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Lois Brenner's New York Divorce 101!


When did you start thinking about divorce? Was it because of finances, fighting, infidelity, control issues, social media postings, or did you simply fall out of love?

Couples don’t just wake up one day and decide they want a divorce. A lot of time, thought and preparation goes into the decision. When people come to see me for a free consultation, often they want to learn about their rights, what they are entitled to, the procedures, and how to get started. Knowledge is power!

I begin the consultation by listening, answering questions of concern and by giving a brief overview of the three major areas which are as follows:

  1. Property

Property is divided into separate and marital property in New York State, and there are different rules governing each of these. Property includes not only bank accounts and real estate, but such things as businesses and retirement accounts. Sometimes the couple has a prenuptial agreement that determines what happens to their property in a divorce.

  1. Spousal Maintenance/Alimony

These are regular payments over time intended to rehabilitate a spouse who has been out of the job market and needs help getting back into the work force. This applies to both men and women today.

  1. Child Custody/ Child Support

Custody means the right to make decisions, and the time spent with each parent is also included here. In addition, the law provides guidelines for child support with various add-ons and exceptions.

Finally, during our consultation, I share that you can choose whether to mediate divorce, negotiate the terms through lawyers, or go to court. What many don’t realize is there are alternatives.

Most people when thinking of divorce, assume they will fight and go to court, but today there are other less adversarial avenues available. You should consider them all. Understanding all the options is not always easy. As a divorce attorney/psychologically-trained mediator I can explain how each path works and help you evaluate what will work best for you and your family. I encourage clients to choose the best process for them.

I am available through the holidays to help you think through your divorce process. Call me to schedule your free consultation today 212.734.1551.

Warm wishes,


Have a Happy Thanksgiving!