1. Child Custody - Physical Custody (where is the child's main residence) and Legal Custody (who makes decisions about the child) are the two elements of custody. Custody may be "joint" (shared by consent between the parties), or it may be "sole," -- as determined by agreement or by court order. Before custody is awarded the court usually undertakes various investigative steps to determine what is in the best interests of the child(ren). If custody is not decided upon by consent
(with the court and a court appointed law guardian representing the child) then a hearing takes place at which both parties present evidence to determine who should have custody in the best interests of the child(ren).
2. Child Visitation - the parent who does not have physical custody has either: a) Reasonable Rights of Visitation.
b) A specified visitation schedule, or is limited to supervised visitation. Only in very rare cases may the non-custodial parent be denied visitation. Usually, this is for very specific reasons such as severe substance abuse, a history of domestic violence or lack of interest in the child.
3. Child Support - In New York the amount of child support paid by the non- custodial parent to the custodial parent is guided by the state Child Support Standards Act.
What is the Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?
In New York there is a difference between Legal Custody and Physical Custody. Parents can retain joint legal custody, as well as joint physical custody, or One parent can also retain sole legal custody, as well as sole physical custody.
Legal Custody refers to the whether a parent has decision making power regarding the child or child?s education, religious upbringing, and medical decisions. Physical Custody refers to who the child or children will reside with. What is a Child Support Stipulation?
The Child Support Standards Act requires certain Child Support Guidelines be followed unless both parties agree otherwise in writing. A Stipulation Regarding Child Support is an agreement that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse enter into as part of your divorce where you can:
1. opt out of the Child Support Guidelines and 2. sets the terms and conditions of the child support for your child or children.
However, be aware that the minimum amount of child support allowed by NY law is $25 per month per child. The NY courts strictly require that your Stipulation Regarding Child Support contain certain legal language regarding the Child Support Standards Act, the Child Support Guidelines, complicated child support calculations and the reasons for deviating from these guidelines. Often, pro se divorcees have had their divorce papers rejected by the court because they made mistakes in their Stipulations Regarding Child Support..
A. We can discuss any of your questions or concerns. First, we will provide you with 1) a retainer agreement that explains the scope of our services and your rights as a client; 2) an information form to complete; and 3) a Payment Fee Schedule. After we receive your signed retainer agreement and take the initial payment we will then prepare and be ready to file the initial Summons with Notice/Complaint. After your spouse signs and notarizes the papers, you will sign and notarize the final papers for filing with the court. You are free to come to the office, or we can mail or email you these documents. After approximately six months, the court will issue the judgment and you will receive a copy.
A. Yes. For your convenience, we do offer payment plans. Usually, clients separate the payments into either two or four parts. We require an initial payment of at least $300 at the initial meeting to get your case started. All payments are due prior to preparation of papers or filing with the court.
A. Although preferred, office visits are not required. You can fill out our online information form and pay your fees though PayPal. Once we have been retained you will have an opportunity to consult with one of our matrimonial attorneys by phone or meet in our office. We are also always available for questions and inquiries by phone or email. All document communication can be handled by mail, email or fax. If you prefer, all documents requiring a signature can be mailed to you with clear instructions, and will include a return envelope for a prompt response. For your convenience, we offer day, evening and weekend appointments.
A.The grounds for divorce are nothing more than a legally recognized reason for the dissolution of a marriage. While reviewing your particular case, our attorneys will be sure to explain the various options and their significance. In New York, a divorce can only be granted based upon one or more of the following causes of action: " Irretrievable Breakdown/Irreconcilable Differences " Actual Abandonment, or " Constructive/Sexual Abandonment, or " Imprisonment, or " Written and acknowledged Separation Agreement after living separate and apart for more than one year, or " Cruel and Inhuman treatment, or " Adultery.
A.That depends. New York maintains specific "residency" requirements that must be met before a couple can file for divorce within the State. In order for the court to accept your case, you and/or your spouse must fall into one of the "residency" circumstances outlined below: 1.You were married in NY and either you or your spouse is a resident of NY when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or 2.You and your spouse have resided in NY as husband and wife and either of you is a resident of NY when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or 3.The "grounds" occurred in NY and either of you has been a resident of NY for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the commencement of the action, or 4.The "grounds" occurred in NY and both of you are residents of NY at the time of the commencement of the action, or Either of you has been a resident of NY for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action.
