Your marriage is over, and it’s time to get a divorce. Many people are familiar with the basics of divorce, but the details are confusing and a bit on the stressful side when it becomes a personal situation. There is no shame in ending your marriage, and you shouldn’t feel the pressure to stay in a marriage in which you no longer feel good. Your life is your life, and you are free to file for divorce in Manhattan when you realize your marriage is not going to work.
What reasons may I divorce my spouse in Manhattan?
You can divorce your spouse for any reason you see fit in Manhattan, though there are a few legal definitions you’ll need to consider. You can decide your marriage is over for no other reason than you simply do not like your spouse, do not love your spouse, or even because you are in love with someone else. It’s your choice, but you must know which legal definition your reason falls within in terms of New York divorce laws.
1. Irreconcilable Differences – You must be able to say honestly that your marriage has been over for a period of six months or more no matter how you’ve tried to make it work.
2. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment – If your spouse has abused you or treated you in a manner considered cruel, inhuman, or illegal, you may file for divorce for this reason. This includes abuse of all types.
3. Adultery – If one or both of you cheated on the other, you may cite this in your divorce.
4. Separation of More than One Year – Some people decide to go through with a trial separation to see if they can work on their marriage while living apart. If you’re working on this and you’ve lived apart for more than a year without any help with your marriage, you can file for divorce citing this as the reason.
5. Prison Confinement of Three or More Years – If you or your spouse have been in jail for three or more consecutive years during your marriage, you may file for divorce.
6. Abandonment – If your spouse left you and your family and hasn’t been back in more than a year, it’s considered abandonment.
No-fault divorce is the most common grounds in New York. It’s the citing of irreconcilable differences in your divorce decree so as not to blame any one person for the demise of your marriage. It does make the case a bit easier, but it’s still a very personal situation.
How does it work?
Once you make the decision to file for divorce, you file the paperwork with an attorney or on your own at the office of the local Clerk of Court. This paperwork is then typed up and presented to your spouse during a process called being served. The spouse has a specific time frame to respond by either ignoring the response, agreeing with it, or outlining terms of his or her own. Depending on how your spouse responds, the process is ongoing.
Not every divorce in Manhattan is ugly and contentious, but many are. Even the simplest divorce case has a chance to turn ugly when one or both parties decide they want to contest every word of the divorce agreement. It’s time to Hire an Attorney with ample experience working with New York divorce laws to work for you. An attorney can help you make the divorce process faster and less stressful, and an attorney can help you leave your marriage with more of what you want.
If you and your spouse have decided that it is time for you to go your separate ways, you probably want to make sure that the entire legal process is handled properly. Then, you can each protect yourselves, and you can help avoid any delays or issues that could prevent you from moving on with your lives. Understanding what a legal separation is, why it’s important and how to file for one is an important first step to take when you’re preparing for a divorce.
First, you have to understand the difference between a separation and a divorce. A legal separation simply means that you and your spouse are separated and are no longer living together as a married couple. However, you are still technically married, no matter how long you have been legally separated, until you get a divorce.
A divorce, on the other hand, is the dissolution of your marriage. When you get divorced, your marital union is terminated. Once your divorce is finalized, you are no longer considered husband and wife, and you can remarry if you choose to.
Some people think that once they are no longer living with their spouse that they are separated. Even though you and your spouse might be separated in a technical sense, you still aren’t separated in a legal sense if you haven’t filed for a legal separation. Luckily, the process doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, and it’s something that a lawyer can help you with. Many people use the services of the same lawyer for their legal separation as they do for their divorce.
Couples file for a legal separation for a number of different reasons. One main reason why couples file for a legal separation is because they are planning on getting divorced. However, some couples file for a legal separation for other reasons. For example, you and your spouse might be experiencing marital problems, and you may think that these problems can be better resolved if you live apart for a little while.
Simply moving out of the marital home and no longer living as a married couple is not enough to establish a legal separation with your spouse. Instead, you have to go through the process of filing for a legal separation.
