Suffolk County Divorce Lawyer
Divorce Lawyer – Suffolk County – New York
The Law Office of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., assists clients facing divorce through representation in contested and uncontested divorces, negotiated settlements and mediation. We also advise and draft prenuptial agreements for couples planning to marry, which establish legal guidelines should they divorce.
New York Grounds for Divorce
New York is a fault-based divorce state, which means that grounds for divorce must be proven in order to dissolve a marriage. A divorce will be granted when one of the following five grounds exists:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Abandonment for one year or more
- Imprisonment for three years or more
- Living separate and apart for one year or more
The State of New York has recently added an additional ground for divorce which involves the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. The new law requires that an individual seeking a divorce submit an affidavit stating that the marital relationship has broken down over a period of six months.
Uncontested and Contested Divorces
There are two major types of divorce in New York: uncontested and contested.
An uncontested divorce is one in which little to no disagreement exists regarding the terms of the divorce, and both spouses are able agree on aspects such as child custody, child support, visitation rights, equitable distribution of property and spousal support.
When a divorce is uncontested, it is resolved out of court. Your divorce lawyer will prepare the papers, and once the documents are signed by both parties, they will
be submitted to the court for review. The divorce process is simple, less costly and less stressful when courtroom battles are avoided. An uncontested divorce also is granted by the courts much more quickly than a contested divorce.
In a contested divorce, spouses are in conflict regarding aspects of the divorce and are unable to reach an agreement. In such instances, a lawsuit is filed for divorce, and if the parties cannot reach a settlement, the divorce will go to trial. While a settlement could still be reached during any point of the trial, litigation involves appearing in court, each party’s case being presented by their attorney, a law guardian (lawyer) being assigned to protect the children’s interests and other legal procedures. The courtroom atmosphere is a much more adversarial setting than negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods conducted outside of court. Litigation involves significantly higher fees and also is more time consuming.
Even when a divorce is contested, we still strive to negotiate a settlement and in many cases are able to do so. Having represented thousands of divorce cases and other family law matters, Susan Kassel is an aggressive litigator when necessary to protect her client’s interests.
Under certain circumstances (usually when parties are willing to discuss resolution and their disputes are of minimal intensity), mediation can be used to avoid the expense and time involved with litigation. In mediation, a neutral third party listens to both sides of the issues and guides the spouses into reaching an agreement. Mediation is conducted in an informal, private setting where cooperation and discussion is encouraged and, generally, more satisfactory settlements can be reached.
In New York, a prenuptial agreement is viewed as a legal and binding contract entered into by a couple before marriage. Provided that the drafted premarital agreement meets all legal requirements, it will be upheld in a court of law and take precedence over state laws regarding equitable property division during divorce. Situations in which couples may benefit from a prenuptial agreement often exist when one spouse brings substantially more assets or financial means to the marriage and wishes to maintain separate ownership. Examples of circumstances in which a prenuptial agreement would be appropriate include when a party has a pension, a
family trust, real estate, business assets, future income, increased business value or inheritances or wants to preserve the rights of children from a previous marriage.
By establishing a prenuptial agreement, a couple can protect financial interests and avoid most issues involving property division should they divorce. A prenuptial
agreement also may address divorce-settlement terms regarding spousal support.
The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., provides a free initial consultation to discuss divorce matters. The length of the consultation may be limited based on
attorney discretion. We encourage you to explore a client–attorney relationship with our firm and find out how you could benefit by calling 631-738-6761
to arrange a consultation.
The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel in Ronkonkoma, New York focuses on the practice areas of Criminal Law, Family Law, Divorce and Estate Planning & Probate.
We serve Suffolk County and the local communities of Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, Bayshore, Islip, Holtsville, Stony Brook and Babylon. Contact a skilled Suffolk County Divorce Attorney.