A divorce can be one of the most stressful life experiences anyone will ever go through. While some couples are able to come to a friendly agreement and consensually dissolve the marriage, many divorces do not go so smoothly. If you are going through a contentious divorce, it is absolutely crucial that you have the right legal team backing you up. Even in equitable distribution states like New York, your property, wages and the means of your livelihood are put at risk in a divorce. The right lawyers can help you negotiate a favorable divorce settlement and avoid the worst pitfalls of a court-decided divorce proceeding.
Things get tricky when property and kids are involved
The harsh truth is that divorces involving childless couples with few assets are rarely overly contentious. It is only when large quantities of money and kids get involved that the stereotypical bitter divorce becomes reality. Unfortunately, significant assets and child custody disputes readily produce the worst kind of contentious divorces. These can be an interminable nightmare for the participants.
This is where a good legal team can make the difference between a life of misery and being able to quickly put the failed marriage behind you, able to keep what is rightfully yours and to have access to your children.
The state of New York is an equitable distribution state. That means that property in divorce proceedings is supposed to be given to whichever spouse earned it or bought it. However, in practice, this is often not how the jointly owned assets are actually distributed among the spouses. If you are involved in a divorce where your spouse has hired an attorney, you need to do the same. This is particularly true in marriages where one spouse was the primary bread winner. Once attorneys are involved and the proceedings have turned contentious, the chances of you losing most of your assets, without hiring an attorney of your own, is very high.
The same is true with respect to child custody. While most marriages result in what is technically termed joint legal custody, which means that both parents have joint responsibility over all major life decisions affecting the children, in practice, one parent usually ends up with effectively exclusive residential custody. Arrangements where the children live with one parent, close to all of the time, often gives rise to de facto exclusive legal custody, or something close to it.
The right legal team can help protect your rights as a parent, ensuring that you are able to be a part of your kids’ lives and are able to both see them regularly and assert your rights as a parent over the crucial decisions in their lives.
No-fault divorce means it’s more important than ever to hire a good lawyer
The benign-sounding no-fault divorce law has made it easier than ever for a spouse who has either monetary or custodial incentives to initiate a divorce to do so. This often works severely against the interest of the primary income earner, giving the other spouse an opportunity to see how much cash and prizes they can get by playing the divorce game. It is, therefore, more important than ever to hire a good lawyer to protect your interests in a divorce.