Manhattan Divorce Attorney
When marriages start to dissolve, all of life’s goals may suddenly seem unattainable. The road to divorce is generally rocky, and the decision to go through with a dissolution of marriage is no easy choice. Entering divorce proceedings can make even the most agreeable of partners petty and vindictive. If you or your loved one is facing a divorce, contested or uncontested, it is advisable to seek the advice of a skilled Manhattan divorce attorney before moving ahead with your plans.
The experienced divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. are:
- Thorough and responsive communicators;
- Knowledgeable in all areas of family law and family law proceedings;
- Caring and compassionate towards divorcing clients; and
- Honest when assessing cases and apprising clients of their circumstances.
Contact the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. for the family law expertise you need to ease your worries, help obtain the outcome you prefer, and move ahead with your life. We serve Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.
How Can a Manhattan Divorce Attorney Help My Case?
Like ours at the family Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C., a Manhattan divorce lawyer works tirelessly securing the legal aspects of your divorce case. At the same time, you focus on gaining control of your well-being and future living arrangements. This includes the following, and more:
- Helping you make decisions now that have a positive impact on your future;
- Restoring your peace of mind knowing that you and your family are secure;
- Ensuring any settlement is fair and equitable;
- Advancing legal proceedings in a way that suits your legal goals; and
- Helping you achieve the best possible outcome under any circumstances.
You do not have to endure or muddle through the divorce process alone. Let the NYC divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. assist you in making your divorce less painful and burdensome.
What Is the Divorce Process in Manhattan?
Divorces in every state follow specific timelines and schedules. New York is no different. Uncontested divorces without complex issues tend to move faster through the system than contested divorces requiring judicial hearings and intervention. However, both uncontested and contested divorces must follow the same procedural schedules and rules to a certain point.
These procedures are as follows:
- The filing of a Summons with Notice for Divorce;
- The spouse who files the Complaint, the Plaintiff, serves a Summons and the Complaint upon the Defendant; The Defendant has twenty days to file an Answer;
- The Discovery process, or exchange of financial documents and questions asked under oath of the spouses, begins;
- The attorneys prepare for litigation or negotiation;
- The spouses settle outside of court; or
- The spouses go to trial, and the judge rules on any unsettled matters.
- If there is a child or children of the marriage where custody is an issue, an attorney may be appointed by the court to represent the child and the court may order forensics (a psychological evaluation) to assist in the determination of custody and parenting time.
In an uncontested divorce, the case usually settles prior to extensive discovery or the start of trial so long as a written agreement is reached. From start to finish, the minimum time for an uncontested divorce is six to eight months. A contentious contested divorce will take more than one year. There is no waiting period or cooling off period for a divorce in New York.
What Are Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces in Manhattan?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where the spouses agree upon all marital issues, including:
- Division of marital property and debt;
- Child custody and visitation;
- Child support; and
- Spousal support.
An uncontested divorce is NOT a no-fault divorce. In fact, both a contested and an uncontested divorce may be a no-fault divorce. In a contested divorce, the parties have not reached an agreement on all issues. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on every issue, the unresolved issues will be dealt with at trial. Due to the time and expense of trials, all efforts are made to resolve the issues before trial since trial should be a last resort.
No-Fault and Fault-Based Manhattan Divorces
In 2010, New York began allowing its residents to file for divorce based on no-fault. In a no-fault divorce, a spouse needs only to state that their marriage is “irretrievably broken” for at least six months in the initial divorce complaint. Declaring a marriage is “irretrievably broken” allows the court to make rulings without finding fault or assigning blame to either spouse for the breakup of the marriage. This can help assuage any hostile feelings or animosity between a couple. New York still permits couples to file for divorce based on fault. There are seven grounds for divorce in New York:
- Cruel and inhumane treatment where it is unsafe for the parties to live together;
- Abandonment for a continuous period of one year or more;
- Imprisonment for three or more years after the parties were married;
- Living apart for one or more years after obtaining a judgment of separation; and
- Living apart for one year or more according to a separation agreement.
- The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months provided that one party has so stated under oath.
Residency Requirements for a Manhattan Divorce
Regardless of living arrangements or physical abandonment, New York requires one spouse to meet its residency requirements before a divorce is filed and granted within the state. Fulfilling New York residency requirements means meeting one of the following stipulations:
- The marriage occurred in New York, and one spouse has lived in New York for at least one year;
- The couple lived in New York as a married couple, and one spouse has lived in New York for at least one year;
- One spouse has lived in New York for at least two years;
- One spouse resided in New York for at least one year, and the cause of the divorce arose in New York; or
- Both spouses are New York residents, and the cause of the divorce originated in New York.
If you are unsure whether you meet the above residency requirements if you should file a no-fault divorce, or if your divorce is contested or uncontested, call the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. Our family law attorneys can help you address these issues and more, including the following:
- Where to file your divorce;
- Equitable distribution of property;
- Spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance);
- Legal separation;
- Child custody; and
- Child support.
