New York Divorce Lawyers
When you get married, you think it will be forever. Unfortunately, life happens and sometimes, marriages can crumble without warning. Going through a divorce can be complicated and difficult, so it is important to have an experienced lawyer in New York help you with your case,
Spodek Law Group are familiar with the laws of the state, so we will know what documents you will need, and we will give you advice during this emotional time in your life. New York is a no-fault divorce state; therefore, you do not have to prove that the other spouse is at fault. Before the divorce is final, all issues must be resolved, such as child support, custody agreements, alimony, and property.
A divorce attorney can take care of everything, so your stressed will be reduced. We will get the information from you, and we will make sure no mistakes are made. We will ensure that all debts are disclosed, and we will make sure your property is handled sufficiently.
We realize that you wish to get the divorce finalized as quickly as possible. We will help to ensure that there are no delays. We will complete the necessary forms and documentation, and we will communicate to the other attorney to get the proceedings settled as quickly as possible.
If a child is involved, there are many decisions that need to be made. We can help you seek sole custody of your child, or we can help with a joint custody agreement. WE can set up a visitation arrangement, and we can help with child support. Child court custody cases can be very complicated, so you will need a New York attorney to make sure you are happy with the agreement.
One of the hardest things to do when obtaining a divorce is to divide the marital assets. We will protect your interests and your rights. In New York, property that is joint will be divided up in a way that is fair to both parties. When making decisions about property, the court considers the length of the marriage, the amount of property, and the circumstances of both parties. Future earnings will be considered. If you have been married for a significant amount of time, you probably have accumulated lots of property. In addition to property, the court will divide your debts as well. Mortgage loans, credit card debt, and student loans can be divided between spouses. We can help make sure that you are getting what you deserve, and you are not paying for more than is necessary.
If you believe you have grounds for annulment, Spodek Law Group can help you. In New York, an annulment will be allowed if one spouse is still married to someone else, one party was not of the age of legal consent, one party was not of sound mind or fraud was involved. If an annulment is granted, it will be as if the annulment never happened.
Divorce can be a stressful time for everyone involved. At Spodek Law Group, we will try to reduce your stress as much as possible, so you can put this difficult time behind you and get on with your life. Call us today, so we can let you know how we can help.
There are many reasons that couples end up getting a divorce. For many, it is simply because they have fallen out of love, while for others it might be something much more complicated than that. While everyone enters into a marriage with the anticipation that the union is for life, those dreams can come crashing down months or years down the road. For some, the breakup is amicable in nature and the divorce finalized inside a few days. Other cases are much more involved. If that is the case, you will want to have a Bronx divorce lawyer on your side to make sure your rights are protected in the end.
Divorce in the bronx
As with most areas of the country, divorces in New York can be either straight forward or rather complex. Much of it has to do with the complexity of the marital assets and the extent to which the couple can agree on a settlement. There will be times when a lawyer becomes a necessity. Even if you and your spouse are splitting up on good terms, you will have certain financial interests that you need to ensure are protected. There may also be child custody and visitation issues to work out, along with a host of other matters that cannot be easily spelled out in a simple piece of paper.
When one party of the other in a marriage decides to file for a divorce, they will petition an officer of the court to do so. Papers are then drawn up and delivered to the other partner. In many cases, those papers are signed and the terms of the divorce agreed to. It is when the terms are undecided, or the two parties simply cannot agree upon them, that the divorce becomes a bit more complicated. Sometimes a mediator can help iron out those unresolved differences. If not, a judge will usually need to intervene.
Legal Implications of Divorce
There are numerous legal implications to consider when filing for a divorce in the Bronx. Depending upon your circumstances, there could be child custody matters to consider. If you cannot agree on a plan for your children, then a judge will need to decide. This will impact visitation rights, whether or not the spouse with custody can move outside of the area, and much more. If you have a child, you will want a Bronx divorce lawyer representing you in order to protect your parental rights.
