Many people dream of finding the perfect mate to settle down with and marry. Whether you married your high school sweetheart or met a spouse later in life, plans are made to build a life together. Unfortunately, when a marriage fails, the fallout can bring feelings of loss and sadness.
Dissolving a marriage is a layered process that often creates more questions than answers. Having reliable legal information can help in the effort to protect the best interests of you and your family. In order to safeguard the future, it’s a wise decision to enlist the services of an experienced Queens lawyer.
In a divorce, determining child custody can be one of the most heated issues between spouses. Parents can help children adapt to the transition by constructing a solid parenting plan. In this official document, spouses work to come up with agreements on matters such as visitation and medical choices. If parents can agree on all the fundamental points, the court is more likely to grant the wishes of the caregivers.
Many parents have concern over custody arrangements and how a divorce will affect their children. In New York, there are two forms of custody – physical and legal. Legal custody allows caregivers to make important life choices regarding their children, such as medical care and religious affiliation. Physical custody refers to where the children live.
Custody cases in Queens, New York, as elsewhere in the state, start with the assumption that joint visitation is in the best interests of the children. If the court determines a parent is unfit to raise his or her children, however, custody will be denied.
Child support obligations in New York can be estimated by using the state calculator. Although there are many additional factors involved in determining child support, it’s possible to get an approximate monthly payment amount. Factors that help determine child support include:
- The gross annual income of each parent
- The number of children
- The amount of parenting time of each spouse
A family judge will assess applicable expenses, such as health-related costs for the children, alimony and child support from other marriages.
When a couple gets married, the assets and debts acquired from that point on belong to both spouses. In New York, property is classified as either separate or marital. Property owned prior to the marriage is not divided in a divorce unless the assets have become commingled with marital items. In such cases, it becomes necessary to prove to the court how separate property is independent of marital assets.
Division Of Property
New York divorces are subject to equitable property division laws. Under equitable distribution guidelines, property is allocated between spouses in a fair and reasonable manner, but this doesn’t mean the division is evenly split down the middle. The court will use certain factors, such as the length of the marriage and the earning potential of each spouse, when dispersing property. Items that are commonly divided include:
- Real estate
- Retirement accounts
- Household furnishings
- Credit card debt
In New York, it’s possible to end a marriage under no-fault or fault laws. Filing for no-fault divorce only requires that parties agree that the relationship has been broken for at least six months. To seek a fault divorce, certain grounds must exist, such as imprisonment or abandonment. Other options for couples in crisis include filing for legal separation or pursing an annulment.
A legal separation is a civil action that addresses many issues a divorce does, such as property allocation and child custody matters; however, couples remain married. In New York, there are no residency time limits to pursue a legal separation, as long as both spouses are citizens of the state at the start of the filing process. In order to pursue a legal separation, grounds such as cruel treatment, adultery or imprisonment need to exist.
In some ways, a legal separation can be thought of as a trial run to divorce. Because the marriage is not dissolved, spouses are able to remain on the health coverage of the other spouse and can file a joint tax return, among other financial advantages.
Annulments are more uncommon than divorce. Annulling a marriage rests on proving to the court that a specific ground exists. If granted by a judge, the union is treated as though it never legally occurred. In New York, one of the following conditions must exist:
- Close family relation
- Force or fraud
- Incurable insanity
- Inability to consummate the marriage
Obtaining an annulled marriage requires that the court is satisfied with the evidence in proving the ground. Without ample proof, by way of corroborating witnesses or clear documentation, many petitions to nullify a union are dismissed.
When spouses choose alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach divorce agreements, the process involves using a neutral third party to help with negotiations. ADR saves time by avoiding an adversarial process and, as a result, is a cost-effective method. Because spouses have more control over the outcome, they are more likely to honor agreements.
In ADR, the result can be binding (legal) or nonbinding (recommendations), depending on the intended goals. If spouses choose nonbinding ADR, a court trial may be necessary to reach a divorce agreement.
A divorce can cause a great deal of uncertainty regarding the future. The unfortunate part is that ending a marriage can affect the emotional and financial well-being of a family. The legal decisions that need to be addressed can impact individuals for years to come. For this reason, it’s wise to enlist the help of an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer can help in the effort to reach intended objectives, handle negotiations and, if necessary, prepare for trial.
Selecting an attorney is an important decision that can make a difference in the outcome of your case. Divorce statutes are very specific; therefore, it’s wise to select a legal professional that has a practice concentrated on family law. When you work with an attorney that has had success representing other families in Queens with divorce issues, you gain invaluable help in the effort to achieve your desired outcome.
To begin the divorce process or learn more about the legal options available to you, fill out the care review form to speak with with a experienced local divorce attorney in Queens, NY.