New York Divorce FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Long Island, NY


What are the grounds for a divorce in New York?
For divorce actions begun on or after October 12, 2010, a new ground for divorce is that the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least 6 months. Other grounds for divorce include the cruel and inhuman treatment that endangers the mental or physical well-being of one of the partners, abandonment for a period of one or more years, one of the partners being incarcerated in prison for 3 or more years, adultery, or the husband and wife living separate and apart following a separation agreement for a period of one or more years. For information about how these legal grounds may apply in your case, it is important that you consult with a Long Island divorce attorney at the firm.


What is an uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce case, there are no disputes over any of the legal issues, such as division of property, child custody, or child support. Both parties in the divorce generally agree on all the settlement issues and are ready for the divorce process to be over.


What is "equitable distribution" for property division in a divorce?
Equitable distribution means that when a marriage is dissolved, the property and assets acquired during the marriage must be distributed fairly and equitably between the two parties. Equitable distribution is not a 50-50 split but a distribution that is based on the financial situation of each spouse. Many factors are taken into consideration by the court in an equitable distribution, such as the property held by each spouse at the time of marriage, ages of the parties, duration of the marriage, and much more.


What is a prenuptial agreement and how does it relate to divorce?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two people prior to marrying. These agreements can vary widely but generally they provide for the division of property and any rights to spousal support in the event of a divorce.


What do I need to know about property division in my divorce settlement?
Many couples have a difficult time in reaching an agreement about how to divide their assets and property. Because this issue depends on the complexity of your assets and liabilities and other factors the court may look at, it is vitally important that you consult with an experienced family law attorney. A Long Island family lawyer at our firm can provide knowledgeable and skilled assistance with this complicated issue.


Who receives custody of children in a divorce?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question, as it depends entirely on your unique situation. If parents cannot decide who gets sole custody or arrange another agreeable custody schedule, it will be up to a judge. 100% of the time, a judge is instructed to rule in favor of what is in the children’s best interests. If you have greater income and a cleaner criminal history, your odds of winning sole custody are going to skyrocket, but it is still not guaranteed.


Am I going to win child or spousal support payments?
Along with child custody issues, a judge is going to have to determine how to fairly balance your living situations. The idea is that neither spouse should experience a dramatic downgrade in standard of living after a divorce. Spousal or child support is used to maintain that level of living. If you are making significantly less than your ex, you could have a better chance of winning some sort of support payments. Inversely, if you are making much more than them, you will likely have to be the one making monthly maintenance payments.


Will I need to go to court for my divorce?
Most people do not want to be bothered with the troubles related to divorce court, or they simply do not know where they will make the time to go. If your divorce is uncontested or if you were able to solve matters through mediation, you probably will not need to go to court – in turn, this saves you from paying court fees. Even some more complicated or contested divorces can save you the trip to the court house if your divorce lawyer is permitted to go in your stead.


Should I be considering an annulment instead of a divorce?
An annulment is a legal procedure that will make it as if you were never married at all. There are usually not many reasons to request this over a divorce, although some do exist. For example, if you want to remarry in the Catholic Church, you will need to have your marriage annulled, even if you completed a divorce. Be sure to speak to a professional divorce attorney before making your decision, as there are some benefits to annulments that might interest you or your ex-spouse.


Is there a way to postpone a divorce?
Being served divorce papers can take the wind out of anybody’s sails, and it might understandably leave you feeling lost or out of place. If you think you need more time to get everything in order and fully grasp the situation that is going on, you may ask a judge to postpone proceedings.

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