Assets, both property and financial, are up for debate during a divorce proceeding. If you have substantial holdings that were acquired before the marriage, those may or may not become a part of the divorce settlement. There are also potential matters of spousal support to consider as well. These can all get rather sticky, particularly if we are looking at quite a few assets to divide up. Testimony may need to be gathered, evidence compiled, and statements taken in order for the judge to make a final ruling. Because of this, complicated divorce settlements can take months to decide without the proper legal guidance.
What Can A Bronx Divorce Lawyer Do For You?
A divorce is an emotionally tumultuous time. You will have many things to take care of, to the point that you life can seem like it is crashing in on you. You will want a bronx divorce lawyer by your side to give you sound advice and to guide your decision making process. Your lawyer will also see that your interests are protected. Contact our office today to begin the process.
Can a divorce settlement be revised years later?
When you’re going through a divorce, a settlement will eventually be made that divides all of your assets as well as a few other components, such as child visitation rights. While it’s possible for a divorcing couple to agree on the settlement themselves through the course of mediation, many cases end up resulting in a judge making a final decision on what the settlement should be. In this situation, it’s possible that you’ll be presented with a settlement that you don’t believe is fair. If the settlement occurred years ago and you’re just now thinking of having it revised, the following details whether or not it’s possible to do so.
Can I Revise a divorce Settlement Years Later?
Any order given by a court is determined to be binding, so it’s always going to be difficult to have it revised or amended in a way that benefits you. Although it’s certainly possible to have a divorce settlement revised, it becomes increasingly difficult to do so with each passing year. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that the changes you wish to make will be granted by a judge. If you wish to have a divorce settlement amended, your ability to do so will likely be restricted to issues such as child custody, alimony payments, and child support, as a change in circumstances allows for the change of the divorce settlement to reflect the new circumstances.
One of the most common ways in which a divorce settlement is revised occurs when the financial situations change between a couple. For instance, if the husband made $50,000 more than the wife at the time of the initial divorce settlement, they may be required to pay high child support payments. However, if these financial situations changed substantially, these changes could be taken into account and the child support requirements altered. When you make your case to a judge, you will need to present extensive documentation that supports your belief that certain aspects of the original divorce settlement should be altered.
How to Prepare For and Justify a Revision of the Divorce Settlement
Once you’ve identified that there are substantial changes within the situation between you and your ex-spouse to account for a revision of the divorce settlement, you’ll want to prepare for the modification. The only preparation you can make once you decide to revise the settlement is to meet with a divorce attorney such as ours that can assist with your case. However, in the time between the first settlement and the revision, you can support your case by acting in a manner that will allow the courts to look at your situation in a positive light. For instance, always make child support payments on time and go out of your way to take an active role in the lives of your children. Skipping payments or missing time that you’ve been designated to spend with your children will hurt your chances to obtain the necessary changes to the divorce settlement.
Justifying the modification of a divorce settlement is the most challenging aspect of a case such as this. You’re going to need extensive documentation that supports your request and will need a serious complaint of the initial settlement in order to have a chance at succeeding. It’s important that you don’t go into court with a minor complaint and that you never appear reactionary in front of the judge. Before filing a petition to modify the settlement, it’s recommended that you make a sincere attempt to resolve your dispute with the initial settlement through correspondence with your ex-spouse. Make sure you have a written record of this correspondence. If this approach doesn’t work, your only recourse is to file a petition.
Here at Spodek Law Group, we make sure to provide each of our clients with high quality representation, so contact us today if you have a divorce settlement that you wish to have revised.
How Long Does A Divorce Take In NY
For most people, a divorce is a painful process. When you get married, you plan to spend the rest of your life with your partner. The reality is that some marriages don’t work out, and couples decide to split up and go their separate ways.
The divorce process is different in each state, and if you’re going through a divorce, you’re probably wondering how long the process is going to take.
Unfortunately, there is no way to pinpoint the exact time that a divorce will be finalized, but there is a basic timeline that can shed some light on the duration of the process.
The divorce process actually consists of several steps because it’s not a single action. To complete the divorce, you must pass through all of the different points in the timeline.
