Long Island Divorce Lawyer
Experienced Legal Representation from a Nassau County Divorce Attorney
At Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C., our Long Island divorce lawyers have extensive experience handling complex family law matters. Whether your matter involves separation, estrangement, alienation, accusations of domestic violence, the existence of a prenuptial agreement, or a significant number of assets in a contested divorce, we have the knowledge and tools to aggressively protect your interests throughout the legal process.
Our goal is to learn about your concerns and establish a plan of action that will help you reach a satisfactory divorce settlement. We can start helping you today by answering questions such as:
- What are the grounds for divorce?
- What is the divorce process?
- What are the common effects of a divorce?
- Are there alternatives to divorce?
- What will happen after my spouse is served with the summons?
- What are the residency requirements for a New York divorce?
- Which type of property is subject to property distribution?
- What can be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
- How do I get access to hidden and undisclosed assets?
- What do I do if I am going through same-sex divorce?
Divorce cases are governed by New York's Domestic Relations Law. Until 2010, a party seeking divorce could only do so on specific grounds that essentially put one party "at fault" for the breakdown of a marriage.
Some of the at-fault grounds for divorce include:
- Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
In 2010, the legislature added an additional ground for divorce, which is the irretrievable breakdown of a relationship for a period of at least six months. This new ground created a "no fault" basis for seeking divorce.
Nassau County courts will not finalize a divorce until specific issues between the couple are resolved. Some of the issues that couples must confront and decide upon include:
What is the Process of Divorce in Long Island?
The specific details of the divorce process may vary based on individual circumstances and the specific court's procedures, however, the process of divorce in Long Island generally follows these steps:
Consult with a Long Island Divorce Attorney.
Start by seeking guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in Long Island who can assess your situation, explain the legal process, and provide personalized advice.
Determine Grounds for Divorce.
Determine the grounds for divorce, which can be either fault-based (such as adultery or cruelty) or no-fault based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months.
File the Divorce Petition.
Prepare and file a divorce petition with the appropriate court in Long Island. The petition should include details about you, your spouse, the marriage, and the grounds for divorce.
Serve the Divorce Papers.
Serve the divorce papers on your spouse in compliance with the specific service requirements set by the court. Proper service is crucial for legal validity.
Respond and Negotiate Important Issues.
Discovery and Disclosure.
Both parties exchange relevant financial and other necessary information through a process called discovery. This ensures transparency and fairness in the divorce proceedings.
Reach a Settlement or Go to Trial.
If an agreement is reached through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, a settlement can be drafted. If not, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge will make decisions on unresolved issues.
Finalize the Divorce.
If an agreement is reached, it is submitted to the court for approval. Once approved, a judgment of divorce is issued, officially ending the marriage.
Address Any Post-Divorce Matters.
It's crucial to consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney in Long Island to guide you through each step of the process, protect your rights, and help you achieve a fair and favorable outcome.
Are there alternatives to divorce?
Annulment is a marital dissolution process whereby the resulting legal effect is that the marriage effectively never took place. Therefore, it is only available under very limited circumstances, which include those cases where the marriage could not have legally taken place for one reason or another.
Some examples of this include:
- One of the parties was a minor
- One of the parties lacked the mental capacity to enter into the marriage (such as in the case of mental illness)
- One of the parties was still legally married to a former spouse
- There is evidence of fraud or duress at the time the relevant party consented to the marriage
Separation is a legal procedure which has the effect of solidifying the decision that the parties will live their lives as separate individuals, but that neither party may legally re-marry. A separation may be converted into a divorce judgment by either party after at least one year has passed.
A judgment of separation also has specific pleading requirements, such as allegations of abandonment, adultery, or the other spouse's imprisonment for three years or more.
If you initiate a divorce action by filing and serving a summons, your current spouse will have to reply within 20 days. The reply will be served through a notice of appearance to you, as the filer. With this action, your spouse will appear for the divorce action, and you will be given 20 days to serve a verified complaint. If the divorce action is commenced through the serving of a summons and verified complaint, your spouse will be given 20 days to serve the answer to your complaint. The answer will also include counterclaims.
If you are estranged from your spouse and pursuing divorce in the state of New York, you will need to meet the residency requirements. Any of the following criteria will need to be met when filing for a New York divorce:
- You and your spouse were married in New York, and either of you has been a resident for at least one continual year immediately before the commencement of the divorce action
- You and your spouse have resided in the state as a married couple, and either party has been a resident for a continuous period of at least one year immediately before the start of the divorce action
- Grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and either spouse has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least one year immediately before the beginning of the divorce action
- Grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and both parties are residents of the state at the time of the commencement of the divorce
- Either party has been a resident of New York for a continual period for a minimum of two years immediately before the start of the action for divorce
There are a number of determining factors that impact property distribution. All property that is obtained by either or both parties during the course of the marriage, prior to signing the separation agreement or prior to the commencement of a divorce action, is considered marital property. All marital property in the state is subject to equitable distribution to be divided by the court in a fair, but not necessarily equal, fashion. The property that will not be subject to equitable distribution includes that which is considered separate property, or any property protected in a written agreement.
Not all issues that are discussed during divorce can be covered in a matrimonial agreement, which includes prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. It can include a contract to make a testamentary provision or a waiver of rights to elect against a will. As far as property division, the provisions for ownership, division, and distribution of both separate and marital property can be discussed. Other terms of the marriage can also be included and must be considered fair at the time of the making of the agreement. Provisions for the custody, care, and support of children can be included, but the best interest of the child will be the highest consideration at the time of divorce.
Contact Our Long Island Divorce Lawyer for Your FREE Consultation
Our New York law firm firm will take the time to listen to your concerns, analyze your case, and help you formulate a plan that meets all of your needs during the legal process. Our lawyers can deal with the legal issues of your divorce, help you protect your assets and your interests, and deal with your spouse on your behalf.
At Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C., we know how New York divorce procedures work and we know what you are entitled to during divorce. When you retain our services, you have the benefit of our knowledge, our experience, and our success handling divorce matters.
For quality legal assistance with your divorce, contact our divorce lawyer today!