribution amount that included the contribution.

You may not handle multi-million dollar divorces with complicated prenups every day, but even so-called simple divorces are often not so simple. Get EzSupport-NY, the NY divorce software with all the features you need.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in NY Family Law Software, Other | Comments Off