For one thing, you and your spouse have to meet certain criteria in order to file for a legal separation. For example, if you are filing for a separation in New York, you have to be legally married and must be residents of New York. If you’re unsure of whether or not you and your spouse qualify to file for a legal separation, you can always consult an attorney who can talk to you about the specifics of your situation.
Before you can file for a separation, a separation agreement must be written up. It’s generally best to do this with the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney. On the separation agreement, you must list certain things, such as the grounds for the separation. Some couples list that they are getting separated in anticipation of a “no-fault” divorce. If you were abandoned by your spouse, then this would be listed in your separation agreement. Your attorney can talk to you about the reason for your separation to help determine what to list on the separation agreement.
Of course, when you and your spouse are planning on living separately, there are certain decisions and arrangements that have to be made. If the two of you have children together, for example, you have to worry about arranging for child custody. Child support may be ordered, too. You will also have to determine who — if anyone — will continue to live in the marital home during and after the separation period.
Once your separation agreement has been completed, it can then be filed with the state courts.
If you’re preparing to go through a divorce, you may want to start with a legal separation. Filing for a legal separation can seem upsetting and confusing, but you can make this difficult process a whole lot easier by working with a good divorce attorney who is well-versed in New York’s laws and separation and divorce processes. Then, you will have someone who is knowledgeable on your side to help you through this trying time.
When a couple reaches a point where a divorce may be the only option, the situation is difficult at best. However, in some cases where one spouse may be more eager for the divorce than the other, the reluctant spouse may choose not to sign the divorce papers. In these instances, that may leave one spouse feeling as if they are being held hostage and unable to move forward with their plans. However, rather than sit back and feel helpless, there are options one spouse has if the other refuses to go through with the divorce.
If a spouse appears to be stalling by refusing to sign the divorce papers, the spouse seeking the divorce can petition the court for a contempt citation. If the court grants the request, you will usually be compensated for additional attorney and court fees you incur as a result of your spouse’s stall tactics.
Refusing to Negotiate
If you try to refuse going through with a divorce by deciding not to negotiate with your spouse, chances are you’ll find yourself making it much harder on yourself in the end. If a contempt citation is not issued against you, your spouse may be able to obtain a default divorce, which can be granted by a judge if the court determines you have no plans to negotiate in good faith.
No-Show for Court Hearing
Many spouses believe they can keep a divorce from happening by not showing up for their scheduled court hearings. However, similar to a refusal to negotiate, you will rarely if ever get your way. If you continually fail to appear at scheduled court hearings concerning your divorce, the court will construe that to mean that you have agreed to the terms of the divorce. If that happens, you will have little if any recourse to make any future changes to the agreement, leaving you at the mercy of the court. To make sure this does not happen, it’s always best to show up for all scheduled hearings and participate as much as possible.
In divorce cases that may get out of hand, one spouse may decide to simply disappear in hopes of having the other spouse change their mind. Yet again, this tactic will not serve you well. If you choose to walk away and hide, your spouse may be granted a divorce based on abandonment. While there may be a waiting period of up to six months before the court grants a divorce for this reason, that rarely changes the outcome. During this period, the court as well as your spouse will be required to make numerous attempts to contact you. However, if you cannot be found within that time, your spouse will be granted the divorce under the terms they desire.
If you’re refusing to go through with a divorce because you think the settlement is terribly unfair to you, there is always the option of mediation. Similar to a court hearing, these meetings can take place in an environment where particularly troublesome issues can be discussed in a calm manner. In most cases, several meetings with a mediator can lead to an agreement. If this happens, only a short court hearing will be needed to finalize the divorce.
While it’s possible for you to try to refuse going through with a divorce, in most cases your efforts will backfire. Rather than disappear or refuse to show up for court hearings, it’s best to use all reasonable means available to you in order to reach an agreement you can live with in the years ahead.
If you need more help, consider speaking to one of our NY Divorce lawyers today
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