Compassionate, Skilled Divorce Representation
Ending a marriage can be one of the most difficult and stressful experiences of a person’s life. In addition to an emotional and financial partnership, marriage is also a legal partnership, which means a divorcing couple must meet specific legal requirements to end their marriage in New York.
If you are considering divorce, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney. Our divorce lawyers can help you ensure a fair and favorable divorce agreement. With representation from Frost & Kavanaugh, you’ll be positioned for success every step of the way.
New York Divorce Laws
New York is a “no fault” state, which means either party to the marriage can obtain a divorce without the need for showing grounds, such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, adultery, or something else.
Divorce cases are handled by the state Supreme Court in New York. A marriage legally ends in divorce once a judge signs a Judgment of Divorce. Before a judge will do so, the couple’s financial and parenting issues must be resolved. Ideally, these issues can be worked out between the divorcing spouses with the assistance of their attorneys and without the intervention of the courts.
Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses want to get divorced and they have reached agreement on financial and parenting issues. A contested divorce occurs when one party doesn’t want to get a divorce, or the spouses disagree about financial or parenting issues.
Grounds For Divorce In New York
The most common grounds for divorce in New York are:
- Irretrievable breakdown in the relationship. This is often called a “no-fault” divorce. It occurs when a marriage has been irretrievably “broken” for a period of six months or more. This is the most common grounds for divorce because only one spouse is required to allege irretrievable breakdown even if the other spouse disagrees.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment. This includes physical, verbal, or emotional abuse within the last five years that makes it unsafe for one spouse to stay in the marriage.
- Abandonment. If one spouse left the other for a period of a year or more, this can be a ground for divorce.
- Imprisonment. If a person’s spouse began a prison sentence after the marriage started and he or she was in prison for three or more years in a row, this can be a ground for divorce.
- Adultery. This can be a difficult ground to prove, as the accusing spouse’s testimony alone is not sufficient to prove adultery.
- Separation agreement. If the spouses sign and file a valid separation agreement and live apart for one year, this can be a ground for a divorce.
Division Of Property In New York
There are two types of property that are considered in a divorce proceeding:
- Marital property includes all property bought by either spouse during the marriage (regardless of whose name the property is in, in most cases). This includes things like the couple’s house, car, and the money in their bank accounts. It can also include pensions and retirement plans.
- Separate property is property that a spouse owned before the marriage. Inheritances, personal injury payments, or gifts (from someone besides their spouse) that a spouse receives during the marriage are also considered separate property.
New York Equitable Distribution Law
If the divorcing couple can’t agree regarding the division of property, their property will be divided equitably by the court. Equitably does not always mean equally. New York’s Equitable Distribution Law requires that a judge divides a couple’s property as fairly as possible and each spouse gets to keep their separate property.
What Is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance refers to payments that one ex-spouse may be required to make to the other after a divorce. A spouse may also be required to pay the other temporary maintenance during a contested divorce while the divorce is proceeding.
Guidelines For Spousal Maintenance
New York enacted guidelines for spousal maintenance in 2016. If the divorcing couple can’t agree on spousal maintenance, the court uses these guidelines to determine how much should be paid, if any.
The spousal maintenance guidelines consider a variety of factors, such as
- How much each spouse makes
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether one spouse is paying child support
- The spouses’ age and health, earning capacity
- Whether one spouse had a history of limited participation in the workforce (for example, staying home to raise children)
- The standard of living the couple had during the marriage
- Contributions a spouse made to the other spouse’s career
Compassionate Advocates With Your Best Interests In Mind
At Frost & Kavanaugh, we believe that you are the best person to decide what is right for you and your family, not a lawyer or a judge. We are proud to say that over 95% of our divorce and family law clients are able to settle their divorce cases without having to go to trial.
We offer reasonable rates and will quote you a retainer fee that reflects the expected work to be performed, depending upon the complexity of each case. Our retainer fee for divorce generally begins at $3,500. Each client’s case is unique, and the amount of work required is mostly dependent upon the client’s needs, choices and stated goals.
If you are considering hiring a divorce attorney, schedule a consultation with Frost & Kavanaugh. During your consultation, we’ll discuss all the details of your case with you.