NY Uncontested Divorce vs. NY Contested Divorce

NY Uncontested Divorce vs. NY Contested Divorce

In New York, divorce is defined as a legal end to a marriage between two people. However, state law recognizes two types of divorces: uncontested divorce and contested divorce. This can create quite a lot of confusion for spouses who just want to end their marriage and move forward with their lives. A couple getting divorce must choose one. The type of divorce they want will depend on specific circumstances regarding why they want a divorce.

Contested Divorce: When One Spouse Doesn’t Want to End the Marriage

Usually, a divorce is contested when one spouse doesn’t want to end the marriage. New York divorce law requires a spouse to file a divorce petition. Within hat divorce petition, they must cite a reason why the state must legally end their marriage. The law outlines specific reasons for getting a divorce in New York such as:

1. Adultery: A person cheats on their spouse.
2. Separation: The spouses are living separate and have signed a written separation agreement for at least one year.
3. Abandonment: An individual abandoned their spouse for at least one year. The abandonment can be physical such as leaving the state or going to prison. It can be sexual abandonment. Sexual abandonment refers to stopping all sexual intercourse or sexual activity with their spouse for a period of at least one year.
4. Inhuman, Cruel Treatment: This means an individual has treated their spouse cruelly during their marriage. The cruel treatment can occur in two ways: mental cruelty or physical cruelty. For example, a spouse who was mentally or physically abused could file a divorce petition requesting a divorce based on inhuman, cruel treatment.

Once the spouse being sued for divorce receives the divorce petition, they must file an answer. An “answer” is a written statement denying the alleged reasons outlined for divorce. The answer places the divorce petition on the New York court docket for a pretrial conference and trial.

Resolving a New York Contested Divorce

Spouses could agree to get divorced, but they can’t resolve divorce-related issues. The term “divorce-related issues” simply means there’s some matter that can’t agree on such as spousal support or division of property.
A contested divorce is resolved in one of two ways. The couple can be resolve disputes such as division of property with the help of their attorneys. Their second option is to let a divorce judge decide the issues. This means the case goes to trial. Each spouse is required to prove their case based on the grounds listed above. Once the issues are decided by a judge, a divorce decree is issued.

Uncontested Divorce: When Both Spouses Agree to Get a Divorce

An uncontested divorce is an option when both spouses agree to end their marriage. New York divorce law still requires one of the spouses to file a divorce petition. Instead of citing one of the four reasons listed for a contested divorce, the spouse only lists one reason: irreconcilable differences.

The main reason why this is an uncontested divorce is because both spouses act in an amicable, reasonable way when working out the divorce details. This makes the process go quickly. Spouses who have an uncontested divorce typically receive their divorce decree faster than a couple who files a contested divorce.

Before obtaining a divorce decree from a divorce judge, a couple must present a written agreement. This written agreement is the foundation of their divorce judgment. It outlines how they’ve resolved each issue such as spousal support and paying off marital debts. This agreement is worked on early with the help of divorce attorneys.

Once the spouse being sued for divorce receives the petition, they don’t send the court an answer. If they don’t want to ignore the divorce petition, they can submit an answer to the court admitting to the reason for the divorce. They can deny the allegations, but agree to the divorce. This causes a default. A default means that the divorce is automatically granted and it isn’t put on the court docket for trial.

Hire a New York Divorce Attorney

Divorce is a confusing process because there are a lot of emotions involved. That doesn’t mean, a divorce must be messy. If you’re getting a divorce in New York, it’s important to understand the two types of divorces and how they relate to your situation. It’s also important to hire a divorce attorney to understand more about the process, how to start it and how to negotiate disputes. Contact us today.

Can we stop our divorce if we’ve changed our minds?

Getting married is a big decision, but it’s often an easy decision for those who are in love and having the time of their lives. When someone asks you to be his wife and you agree, you can’t imagine life without this person. This is the person you want to share with you the rest of your future, and you can’t imagine ever feeling anything but overwhelming joy and happiness with him. When you get married, life calms down a bit in the romance department. Work, kids, your home, travel, and all the other things that keep you busy take over and leave you feeling a little less than happy.

You begin fighting, you drift apart, you lose the spark you once had. You might decide you aren’t sure this is what you signed up for, and you begin to think about how much more enjoyable life would be with someone else or on your own. When you finally make the decision to get divorced, it’s a sad moment. It’s easy for some, and it’s a difficult decision for others. Either way, you’re going to need to go down to the local Clerk of Court’s office and file the appropriate paperwork to begin the process.

