Diana is taking on limited contested Divorce work at this time. This section is written for informational purposes only, to aid in your understanding of the multiple parts of a divorce action.
One part of a divorce action involves the unemancipated children of a couple: addressing the issues of custody, visitation and child support which is generally based upon the formula in the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA).
Another part of all divorce actions is the division of marital property and debt by a method called equitable distribution. This division includes all bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, automobiles, household furnishings and all other personal and real property, as well as all debt. The general rule is that any asset purchased/obtained or debt incurred from the date of the marriage until the date the divorce action is commenced will be marital property and will be distributed by the Court in your divorce action. It does not matter who holds title to any of the real or personal property or who incurred the debt. There are exceptions to what will be considered marital property and debt, and how that comes to be, but that is something best left for you to discuss in detail with your attorney.
Maintenance, formerly “alimony”, sometimes referred to as spousal support, is another issue that is determined in a divorce action. New York has moved to use of a formula for determination of maintenance, taking a great deal of the court’s discretion in these determinations away.
Of course, the divorce itself is part of the action. Although New York does have specific grounds for divorce, “no-fault” divorce has become the most common grounds. The basis for this “no-fault” is a claim that the marriage “has been irretrievably broken for a period of six months or more.” The other grounds include, but are not limited to, cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery, abandonment for a year or more, three years imprisonment, and living substantially by the terms of a written separation agreement or judgment of separation for a year or more.
For a contested divorce, there is further information below setting forth the steps involved in such an action, and what you can expect. It is a lengthy and detailed process.
If there is a separation agreement in place, or a judgment of separation, which both parties still agree to at the time of the divorce action, then you can bring an action for what is often called a “conversion” divorce. . This is discussed in more detail in the section about Uncontested Divorce, which this office does on a fixed fee basis. See Fixed Fees.
This is merely a brief overview of certain aspects of a divorce action which you may find helpful for informational purposes only.
If you need to discuss divorce actions, planning for divorce or consulting on your pro se divorce, please Contact Diana, or call 315-565-2760.