Long Island Divorce Lawyers
Filling for divorce means making the decision to end your marriage, yet not all marriages end in divorce even after the paperwork has been filed. Many couples find the process of going through a divorce inspires them to work on their marriage by fighting harder to make it work. Other couples decide this is the decision for their family, and they work hard to ensure it’s as smooth and seamless as possible by working together to end their marriage in a manner that’s civil and mutually beneficial. Other couples are filled with anger, upset, and betrayal, and they find their divorce is ugly, painful, and upsetting.
New York Divorce Laws
There is no one reason people in long island decide they want to end their marriage. There are some scenarios more commonly cited than others, but there are various reasons you can file for a divorce and proceed in a court of law. The most common type of divorce in New York is the no-fault divorce. This means you file for divorce on the grounds that neither you nor your spouse is responsible for the end of this union. However, there are other reasons people choose to end their marriages in New York.
– Cruel and inhuman treatment
– Abandonment by one year or more
– Confinement in prison of more than three years
– Separation of more than one year
– Irreconcilable differences
It’s irreconcilable differences most people cite as their no-fault divorce reason in New York. The reason you want to end your marriage is personal, but it must be discussed in a court of law.
Filling for Divorce
It’s possible to file for divorce without the assistance of a divorce attorney, but it’s not something anyone recommends. It’s possible to get the paperwork, fill it out, and submit it to your local Clerk of Court. Your spouse is then notified by receiving a divorce decree from a process server that you’ve filed for divorce. Your spouse has only a certain number of days to respond to the divorce paperwork you submitted outlining what you’d like to have in terms of your debts and assets, the kids, and even child and spousal support.
If your spouse fails to respond within the allotted time frame, a hearing is scheduled and it’s assumed your spouse is fine with the terms outlined in your paperwork. If your spouse responds with demands of his or her own, there will be mediation. Mediation is the meeting of both partners with a third party to discuss differences in the division of debts and assets, the kids, and more. If you can agree on things while in mediation, the process is simpler. If you cannot and one or both of you continue to contest the terms of your divorce, the process takes longer.
An Attorney Can Help
Call a Long Island Divorce attorney for help filing for divorce. An attorney with ample experience working with divorces cases knows how to make the process work faster, how to find hidden assets and income your spouse might be keeping from you, and they can help you navigate this difficult time in your life. You deserve a chance to live the rest of your life as comfortably as possible, and a fair divorce is the way to start.
Call an attorney to discuss your impending divorce and to find out how allowing a professional to help you can benefit you significantly. Don’t assume you can do this on your own without the assistance of someone who knows the law and how it works. Help is good when it comes to the end of your marriage.
Can I ask for an extension to prepare my response?
A divorce extension is a request to the court, to grant more time – before the divorce is finalized. It’s typically done in situations where the two parties are attempting to reconcile or attempting to finalize a settlement. It’s simply more time, before the divorce is finalized.
Can you file for an extension
The NYC court system is very busy with cases. They like to keep things moving on their timelines. Court are often very understanding, and very generous, when it comes to letting people looking for an extension for a final divorce hearing. If the court observes that the 2 parties are attempting to settle their differences, the court is more amicable. It understands they need time, and is willing to grant that time – when it observes good faith attempts at settlement by both parties. Courts are even more generous, in granting extensions, to parties who are attempting to reconcile. If you want to extend the time available, before the divorce is granted, you are allowed to ask the court if it will grant it.
In order to get an extension, you need to do the following
- Ask your spouse, or her/his attorney, if they will agree to the extension. The court is much more likely to grant the extension if both parties are requesting it, and in agreement that the extension would be helpful. It will interpret this, as a good sign.
- Your attorney, or you, will get a form for a motion for continuance. Your local court will typically have one online.
- Complete the form, and then state the reason for requesting the continuance. It’s crucial you do this before the divorce is granted. Otherwise, it may be too late. Once a divorce is granted, it typically cannot be undone.
- After the Motion for Continuance is filed with the Clerk of the Court. Server a copy of this, on your spouse, or her attorney. The judge in your case will decide whether to grant the request. The judge may hold a hearing. If so, you should attend the hearing, and tell the judge, why you need the extension.
