Divorce Lawyers and Attorneys in Brooklyn, New York
In New York, there are generally two types of divorce: contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot agree on one or more aspects of the divorce, such as the division of property, spousal support, child custody and child support. In this situation, a court proceeding will be necessary and a judge will make the ultimate decisions. In an uncontested divorce, however, the spouses agree on the relevant issues to dissolve the marriage and judicial intervention is not necessary. Nonetheless, this process is complicated as it involves a vast amount of paperwork.
The Law Office of Elliot Green represents clients throughout the greater New York City area in both contested and uncontested divorce cases. We are well versed in the Domestic Relations Law and have a proven track record of helping divorcing couples resolve their issues expediently.
A divorce is considered to be contested when the spouses disagree on at least one aspect of the divorce at the time of filing. Because a contested divorce is more complicated than an uncontested divorce, it is crucial to have an experienced divorce attorney to help you navigate the legal system.
The first step involves the initial filing of a Summons and Complaint by one of the spouses. The person filing for the divorce, or the petitioner, then has 120 days to serve the summons on his or her spouse. A third party, such as an attorney or process server, is tasked with serving the summons and must also file an Affidavit of Service within 30 days.
The spouse who has been served with the divorce papers, or the defendant, then has between 20 to 30 days to respond with a legal document that is referred to as an Answer. Once the petitioner receives the Answer, he or she must then file a Request for Judicial Intervention or RJI. This document basically asks the court to schedule a Preliminary Conference, usually within 45 days of the RJI being filed.
At the Preliminary Conference, the court will determine which issues of the divorce it needs to consider. Both spouses are required to provide the court with a statement of net worth no later than 10 days before the conference. The court may also request the attorneys for both spouses to consider the potential of a settlement.
Since a settlement is unlikely at this juncture, the next phase is the discovery period. During discovery, each attorney will collect evidence to support their case. In any event, discovery must be completed within 6 months of the Preliminary Conference.
The final step is the trial, the duration of which depends on a number of factors. The judge will consider all the testimony, evidence and arguments and issue a written order finalizing the divorce and disposing all the issues raised at trial. If neither party appeals the decision, the court’s divorce decree becomes final.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree to divorce and to resolve the relevant issues to end the marriage, including the division of property, child custody and parenting time, the amount of child support, and whether spousal support will be paid by one of spouses.
Additionally, the spouses must also agree on the grounds for divorce. Since New York law allows for no-fault divorce, the most common ground agreed to is “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” for a least 6 months before the divorce filing. This simply means that the spouses no longer wish to be married and are unlikely to reunite. In New York, a divorce is also considered uncontested when one of the spouses files for divorce and the other fails to appear in the divorce proceeding.
There are a number of benefits to an uncontested divorce, not the least of which is that it does not require a trial. This can save time and money and keep the issues of the divorce and other family matters private. Nonetheless, it is important to have the advice and counsel of an experienced divorce lawyer Brooklyn who can help prepare and file the necessary paperwork.
This starts with preparing a Summons and Complaint and filing it with the office of the County Clerk. It is also necessary to serve the other spouse with the divorce papers, and he or she must also sign and return the Affidavit of Defendant.
Upon receipt of the affidavit, the case can be placed on the court’s calendar, however, there are a number of steps involved in obtaining a court date. There are many forms to complete and file, including a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage. If there are minor children involved, it is also necessary to file a Divorce and Child Support Summary Form.
These papers are then submitted to the court for the judge’s review and approval. Once the judge approves the divorce, he or she will sign the Judgment of Divorce, which must then be filed in the County Clerk’s Office and served on the divorced spouse.
New York Divorce Attorney
Regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a marital break up is never easy. At the Law Office of Elliot Green, we patiently guide our clients through the entire process and strive to achieve favorable outcomes. Although many divorces can be resolved through a negotiated settlement, we have the necessary skills and resources to prevail at trial. Above all, we offer each client knowledge and compassion and always put their best interests first. If you are considering a divorce, call our office today to set up a consultation or complete the contact form on our website.