Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?
Because divorce law can be complicated, you should meet with a lawyer — even if you think your divorce will be uncontested.
If you have parenting or financial issues to work out, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes like divorce mediation or collaborative family law. These out-of-court processes often save time and money, reduce stress, and even improve relationships between parents and their children after divorce. ADR may not be appropriate in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, or where one spouse cannot locate the other.
What if I cannot locate my spouse?
New York state law requires that the defendant in a divorce action be personally served with the Summons with Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint. To have your spouse served in any other way, you must get permission from the court. Our office will help you, just call us today.
What is the difference between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?
UNCONTESTED: Your divorce will be uncontested if both you and your spouse:
-Want to get a divorce
-Agree about what will happen with your children, your finances, your property after the divorce
If your divorce is uncontested, and you and your spouse have reached agreement on all financial and parenting issues.
If you have not reached an agreement, and you think you and your spouse could come to an agreement with some help, you might want to consider divorce mediation or collaborative family law.
CONTESTED: Your divorce will be contested if either you or your spouse:
-Do not want to get a divorce
-Disagree about the grounds (legal reasons) for the divorce
-Disagree about what will happen with your children, your finances, your property after the divorce
Because the judge will require detailed information to decide the issues you disagree about, your contested divorce will require you and your spouse to go to the Supreme Court numerous times. If your divorce will be contested, you should seriously consider finding a lawyer to represent you.
What is a Statement of Net Worth?
A Statement of Net Worth is a form required by the court where you list all of your financial information in detail — income, expenses, assets, property and debts. It is a sworn statement that must be signed in front of a notary public before it is submitted.
How can I get a divorce using a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is a written contract between a husband and wife that divides all the important aspects of the couple’s lives: care and custody of children, money and property, and more. The husband and wife must be living separate and apart for a period of at least one year after signing a separation agreement to use it for a divorce. Because these and many other technical requirements for the contract to be considered a legal separation agreement, it is difficult to get divorced using a separation agreement unless you have a lawyer. Collaborative lawyers or divorce mediators may also be able to help.
What types of cases that are related to divorce can be heard in Family Court?
Although you cannot get a divorce in Family Court, Family Court judges hear cases involving child abuse and neglect (child protection), adoption, child custody and visitation, support, domestic violence, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, paternity, and persons in need of supervision (PINS).
In New York State, a married person may file a petition in the Family Court seeking spousal support from their husband or wife. A divorced person cannot seek a new order of spousal support in Family Court — that would need to be done in Supreme Court. However, a divorced person can ask the Family Court to modify (change) an already existing order of support.
If parents are already involved in a divorce case in Supreme Court, a request for child support should be made in the Supreme Court so that all the issues can be heard together.
What is custody?
Custody is a parent’s legal right to control his or her child’s upbringing. It may also be referred to as parenting. A parent who does not have custody will still likely be entitled to visitation, also known as spending time with the child(ren). Both parents have a legal right to ask for custody and visitation in a divorce proceeding.
What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
Custody has two parts: legal and physical.
Legal custody: the right to make major decisions about your child. This includes where your child goes to school, what kind of religious training a child receives, whether your child gets surgery.
Physical custody: who the child lives with on a day-to-day basis. A parent with primary physical custody is sometimes called the “custodial parent” or the child’s “primary caretaker.”
How will a judge decide custody?
When determining custody and visitation, a judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child(ren).