Filing For Divorce

The first step is an easy one. You go to the office of the Clerk of Court and you ask for the divorce decree. It asks you many things, such as what you want to have in the divorce, if you have kids, who gets the kids, and if you want alimony if that’s an option in your state and in your marriage. Once you fill it out, you turn it into the Clerk’s office and your spouse is served. He can either accept the terms outlined in your petition for divorce or respond with his own demands.

You might go to mediation, you might hire an attorney, and you might even fight over things. At some point, you might decide for your own sake or the sake of your kids that perhaps your marriage really isn’t over. Maybe you do love one another and want to give this another shot. That is great news.

Can I stop my divorce?

Perhaps you hastily applied for a divorce and you’ve changed your mind. You can stop it, but there are some stipulations to that general rule. The first has to do with your spouse. If he has not been served paperwork yet, you can stop the divorce without him ever finding out you even submitted a petition for it. If he’s already been served, you have to get him to agree to stop the divorce.

Once he’s been served, you must both agree in writing to stop the process. You must do this prior to the end of your marriage being granted by the court. If the divorce decree is already signed and submitted to the court by the judge, it’s too late. However, the judge would love to see you work on your marriage and decide to stay married than getting divorced, so he or she is happy to stop the divorce if you both agree before it’s been finalized.

Your attorney can help file a petition to stop the divorce so long as you both sign it and agree when you meet with a judge. It is not too late to save your marriage even if you assume it’s already too late. You have time before the petition is finalized and the decree is issued. However, you must get your spouse to agree that your marriage is worth saving. Without his agreement, the divorce will continue even if you change your mind about it and want to stay married. Think it through, but know you do have options even when the process is ongoing.

Am I entitled to copies of the financial disclosure papers?

A divorce can be extremely volatile or amicable, but either way, you’ll have to disclose information you may wish to remain private. One of those disclosures involves financial information. The court needs this information when making determinations during the proceedings.

Financial Information That Must be Disclosed

When filling out the paperwork for your divorce, you’ll need to declare all your income from all sources. You’ll also need to include all expenses, so the court can get a full picture of your finances. This list should include all assets and liabilities including property owned before the marriage.

Full Documentation of the Finances

Your family law lawyer will want to receive supporting documents regarding your finances. This should include copies of deeds and mortgages, paystubs for the past few months and tax returns for previous years. When asking for tax returns, the lawyer may ask for both personal and business tax returns if you own a business. You’ll need bank, credit card and retirement account statements.

Requests for Documents

The financial information must be shared with your spouse’s lawyer. Both spouses will exchange this information during a divorce. If you feel as if your spouse isn’t disclosing all financial information, your attorney can send a list of questions and interrogatories to the other lawyer along with a list of requested documents. Your spouse must send the requested documentation to support their response.

Financial Disclosures During Divorce

The first disclosure often happens at the beginning of the process. If the case drags on for a long amount of time, the court may ask for a second disclosure to see if there has been a change in information. It’ll request updated information on credit card accounts, an update on tax returns and the last few months of pay stubs.

Failure to Provide Disclosures

When your spouse signs the disclosure, he or she is swearing that the information is true and accurate. If you learn that your spouse is hiding assets, the court should be informed. The court can hold the spouse in contempt, order them to pay a fine or award more to the other spouse in response.

Checking Finances

You’re entitled to see the financial documents of your spouse during the divorce proceedings. If your spouse doesn’t respond with the correct information or refuses to send the information at all, your lawyer can file a motion with the court. The court will order your spouse to provide all necessary information.

Finding the Hidden Assets

In some divorces, one spouse will try to hide money by deflating their income. This can be done when they own their own business or work for a small business. They’ll ask for smaller paychecks or hold off on bonuses until after the divorce. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, talk to your lawyer about hiring an investigator or accountant to find out the truth.

Effects of Hiding Assets

A spouse who successfully hides assets can lower their alimony or child support payments during a divorce. It can impact property distribution too. The court will see a lowered ability to pay alimony and child support while your spouse will gain an unfair cut of the marital assets.

It’s important that you and your lawyer go over the finances carefully once the financial disclosures are exchanged. It could be worth the cost to hire a forensic accountant or investigator to find out whether there have been assets hidden since it’ll have an impact for years.