More FAQ Regarding Divorce and Family Law

With a combined total of over 40 years of collaborative experience, the attorneys at Brian D. Perskin and Associates have handled thousands of divorce and family law cases. Throughout their years spent fighting for client’s rights, they have encountered many different questions regarding the divorce process. Here are some of the most common:

Q: How long does a divorce take, and how much does it cost?

A: Most people have heard horror stories about long, drawn out and expensive divorce battles. There has definitely been a fair share of these kinds of cases throughout history, but every divorce proceeding is different. Some can be handled quickly and outside of the courtroom. That being said, there is no one set time period or price for divorces. It is best to address this concern with your attorney, as they will be able to provide you with the most accurate information.

Q: Where do I file for divorce?

A: You must be a resident of the county in which you are planning on filing. For instance, if you are filing for divorce in Kings County, you must be a resident of Brooklyn. It is important to note that a divorce must be filed in Supreme Court and not Family Court.

Q: What can I cite as the grounds for my divorce?

A: As of 2010, New York State is considered to be a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that you no longer have to list a reason for divorce such as abandonment, adultery, or cruel and inhumane treatment (to name a few).

Q: What happens if my spouse doesn’t want to cooperate? Can I still get divorced?

A: Yes, absolutely! Spouses don’t always agree when it comes to getting a divorce, but it is still possible to proceed forward even if your spouse does not consent to it. The Action for Divorce (also known as the Summons) still needs to be filed with the courts, and a copy must be delivered to your spouse by hand. Once your spouse has been served with the Summons, you are free to continue with the divorce. Chances are, a spouse that does not consent to a divorce will draw out the process for as long as possible, so it is advised that you retain an attorney to assist you in the process.

Q: How do I tell my children that their parents are getting divorced?

A: Before you sit down with your children, discuss the best plan of action with your spouse. Agree on what to tell them, and if possible, speak to your children together. Even if you and your spouse have anger or resentment for each other, you must put your feelings to the side and act civil towards each other while in the presence of your kids. Children are very intuitive, so you should be upfront and honest with them. Explain that you and are no longer going to be married to their father (or mother), but it is not their fault. While Mom and Dad may no longer love each other, you both still love and support your child(ren) unconditionally and that will never change. Let your child(ren) know that they will be able to continue having loving and healthy relationships with both parents.

Q: I just retained an attorney, and (s)he asked if my divorce was contested or uncontested. What does this mean?

A: A contested divorce means that either both parties do not consent to the divorce, or they disagree over the terms regarding finances, child custody, support, or a distribution of assets. These kinds of divorces are not uncommon at all, but they will take longer and require more trips to Supreme Court.

An uncontested divorce means that both parties consent to the divorce, and they agree on the terms of the divorce such as support and finances, custody, and distribution of assets. These kinds of divorces tend to be shorter, less costly, and can often times be settled outside of the court room.

Q: What is the difference between separation, divorce and annulment?

A: With a separation, you and your spouse are still legally married but you are no longer residing together. Many people get legally separated from their spouse if they are considering a divorce or if they have not met the state requirements for divorce (these vary based on where you live). Additionally, some couples opt for a separation based on religious or moral views. It is important to work out a plan for things like child support and custody or dividing assets with your spouse. Make sure you have these in writing!

A divorce means you are no longer married to your spouse and you have addressed details involving child or spousal support, custody, etc. There will be a record of both your marriage and your divorce.

An annulment is like a divorce in the sense that you will legally no longer be married to your spouse. The main difference is that there will be no record of your marriage, almost like it was never valid or that it ever existed.

Q: What factors determine who gets custody of the child?

A: There are many different factors the court considers while determining which parent will have custody of a child. While custody varies on a case by case basis, generally the courts will take into consideration who has been the primary parent, the living situation, and individual details that may arise based on the case. For instance, a father with a violent history of physically abusing his wife would probably not be awarded custody of his children.

Q: I have custody of a child. How much money can I get in child support?

A: If you live in New York, you can use the child support calculator to get an estimate for how much money you will pay (or receive) in child support per year. The amount will vary depending on how many children are receiving support, and the Gross Annual Income of the non-custodial parent.

The Child Support Standards Act was created to make child support payments as fair as possible. The law states that the basic support be set at a fixed percentage of the parental income, which changes depending on how many children are being awarded child support. The percentages are as follows:

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