Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Manhattan and all of New York since 2011. Tens of thousands of same-sex marriages occur each year in New York, and many of those marriages, unfortunately, end in divorce. Same-sex marriage is no different than traditional marriage in the eyes of the law, which means same-sex divorce is also viewed as the same in the eyes of the law. However, same-sex marriage and divorce do present their challenges in court, particularly when children are involved in the divorce process.
In many traditional marriages, children belong equally to both parties. In same-sex marriages, this is impossible. Children may belong legally to one partner and not the other, there is much more adoption involved in same-sex marriage, and things can become a little more complicated in the divorce process as a result. If you are a same-sex couple considering an end to your marriage, you should know what it might entail in Manhattan.
What’s Involved in Same-Sex Divorce in Manhattan?
Much like any other divorce, couples who merely happen to be the same gender must go through the same process. Divorce begins with one or both parties making the decision to end their marriage. One party then files divorce paperwork on their own or with the help of an attorney. Once the paperwork is filed, the divorce papers are given to the other spouse by way of a process server.
Until the process server presents divorce papers to the other spouse, the filing spouse has the right to stop the proceedings without their partner ever knowing they filed for divorce. Once the paperwork is filed, however, the only way to stop a divorce is with the written permission of both parties. Once the paperwork is filed, your partner has a chance to respond. This response includes several different factors.
If your partner agrees to the terms you provide in these categories, the response might be favorable. If your spouse decides he or she wants more or less than what you’re asking for in the divorce, the response might differ.
The Goal of A Divorce Attorney
The goal of a divorce attorney in New York is to prevent your case from going to court. It’s our job to help you find a way to amicably and peaceably end your marriage without a trial. With the help of an attorney, you and your spouse stand a better chance of coming to an agreement regarding your financial situation and your child custody situation.
If you cannot agree with the response, your attorney will recommend you go through mediation. This process involves a court-appointment person who has no vested interest in your marriage, your divorce, your assets, or your lives. This person works for you to come to an agreement regarding your lives, finances, debts, and assets.
If an agreement is not made during mediation, your attorney might recommend you go to trial and fight for what you want. This is not ideal, and it’s recommended you work together to come up with an agreement that works well for both parties involved in this situation.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
If you or your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding the stipulations of your divorce or the division of your assets and debts, it’s called a contested divorce. This occurs when one party decides they want more than you’re offering. A contested divorce takes significantly longer in Manhattan than one in which you do not contest. An Uncontested Divorce is faster, more amicable, and it’s more peaceful.
Contested divorces are also costlier than an Uncontested Divorce. You’re paying for additional work on behalf of your attorney, court fees, and other fees that might arise as a result of your divorce going contested. It’s not always beneficial to disagree over minor aspects in the long-term when you realize what it costs.
Call an Attorney
If you are going through a divorce in Manhattan, you might find yourself confused and even intimidated by the legal terms, the process, and what you’re signing. Call an attorney for advice. An attorney knows your rights, what you can ask for, what the process looks like, and they are well-versed in the process of walking you through the divorce. You have rights, and you can hire an attorney to make this process easier for you. Divorce is stressful, but the process can be less so when you hire legal help.
What if he won’t provide the financial disclosure documentation?
An important part of any divorce is reviewing the financial disclosure papers from each spouse. Your NYC matrimonial lawyer’s responsibility includes getting these papers. The papers are necessary to make informed decisions about the divorce and any settlements. A problem can occur if a spouse decides not to send the paperwork. There are consequences for doing that. Here is what you can do and what might happen if your spouse will not provide the financial disclosure documentation.
Send a Written Request
The first step you should take if a spouse refuses to file financial disclosure papers is to send a formal written request. You will need to compose a letter asking your spouse to file the appropriate paperwork and provide it to you within 30 days of receiving the notice. Send the letter to your spouse and your spouse’s attorney through certified mail. This letter should always be your first course of action since the court will expect it. Give your spouse the full 30 days to comply with the letter before you move on to the next step.
Motion to Compel
If the written request does not work, then it is time to file a motion to compel through the courts. This type of motion can potentially force your spouse to give up the necessary financial disclosure paperwork. The court will directly request that your spouse provide the documents by a certain date. Your spouse will have no other real choice other than to comply or face punitive actions. Your spouse could provide a written response with the reasons why the forms have not yet been filed. That could delay the divorce by some amount although the papers will still eventually have to be presented.
If your spouse refuses to comply with the motion to compel, then the court is likely to start imposing monetary sanctions as punishment. These are basically fines that could be paid to you and the court. You can actually request them if you are represented by an experienced divorce attorney. The fines could be purely punitive and paid to the court. They could also be used to cover your attorney and other fees that were necessary to get the financial disclosure documents from your spouse during the divorce.
Terminating Sanctions Motion
If all else fails, then it is time to file a terminating sanctions motion with the court. If this motion is granted, then two things could potentially happen. The first is that a judge will impose evidentiary sanctions. This means your spouse will be barred from presenting certain information and evidence most likely related to finances during the divorce proceedings. A lawyer could also ask that the court enter in a default judgment for your spouse. This means that you could get a ruling in your favor without having to go through a trial because your spouse defaulted by not providing the necessary documentation.
Contempt and Jail Time
A final option that could occur if your spouse refuses to supply financial disclosure papers is being held in contempt of court. This will depend on the actions of your spouse and the disposition of the judge. Being held in contempt of court has many dire consequences. The harshest is being sentenced to jail time. A judge might put your spouse in a local jail until the paperwork is provided. Your spouse might also be ordered to spend a weekend in jail coupled with monetary fines. These actions are meant to be a last resort to compel your spouse to offer up the documents.
This guest blog post was written by PersonalInjuryLawyersNYC.com
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