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  • How Is Child Custody Awarded?
    Child custody is either agreed to by the parties or decided by the court after a hearing or trial. If the parties cannot agree, then the court will conduct a hearing or trial, and may appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the child. The standard the court applies is “what is in the best interests of the child”. Courts look to stability in the child’s life and balance the ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child or children. A child’s preference is not dispositive and depends on the child’s age.
  • Is Alimony Awarded in New York?
    Alimony is not presently awarded in New York. The courts may award spousal support, during a divorce action (temporary) and after a judgment of divorce. This is known as maintenance. There are now maintenance guidelines, providing a formula to establish the presumptive amount of maintenance to be awarded in a case. The court may deviate if it is established to be unjust or inappropriate.
  • What Will I Need to Prove In My Divorce?
    If the ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown in the marital relationship, then all you need to do is submit an affidavit of the breakdown of the marriage relationship for a minimum of 6 months or more. You would also need to have settled all economic issues of the marriage, equitable distribution, child custody, spousal support and child support, and attorney fees, and submit proof of same.
  • Legal Grounds for Filing For A Divorce?
    There are 7 grounds for obtaining a judgment of Divorce. Irretrievable breakdown in the marriage relationship for a period of at least 6 months. This is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce. Cruel and inhuman treatment. Abandonment for a period of one year. Under this ground there is actual abandonment or constructive abandonment. Constructive abandonment includes unjustified refusal to have sexual relations. An act of adultery. Requires corroboration beyond spouses. Confinement in prison for three or more consecutive years after the marriage. Living separate and apart, pursuant to a Separation Agreement, and substantially complying with the terms thereof. Living separate and apart, pursuant to a Judgment of Separation, and substantially complying with the terms thereof.
  • What Is Joint Custody and How Is It Determined.
    Custody allows the parent to make all major decisions regarding the child. Joint custody allows both parents to make the major decisions. The parties may agree to joint custody and if they can not agree to custody the court will decide after a hearing or trial. The courts will not award joint custody if the parties do not have an amicable relationship or show a lack of ability to work together. After a trial the courts generally do not award joint custody unless the parties show an ability to work together
  • How is Child Support Determined?
    There is a statute that provides the presumptive amount of child support that should be awarded. It is based on the party’s gross income less certain deductions, multiplied by a percentage. The percentage varies based on the number of children. 1 -17%, 2 -25%, 3-29%, 4-31%, 5+-35%. If a parties income exceeds a cap amount, which increases over time, then it is discretionary with the court, based on certain enumerated factors set forth in the statute.
  • What Happens If A Party Does Not Pay Court Ordered Child Support.
    If a party does not pay court ordered child support, the payee spouse may bring a proceeding for contempt, enforcement, or a judgment fixing arrears. Also, a person risks losing driving privileges under certain circumstances. If a contempt order is issued, possible incarceration, among other things.
  • Are Pre-nuptials Agreements Enforceable In New York?
    Pre-nuptials are enforceable in New York if certain formalities are met, the terms of the agreement are not unconscionable, and the maintenance provisions are fair and reasonable at the time of the making of the agreement.
  • Will I Need To Go To Court?
    No. If the matter is settled and resolved, a court appearance is not necessary. It may be done on submission of papers.
  • Where Do I File for Divorce?
    To start a divorce action, papers are filed with the County Clerk (of the county where you or your spouse resides) by E-Filing online through the court program called NYSCEF.
  • Will I Need An Attorney?
    No. However it is advisable if it a longer-term marriage, or there are children or property. There are many nuances and issues that should be left to the experienced attorneys. It is best to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorneys to provide guidance and recommendations.
  • Does My Spouse Have A Claim Over Any Of My Businesses If I File For Divorce?
    If you file for divorce, your spouse may have a claim as to any of our businesses. It depends on when the business was acquired, before or after marriage, if after the marriage, your spouse’s involvement in the business, the length of your marriage and other factors set forth in the Equitable Distribution Laws of New York.
  • How is Property Divided During A Divorce?
    Property is classified as either separate or marital (acquired during the marriage other than by gift or inheritance) (excepting a spouse) and until the commencement of a matrimonial action or execution of a settlement agreement. Marital property is distributed equitably (not necessarily equally) between the parties, considering the circumstances of the case. There are many factors the courts consider. Some factors include, the length of the marriage, age and health of the parties, need for marital residence, loss of inheritance rights or health insurance, liquidity of assets, maintenance awarded, tax consequences, and wasteful dissipation. Each party maintains their separate property, excepting appreciation because of the other spouse’s efforts, unless they commingle it with marital property, or the property is transmuted.
  • What Should Be Done About Retirement Accounts and Pensions During A Divorce?
    Retirement Accounts and Pensions are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce action, if acquired during the marriage. Pensions are generally distributed pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which establishes the other spouses percentage entitlement, in accordance with a formula. Retirement accounts are distributed equitably. The retirement accounts and pensions are divided up and distributed like other marital assets. The order will instruct the plan administrator how to divide and distribute the accounts or plans.
  • I Just Recently Moved To New York, Can I file For Divorce Here?
    No, except if the cause of action for divorce occurred here and both parties are residents of New York when the action is commenced. There are residency requirements that must be satisfied to file for a divorce in New York. Generally, one of the parties would need to be a resident for one year, with the above exception

Frequently Asked Questions

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