If you need more help, we encourage you to speak to our divorce attorneys in NYC today.
Can I make him pay legal fees if he continues to take me back to court?
Divorces can be tricky and complex. Not only is the emotional turmoil difficult to bear, the financial ramifications can make even the most secure of individuals lose sleep. While many divorces are amicable and a settlement is reached rather quickly, there are more than a few that are forced to wrangle their way through the court system. Perhaps you think that you have given everything that your husband wants, only to find that he keeps taking you back to court. This can get quite expensive rather quickly if left unchecked, leaving many clients to wonder if they can make the husband pay if he continues to take his wife back to court. Keep reading to learn more.
The first thing we have to consider when answering this question is why divorces end up in court in the first place. Most marital breakups are settled between the husband and wife, and their respective attorneys. In fact, the inside of a courtroom is often never even broached. However, there are divorces that can get quite ugly, making multiple court appearances necessary. This is when a court can serve a beneficial purpose, as they are designed to help two sides reach an agreement where one could not be settled on before. This might have to do with marital assets, and it could involve complex issues such as child custody, visitation, and child support.
If your husband wishes, he can continually take you back to court to revisit the same issues over and over again. This is his right, and there is often little you can do to stop it short of just agreeing to every unreasonable demand that he might make. There are some wives that have reported getting dragged into court on a weekly basis, creating even more financial and emotional stress than was bargained for. This is actually nothing new, but the husband will need to prove that he is not doing this to be vindictive. If all he is accomplishing is adding to your stress, you might have a case to be made for him to pay up for the court costs. Getting that to happen, of course, is another matter entirely.
It Is Really Up To the Judge
If you want to get your husband to pay up for all of these added court costs, you will need to convince a judge that malicious intent is involved. The legal term for this is Vexatious Litigant. You have to remember that courts are not in the business of making money. They are in operation to ensure that justice is delivered in the end. They do not want their time wasted any more than you do. If you can convince a judge that all of these proceedings are only taking place because of a husband that is fixated on making you suffer, then you might have a case to be made. In essence, you will need to convince the judge that malicious intent was involved to the point that your husband really had no desire to allow the court to reach an amicable conclusion for the both of you. If that is the case, you may be awarded a judgement in your favor in terms of him having to pay for your court fees. However, this is a difficult argument to make.
In order to ensure that justice is served in a divorce proceeding, the judge is usually quite hesitant to limit what one party can file in court. This means that they usually allow multiple filings, and there is often nothing that can be done to stop it. This is particularly true if there are children involved, as parental rights are deemed to be very important within the judicial system. If you can convince a judge to issue an order for your soon to be ex husband to pay the added fees, then you will be most fortunate indeed.
Can we change the settlement agreement if we didn’t use a lawyer?
When you and your spouse come to a settlement agreement on your divorce and submit it to the court, it’s a legally binding contract that you both must follow. However, there are ways you can change it, especially if both of you are fine with the changes. If you’ve decided you want to change a settlement agreement, here is what you need to know.
The Settlement Agreement Isn’t Finalized Until a Judge Signs the Divorce Decree
Most divorces end with settlement agreements instead of the court making a ruling on support and how to divide assets. It’s easier for everyone this way, as it gives couples more control of the situation. The court only decides things if the couple can’t come to a settlement agreement or the agreement they come to is very unbalanced in favor of one party.
Couples can choose to handle the divorce process on their own or hire their own divorce lawyers. It’s almost always better for each spouse to hire a divorce lawyer to represent them, especially to avoid situations like this, where one of both parties decide they want to change a settlement agreement.
If you have a settlement agreement that you haven’t sent to the court yet, then you and your spouse are free to change it before signing. You two can also hire lawyers to help with the agreement.
Once a settlement agreement has been sent to the court, there will only be a small window of time when it can still be changed. It still needs to go before a judge, who will read through it and sign the divorce decree, making the agreement official. You or your spouse can contact the court if you get second thoughts and don’t want to go through with the agreement.
