New York Family lawyer

Child custody:

Child custody is an important issue that must be resolved in a divorce.  When divorcing, you can enter into custodial arrangements that make sense for you and your children.  Given that there is legal custody and physical custody, A New York family law lawyer will advise you to understand the two and decide what would be in the best interest of the child.  Legal custody is the ability to decide on the child’s care, including education and medical choices while physical custody deals with where the child will reside and when (aka “Parenting Time”).   With respect to legal custody, there are sole custody to one parent or joint custody where both parents make decisions together.  For Parenting Time, it can be structured in many ways:  50/50 split between the parents; sole physical custody to one parent with alternating weekends and holidays, or any other arrangements in the best interest of the child.

Child Support:

The amount of child support paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent is determined under the Child Support Standards Act. To determine child support, a court reviews both parents’ income and expenses associated with the children.

Child visitation and access:

It is essential for children to spend time with their parents. The noncustodial parent has the right to visit with their children.  If you have any problem with visitation and access, call our office, and we can help you get parenting time with your children.

Enforcement of judgment:

When your divorce is finalized, both parties must follow the terms of the Judgement of Divorce.  When your ex-spouse is not following the conditions, we work with you to ensure your interests are protected.

Spousal maintenance:

You may be entitled to pay or receive spousal maintenance during a physical separation or following a divorce.  Under the Domestic Relation Law, the amount of the spousal maintenance is determined by certain formulas.  We can help determine approximation of your spousal maintenance.

Establishing paternity:

Under New York State law, a child born to unmarried parents has no legal father.  To establish paternity, the parents can complete the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP).  If they fail to meet the requirements of the AOP, they can establish paternity by filing a paternity petition in family court.

Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements:

Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements are contracts entered between two individuals before or during a marriage or civil union.  These agreements allow a couple to discuss and settle their financial disputes in a divorce.  However, marital issues dealing with custody, visitation and support of unborn children cannot be included in these agreements in New York.

Property Division:

New York is an equitable distribution state which means an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts.  In most instances, it does result in 50/50 distribution but not in all cases as the court has the power to determine what equitable means on a case by case basis.

Orders of Protection:

During the pendency of a divorce action, orders of protection (prohibiting a party from doing certain behaviors) may be requested to protest the safety of persons.  If you feel that your safety is at issue, please call our office.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a divorce proceeding?

An action for divorce is started by filing a Summons or Summons and Complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Once the initial divorce paperwork is filed in court, it must be served personally on your spouse and an affidavit of personal service must be filed in court within 120 days.

What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

There are 6 grounds for divorce in New York.

  1. No-fault divorce relationship broken down irretrievably for at least 6 months.
  2. Living apart pursuant to a separation agreement.
  3. Cruel and inhuman treatment.
  4. Confinement is prison or mental institution.
  5. Constructive abandonment (cessation of sexual intercourse).
  6. Abandonment

Should I file my divorce in New York or somewhere else?

You can file for divorce in the state where you or your spouse resides. To file in New York, one of the following residence requirements must be met:

  1. You and your spouse were married in the state and either party is a resident when the divorce action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding the divorce.
  2. You and your spouse have resided in this state as husband and wide and either party is a resident when the divorce action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding the divorce.
  3. The ground for divorce occurred in this state and either party has been a resident for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the divorce action.
  4. The ground for divorce occurred in this state and both parties are residents at the time of the divorce action.
  5. Either party has been a resident of this state for at least two years immediately preceding the start of the divorce action.

What do I need to do if I Have Children?

You will file your initial divorce paperwork and address all the issues regarding your children such as, but not limited to; custody arrangements, visitation and time-sharing, child support, and medical coverage.

How can I serve my spouse if we don’t live together?

We would need a photo of your spouse to identify and serve him or her with the initial divorce paperwork.

Can I get a divorce if I cannot find my spouse?

Yes, if you have conducted a due diligence search for your spouse.

How much Are the New York Filing and/or Court Fees?

The filing and/or court fees range from $350 to $400.

How long does the divorce process take in New York?

It depends how busy the court is. It usually takes between 3-6 months. We have no control over when the judge will sign the divorce decree.

Who should file the divorce paperwork?

For uncontested divorces, the spouse who wishes to finalize the divorce files the divorce paperwork.

Can I change my name?

You can request to resume the use of your prior surname.

When is the Divorce Actually Finalized in New York?

The divorce is finalized when a Judge signs the final judgment or decree. It typically takes between 3-6 months from the filing date, but this will vary due to case load at the courthouse.