Filing for the Petition
The very first step in the process consists of filing for the divorce petition. The plaintiff must begin the process by filing for the divorce petition, which is also known as a complaint.
Since it’s a legal matter, the petition must be filed with the court. The complaint lets the plaintiff describe what they believe is grounds for the divorce.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if the divorce is fault or no-fault based. Before the divorce is filed, we can explain the issue of fault and how it works.
Service of Process
This is the next step in the process, and it involves serving your spouse with the proper complaint and summons. A summons is a formal notice, and it lets the defendant know that a divorce action has been filed. For this to occur, a process server is personally required to deliver the summons to the defendant.
Response from the Spouse
The next part of the timeline involves a response from the spouse. If the summons has been filed with a complaint, then the defendant has up to 20 days to provide an answer to the complaint.
If the summons is served without a complaint, the defendant has 20 days to answer with a Notice of Appearance. Once the Notice of Appearance has been filed, the plaintiff is required to serve the defendant with the complaint within 20 days.
The response from the defendant can include counterclaims, and the plaintiff will have 20 days to respond to the counterclaims.
Discovery and Investigation
The next part of the timeline involves discovery and investigation. This part of the process involves gathering vital documents and information that involve issues that are being disputed.
A large portion of this process involves gathering financial documents. Most of the documents are for the financials of both parties involved.
The next part of the divorce process consists of negotiations. It’s quite common for settlement discussions to begin during this stage of the process.
This is also the part of the process that can take the longest. Due to the nature of most divorces, it’s quite common for the parties involved to disagree with each other. If negotiations aren’t successful, the entire divorce process might be significantly delayed.
However, on the flipside, successful negotiations have the power to significantly reduce the duration of the entire process, which is beneficial for both parties. It’s very common for mediation to be used to help both parties reach a satisfactory settlement.
The Pretrial Conference
This is viewed as the final choice for both parties to avoid going to trial. Since it’s a conference, it’s attended by both parties.
Each party has an attorney will get a glimpse into what is very likely to occur during a trial. In most cases, the pretrial conference serves as an eye opener for both parties, and it can be a powerful tool to facilitate a settlement.
If the pretrial conference isn’t successful in helping both parties reach a settlement, the next step in the timeline is the trial. The case will go to trial, and the judge will be able to hear the information from both parties. The judge will examine the legal arguments and evidence from both parties and decide on the issues that are being contested.
Misunderstanding the Timeline
A lot of people don’t understand the timeline and how it applies to their case. It’s quite common for people to believe they can start the New York divorce process and get legally divorced within a single month. Although it’s possible, it’s very unlikely that a divorce will be finished after only 30 days. Before beginning the process, it’s crucial for clients to understand the process and have realistic expectations.
The Pre-Filing Divorce Action
Before a divorce action has ever been filed with the New York State Supreme Court, it’s not uncommon for clients to work with an attorney for days, weeks or months.
Most of this time is spent trying to obtain a favorable settlement. The complexity of the issues involved determines how fast a pre-filing settlement can be achieved. In many cases, one party is ready to compromise and reach a satisfactory settlement, and the other party refuses to compromise and reach some sort of agreement.
When we meet with a client for the first time, we can discuss all of the issues involved and try to reach a pre-filing settlement. The goal is almost always to reach a pre-filing settlement and avoid going to trial. We can work with our clients and send settlement proposals or lets to the other divorce lawyer and spouse.
It depends on the cooperation level of both parties, but it might be possible to reach a settlement within three to four months. Once a settlement has been reached, the final documents for the divorce are prepared and delivered to the court. The goal is to get a signature from the court.
This process can require another two to three months, and the speed of the process depends on what area of New York the client lives in. Our expertise tells us whether or not we should continue with negotiations or move to the next step in the process.
It’s not uncommon for a spouse to cause the process to be delayed, and due to the actions of the spouse or their divorce attorney, the case might even come to a complete halt. If the parties cannot reach an agreement or promise, it’s to avoid wasting time and proceed with the next course of action, which consists of moving into the Court.
