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On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce can be intricate and difficult as it deals with various issues including emotions, money and the legal system. When individuals begin the divorce process, they typically want to understand a few important things. The main issues I’m asked about are the following:

Duration of the Divorce Process: The length of the divorce process in New York can be influenced by various factors including the complexity of the case, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, and court backlog. Uncontested divorces where both parties agree on all terms tend to be resolved more swiftly, while contested divorces involving disputes over issues like child custody, property division, or spousal support may take longer to finalize due to negotiations, court appearances, and potentially a trial.

Grounds for Divorce: In New York, couples can file for divorce under both no-fault and fault-based grounds. No-fault divorce, based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, is the most common and doesn’t require proving fault. However, fault-based grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, adultery, imprisonment, or living apart pursuant to a separation decree or judgment can also be cited if applicable.

Hiring a Lawyer: While New York doesn’t mandate legal representation in divorce proceedings, consulting with or hiring a lawyer can be highly beneficial. A divorce attorney can provide legal advice, explain your rights, help navigate complex legal procedures and paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process.

Equitable Distribution of Property: In New York, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, which means it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between spouses. Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Factors considered in equitable distribution include the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial circumstances, contributions to the marriage, and future earning potential.

Child Custody and Support: In determining child custody and support arrangements in New York, courts prioritize the best interests of the child. Factors considered include each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs, the child’s relationship with each parent, any history of domestic violence or abuse, the child’s preferences (if mature enough), and maintaining stability and continuity in the child’s life.

Court Appearances: While some divorces in New York may be resolved through negotiation or mediation without the need for court intervention, others may require appearances in court, especially if issues such as child custody, visitation, or support are contested.

Residency Requirement: To file for divorce in New York, one spouse must meet the residency requirement, which typically involves living in the state for a continuous period of time before filing. The residency requirement in New York is one year, and there are specific rules regarding which county the divorce should be filed in based on where the spouses currently reside.

Cost of Divorce: The cost of divorce in New York can vary significantly depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, or whether there are certain issues surrounding child custody, property division, or spousal support. Legal fees can accumulate based on the amount of time and effort required to resolve these issues.

Spousal Support (Maintenance): Spousal support, known as maintenance in New York, and sometimes referred to as alimony, may be awarded in New York to provide financial assistance to the spouse with lower income or earning capacity, especially in cases where one spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage. The amount and duration of spousal support are determined based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, contributions to the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage.