Family Law & Divorce Questions

Answers from a New York Family Law Attorney

If you're considering a divorce, you probably have a lot of questions about your legal rights and options. At Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, our New York City divorce and family attorneys are committed to helping people like attain the fair divorce, family law, and child custody settlements that they deserve. To learn more about your rights during a divorce, continue reading to find the answers to common divorce and family law questions. If you need more information, contact our office today and ask for a comprehensive case evaluation.

Divorce Questions

  • How Do I Start the Divorce Process?

    The divorce process starts with a divorce petition and is written by one person and served to the other spouse. From there, that petition is filed in the state court located in the county where the spouse lives. However, our legal team advises that you contact am experienced divorce lawyer from our firm before serving your spouse. In doing so, our legal team can prepare you and offer advice to help you avoid unnecessary errors that can create more problems in the future. Additionally, our legal team can stand by your side through every step of the case to ensure your rights are protected and to ensure your desired outcome is always the end goal.
  • How Much Does Divorce Cost?

    Divorces can vary in cost and often depend on the following: Assets, whether or not children are involved, the age of each spouse Thankfully, at our firm, clients can choose between a flat-fee divorce and hourly billing. We do so to provide our clients with flexibility so they can obtain top-tier results at a great price. We believe our clients deserve to pursue happiness, and that is why we do our best to help facilitate that.
  • What is a "flat fee" divorce?

    A flat fee divorce is much like an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse generally agree on spousal support, child custody, property division, and other issues, a flat fee divorce may be the best option for you. To learn more about a flat fee ("fixed rate") divorce with Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, click here.
  • Do I Need to Go to Court for Divorce?

    Every divorce is different than the next. Therefore, it will depend on whether or not you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree or disagree on the following: child support issues, child custody issues, spousal support issues, and asset division issues.
  • What is Uncontested or Amicable Divorce?

    When a couple agrees on every aspect of their divorce without the need for the judgement of the court, it is called an uncontested divorce or, in some cases, amicable divorce. Couples that experience this agree on child support, spousal support, asset division, the grounds for divorce, and more.
  • How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

    The length of each divorce case varies, since no two are the same; however, uncontested divorces generally take far less time than litigated divorces. Most uncontested divorces take six to eight weeks, but some cases can extend up to three months or more. It all depends on how long it takes to draw up the divorce papers, get all the paperwork filed, and set a Court appointment to present the divorce agreement to a Family Law Judge to be entered.
  • What is collaborative divorce?

    Collaborative divorce is a growing area of family law that allows couples to avoid some of the tedious legal complications associated with high-conflict divorces. In order to pursue a collaborative divorce, each spouse must sign a written pledge promising to avoid seeking a divorce settlement in court. When handled correctly, collaborative divorce can save time and legal expenses.
  • What is No-Fault Divorce?

    No-fault divorce is just as it sounds, meaning a person does not have to have sufficient grounds to obtain a divorce. In other words, a person could file for divorce without proving he or she was the victim of adultery, abandonment, or had lived without his or her spouse for at least a year. In fact, according to the New York Domestic Relations Law ยง 170.7., a divorce is permitted if the relationship between the couple is irretrievably broken for a minimum of six months.
  • Is New York a Fault or No-Fault State?

    As of 2010, New York is a no-fault state.
  • Can I file for divorce without a lawyer?

    The law does not require you to hire an attorney, but working with a lawyer improves your chances of a favorable divorce outcome. Whether you are moving through a contested or uncontested divorce, it is wise to hire an experienced divorce attorney. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you avoid errors that can end up costing you more time and money, can help you protect your assets, and can reduce or eliminate the stresses that occur when ending a marriage.
  • Can My Spouse and I Use the Same Lawyer?

    You and your spouse should refrain from utilizing the same divorce lawyer because the attorney will not be able to ethically represent both parties even if the two of you agree on all things. In fact, rules prohibit lawyers from representing two clients who have conflicting interests.
  • How is Alimony Determined in New York?

