July 20th, 2011
On Friday, June 24th, New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. The law will take effect on July 25th, granting marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. While the legislation is a major milestone in the national gay rights movement, it may be financially problematic for couples who decide to tie the knot.
Although same-sex marriage is now recognized by five states and the District of Columbia, it is not acknowledged by the federal government. As a result, couples do not enjoy certain advantages offered through federal law, including the ability to share retirement benefits, file a joint tax return, protect each other’s assets from estate taxes, and benefit from federal tax breaks. While most state-based rights such as hospital visitation, emergency medical treatment, and health insurance and pension benefits will extend to same-sex couples, the discrepancy between state and federal law creates difficulties in other areas.
February 23rd, 2011
On February 16, 2011, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it will be imposing a two-point penalty, in addition to the $100 fine already in effect, for drivers caught talking on their hand-held cell phones while driving. New York was the first state in the country to ban hand-held phone use while driving in 2001 in an attempt to decrease the number of driver distracted accidents. Today however, one in five car accidents is driver distraction related. New York is hoping that by adding the points punishment, drivers will obey the laws more seriously.
This new rule will make it the same number of points for texting while driving, although texting and driving comes with a fine of $150. Drivers who collect eleven penalty points in eighteen months may face a suspension of their license. Points can add up quickly, so think before you pick up that call!
July 2nd, 2010
It has long been rumored that the divorce rate in America has reached an all-time high with a predicted 50% of marriages ending in divorce. In New York State, the process of divorce has been especially renowned to be complicated, emotionally and financially damaging, and torturously long. This characterization seems well deserved considering, as NBC New York points out, New York was the only state in America lacking no-fault divorce legislation. However,