New York Uncontested Divorce Lawyers
The ideal situation is you remain married and live happily ever after, but that is simply not the case for many couples in New York. You got married, you lived together for a while, perhaps you started a family, and you ultimately realized one or both of you was no longer invested in this marriage. This is when you decide you want to divorce. You fell out of love, your financial stress is too much for you to bear, or you’ve moved on to someone else. Whatever the case, an uncontested divorce is the kind of divorce you really want in New York.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which neither you or your spouse fight over things such as your debts, assets, or even your kids. You work together to come up with an agreement that works for both of you so that you can get the divorce over with as quickly as possible, and you might even do this while maintaining a friendly or at least civil type of relationship with one another.
An uncontested divorce in New York is one in which you both agree on the following terms without arguing, fighting, or wanting to change terms.
Perhaps you think that there is no reason to hire an attorney when you both agree to all of this without incident, but you should still hire an attorney for the simple reason you want to be sure the paperwork is fair, the terms are outlined fairly, and things are as they seem. There is nothing worse than thinking you both agree on what is happening in the divorce only to find out later your spouse had his or her attorney word the decree in a manner that doesn’t quite mean what you thought it meant. This is not to say your spouse will or would do something of this nature, but it’s happened before and it’s always better to have someone with legal expertise go over the terms outlined.
Why do people divorce in New York?
There are many reasons people decide not to remain married in New York, and your divorce must fall under the terms and conditions made legal by New York law. This means you must be able to cite one of the following reasons for your divorce.
– Adultery occurred
– One of you abandoned the other more than a year before
– One of you has been in jail or prison more than three consecutive years
– You’ve been separated for more than one year
– One of you treated the other with cruel or inhuman treatment
– Fraud was the basis for your marriage
– Irreconcilable differences
Most people cite the last reason as the reason for their divorce simply to keep the divorce a no-fault divorce. No-fault means neither of you is placing any blame on the other for causing the divorce, and it’s the most common way to keep the divorce as civil as possible.
Do I need an attorney?
If your divorce is uncontested, you certainly don’t need an attorney. However, it’s a good idea to hire one regardless. You want to know the paperwork you are signing is legally good to you. You want to know if you’re being allowed what you are legally entitled to, and you want to have someone with legal experience represent you. It’s wise for both of you to hire a divorce attorney even if you plan on an uncontested divorce in New York.
If you are considering the prospect of ending your marriage, you may also think that you will be able to pursue an uncontested divorce. If that is the situation at hand, you may wonder whether you need to consult with a so-called New York uncontested divorce lawyer. When it comes to what you think will be an uncontested divorce, here are a number of factors and considerations that you need to bear in mind.
Not All Uncontested Divorces End That Way
A key factor that you need to take to heart is that a divorce that is uncontested at the start may deteriorate very quickly. The stark reality is that emotions run high in most situations in which a couple is ending a relationship, including a marriage.
When a divorce spirals into something acrimonious, the lax attitude previously associated with a so-called uncontested divorce is no longer appropriate. For example, if a person forgoes legal counsel because a divorce is perceived as uncontested, he or she can end up in a highly risky situation if the case takes a turn for the worse.
One Attorney is Not Enough
Many people who think a divorce will be uncontested believe that a couple can obtain one lawyer between them to deal with legal issues. This is a misconception. The reality is that an attorney can only ethically represent one of the parties in a divorce case. Therefore, even if the parties think they can share a lawyer in a divorce case, that attorney actually will only be representing one of the spouses.
Preparing Divorce Paperwork
Although standard forms are available in a so-called uncontested divorce case, these forms must be up to date and accurate. In addition, they must be completed correctly.
Time and again, individuals seeking divorces do not hire legal counsel, and complete these forms on their own, but do so incorrectly. When that happens, divorce proceedings can be delayed, and sometimes significantly so. In addition, there are situations in which mistakes are made on these forms that result in a divorce case being dismissed.
Retain a New York Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
No matter how “easy” you think your divorce case will be, you are wise to seriously consider engaging the services of an experienced New York uncontested divorce lawyer. Legal counsel can ensure that all divorce paperwork properly is prepared and filed with the court. Legal counsel can assist in addressing court appearances and related matters that can arise during a New York divorce case.
Significantly, if a divorce case turns sour, which is always likely, an attorney is already on board to address serious issues. A party to a divorce is able to protect his or her legal rights and interests even when a once uncontested divorce devolves into something far more negative.
The first step in retaining legal representation is scheduling an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer. During this session, you are provided with an overview of divorce law and court procedure. You are also able to get answers to your questions. As a general rule, there is no fee charged for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer.
What If I Cannot Locate My Spouse?
There are times when someone filing for divorce can’t find his or her spouse. This can make filing a bit trickier, but it’s still possible to file when you don’t know where your spouse is living. You’ll have to make an effort to find your spouse, but if you can’t, you’ll be able to file a Motion to Serve by Publication or Posting.
Efforts to Find Your Spouse
While there are no set rules on how to find your spouse, the judge will expect you to have made every effort to locate him or her. He’ll decide if you’ve done all that you could. If you haven’t, the judge may dismiss the motion, and you’ll have to start the process all over again.
Many people don’t know where to start except with family and friends. That’s exactly where you should start. Take notes of who you contacted and the information they gave you. If they won’t share information, you’ll need to state that in your motion.
You can check your spouses last known address. You can do this by mail and in person depending on where it is. Call the last place your spouse worked. If you know any of his or her coworkers, you could ask them if they know where your spouse is now.
The Internet is a good source for information too. Social media accounts are a good place to start. If you can find her family or friends there, you might be able to contact them for information too.