The Post-Filing Divorce Action
In New York, a summons and complaint can be filed, but if neither party files for a Request for Judicial Intervention, nothing will happen. The RJI is an important document because it’s used to get the case in front of a judge.
The speed that an RJI can be filed depends on whether or not the spouse answers the lawsuit. For example, it might be delayed if there is some sort of emergency, and the spouse is unable to answer. Once a summons and complaint have been filed, we must wait 30 days to file an RJI.
After the RJI has been filed with the Court, the case gets scheduled for a preliminary conference. The preliminary conference can involve a judge. If you live in Westchester Country, the conference might take place before a Court Attorney Referee.
Although it depends on the Court, it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to obtain a Preliminary Conference date. However, an emergency situation might extend this timeline.
During the Preliminary Conference, the issues associated with the divorce will be identified, and the complexity of the case will determine the length of the Discovery process.
For non-complex cases, discovery must be finished within a period of four months. Cases with moderate complexity are given a discovery period of seven months. For a very complex case, the discovery period will be set at 11 months.
The discovery timeframe is used by the Court as a way to resolve discovery within a set amount of time. The discovery process involves all of the subpoenas, depositions and document exchanges involved with the divorce. During the Preliminary Conference, the judge will give the plaintiff’s attorney a date to file a Note of Issue, which signifies the completion of the discovery process.
The Court will do everything possible to keep a case moving, but there might be some delays. Some common delays include obtaining documents, difficulty scheduling depositions and motion practice.
While the discovery process is taking place, the Court will regularly hold compliance conferences, so the status of the discovery can be examined. Compliance conferences are also held to resolve any potential issues that might arise.
Once the Discovery process is done, the Court will set the matter down for the Trial and Pre-Trial conference. The amount of time that this can take depends on what county the divorce action has been filed in. In some cases, this part of the process might take several months. The trial is the part of the process that consumes the largest amount of time in the timeline.
Once again, the amount of time required depends on the county where the divorce action has been filed. It’s not uncommon for trial dates to take up to three months, but depending on the county, it might even take up to nine months.
If no settlements are reached in the previous parts of the timeline, the final part of the process is the trial. A trial can take a few days, or it can take a few weeks.
The amount of time required for the trial depends on the issues associated with the case, and it also depends on the number of witnesses. A number of judges prefer the trial to span several consecutive days, but in some cases, a trial is started and delated for several days, weeks or months.
How Long Does It Really Take
It should be easy to see that the divorce process in New York can take quite some time because there are many different variables involved.
Some divorce cases are completed in one year, and others might take more or less time. It’s important to make sure that the case is handled properly, and we want to make sure that it’s handled correctly.
Can I get a refund on my retainer if I fire my lawyer?
When an attorney undertakes the representation of a party in a divorce case, he or she will want a set sum of money as a down payment. That money is to be billed against at their usual and customary hourly rate, and certain court costs will be paid out of that sum too. That’s called a retainer, and you’ll have a difficult time finding a divorce lawyer to represent you without paying that retainer.
It happens to just about everybody
Whether they want to admit it or not, just about every lawyer who is in private practice has been discharged by a client. That’s particularly true in divorce cases when the litigation is often fueled by emotion. Divorce lawyers probably get discharged at a higher rate than other lawyers in other courtrooms. The reasons for the discharge vary. Personalities might not mesh well, billing and costs might be excessive, a case might seem to be moving slowly, or a client just might not agree with an attorney’s litigation strategy. Whatever the reason, the attorney and client must wind their relationship up. That involves the attorney sending all documents, pleadings and the like to the client or his or her new attorney and settling up on money matters.
Timing is everything
If your retainer has been exhausted, and your attorney has requested additional funds, he or she still has an obligation to represent you until such time as an order has been entered granting withdrawal. Expect to be billed for any interim services. If a motion for withdrawal is necessary, you’re likely going to get billed for the motion, notice thereof and hearing thereon. After that, the attorney is free to provide you with a final bill. Should you refuse to pay it, the attorney is free to seek a judgment against you on the amount.
