An uncontested divorce is a common type of divorce, the other being a contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce. For a divorce to be uncontested, normally there needs to be an agreement by the parties with respect to property, investment and a pension. Also, the parties need to agree with the issues of their children including custody, visitation and child support. If the parties cannot agree to the terms of the divorce, then more paperwork and litigation may be involved. At this stage, the divorce becomes contested.
In an uncontested divorce the client will sign papers that our office prepares based on information the client provides. Our office files the papers in court and purchases an index number. Then, the client’s spouse signs the papers in front of a notary public. Our office files the papers in court and once they are ready, we pick them up and send the client and his or her ex-spouse a copy. Read more about the uncontested divorce process and the procedures when papers must be served.
If both spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce, then the divorce is contested. For example, if one parent wants sole legal custody of a child after the divorce and the other parent also wants sole legal custody, then that difference of expectations will be reconciled in the contested divorce. New York’s Domestic Relations Law (DRL) provides rules that largely govern uncontested and contested divorces and related matters. Matters that may lead to a contested divorce include if the parties do not agree to the matters of child support, spousal maintenance, child custody and division of marital assets, which includes real estate and pensions.
High net worth divorce
Two spouses are involved in a high net worth divorce when a large amount of assets and/or funds are involved. This may take the form of real property, equities, pension plans, stock options, business shares, various stock options, automobiles or other personal property earned or purchased during the course of the marriage. If you are dealing with a high net worth divorce, then you will need a lawyer who understands the tax implications of your divorce and understands how your finances affect you on a day-to-day basis. It is important that your attorney can work with appraisers and forensic accountants as well as deal with other aspects of a divorce, such as spousal maintenance and child visitation, when applicable.
If two divorcing spouses own property, such as a house, co-op, condo, or land, then it is important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with New York State’s equitable distribution laws. In addition to real estate, couples and families may have pensions or retirement benefits, investments, or businesses. In a divorce, these assets must be divided, or split up, between the two parties and litigation in court may be required.
A spouse may be entitled to monthly spousal maintenance if there is a large difference in their wages. Spousal maintenance is also referred to as alimony. The court system uses a formula to set spousal maintenance. The court’s formula may be deviated on the basis several factors.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody cases deal with which parent will take care of the child. In some cases, both parents will split that duty and joint custody will be awarded. The court uses the “best interest of the child” to decide who will get custody of the children. Other cases result in one party obtaining sole custody.
Child visitation is arranged according to a detailed schedule. It must be approved by a court for it to be enforceable. When a parent has sole custody of the child, it is common for the other parent to seek visitation. Sometimes this time may include weekends during the school year or a month of the summer and holidays.
Like spousal maintenance, the court can grant a child support order that will entitle the custodial parent to receive child support. The non-custodial parent will need to pay the child support on a regular basis. Child support is awarded using a formula for basic child support with certain variations. There is consideration if the non-custodial parent has a pre-existing child support order of if the combined income of the parents is above a certain level. Add-ons are included for unreimbursed medical expenses, child care expenses, educational expenses and college expenses in certain situations, and medical insurance. A parent can bring a parent who should be paying them child support t court if they are not paying child support to have the court order enforced. The payments are important to children and parents and help pay for essential expenses to raise the child.
Order of Protection During a Divorce
If you are being abused, followed, threatened or stalked, then you should consider obtaining an order of protection. This document is binding and the police can help you enforce it to keep you safe. The order may specify that a certain person may not come within a certain radius of you at all times. It may limit their ability to communicate with you in person, by phone, by text, or instant messaging. It may may also prevent the person from using a third party to communicate with you.
What Happens in the Divorce Process?
Many of our clients who have not gone through the divorce process before are understandably intimidated by the process. Understanding the divorce process in New York can help you prepare emotionally and financially for what the divorce process will look like. The basic process of getting a divorce in New York involves the following steps:
- The petitioner, or person filing for divorce, needs to meet the residency requirements in New York
- The petitioner will file a complaint that sets forth the grounds for the divorce along with additional required paperwork and filing fees
- The respondent will be served with the divorce complaint
- The respondent will file a response that often includes a counterclaim
- The petitioner will respond to the respondent’s counterclaim
- The parties will exchange documents and file any motions that are relevant to the divorce case
- The parties may settle outside of court, or the judge may order the parties to attend a mediation process
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial
Residency Requirements for Getting Divorced in New York
Parties must meet the residency requirements in New York to file for divorce in a New York court. If one or both spouses have lived in New York state for at least two years before filing for divorce, then you will meet the residency requirements. You can also meet the residency requirements if either spouse lived in New York continuously for at least one year and either:
- Got married in New York state, or
- Lived in New York state as a married couple, or
- The ground for divorce occurred in New York
You can also meet the residency requirements if you and your spouse are both New York state residents on the date the divorce petition is filed and the grounds for the divorce occurred in New York.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced New York Divorce Lawyer
If you have been served with a divorce petition, you may be wondering if you need to hire a lawyer. While you are not legally required to hire a lawyer to represent you in a New York divorce, working with a lawyer will protect your rights. The divorce process in New York is incredibly complicated. Without legal training and in-depth knowledge of procedural rules and family law, it is difficult, if not impossible, to protect your rights.
Parties who are not represented by lawyers are at a disadvantage because they can be easily taken advantage of by the other party. Many people who represent themselves are primarily concerned with saving money. However, litigants who represent themselves frequently incur additional expenses. The divorce process could be dragged out unnecessarily when one party isn’t familiar with court rules.
A divorce lawyer can help you understand complicated matters involved in your divorce, particularly if you own significant assets, property, or a business. If you have children, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you seek to obtain the type of custody arrangement you desire. Attorney Jason Lutzky can help you focus on the issues you need to resolve to finalize the divorce. He can also help you understand the long-term consequences of any proposed resolutions.
Divorce often has an unanticipated impact on many different aspects of your life. Your divorce could impact your estate plan, your retirement benefits, immigration issues, and business structure. Even if you anticipate going through an uncontested divorce, it is worth taking the time to discuss your case with an experienced New York divorce lawyer.
We Protect Your Rights Throughout the Negotiation and Mediation Process
Attorney Jason Lutzky has over 30 years of experience in divorce litigation. Additionally, he has experience representing clients in divorce mediation and negotiation. Now more than ever, New Yorkers are considering collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, both parties agree to resolve disputes outside of court and negotiate their divorce settlement agreement. A collaborative divorce is an excellent option for couples who can work together to resolve outstanding issues. However, collaborative divorce is not a process that will work for everyone.
In some cases, couples start out seeking a collaborative divorce but discover that they cannot resolve their differences. In these cases, it is essential to work with a lawyer with extensive litigation skills. Attorney Jason Lutzky is prepared to represent your best interests and rights throughout the divorce process.
Contact an Experienced Bronx Divorce Lawyer Today
Attorney Jason Lutzky fights hard for his clients at every step in the divorce process. He will discuss your case with you and help you understand the process while protecting your rights. New York has some of the most complex and confusing family law statutes and regulations in the United States. Contact our experienced New York family lawyers who will help you achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce case. We provide our clients with a free consultation.
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