What to Include in the Motion
- Last time you saw your spouse
- The location of that last sighting
- The steps you took to locate your spouse
- The people you contacted and information they gave you
After the Search
When you believed you’ve exhausted all possibilities, you can file your motion with the court. Attach the notes of what you did to find your spouse to the motion for the judge to read. You can also attach returned mail that will show you looked.
The judge will review the motion and make a decision. That decision can be mailed to you, or you might receive it through your lawyer.
In some cases, the judge might deny your motion because she feels you haven’t done enough to locate your spouse. She might have suggestions for what to do next. You should follow up on those suggestions and refile your motion. In other cases, she might only say that you haven’t done enough. You’ll have to figure out what more you can do and refile the motion.
Once the judge grants your motion, you’ll be required to publish a notice in the newspaper. This will need to occur once a week for three weeks. It might be required that you post in two different newspapers. One can be a local newspaper and the other with wider circulation.
You are responsible for calling the newspapers and paying for the notice. The judge will send a signed slip that will need to go to the newspaper office before they’ll print a notice for you. The costs for this will vary on the newspaper. You’ll have to contact them to find out the costs.
The newspaper office will mail you an affidavit that the notice was posted. This needs to be filed with the judge, so he knows that you’ve taken the next step.
What if You Can’t Afford a Newspaper Notice?
There are cases where you might not be able to afford to place a notice in the paper. You can ask for permission to have the notice posted in the courthouse. The court first has to review your financial status, and you’ll have to explain why you can’t afford to pay for a notice.
The judge will decide whether to grant you a fee waiver. You’ll receive his judgement in the mail. If the judge grants permission for the notice in the courthouse, they will take care of the posting. If the judge doesn’t give you permission, you’ll have to post in the newspaper.
Even if you know your spouse will never see a posting in the courthouse or the newspaper, the law requires you to make every effort to find your spouse.
These are important steps to take in filing for your divorce. You may never hear from your spouse, but if you want the divorce, this is what the law requires. You have to make every effort at locating him or her. A divorce lawyer in NYC can help you with parts of this process and make suggestions on how to locate your spouse.
What will the judge decide in my divorce case?
The judge assigned to hear your divorce case has jurisdiction over a broad range of issues that will impact you as you transition from life as a married couple to two separate households. Depending on your individual circumstances, some or all of the What will the judge decide in my divorce case?following categories will be the subject of the judge’s decision, which is properly called an order.
Prior to any division of marital property, it will be necessary for both you and your spouse to complete a financial statement that will list all assets and obligations. It is important to be forthright in providing this information, as it is against the law to attempt to hide assets in a divorce proceeding.
All property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be marital property, but either spouse can overcome that presumption with proof that specific property may be separate in nature. An inheritance, for example, may be separate property based on how it was treated by the respective parties.
A general rule is that the parties will each receive 50 percent of all property unless good cause exists to award one less or more than half. Seldom will each spouse receive the exact same property division; more typically, the judge will divide the property equitably, and each will receive different assets of relatively equal value.
The court is especially protective of children when they are involved in a divorce but tends to favor an agreement that can be worked out by the divorcing parents over one imposed by the judge. To that end, court-ordered mediation may be appropriate. If possible, shared parenting plans with an active role by each spouse is desirable.
In general, there are two kinds of care issues regarding children; decision making responsibilities regarding matters such as religion and education choices and the day-to-day care taker functions.
In the vast majority of cases involving children, child support is calculated using a statutory mathematical formula. The judge does, however, have wide discretion, to make any child support orders he or she feels is appropriate.
Alimony, or spousal support, is not determined based on any specific formula. Whether it is awarded at all or for how long, is based on a number of factors including length of marriage, the financial situation of each spouse, whether one spouse provided domestic support during the marriage and how able each is to earn an income capable of providing a minimum standard of living.
Based on the facts and circumstances of the divorce, the judge may be involved in issuing a protective order if there has been any history or threat of domestic violence. Additionally, if you changed your name when you were married and wish to resume using your maiden name, you cannot simply do so after your divorce is final. You need to request a name change as part of the judge’s order setting the terms of the divorce.
Minimizing the Judge’s Role
Although the judge must approve and finalize all the specifics of your divorce, the more you and your soon to be ex can agree on, the better. It will save you time and money, and even if you don’t get everything you want, most people are more satisfied with terms they have agreed to than ones imposed by judicial order.
If you’re unsure of what’s going to happen, it might be a good idea to speak to a divorce law firm in NYC who can help. Contact us – we give a risk free consultation to all new prospective clients. There’s absolutely no obligation.
How soon can I get remarried after filing papers for a divorce?
This is a very popular question. In the state of New York – the answer to this is easy – instantly. The state of New York, thus including NYC – has no waiting period. This means as soon as you have the judgement of divorce in your hands, you can file for a marriage again in NYC/New York.
However, if you just file for divorce – you must wait for the judgement of divorce to be granted. Until the judgement is granted, you are still legally married to your spouse and thus cannot enter into a new marriage. It is crucial you remember this, and do not try to get married too quickly. If you do, the new marriage may be held invalid. In addition, if you get married while still married to someone else – your original spouse may use that against you, citing spousal infidelity during the marriage. This could hurt your chances of getting a “good settlement,” from your spouse.
Bottom line though, you’re going to need a certified copy of the divorce judgement. It can take a few weeks to become available in the clerk’s office. In addition, before you jump the gun and get married – it’s highly suggested that you have a prenup, or some other similar agreement in place – before getting married again. If you have gained additional assets as a result of your previous divorce, you should seek to protect them before attempting to get married again.
If you need any more advice, or consultations, regarding whether you can get married or not, we suggest you speak to our NYC divorce lawyers. The consultation is free!