When your retainer hasn’t been exhausted
If you’ve decided to discharge your attorney, and your retainer hasn’t been exhausted, don’t sit on your hands. Notify your attorney immediately, and do it in a dated writing.
In that writing you can ask for a final statement and a refund of the balance of your retainer. That attorney has an ethical obligation to refund the remaining balance to you within a reasonable time. If you’ve already retained another attorney, you might want that person to make the request for you. If you haven’t retained a new attorney, don’t plan on using the balance of the unused retainer for your new attorney. You don’t know what work might have been done on your case since the last time you were in court.
Don’t make the same mistake twice. Your new attorney should be dedicated, experienced and respected in divorce courtrooms. Judges are allowed considerable discretion, and when a lawyer’s word has been as good as gold with a judge for a number of years, borderline decisions could go your way. If you’re thinking about discharging your attorney, contact us. We’ll be pleased try to get you turned in the right direction. You’ll get straight talk and straight answers.
Where do I go for a divorce?
If you are considering divorce in the near future, there are some things you may need to consider before starting the process. For instance, you must meet certain filling requirements within your specific jurisdiction, such as being a resident within that jurisdiction before you can file. Find out if you can file your own paperwork in your local court, or if a lawyer is required. Each jurisdiction has their own rules and regulations pertaining to how a divorce is handled, therefore contacting your local court and asking questions can prove very helpful.
Contacting a lawyer is always recommended when legal decisions need to be discussed. Although lawyers can seem impossible to obtain due to the cost, it is always recommended to at least contact a few lawyers to obtain important information needed prior to filing for divorce. Most lawyers can provide you with a free consultation to discuss details of your potential case; including cost and payment options. Some lawyers may offer payment plans to help you move forward; however, you will have to make some phone calls to find which lawyer will better meet your needs. Each state has different laws regarding divorce, especially when children are involved; therefore, the importance of a lawyer is vital to discuss issues of visitation, custody, child support, etc. When considering lawyers, some will request a retainer if your case may be extensive in nature, but some may only ask for a flat fee no matter how far the case is taken. You will need to speak to different lawyers to determine which option would be for you.
Other options to consider if you cannot afford a lawyer would be filing your own paperwork in your jurisdictional court (if your jurisdiction allows). There are some states that do not allow self-filling divorce cases, especially when children are involved, or a lot of property must be split. If your courts do not provide you with documents to file, there are many websites on the internet that offer programs to create divorce papers to file in your local courts. It is very important to know the whereabouts of your spouse if you wish to have court papers sent to them to be served. Oftentimes, after speaking to a lawyer about your potential case, you could obtain enough information to file yourself because of the simplicity of your case.
Whether you decide to file your divorce yourself in the courts or hire a lawyer to do all the work for you, there are more options to consider regarding who decides your case. If you hire a lawyer, they can help you resolve your case without fighting in the courts in front of judge; however, if you do not agree, the judge will decide the outcome of your case. If you file your paperwork yourself, the courts prefer to attempt a court appointed mediator before taking the case to a courtroom.
Ultimately, the most important aspect to consider when divorce is evident, is to get all the facts. Contacting a lawyer can help answer all of your questions accurately; whereas surfing the internet can only provide you with basic information that may provide you little or no validity.
If you need help, we encourage you to speak to one of our New York divorce attorneys today.
What if my lawyer dropped me after receiving the retainer?
There’s a lot of caveats to this situation. If your attorney dropped you after receiving a retainer – it can leave you in a weird place. If the attorney dropped you after “burning up,” your retainer – then it means there’s no money to refund, and you simply have to find a new attorney. If the attorney drops you, after taking your retainer – and hasn’t really gotten to work, then you may be eligible for a refund.
