The Spodek Law Group is a premier NYC divorce law firm, ready to assist you with all of your legal needs. At the Spodek Law Group, we understand that facing a divorce can be a dreadful experience. Having the wrong attorney can make it even worse.
We know that going through a divorce is not an easy feat. Every aspect of your life is impacted by the divorce proceedings. Your health is the first thing to be impacted, the emotional drain of a divorce can be devastating. We empathize with what you’re going through, and know that you need an attorney whose unafraid of using aggressive strategies – if necessary, in order to protect you and your rights.
If you’re about to start a contested divorce, now is the time to speak to a competent NYC divorce attorney who can help you.
Divorce cases can take forever – hire a competent NYC divorce lawyer to help
There’s several reasons why a divorce case can drag on. If you and your spouse agree on all of the issues, then you have an uncontested divorce. This is an ideal situation, because the divorce is just a legal formality. Many states offer a fast track divorce, which is also known as a simple divorce, for people with no children, limited assets, etc. If the couples meet the requirements for a simple divorce, they can finalize their divorce in a matter of weeks or months. On the other hand, a divorce can take much longer, and become more costly, if you and your spouse disagree about the issues in the divorce.
Child custody and child support are major reasons why divorces take forever – questions about where kids will live, who will pay support for the kids, and how much support is appropriate
Alimony – whether either spouse is really entitled to spousal support or not
Division of property and debt – which spouse gets what
If both you and your spouse agree on all issues, the divorce proceeds seamlessly. If you disagree, then the case will take much longer to finish. Each contested issue in the divorce has to be investigated. If you and your spouse complete the discovery, and cannot resolve your issues, then you’ll have to go to court hearings, and even a divorce trial. All of this adds time to the divorce process. The more legal issues you can work out with your spouse, the faster the case proceeds. It truly is that simple!
The divorce process has phases
The divorce process consists of many events which happen in a predetermined timeframe. For example, once a spouse files the petition, there’s a 30 day period within which the other spouse is allowed to file the response. After that, there’s a divorce discovery process where you and your spouse exchange financial documents and other info relevant to your case. This takes an average of 60-90 days. It’s not unusual for the court to extend this period if it needs more information. Courts prefer it when couples resolve their differences on their own. It’s typical for courts to schedule a conference where divorce attorneys can help you resolve your differences. If it’s unsuccessful, a court may also order a meditation in order to resolve the issues at hand.
There are certain things which can prolong the divorce process.
Motions and hearings: One example of this is when a spouse seeks temporary support, for themselves/children until the divorce is finalized. The spouse who is requested the support will file a motion to have the court determine if support is needed, and if so – how much. The other spouse then has a certain amount of time to file a written response to this request. Usually, the filing spouse is given an opportunity to reply. It can take a month or more for the court to decide a motion. Motion for temporary custody, or parenting time, etc, may require a hearing where the spouses and other experts will testify.
Spouse with a vendetta: Many spouses have an axe to grind against the other. They take a combative attitude, or their attorney does. Bitterness is a by-product of a broken marriage. It’s not unusual for this to result in the divorce taking forever. The bottom line is, being combative can drag the divorce on. This is not a good idea, because the longer it takes – the higher the attorney fees pile up.
What will my NYC divorce lawyer do?
Your divorce lawyer has several tasks he or she is going to take care of, such as drafting paperwork, filing documents, and managing deadlines. You aren’t required to know the laws of your state, your NYC divorce lawyer is. Your experienced NYC divorce attorney will take care of your divorce and help you with all of the issues you face. Your only job is to sign documents, provide facts and information about your legal situation, and respond promptly to your divorce attorney.
Your first divorce consultation is at your lawyer’s office. At the first meeting, your attorney will ask you questions, listen to your case, and walk you through the divorce legal process. Most attorneys will give you divorce forms to fill out during, or after, the first meeting. Your divorce attorney will explain the “strategy,” for your case. Some people want an attorney who will be aggressive, while other people want to play a bigger role in the process and tell the attorney what to do. For example, if you and your spouse are still on good terms, it’s important to work with your spouse and compromise where possible. It also means, you want your attorney to work collaboratively with the other side, instead of fanning the flames of war. Mediation, or collaborative divorce, may be correct for your case – especially if there’s a chance you and your spouse can agree on big issues like alimony, etc. If you know your spouse is going to fight you every step of the way, or if there’s a history of domestic violence, then it’s good to have an aggressive divorce lawyer who understands your situation. Ultimately, your divorce attorney’s strategy will depend on the circumstances of your exact case.
Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about divorce proceedings.
What is a no-fault divorce?
Generally speaking, the only way to get a divorce is to prove your spouse did something that is recognized as justification for a divorce. In other words, the spouse has to do something that would be at fault for breaking the marriage. The most common reasons for fault, are adultery, spousal abuse, being sentenced to prison, or insanity. This makes it difficult to get a divorce. Often, a lot of time and effort is spent proving the other party was at fault. In New York, it’s possible to get a no-fault divorce, which allows one party to simply state he/she no longer wishes to be married.
What’s an uncontested divorce
Uncontested divorces are one in which there is no contest, and there are no disputes to the complaint or petition. Both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement. A case where there is full agreement, is sometimes called a consent divorce.
