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New York Divorce & Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

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In something as complex as a divorce, you are bound to have quite a few questions. Some of the questions we encounter most frequently at Winkler Kurtz, LLP, are answered below. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions you may have. When you are ready to discuss the specifics of your case, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.

What are the residency requirements for a New York Divorce?

To file for divorce in New York, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least one year, and the parties must have been married in New York State, resided in New York State as husband and wife, or the cause of action must have occurred in New York State, or both parties lived in New York State for two years prior to filing.

What are the grounds for a New York divorce?

New York is a no-fault state, which means that you may simply site irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage for a period of 6 months or more as your reason for divorcing. You may also file for a fault-based divorce, which means that your spouse is to blame for the failure of the marriage. Examples of typical faults include adultery, abuse, drug addiction, and incarceration.

How is child support calculated in New York?

New York State calculates child support payments using a formula that considers both parents’ income and the number of children being supported.

How is spousal support in New York determined?

New York State also has a statutory formula for spousal support and the courts consider 20 factors when determining spousal support, including the relative income of both spouses, the length of the marriage, and the ability of each spouse to become self-supporting.

Who will get custody of the children?

The court considers the child’s best interests when determining child custody orders. Often, the parent who has been the child’s primary caretaker is given preference in child custody arrangements.

How is marital property divided under New York’s equitable distribution law?

Under equitable distribution law, marital property is divided at the court’s discretion in a manner the court deems fair. The judge considers 13 factors, including each spouse’s earning potential, age, and health, when determining how the property is to be divided.

What is marital property?

Marital property is property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whether the asset is held jointly or in an individual spouse’s name.

What is separate property?

Separate property consists of property acquired by one spouse before or after the marriage, or property received by one spouse as an inheritance or gift. If during the marriage one spouse uses separate property to purchase another asset, that asset may also be considered separate property. Separate property is not divided in divorce proceedings.

Who gets the house?

If the marital residence qualifies as marital property and not one spouse’s separate property, it may be awarded to either spouse during the process of equitable distribution of property. There are many ways to divide equity in a home, including requiring one spouse to “buy out” the other’s share. When matters are left to the judge, the spouse with custody of minor children is often awarded the home.

Do I need to hire an attorney?

Even the most agreeable divorcing couples are unlikely to have considered every detail that goes into writing a thorough divorce agreement. An experienced family lawyer will make sure that you consider things you might not have thought of on your own. Hiring an attorney to guide you through negotiations and draft your agreement is vital if you want to avoid misunderstandings, disagreements, and unintended consequences down the road. You should always review any matrimonial agreement with a qualified attorney prior to signing the agreement.

How do I choose the best attorney to hire?

On your initial phone call, ask about their experience with family law and their access to specialized resources specific to your situation. For example, will you also need estate planning, mediation, or services related to wills and trusts? Now is the time to ensure the firm can meet your needs. Ask about what type of client they typically represent. Do you feel the firm’s interests are aligned with yours?

How much will my divorce cost?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions, and unfortunately also one of the most difficult to answer. At a high level, the shorter a divorce case lasts, the less expensive it will be. The cost of a divorce will also be affected by how well the spouses can cooperate, the complexity of their financial situation, and whether issues such as child custody and support are contested. If you can reach a settlement without going to trial, your case will cost significantly less.

How do I make an appointment for a consultation?

To schedule a complimentary case evaluation, contact us or call us at (631) 928-8000 or fill out the form and we will be in touch shortly. We look forward to speaking with you.

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