What If Settlement Agreement Is Official?
It’s not quite as easy if a judge has signed your divorce decree and made your settlement agreement official. There are still ways to modify the agreement, though.
If you and your spouse both want the settlement agreement changed, that will help speed things along. The court will typically allow changes to a settlement agreement, provided both spouses approve of the changes. You two can each hire lawyers to represent you and come up with a new agreement. It’s to wait until after you both have reached a new agreement before you ask the court to change anything.
One important thing to keep in mind is that until any changes are made to the settlement agreement, the previous agreement is still valid and you need to abide by it. For example, if you were required in the previous agreement to pay spousal support, you must pay it until the agreement is officially changed. You can’t stop paying until that happens, or your ex-spouse could file a claim against you for violating the settlement.
Changing a Settlement Agreement without Your Ex-Spouse’s Consent
If your spouse decides they want to stick with the original settlement agreement, then your only option is filing a motion to modify the agreement with the court. This will require demonstrating a valid reason for the change, which can include signing an agreement under duress or your ex-spouse keeping property hidden during the divorce proceedings. You will need to provide evidence to the court of any allegations you make. It can be hard to change an agreement when your ex-spouse doesn’t consent to the changes, which is why it’s to read carefully through your settlement the first time around.
Whether your settlement agreement is official or not, a skilled divorce lawyer can help you. If it’s not official yet, your lawyer can look through the agreement to ensure that you’re getting what you deserve. If it is official and you want it changed, your lawyer can represent you throughout that process.
Can I force him to sign the settlement agreement?
Divorce is hard on everyone. The adults inevitably feel that trust has been broken. The children are worried about losing a parent. It may feel like the man you once loved will never agree with you about anything ever again. Before you consider forcing your soon-to-be ex to sign a settlement agreement, it is important to understand what a settlement agreement is and what happens if he does not.
What Is a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement is an attempt made by divorcing adults to agree on the financial and parental terms of their marriage. Those terms may include:
If both parties agree to the settlement agreement, then the court usually approves the agreement as is, provided it covers all the key issues that the court deems necessary. Court costs are kept at a minimum, and no undue stress is put on the broken family. However, the settlement agreement is not legally binding until after the court approves it. That means, even if you coerce him into signing it today, you are not out of hot water. He can change his mind at any moment up until the judge approves it.
While it may reduce the divorce process, legal costs, and tension between rivaling spouses, divorcing adults cannot always come to compromise on the terms of a settlement agreement. It is not the end of the world. You can go to court and the judge will make the decision for you.
No one, not even the judge, can force your spouse to sign a settlement agreement. He has the right to contest the terms in full or in part. If you cannot come to a compromise, your only recourse may be to prepare for a trial.
Alternatives to a Trial
Before you give up and go to trial, consider alternatives such as professional mediation or arbitration. A mediator will sit down with both parties and try to iron out the differences. For example, if he wants to keep the house, the mediator may be able to convince him to take on more of the marital debt to compensate you for your loss of ownership in the home. Keep in mind, though, mediation is not binding. You spouse can still change his mind.
Arbitration is similar to mediation in that it is a method of settling disputes outside of an official court proceeding. With arbitration, an arbitrator considers the facts and determines the terms of the settlement agreement. Typically, the couple agrees upfront to the terms of arbitration, such as whether the arbitration is binding, just like a court decision, or not binding, meaning he can still renege.
Another alternative is a partial settlement agreement. If you are mostly in agreement, you can sign a partial settlement agreement and leave it to the judge to work out the details in contention. This method may reduce the duration of a trial, as well as diffuse hostile feelings because both parties walk away feeling like they have won major points.
Divorces can turn ugly quickly. Sometimes, simply having an attorney on your side can puts some distance between you and your spouse, effectively adding a barrier. Attorneys can also take some of the emotion out of settlement agreement negotiations, and that may be enough to convince your spouse to come to an equitable arrangement.
At worst, an attorney is knowledgeable with contested divorces. He can walk you through the steps, and help you present a case to the judge that the terms you want are a reasonable compromise to a bad situation.