- Uncontested divorce
- Divorce with an absent spouse
- Property and assets settlements
- Contested trials
- Prenuptial and nuptial agreements
- Separation agreements
Marriage can be one of the biggest blessings a person experiences and it can bring great joy to many. Of course, making a “lifelong promise” to another person is a major decision, and while we all hope for the best, we cannot predict the future. Sometimes a marriage needs to come to an end. For many people, divorce becomes their chosen path, because separation is not “final”. Not all divorces are contested. Many can end in a more amicable manner.
Uncontested divorce is one such option many individuals pursue to handle their divorce in New York. The uncontested divorce process is generally less stressful and less complicated with the assistance of an experienced uncontested divorce lawyer in NYC.
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What Is A Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are unable to come to an agreement about the essential divorce terms. This type of divorce requires a trial and the judge will base its decisions on divorce case facts and testimonies of witnesses. Often, the judge will make decisions that are just and suitable for divorcing couples. It is recommended to seek legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
When Should You Consider Filing For A Contested Divorce in New York?
A contested divorce is a good option if both parties cannot settle anything on their own. The family court’s intervention will help ensure a better proceeding and allows you to fight what you truly deserve.
This type of divorce is advisable if the disputing couple have substantial assets and joint back accounts. The proceeding will also help identify hidden assets. The distribution of assets will also be decided by the judge and are often fairly divided.
Additionally, if you have minor children to fight custody over and you have legitimate concerns about why you should have the sole custody of your kids, bringing the matters to court will help.
The Contested Divorce Process in New York
If you and your spouse cannot resolve the terms amicably, you can file for a divorce petition in your local court. Your spouse will then be served with divorce papers and needs to respond in a certain period of time. If your spouse disagrees with your demands, both of you will be required to appear in family court and defend yourselves. How long does a contested divorce trial in NY take? For simple contested cases, it can last not more than a day. For complex divorce cases like those that involve child custody disputes, it can take weeks or months.
Top 10 Tips for Preparing for A Contested Divorce in New York
When you’re preparing for a contested divorce, consider these important tips:
- Know your exact debts.
- List all your assets.
- Avoid harmful legal advice from family and friends.
- Hire a good therapist to deal with the emotional stress of divorce.
- If your lawyer ignores your calls, hire a more reliable one.
- Get organized so you can respond to your lawyer’s questions quickly.
- Keep a journal (if custody will be contested) of all dates and notable events as they happen with your young children.
- Know your income. You can obtain copies of your tax transcripts here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf.
- Understand what no-fault means in New York State.
- Create a list of questions for your first legal consultation with a contested divorce attorney in NYC.
When you have all these important things in place in advance, it will make your divorce journey a lot easier to bear.
Over the past decade or so, prenuptial agreements (also called premarital agreements or prenups) have become more and more common amongst engaged couples, losing some of the negative stigma they used to carry. Prenups can be a valuable and important tool in the event of a divorce, but they must be created and negotiated thoughtfully and fairly.
The number of engaged couples requesting prenuptial agreements has been slowly increasing nationwide, especially among millennials – a 62% rise over the past few years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. With marriages happening later in life, romantic partners may have more assets to consider before tying the knot, and a prenuptial agreement can provide needed security and clarity regarding those assets.
If you and your partner are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or if you need guidance on whether one is right for you, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A NYC PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
A prenup is a contract that you and your future spouse enter into before your marriage. In this agreement, you each disclose all of your property and assets before getting married. Your prenuptial agreement may also:
Determine how you and your spouse will divide and allocate property and assets in the event of a divorce or death
Protects your business or property you own
Protects any intellectual property you have an interest in
Protect your pension and retirement account
Set the terms of spousal support and alimony following a divorce
Address estate rights
When considering a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse must be completely honest and forthright when disclosing both your assets and your debts. Your New York prenuptial agreement attorney can provide you with experienced guidance.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO INCLUDE IN A PRENUP?
Premarital agreements can be as unique as the couple that creates them. However, any rock-solid prenup has a few things in common. Following are important issues to consider as you think about your Manhattan prenuptial agreement.