High Net-Worth Divorces
A high net-worth divorce lends itself to its own complexities. When at least one of the spouses has a high net worth (of over one million dollars in assets), it’s considered a high net divorce. This type of divorce includes a more in-depth look at finances by the court and can result in an IRS investigation if anything looks incorrect. Due to these complexities, you should speak with one of our Manhattan high-net divorce lawyers if this applies to you.
Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney in Manhattan?
Hiring a divorce attorney in Manhattan empowers you to manage the legal process with a bit more care and ease. Because this is a state with a wide range of legal requirements during the divorce process, your attorney can help to minimize some of the potential complications you face throughout the process.
It may seem like you do not need legal counsel to go through your divorce. That is an especially common belief in situations where your ex and you seem to agree on the details of the divorce and can make civil decisions. It is never wise to go through this process without your own attorney to remain by your side and guide you through the process. Having an attorney can offer a number of benefits to you, including:
- Ensuring that there is someone advocating specifically for your best possible outcome with your best interests in mind
- Providing extra security in knowing what the outcome of your case will include
- Dispute resolution support for those decisions where you both cannot agree on the outcome
- Gaining insight into the legal rights you have to property that may be more complex, such as retirement benefits, government benefits, and inherited property
- Protecting you from not receiving alimony or not paying fairly
It is rarely easy to go through a divorce. With the help of a Manhattan divorce attorney, you have an advocate by your side who can give you answers to your questions and help to facilitate the best possible outcome in your case.
What Are the Statutory Grounds for Fault in a Fault-Based Divorce in New York?
In situations where fault plays a role in the divorce proceedings, there are seven specific statutory grounds of fault that can be assigned. This can influence the outcome of any divorce and, therefore, should be fully understood if you are pursuing a fault-related divorce. The following are recognized grounds for fault in divorce in New York:
- Adultery: This is clarified to indicate any type of extramarital sexual relationship by one spouse.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment: This could include any treatment by one spouse that makes the other feel unsafe or is otherwise considered improper and makes it challenging to live together after that point.
- Abandonment: Under New York law, you have the right to file an at-fault divorce if your spouse leaves the marriage for a year or longer.
- Imprisonment: If a spouse is sentenced to three or more years in prison, the other spouse can file for divorce using these grounds as a fault.
- Living apart: New York law classifies this type of grounds for divorce as a couple that has been living apart for more than a year, and one party wants a divorce.
- Incurable insanity: If one spouse has an incurable disease recognized as insanity for at least five years, that is grounds for divorce.
- Judicial separation: In situations where the parties have obtained a judgment of separation from a court, that is recognized as grounds for divorce.
There are many reasons a divorce can occur, and in New York, any of these grounds may be used. Most of the time, divorces are no-fault divorces, which means that they do not rely on one of these requirements for the marriage to result in a divorce. Rather, in the case of a no-fault divorce, the parties simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court is likely to agree to the terms of the divorce in any of these situations.
Is Divorce Mediation Necessary in New York?
There are situations where both parties want a marriage to end. In these situations, mediation can prove to be beneficial. It allows for both parties to make statements and work towards an agreement on how the divorce will occur and how assets will be divided. In situations where the couple cannot come together to make those decisions, the court is then tasked with the process.
Mediation may be a better route to maintain control over your claim. It is one of the best overall alternative dispute resolution methods available during the divorce process. A third-party, unbiased mediator is used in this process. This can be a divorce attorney, for example, who does not represent one party in the legal matter.
The goal of the mediator is to address any of the decisions that the spouses cannot resolve on their own. This may include decisions related to assets, timelines, custody, alimony, and child support, among other factors. The mediator does not typically make decisions. Rather, they work to facilitate negotiations and try to keep the conversation focused on the desired outcome both have.
You can bring your attorney to mediator negotiations as well. This allows you to remain protected throughout the legal process. The mediator works between both attorneys to try to reach an agreeable set of terms for the divorce, which both parties then agree to. Once that occurs, then the agreement goes to the court, which ultimately decides whether or not the divorce is allowed based on fairness.
A mediated divorce may be one of the best decisions when there are obstacles in the way of a formal agreement. Ensure that your Manhattan divorce attorney works with you to prepare you for the process and that your rights remain protected throughout this legal proceeding.
What About Child Support and Custody Matters in Divorce?
Child support and child custody are components of many divorces. The decisions related to them often fall in line with what is in the best interest of the child. The court ultimately makes a decision on where the child will live, who can make decisions for the child, and whether one parent will provide financial support to the other for the child.
We encourage you to speak to our divorce attorney in Manhattan about child support and child custody matters early on in the process. Allow us to help create an agreement that both parties find acceptable or to help you navigate the process throughout the court system
Contact a Manhattan Divorce Attorney Today
Protect your interests by contacting one of the capable, knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. today. You can call us at 212-349-1600 or fill our our contact form and one of our divorce lawyers will be in touch. We look forward to speaking with you at your earliest convenience and sharing our wide knowledge of divorce law.