Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 10:41 pm
In order to file for divorce in New York, you or your spouse must have been living in the state for a continuous period of at least two years prior to commencing the divorce action. This is known as meeting the residency requirements. There are some exceptions – for example, if the grounds for divorce occurred in New York, the residency requirements may be waived. But in most cases, you’ll need to satisfy the two-year rule.
New York is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning you can get divorced without proving fault or wrongdoing on the part of your spouse. The only ground required for divorce is that the relationship has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. This ground is used in the vast majority of divorces today. However, there are also some fault-based grounds that can be asserted, such as adultery, imprisonment, or cruel and inhuman treatment. Your lawyer can advise you on which grounds make the most sense for your situation.
To initiate divorce proceedings in New York, one spouse (the plaintiff) must file a Summons with Notice or a Summons and Verified Complaint with the County Clerk’s office in the county where either spouse resides. This document commences the action and notifies your spouse that you are seeking a divorce. Your spouse (the defendant) will need to formally respond within 20 or 30 days, depending on how they were served. Contested divorces can become adversarial at this stage as major issues are disputed.
After the initial filings, the discovery process begins. This involves gathering information and documents from each other relating to finances, assets, incomes, expenses, and anything else relevant to reaching a settlement. Full financial disclosure is required. Your lawyer can use various discovery tools like document requests, interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas to get the information needed. Refusing to cooperate with discovery can negatively impact settlement negotiations.
Most divorces (over 90%) settle out of court through negotiation and mediation. Your lawyer will work with you to determine your priorities and negotiate a fair written settlement agreement covering all issues like asset division, spousal support, child custody and support, and more. Having an experienced negotiator on your side is extremely helpful in securing favorable terms. If negotiation fails, the case goes to trial.
In a litigated divorce, all unresolved issues go to trial before a judge. Each spouse testifies, presents evidence, and makes their case. The judge then decides on all disputed matters like property division, alimony, child custody, and child support based on the evidence and the law. Trials are time-consuming, expensive, and the outcome is unpredictable, so settlement is usually preferable. But sometimes it’s the only option.
Once all issues are resolved via settlement or trial, the divorce judge signs the final judgement of divorce. This legally finalizes the dissolution of the marriage. In New York, divorces are not final until signed by a judge and filed with the court, even if you reach a settlement. The judgement will lay out all binding terms like asset division, spousal support, and child custody arrangements. This closes the case.
If circumstances change substantially after the divorce, like income fluctuations or relocation, either party can file a motion to modify the original judgement. The court will only approve modifications if there has been a significant unanticipated change in circumstances since the judgement was issued. This requires going back to court.
If one spouse fails to comply with any aspect of the divorce judgement, like paying support or abiding by custody terms, the other can file a motion for civil contempt to enforce the judgement. The court can use remedies like wage garnishment or suspension of driver’s licenses to enforce compliance. Your lawyer can pursue enforcement if needed.
Having a knowledgeable divorce lawyer on your side from start to finish makes the process much smoother. Here are some of the key ways a lawyer can help:
Having a lawyer handle the legal complexities allows you to focus on your family and future. It can give you greater peace of mind knowing your rights are being protected.
Not all divorce lawyers are equal. It’s important to do your research to find the best one for your needs. Here are some tips:
Take time to meet with a few potential lawyers in person before deciding. Many provide initial consultations free of charge. Go with your gut feeling on who will represent you best.
While every divorce is unique, most follow a similar trajectory. Understanding the standard process in New York can help you prepare. Here are the typical steps:
Having a basic roadmap of what to expect can make the process feel less daunting. Your lawyer will guide you through each step.
The cost of divorce varies substantially based on the complexity of the case and whether it settles out of court or goes to trial. Simple, uncontested divorces can cost a few thousand dollars, while highly contested litigation with custody disputes and business valuations can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands.
Most divorce lawyers work on an hourly fee basis, ranging from $200-$500+ per hour depending on experience and reputation. You may also incur costs for things like court filing fees, process servers, expert witnesses, business valuations, etc. Some lawyers offer flat-fee options for clearly defined scopes of work. Be sure to understand the lawyer’s fee structure and get a written fee agreement. If cost is a major concern, let the lawyer know upfront so they can suggest ways to streamline the process and keep fees down.
Money issues are central to most divorces. Here are some of the key financial factors to be aware of:
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