Unfortunately, filing for divorce is never easy. Even if you and your spouse appear to be on the same page, things can still get messy. For this reason, you shouldn’t try to handle this process on your own. What you may not realize is that there are numerous ways to legally end your marriage—including annulments, collaborative divorce, contested divorce, uncontested divorce, no-fault divorce or even mediation—so it is imperative that you understand all of your options before moving forward with your case.
With the help of a New York City divorce lawyer from Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, you can ensure that your case is handled effectively and efficiently. We have been helping individuals and families throughout the state for more than 35 years, which means that we can offer the experience and legal insight that you will need during this difficult time. There is no “one size fits all” solution to filing for divorce, so it is important that you pursue a course of action that is best for you and the future of your case. Call now to find out how we can help!
Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
If you and your former spouse have decided to file for divorce under amicable circumstances, it may be in your best interest to pursue an uncontested divorce. Unlike a contested divorce—which would be handled in court—an uncontested divorce would allow the couple to make all of their own decisions. This means that both parties would come to an agreement about all of the terms of their separation, including matters like child custody, property division, spousal maintenance, and more.
However, it is important to understand what an uncontested divorce is not. This is not a chance for spouses to make decisions about most of the terms of their separation. In an uncontested divorce, the couple must either agree on all of these matters or convert their case into a contested divorce. For this reason, this course of action is only recommended if you and your spouse can agree to cooperate. If this is not possible, you may have to leave the decision-making up to the judge.
Collaborative Divorce vs. Mediation
If you are looking for a way to save time and money on your divorce, you may want to explore the options of collaborative divorce or mediation. Both are similar in that they are handled outside of court. In mediation, the couple will negotiate the terms of their separation under the guidance of a neutral third party. The mediator cannot make decisions for either party; their role is to facilitate communication between both parties so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
In a collaborative divorce, both parties would negotiate the terms of their divorce with separate legal counsel. Unlike mediation, which would be guided by a neutral third party, a collaborative divorce would allow both spouses to retain their own legal representative. This can be beneficial for many reasons, but namely because both sides would have someone looking out for their best interests. If you are interested in learning more about either of these processes, contact our firm today.
No-Fault Divorce vs. Divorce Based on Fault
Up until October of 2010, it was impossible for a couple to file for divorce in the state of New York unless they had reasonable grounds. Some of the grounds for divorce previously included cruel and inhumane treatment, abandonment, imprisonment, adultery or separation. Unless one of these factors could be established, the court would not grant a divorce. Since then, however, it has become possible for couples to file for divorce by stating the grounds of “irretrievable breakdown.”
This means that the marriage is broken, and that the spouses are past the point of reconciliation. This is the only grounds for a no-fault divorce in the state—which means that neither party would have to prove that the other is at fault for the breakdown of their marriage. However, even though no-fault divorce is now an option, this does not mean that you cannot initiate a fault-based divorce. If your spouse had an affair, for example, you could still state this as the reason for your divorce.
Do you have grounds to seek an annulment?
Although this option is rarely used, annulments are another way to legally end your marriage. An annulment essentially declares the marriage null and void, while a divorce would dissolve the marriage completely. However, you can only seek an annulment under very specific circumstances. Essentially, the court would only grant an annulment in cases of a void or voidable marriage. A void marriage would include instances of incestuous marriages (i.e. the spouses are blood relatives).
Voidable marriages would include instances where one party was legally unable to consent to the marriage or provide the lasting benefits of a marriage. For example, the court may grant an annulment if one spouse was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage, mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage, or forced to participate in the marriage while under duress. If one party is unable to consummate the marriage, the court may also agree to void the marriage.
If you would like to explore your options with the help of a New York divorce attorney from Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, please do not hesitate to set up a no-cost, comprehensive case evaluation.