Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering divorce, are going through a contested divorce, uncontested divorce or are facing a family law issue, you likely have many questions that an experienced New York divorce attorney can answer. We have included some frequently asked questions below, for your convenience. We also welcome you to contact an attorney at our offices to get information regarding your specific case.

While you do not have to hire an attorney, it is definitely advisable that you hire an experienced family lawyer to represent you during your divorce or your child custody case. The issues surrounding these areas are often complex and delicate, and having a lawyer at your side will be extremely helpful.

In New York, there are four grounds for divorce which are based upon the fault of one party. These are: cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery, abandonment for one or more years, or imprisonment for three or more years. You may also apply for a “no fault” divorce, for which the grounds are: living under a separation agreement or court decree for more than one year. Either way, an attorney will be helpful in helping you determine your separation agreement or divorce agreement.

In New York, all property acquired and income earned during a marriage is subject to equitable distribution. This is a process for dispersing property acquired by or owned by either spouse upon the termination of a marriage. During equitable distribution, the courts will sort out what is considered separate property and what is marital property.

Separate property (property acquired before marriage) usually remains separate and marital property (property acquired during marriage) is distributed equitably between both spouses. The courts will also take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the case and both parties.

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony or maintenance, may be awarded to either spouse in a divorce, based on the income of the non-dependent spouse, the duration of the marriage, and other factors. Temporary maintenance and post-divorce maintenance can be awarded to either a husband or wife.

Child support is an obligation for the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have primary custody of the child or children.) The non-custodial parent must pay a percentage of the combined parental income. Usually, for one child the percentage is 17%, for two children it is 25%, for three children it is 29%, and for four children it is 31%. Aside from child support, the non-custodial parent may have to pay a portion of the child’s healthcare and educational expenses.

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