A.If you have your spouse personally served by one of our process servers, then we have proof that he/she received notice of the divorce. This will allow us to finalize your divorce even if your spouse refuses or forgets to sign and return the papers. You might save money without personal service, but your case will expire if your spouse delays signing long enough. Therefore, we suggest that you choose personal service unless you are absolutely sure that your spouse will sign and return the papers to us. By the way, certified mail does NOT offer this protection.
A.Yes, as a matter of fact, we serve almost anywhere in America as long as you have a concrete address to reach your spouse and your case remains uncontested.
A.Generally, in an uncontested matter, after your spouse is served they have the option of signing what is called an "Affidavit of Defendant" which allows the divorce to be immediately placed on the court's calendar, waiving all applicable waiting periods. If, however, your spouse fails to sign, you will be required to wait 40 days after the date of such service in order to proceed with the final steps.
A.Using a process server will ensure that your spouse has been properly served according to state law. Process service also provides the proof of service required to finalize your divorce. If you are certain that your spouse will sign and return the divorce papers then using a process server is not required. Otherwise, to ensure that your case does not expire due to your spouse's failure to sign and return the papers in a timely manner, you may want to use a process server. We will arrange to serve the paperwork for a fee.
A.Yes, you can still get an uncontested divorce called a "publication divorce." However, due to the extra filings and procedures involved, there are substantial extra costs, including motion preparation and filing, affidavits by a process server, and court-ordered advertising. Your total will likely be between $3,500 and $4,000. Unfortunately, if you cannot locate your spouse, this is the only way you can get divorced.
A. As long as your divorce remains uncontested, you will not have to make any court appearances. The only exception is in the rare event that the court orders an inquest, which may be required if there has been any history of domestic violence and/or orders of protection.
A.This is always a possibility. After your spouse is served with the divorce papers, they can decide to contest the divorce, meaning that they do not agree with the specified grounds, the relief sought, demands for support, or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If this happens, then your uncontested divorce becomes contested and it will cost you (and your spouse) significantly more legal fees and time, including court appearances. However, if our firm does decide to take your contested divorce case, our hourly fees are about half the price of most other NY attorneys.
A.The best way for you to avoid a contested divorce is by arriving at a consensus with your spouse regarding such matters as child support and custody (if applicable), or the terms of property division. If at all possible, you should attempt to involve your spouse in the divorce process as early as possible. This will ensure that he or she is not surprised by your actions and therefore less likely to contest the divorce.
A.No. The law prohibits the clerk of the court and the court reporter from allowing anyone, other than a party or the attorney of a party to examine or copy of any of the pleadings, affidavits, findings of fact, conclusions of law, judgment of dissolution, written agreement of separation or memorandum, or testimony. The only way that this rule can be circumvented is by way of court order.
A.Usually that depends on the level of cooperation we get from your spouse. If you and your spouse have
come to an agreement regarding the division of property, child support, custody and visitation,
then all that remains is to file a civil uncontested divorce. Although it is not required, the
faster your spouse agrees to sign and return the necessary paperwork, the faster it can be finalized
and filed. Please be aware that the court has its own time table.
Although I, as your attorney will complete and process your divorce documents very quickly, most of the waiting time is simply due to court backlog and lag time. Therefore, if everything runs smoothly, your case usually is finalized in either five or six months. Pay for "peace of mind" -- have a Licensed New York Attorney represent you in your divorce proceeding, for a truly reasonable price. We offer day, evening and weekend appointments. Contact us now to schedule an appointment to discuss your uncontested divorce, or any other legal issue that you may have.
A.A Separation Agreement is a legal contract between spouses that addresses the division of assets and
liabilities, as well as any support, maintenance, custody or visitation issues. A separation
agreement is enforceable by the courts and may be filed with the county clerk. At the end of one year
from the date of the agreement, either spouse may file for divorce based on a one-year separation
pursuant to separation agreement.
A Stipulation of Settlement is effectively the same document but generally prepared and filed along with the divorce papers and may be incorporated with the Judgment of Divorce. If you and your spouse have children or any significant assets and/or debt, it is advisable to prepare a stipulation agreement memorializing the terms of your divorce. The stipulation of divorce will provide a comprehensive outline of your agreements concerning all divorce related issues. This document is binding and enforceable by either spouse.