As a divorce attorney and mediator, I am often asked about the divorce
process. After all, most of the time when a spouse calls me for a consultation,
it is the first time they are getting divorced. As part of my consultations,
I try to educate spouses on divorce. So my blog today will outline what
you need to know! You can also call me and take advantage of a FREE consultation
to get more details and answers to your questions.
In New York, there are two basic kinds of divorce, contested and uncontested.
In a contested divorce, either one or both of the parties cannot agree
about the terms of their divorce, or about getting divorced in the first
place. In an uncontested divorce, both parties come to an agreement about
the issues involved in their divorce – including spousal support,
child support, asset allocation, division of property, child custody,
visitation, etc. These days since New York is now a no-fault state there
will be a divorce if one party wants one. The only issue left to decide
is the terms.
Trial Preparation & Discovery: Following a contested divorce filing, the discovery process begins. This
will help the parties delineate and value assets and income. Each party
may send the other a list of questions, or interrogatories, compiled by
their attorneys. The discovery process requires that each of these questions
be answered by the spouse under oath or there may be requests for documents
and testimony under oath (deposition).
Locating Expert Witnesses: When preparing for trial, your New York divorce lawyer may locate expert
witnesses. In the context of divorce, an expert witness is someone who
is allowed to express a professional opinion at the trial about the value
of assets or reasons for custodial awards.
Divorce Hearings & Trial: Following discovery, attorneys will argue in the interests of their clients
before the divorce happens. Each lawyer will present to the person hearing
the case information and evidence supporting their claims.
Divorce Mediation: In some jurisdictions, the law requires that both parties participate
in mediation. The goal of mediation is for both spouses to attempt to
resolve their differences under the guidance of a trained mediator. This
is generally an excellent idea, as it saves money and time.
Divorce Settlement: Once litigation has begun, most spouses will discover that, if they can
agree, they can save time, money, and frustration. Most spouses understand,
on some level, that they should settle the case instead of fighting it
out in court.
Grounds for Divorce:
Annulments: Marriage annulments, which state that a marriage never existed, are not
as common as they once were. While a divorce signifies that a marriage
has ended, a marriage annulment states that, for one reason or another,
the union was not an actual legal marriage. These can be complicated.
The Reason for Divorce: In terms of divorce, “grounds” refer to the reasons why you
wish to end your marriage. When a party initiates a divorce, they must
provide the reason why they want the divorce.
In New York, some of the most common grounds for divorce have included:
- Irreconcilable differences or agreement for a year or more.
Fault vs. No-Fault Grounds: In 1970, California was the first state to enact a no-fault divorce law.
In 2010, New York enacted a similar law. Every state now provides the
option of no-fault divorce and 33 states still offer fault grounds. In
a no-fault divorce, no one is alleging that the other has done anything
wrong in the marriage.
Post-Judgment Litigation: In some cases, former spouses will meet again in court after their divorce
has been finalized. If one spouse is unhappy about the terms of their
divorce or circumstances have changed—resulting in the need for
a modification—post-judgment litigation may be necessary.
Appealing a Divorce Case: If you, your spouse, or both of you are unhappy with the result of your
divorce trial, either or both parties may file an appeal with a higher
court. When you file an appeal, you are essentially asking a higher court
to determine whether or not the trial judge made an error, such as misinterpreting
the law or allowing inadmissible evidence or testimony into the trial.
Modifying the Divorce Decree: Once a divorce has been finalized, the court may entertain motions to modify
the divorce decree; however, they will only do so under specific circumstances.
Divorce may be new to you, but it’s not to me. Having represented
many thousands in divorce matters over the last 35 years, I have unique
insight, strategy, and skill to help you get the best possible results!
FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conducted virtually to reduce risk.
I look forward to answering all your questions about divorce.
Stay healthy and safe!
Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner now to book your free consultation.
We still have some time slots available this week.