Frequently Asked Questions

The answer to this question varies based on the cooperation between the two spouses. Generally, the shorter the duration of the divorce, the less expensive it will be. The reason behind this is that when divorce proceedings are shorter in length, the soon to be ex-spouses are in agreement over the major issues. If parties are contesting fundamental issues, such as child custody and support or maintenance, litigation may become necessary.

Depending upon the complexity of your case, a divorce can take anywhere from a few months to over a year from start to finish. Whether there are contested issues is also a factor that determines the length of time the process will take.

There are many factors that contribute to a judge’s calculation of maintenance including the length of the marriage, the spouse’s earning potential, the health conditions of both spouses, the presence of children, and anything else the judge deems relevant, including a statutory calculation guideline. Temporary maintenance is generally awarded as the case proceeds to the lower income spouse depending upon a specific formula used in New York State.

Filing for divorce is a process begun by filing a document with the court that is called a Complaint or a Petition, depending upon the state in which you live. Some states call the procedure a divorce, and some call it a dissolution of marriage. A copy of the Complaint is served on (or officially delivered to) your spouse, usually by the sheriff’s office or process server. This may not be necessary in some cases, where you and your spouse are in agreement. Your spouse will be given a certain number of days to respond to the Complaint. How the case proceeds from there will depend upon how your spouse responds. You and your spouse may reach an agreement, your spouse may file a response (either agreeing to what you’ve requested in the Complaint or contesting it), or may not reply at all. Other documents may also need to be filed, mostly commonly financial statements. Things can become quite complicated in a contested case, with numerous documents being filed, and one or more formal court hearings.

It depends. Because divorce is case specific, it is possible that the parties could reach a global resolution of all matters in the divorce, sign all of the necessary paperwork and get a signed Judgment of divorce without either party ever stepping into the courthouse. Whether this can happen in your case depends on how amicably you and your spouse can work with each other and whether you both have similar thoughts on how things are going to be resolved.

New York allows married couples to file for a legal separation. A legal separation is an alternative to filing for a divorce when spouses no longer wish to live together. Most of the issues that can be settled in a divorce are settled in a legal separation. Unlike a divorce, however, at the end of a legal separation the parties are still legally married and they are not legally able to remarry.

The maiden name is usually changed at the time the judgement of divorce is signed by the court as it is part of the order.

There a few factors considered when determining who will get custody over the child:
• The demonstrated parenting ability and relative fitness of the parties
• The love, affection, and nurturing given by each party to the child, the emotional bond between the child and each party, and the willingness and ability of each party to put the child’s needs ahead of his/her own;
• The length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment, the desirability of maintaining the current custodial residence and the stability of the proposed custodial residence;
• The ability of each party to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual development;
• The financial resources available to each party and the ability of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, housing, and medical care;
• The individual needs and expressed desires of the child and the degree to which the custodial determination would either continue or interrupt the various elements of the
child’s day to day life;
• The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and optimum relationship between the child and the other party; and
• Any other factor deemed relevant to a particular custody dispute; e.g, domestic violence, substance abuse, fabrication of allegations, and its impact on the child

Navigating a divorce is tough, especially when children are involved. To win custody, you need to show the court that your home is the best place for your child’s well-being. Here’s what the court looks for:

1.Keeping Siblings Together:

•Highlight the importance of siblings supporting each other through life’s big moments, like moving to a new school. Show examples of them working together, such as cooking meals or doing chores.

2.A Loving Home Environment:

•Show how you’ve created a warm, supportive home. This could be through setting up a homework space, adopting a family pet, or getting involved in community events like playgroups.

3.Responsible Parenting:

•Compare your responsible parenting, like setting routines and promoting healthy habits, against any irresponsible behavior by the other parent. Use reports from teachers or doctors to back up your claims.

4.Emotional and Educational Support:

•Demonstrate your involvement in your child’s learning and emotional well-being, from tutoring sessions to confidence-building activities like sports or arts.

5.Financial Stability:

•Provide proof of your financial planning for your child’s future, such as savings for education, and contrast this with any instability from the other parent.

6.Stable Caregiving:

•Show the consistent care you’ve provided, backed by stories from neighbors or friends who’ve seen your parenting first-hand.

7.Encouraging Both Parent Relationships:

•Highlight how you’ve supported a positive relationship with the other parent, like flexible visitation and open communication.

8.Listening to Your Child:

•Respectfully include your child’s wishes, especially if they’re old enough to express their preferences, perhaps through statements made during therapy sessions.

9.Ready for Changes:

•Show how you’re prepared to meet your child’s changing needs, whether that’s new schools, hobbies, or friends.

10.Community and Family Support:

•Emphasize the strong support network your child has with you, from close family ties to community involvement. Photos can be a great way to illustrate this.

Winning custody is about showing your deep commitment to your child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs. By carefully presenting evidence of how your home offers the best environment for your child, you can build a compelling case that focuses on what’s truly best for them. Remember, it’s all about the child’s best interests.