With many couples, and especially in New York City and the surrounding suburbs, where real estate is at a premium, the main goal of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure each person’s right to their separate assets and property, including financials, real estate, art, retirement assets, businesses, and more. A prenup outlines what assets return to which person in the event of a divorce – and this can be regardless of whether the asset was owned or acquired together or separately. Your prenup can also divide up your debts and provide options for each spouse to transfer, sell or buy property.
ALIMONY/SPOUSAL SUPPORT/MAINTENANCE AND OTHER BENEFITS
A premarital contract can also set terms for the amount of alimony/spousal support/spousal maintenance either spouse might receive after a divorce. You and your future spouse might want to outline the amount or duration of support, and/or the amount of life insurance one spouse may receive if the other dies unexpectedly.
At The Law Offices of Olga Suslova, P.C., our New York City attorneys can help ensure you include every important detail to financially protect yourself and your family.
ISSUES THAT WILL INVALIDATE YOUR MANHATTAN PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT
Hypothetically, you and your fiancée can put anything you would like into your prenup (except child related issues).
Your prenuptial agreement could be overturned if:
The agreement was signed under duress, coerced or signed without mental capacity
One or both spouses signed without informed legal representation
The agreement is deemed to be unconscionable.
The NYC courts will generally raise an eyebrow at prenups that waive a spouse’s right to spousal support, and in some cases may invalidate those provisions if it will leave the spouse destitute or forced to seek public assistance.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A NEW YORK CITY PREMARITAL AGREEMENT?
Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, including prenuptial agreements. Prenups have many advantages, including:
The peace of mind that in the event your marriage ends, many of the difficult issues can be resolved quickly and amicably
Protecting the inheritance rights of your children, grandchildren and other heirs from previous marriages
Ensuring you are not responsible for assuming any significant debt your spouse brings into the marriage
Protecting your right to control your business or practice post-divorce
Protecting commingled assets
Protecting the assets you inherited, are gifted or bring into the marriage.
With the guidance of experienced family law attorneys, you can ensure your premarital agreement protects you and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of a split.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF HAVING A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
Any disadvantage or disagreement you may have about your prenup can typically be negotiated to a mutually beneficial outcome. Taking potential pitfalls into consideration at the start can help avoid conflicts in the future.
Important things to think about when drafting your agreement include:
A prenup might have a requirement in it that waives your right to inherit from your spouse’s estate upon their death. Without this type of waiver, you would be entitled by law to a portion of his/her estate, even if you were not included in the will.
Contributing to the success of your spouse’s practice or business – increasing its value – is typically considered divisible marital property. However, if you waive this right in your prenup, you will not be entitled to a share of this increase.
Some people still see a legal contract about assets and property as unromantic or “planning your divorce” and can sometimes contribute to a lack of trust between couples. However, if the process is handled properly, it can actually strengthen your marriage.
At The Law Offices of Olga Suslova, P.C., we want to help NY couples start off on the right foot. For skilled legal guidance on prenuptial agreements and other matters, talk to us today. Ensure you plan your future as carefully as you plan your wedding.
Couples wishing to enter into a legal separation must have a separation agreement drawn up that needs to contain very specific language. The agreement must also be signed and acknowledged in a certain way so it can be qualified as a Separation Agreement. Couples getting a separation should not prepare their own agreement, but they should have the document drafted by an experienced attorney who ensures it clearly reflects both parties’ intentions and is enforceable.
Prior to October 2010 (the effective date of New York’s “no-fault divorce” law) parties who wished to dissolve their marital relationship while minimizing both the emotional and economic stress of Court proceedings could negotiate the terms of a contract fully resolving the various issues incidental to a divorce which may include, but are not limited to:
- Custody and visitation of children
- Child support
- Spousal support, maintenance or alimony
- Division and distribution of marital assets and other properties acquired
Once the document was completed and properly signed by each party, they could live separate and apart. Provided both parties abided by the key terms and provisions, one year from the date of the execution of the Agreement, either party could commence an action for divorce solely upon the ground of the parties having lived separate and apart. This was New York’s version of a “no-fault” divorce.
The signed Agreement in the above scenario was/is referred to as a “Separation Agreement”. When the subsequent divorce decree was drawn up, it would then incorporate the provisions of the Agreement into the Judgment of Divorce (absent a specific finding that any of the previous terms were grossly unfair).