Divorce Law in New York
How to Find a New York Divorce Attorney
Did you know that about 56,000 divorces will be filed in the state of New York this year? With 50% of all first marriages and 60% of all subsequent marriages ending in divorce, you likely have friends, family, and co-workers who have gone through divorce.
If you’re like most people, you likely view these divorces with varying levels of interest or even amusement when it comes to famous New Yorkers such as Rudy Giuliani or Eliot Spitzer. But going through divorce yourself is an entirely different experience from observing it from the outside.
If you are considering divorce and are researching New York divorce lawyers, your entire world may be crashing down around you. Rest assured that you will be okay and that this article will help you.
Immediately below, we’ll discuss what you need to know about going through divorce in New York. This includes:
- New York divorce law requirements and offerings;
- What you need to know about divorce; and
- Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a New York divorce attorney (and, if so, how to find and work with a qualified divorce lawyer).
New York Divorce Law Specifics
As of October 2010, New York finally caught up with all the other states and offers “no-fault” divorce. This means that you no longer have to air your dirty laundry in divorce court.
You can keep your private life, private (unless you hold a very public office and your last name is “Giuliani” or “Spitzer”).
- In New York, “no-fault” means that your marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least 6 months.
- Even if your spouse has committed adultery, been abusive, or is imprisoned and you would thereby qualify for a “fault” divorce, such may not be in your best interests. This is a question for your divorce attorney.
In general, New York requires that either you or your spouse must have lived in the State of New York for at least 1 year prior to filing for divorce.
In addition, property distribution will be based upon what’s “equitable” (i.e. fair) and child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.
Although your personal situation may be similar to others, it is unique, special, and important, and as mentioned, New York divorce laws have changed. Get good advice.
What You Need to Know About Divorce in New York
In this section, we’ll highlight the aspects of divorce that will help you this most.
- Recognize that every divorce is composed of two types of separation, loss, and change. Many divorce professionals recognize both a legal divorce and an emotional divorce.
- Every divorce involves compromise; the more you and your spouse can work together the happier you’ll be because you’ll get more of what you want at lower stress levels and with lower legal fees.
- You can control your legal fees.
- New York law includes archaic terms such as “plaintiff” for the person who files for divorce and “defendant” for the other spouse. Being called a “defendant” is indeed archaic, but doesn’t mean you’re in trouble. These terms are even used in a “no-fault” divorce.
Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a New York Divorce Lawyer?
While all New Yorkers are legally permitted to represent themselves during divorce, it’s likely in your best interests to work with a New York divorce attorney. Even Giuliani and Spitzer, who are both attorneys, hired divorce lawyers.
- One mistake may cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.
- If you give up any marital rights during divorce, you may be forever barred from asserting them in New York courts.
How to Find and Select a New York Divorce Attorney
If you don’t mind making your private situation somewhat public, ask family and friends for a referral. Or, you can Google “How to Find a New York Divorce Attorney”.
Make sure that potential attorneys focus their practice on divorce law, family law, or matrimonial law. All three terms are used in New York to describe attorneys who help people like you.
How to Prepare to Work with Your New York Divorce Lawyer
Answer these questions and follow this list to prepare to work with your divorce attorney:
- Have all reconciliation attempts been exhausted?
- Have you consulted with a therapist or psychologist to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce?
- Have you gathered financial documents showing all income, assets, and expenses?
- Have you made a “wish list” of everything you would like in the divorce and indicated which items are your priorities?
- Have you drafted a list of questions to ask your divorce lawyer?
Most importantly, remember, if you are considering divorce, get good legal advice, about your individual situation, from a qualified New York divorce attorney; and, know that you have the choice to keep your private business private.