Typically, it will depend on the agreement you signed with the divorce attorney. Typically, you should have a signed contract with the attorney for his/her services. Read the contract, and see what it says in terms of terminating the agreement. Depending on the language used in the agreement, you should be able to get some, or all, of your retainer back. Typically, you should try to work out things with the attorney. As a last resort, you can file a complaint with the local bar association against the attorney in order to get your money back.
What to do
If an attorney has dropped you – it means you’ll need a new attorney. So do your to find one as soon as possible. This will prevent any delays in legal cases you may have pending. Not having an attorney can cause significant delay.
The next thing you should do, is reach out to your original attorney and understand why he dropped you. Depending on how long he was working, some, or most, of your retainer may be eligible to be refunded. Ethical divorce lawyers will typically tell you how much they are refunding you – when they tell you they are dropping you.
We live in a free society, so there’s no legal way to force an attorney to work on your case if he/she doesn’t want to. The only thing you can do, when this happens, is ask the attorney to refund your retainer – so you can hire someone else.
If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact our divorce law firm in NYC. We offer a risk free consultation, and are always available to help answer any questions you may have.
Attorney Mandatory Withdrawal
Below are some reasons an attorney may drop you as a client. In these circumstances, he is mandated to withdraw from the case.
- The attorney isn’t competent to continue representing you. In this case, he’s obligated to refund the unused retainer.
- The attorney becomes a witness, on a contested issue
- The attorney realizes the client is using his service to advance a crime
- The client is insisting on pursuing a frivolous case
- The attorney has a conflict of interest
At the end of the day, you should work with the divorce attorney you hire. Most attorneys, if they pull out, are reasonable and understanding of your situation.
Can I file for temporary support without an attorney?
Going through the divorce process without a divorce lawyer long island on your side is certainly feasible, but it’s not recommended unless you’re going through a quick divorce in which both parties agree to all the conditions and terms and nothing else is going on. When your divorce is more complicated, hiring an attorney to work with you and for you is a good idea. It helps you with the motions, it helps you to prepare yourself for your new life, and having someone on your side is helpful when they know the laws and you don’t. If you’re filing for divorce and you choose not to hire a Long Island divorce attorney to work with you, you’re responsible for doing things like filing for temporary support on your own.
Filing for Temporary Support
You have every right to ask that your spouse supports you while you go through the divorce process. The way to ensure this happens is to put the request on the divorce petition when you file. You can ask for a certain amount or for a judge to evaluate your financial situation so your spouse is ordered to pay you support while you go through the process.
This is possible in some situations, and not in others. A judge is not going to grant you temporary support if you are financially supporting yourself and your spouse is not. A judge will issue temporary support to you if you are a stay-at-home parent with kids to care for while you get back on your feet. This might include going back to school to get your degree or joining a trade school so you can get a good job and support yourself. It might be while you go back to some training classes to update a license you once held before you left work to care for your kids.
For example, if you are a teacher who decided to stay home five years ago when your kids were born, you might need to go to some classes and have some new certifications issued to get back into the classroom. Your spouse might be required to support you while you do this. A judge is going to set a time limit on this kind of support by requiring you to have your life in order by a certain date or your spouse is no longer required to support you. You must show good effort you are looking for a job or seeking a degree or trade school certification.
Temporary support is possible to seek if you have a need for it. If you and your spouse are on good terms throughout your divorce, you might find it’s faster and easier to discuss your need for financial support temporarily with this person rather than taking it to a judge. Your spouse might be more willing to do this if you just ask than he or she will be if you go to the judge with the request. Just note that while you can come up with a verbal agreement for temporary financial support, you do plan on going to the judge to make it official.
A judge cannot enforce your spouse to support you if he verbally agreed to you that he would do this. You need the financial documentation handled in court to make it official. It’s possible to do this without an attorney, and you can ask the Clerk of Court’s office which paperwork to file to get started seeking financial support from the man or woman you no longer want to be with.
If you aren’t sure you can handle this situation on your own, call an attorney with experience helping couples end their marriages. You can do it on your own, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend all the time and energy it takes to file motions and paperwork for this when you could work on furthering your career and putting your new life in order.