Spouses who are able to reach their own agreements regarding custody, property and support in a divorce may be able to complete an uncontested divorce. This is generally the fastest, least expensive and easiest form of divorce, and an attorney from our firm can assist you in pursuing this option.
You cannot legally finalize your divorce until you have fully settled all the outstanding issues between you and your spouse, including the division of assets and debts, spousal support and the care of your children. If the two of you are unable to resolve these matters out of court, you will have a divorce that is contested and the judge will be called upon to rule for you.
In order to get divorced in New York, the parties must reach a resolution of all of their marital affairs. These include division of marital assets, custody, visitation and support for minor children, spousal support. When there is no agreement on any of the above then the divorce is considered contested. The court must step in and make decision on any of the unresolved matters so the divorce can be concluded.
My spouse does not want to get divorced. Can I still get divorced?
Since New York has no-fault divorce, if a party wants a divorce, he or she will get a divorce regardless of the other side’s wishes. Without consent to get divorce on both sides, it would be considered a contested divorce. The court will make decisions on the terms but in the end, a divorce will be granted.
What happens when one spouse has more financial resources or controls all of the money?
If one of the spouses has much less income than the other, the court may direct the spouse with the higher income to pay the legal fees and expert expenses of the spouse with less income.
What is the typical process of a NYC contested divorce?
A divorce action is started in court by a party called the “Plaintiff” with filing of the summons and complaint. Summons and complaint is the served on the other party called “Defendant” by a process server.
The defendant has 20 days to formally answer if served within New York. If served outside of New York, the defendant has 30 days to respond. If the defendant does not respond within the applicable period, the plaintiff can ask for a default divorce from the court.
The parties will complete and exchange financial net worth statements. The financial net worth statement is a disclosure of each parties financials such as income, liabilities, assets and pension plans.
The court will often issue a temporary order on all emergency and interim issues such as child custody, child support, temporary maintenance and attorneys fees to be paid by the side with better financial resources.
A preliminary conferences then scheduled before a judge to address the unresolved issues. At the preliminary conference, the the sides will discuss with the judge the issues of the divorce, such as equitable distribution, spousal support, custody, child support or visitation.
After the preliminary conference, the parties will engage in the process called discovery during which the sides will exchange all of the information relevant to each parties position such as documents and financial statements. The parties may also elect to hold oral depositions of each other and of third parties if they feel that relevant information can be ascertained to support their case.
If any issues in a contested divorce remain unsettled, the court will schedule a trial before the judge where each side will present their evidence in support of their position. The judge will rule on the contested issues and divorce will be concluded. A final judgements of divorce can then be obtained.
Please contact our firm to schedule your free consultation. We are also happy to provide you with a second opinion if you already have legal representation.