    Alimony is awarded if the court believes that one spouse will be at a disadvantage if they are not awarded alimony. To reach a decision, the court considers the following: the source of income, the occupation of each spouse, physical and mental health of each spouse, the age of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, assets and debt acquired during marriage, and more

Child Custody Questions

  • How is child custody determined?

    Child custody is determined by the "the best interest of the child." This concept takes the child's emotional wellbeing, physical health, education, medical needs, and other factors into consideration. In the end, the court will determine what is truly in the best interest of your child or children.
  • When can I modify my child custody agreement?

    You can change your child custody agreement in the event of very specific circumstances. This might include parental relocation, a change in either parent's financial status, or a change in the child's needs.

Asset & Property Division Questions

  • What are my rights regarding property division during divorce?

    New York is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that you are entitled to a fair portion of the marital property and assets. According to the law, fair and equal are not always the same; the court might decide that you are entitled to more or less than 50% of the assets.
  • How does the court calculate asset division?

    A variety of factors determine your share of the marital assets. The duration of your marriage, your alimony agreement, child custody, your income, your spouse's income, and other variables can influence the division of your assets.
  • Does asset & property division include debt?

    Like property division, debt division is contingent on other factors. If you or your spouse is in debt, the court will divide it along with your other finances (property and assets). If your spouse accumulated a significant amount of debt without your knowledge, you may be exempt from division.
  • How Will Our Assets Be Divided After Divorce?

    There are many factors that must be considered when dividing assets during the divorce process. To begin, it is important to understand that only assets and property that you and your spouse obtained during the duration of the marriage are subject to division. Some factors that will affect what is considered fair include: the amount of money and property each of you had when you got married, the amount of money and property each of you had when you filed for divorce, whether or not either of you were awarded alimony in divorce, the future financial requirements each of you have following divorce, and the age and health of each spouse.
  • How Will Retirement Plans Be Divided After Divorce?

    According to the New York equitable distribution laws, retirement benefits that are earned during the marriage are to be divided in divorce. In order to determine the amount of the benefits that go to the non-employee spouse, the court uses the Majauskas formula.

Child Support Questions

  • How does the court determine child support?

    The best interest of the child determines your child support agreement, much like a child custody agreement. Financial factors, such as your income and the child's financial needs, play important roles in your support settlement.
  • What if my ex refuses to pay child support?

    The court does not take unpaid child support lightly. Unpaid child support can lead to property liens, driver's license revocation, and wage withholding.
  • Can I change my child support agreement?

    Yes, you can file for a child support modification. However, the court only allows modifications under special circumstances. Common reasons for child support modification include job loss, unexpected medical costs, or a significant increase in one parent's income.

Mediation Questions

  • Is mediation right for me?

    If you and your spouse are seeking a low-conflict divorce, mediation may be able to save you time and money during the divorce process. Mediation is handled by a qualified "mediator," who acts as a neutral party between each party of the divorce. Like a collaborative divorce, mediation is ideal for couples who are in general agreement about key issues related to their separation.
  • Will mediation save money?

    Mediation usually takes less time than litigated divorce, which can save legal costs and attorney fees. Mediation only saves money if both parties are willing to work together. Without cooperation from the husband and wife, mediation can be very costly.

Fathers' Rights Questions

  • Do I need to establish paternity in order to seek child support?

    Yes, unmarried parents must demonstrate paternity before seeking court-ordered child support. If the child's parents are married, paternity is assumed.
  • What are my rights as a father during divorce?

    In the past, courts tended to favor mothers. Today, society has come to accept father's rights as an important part of family law. During a divorce, the court is obligated to show no partiality between fathers and mothers. Issues like child custody and support are determined by your involvement in the child's life, your relationship with the child, and many other factors.
  • How do I prove paternity?

    Paternity testing is used to establish the biological father of a child. There are several forms of paternity testing, which can cost between $400 and $2,000.
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