You have decided to get a divorce. It is a day filled with sadness, regret, and maybe some relief or hope. In most cases, the dissolution of marriage takes place because the marital life was not working. Sometimes there can be amicable, uncontested divorces where both spouses agree that there are “irreconcilable differences” On the other end of the spectrum there are long, messy, painful divorces where one or both spouses are not on board with the process or decisions being made. This is a contested divorce. In either case and the many in between, you absolutely want to have an experienced Suffolk County divorce & separation attorney. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will guide you through every step of the process, from filing the initial agreement to the very end when it is finalized. Read on to learn more about the divorce process in New York and how our team can help.
How does the divorce process work in New York?
The divorce process in NY can be long and leave you fatigued and drained. But with an experienced lawyer, you can get to the end easier and more efficiently.
When one or both parties meet the residency requirements in New York State a court will establish jurisdiction. Following the satisfaction of residency requirements, there will be ‘ grounds’ for divorce established. In New York State there exists a no-fault divorce. This is when both parties agree that there was an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage for at least 6 months. In other words, there is no proof of grounds for divorce necessary.
However, an individual does have the right to cite fault grounds. In this case, you must prove one of the following; adultery, extreme cruelty, or at least one year of abandonment or imprisonment. At this point in time, you will file for divorce. The person who files for the divorce is then known as the plaintiff and the spouse becomes the defendant. The second step is the serving of the defendant. Once a complaint is filed, your spouse has some time to respond.
During this period, you will want to have the assistance of trusted legal guidance. They will be able to review your case and establish a plan of action. The defendant may then respond with an “answer.” This means the divorce is contested. Speaking to your lawyer at this point is a good idea. If the defendant signs the “Affidavit of Defendent,” they are agreeing to the divorce. If the defendant “defaults,” meaning does not provide a response of any kind, you must complete more papers. If the divorce is approved, the judge will sign the Judgment of Divorce. In a contested divorce there may be much more paperwork necessary as well as potential trials. If there are children under the age of 21, there will be child support and custody determinations necessary to complete the process.
With so much at stake, it’s imperative that you hire a seasoned divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and the future of your family through each step of the process. Contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel today.