What are the procedures for a divorce?
The way to begin a divorce is filing a document with the court called a Complaint or Petition. A copy of the complaint is served to your spouse. This may not be necessary in some cases, if you and your spouse are in agreement. You and your spouse will be given a number of days to respond to the complaint. How the case proceeds from there will depend on how your spouse responds.
How do I file for divorce?
Divorces legally end a marriage. The process begins by completing the necessary paperwork and filing it with the court. There are many state laws that regulate a divorce. It’s important to check for the necessary paperwork needed, in addition to making sure you serve/notify your spouse of the impending divorce. An individual can only file for divorce in the state where they reside. Virtually states require that a person reside in the state for a period of time, before filing for a divorce in the state. In order to begin the divorce, you have to file a complaint/petition. By filing this, you’re asking the court to end the marriage. Complaints refer to parties as plaintiff and defendant. Petitions name the parties as petitioner, and respondent. The person filing for divorce is either called the plaintiff or petitioner. After the petition is filed, you have to notify your spouse you’ve filed for divorce. Having the complaint/petition handed to your spouse in person is the preferred method of service. Other forms of service can be permitted, such as mailing the document to your spouse. After your spouse has been served, the court begins the process of terminating the marriage. Often, there’s a period of waiting, before the divorce is finalized. These period vary state by state. There are many factors which affect the process. Some couples work through the issues involved in divorce, such as children, property, assets, etc, without involving attorneys. Others need the help of an NYC divorce attorney to protect their interests. There are other options, besides divorce, such as mediation and collaborative divorce – if you think you can come to an agreement and settle your issues outside of court.
What are grounds for divorce in NY?
There are many grounds for divorce in New York. In October of 2010, NY became the last state to enact a no-fault divorce ground. Most divorces are now brought under this ground. There are are many grounds for divorce in NY, such as: cruel treatment, abandonment of plaintiff by the defendant, confinement of the defendant in prison, commission of voluntary adultery, living apart due to separation, and many others. It’s extremely difficult to determine how much a divorce will cost, but it can be expensive depending on the grounds and whether the divorce is contested.
Divorces range from a few thousand dollars to over 100 thousand dollars. Each case is unique. It’s hard to say how much it will cost. Divorces are now very routine, and will likely be granted in most cases. It’s important that before you proceed with a divorce, you speak to a qualified NYC divorce attorney who can prepare you for what to expect. You are under no obligation to hire an NYC divorce attorney, but the fact is – hiring a divorce lawyer can make the process smoother and easier. Although you may not like the idea of having to hire a divorce attorney, doing so may be the best decision you make ever. An experienced NYC divorce lawyer will make sure to protect your rights.
What Options Do I Have if I Don’t Have the Money for a Lawyer?
If you have decided that you want to get divorced from your spouse, you might be going through a lot already. There are often a lot of feelings and emotions that go along with getting a divorce, and you could also be worried about finances. In fact, you might be concerned that you cannot even afford to hire a lawyer to help you get your divorce. This can be a tough spot to be in, but you should know that you do not have to remain stuck in an unhappy marriage just because you are lacking in cash. These are some of the options that you can look into if you don’t have the money to hire a divorce lawyer to assist you with your case.
Handling the Divorce Yourself
Obviously, the most affordable option for getting a divorce is to do it yourself. If you search online, you will be able to find quite a few resources that will allow you to print out divorce documents that are designed to be used in your state. If you carefully follow the instructions, you can fill out these documents yourself. Then, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse both sign them, you can file them with the court and follow the instructions that you are given there. In many cases, you will be asked to pay a filing fee. Depending on where you live, however, you might be able to ask to have your filing fee waived.
Of course, this can seem like an appealing option if you are short on cash. However, it’s important to proceed with caution when attempting to handle your divorce on your own. In many cases, you will be better off hiring a professional lawyer to assist you to help ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.
Working with a Mediator
The courts in your area might assign you to a mediator that can help you and your spouse through your divorce. The mediator will be a trained professional who is accustomed to working on these cases, but he or she will more than likely not be an attorney. The mediator can help serve as a neutral party and might be a good idea if you and your spouse are generally amicable about things in regards to the dissolution of your marriage.
Looking for Low-Cost Legal Options
In many cities, there are legal aid offices that are designed to help set up residents with the legal representation that they need, even if they can’t afford it. Through your local legal aid office, you may be able to find out about a pro bono lawyer who will take your divorce case for free, particularly if you don’t bring in much of an income. Otherwise, legal aid may be able to tell you about low-cost options in your area.
Negotiating with an Attorney
If you talk to a local divorce attorney, you can find out about his or her rates. You might find that it’s more affordable to hire a good private attorney than you think. Plus, the lawyer might be able to help with other options, such as suing your spouse for his or her legal fees.
If you want to get a divorce but if you do not have the money to hire a lawyer, you could be worried about what is going to happen next. You probably want to ensure that you are protected in your divorce, and you might also be concerned about any children that are involved. Luckily, you do have some options. These are a few things that you can look into if you are unable to pay for the legal representation that you need during this difficult time in your life.
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