Reviewing Laws

New York Divorce Lawyer

Any time a couple decides to get a divorce, the decision likely did not come easily. A divorce can upend even the most stable lifestyle. In many cases, divorce proceedings involve not only the end of the marriage, but child custody, alimony payments, and the division of property. An experienced, aggressive divorce attorney can help you navigate the complicated New York divorce laws and make sure you understand all your rights.
The first question clients want to know is often, What are the divorce laws in New York State? There are several different laws that apply to a divorce in New York.

Residency Requirement

First, New York requires individuals seeking a divorce in the state to satisfy its residency requirements. To meet the residency requirement, you must satisfy one of the following:

  • Either you or your spouse has lived in New York continuously for at least two years;

  • Either you or your spouse has lived in New York continuously for at least one year and you either got married in New York, lived in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for divorce occurred in New York; or

  • Both you and your spouse are New York residents on the date the divorce is filed and the grounds for your divorce occurred in New York.

​If you do not meet the residency requirements, New York prohibits you from filing for divorce within the state. If you do meet the residency requirement, you can file your divorce petition in the Supreme Court in the county where you live. 
New York divorce laws can make an already complicated process even more confusing. Hiring a lawyer can help simplify the process. Consult with an experienced New York divorce attorney at the Stepanian Law Firm to discuss your options.

 

Reasons for Divorce

After you satisfy the residency requirement, you need “grounds” for your divorce. The grounds for a divorce are the reasons why you are seeking the divorce. The most used reason in New York courts is known as the “irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for a period of at least six months,” also referred to as no-fault divorce. 

You can also file for fault-based divorce in New York for the following reasons:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment,

  • Abandonment,

  • Imprisonment for three or more consecutive years, or

  • Adultery.

Even though most people file for no-fault divorces, that does not necessarily mean that the marriage ended without any blame. The most common reasons for a divorce include:

  • Lack of communication,

  • Infidelity,

  • Money issues,

  • Drug or alcohol addictions,

  • Lack of intimacy, and

  • Domestic violence.

No matter what the reason is, you need your rights represented in any divorce proceeding.  If you want to file for divorce, the Stepanian Law Firm is a divorce law firm in New York that can provide the help you need.

Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

If you have ever done a quick Internet search for attorneys nearby, the results can overwhelm you. Dozens of law firms advertise that they have the best divorce attorney in the state who can win your case. Before you hire an attorney, there are a few things to look for. 
The outcome of your divorce proceeding can affect you for the rest of your life. You want to be sure you hire someone with experience handling New York divorce laws and cases. You do not want a lawyer who is learning the ropes of divorce practice with your case. Attorney Stepanian has nearly 20 years of experience.

Types of Divorce Actions

When you file for a divorce in New York, you have two options: (1) an uncontested divorce or (2) a contested divorce. Uncontested means that you and your spouse both want a divorce and agree on what will happen to your children, money, and property after the divorce is finalized. 
A contested divorce means you and your spouse do not agree on something concerning your divorce. If you or your spouse do not want a divorce at all, your divorce is contested. If you or your spouse disagree about the grounds for the divorce, your divorce is contested. Additionally, if you and your spouse disagree on what will happen to your children, money, or property after the divorce is finalized, your divorce is contested. 

What a New York Divorce Attorney Offers

In your New York divorce case, a divorce attorney can help you:

  • Understand the meaning of equitable distribution;

  • Negotiate with the opposing party; and

  • Draft a marital settlement agreement. 

The complexity of New York divorce laws make navigating the system without a lawyer difficult. Contact the Stepanian Law Firm today to see if we can help. 
At the Stepanian Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations. We believe no one should have to pay before hearing about our services and what we can offer.
In some cases, arranging a settlement agreement helps you avoid the costs and uncertainty of going to court. With a settlement agreement, you can control the terms of your divorce instead of letting the court do it for you. If you and your spouse come to an agreement, we can help you draft the agreement and file the necessary documents with the court. 

 

Contested Divorce in NYC

In a contested divorce, the court will conduct a trial on issues of child custody, property distribution, and alimony payments before the divorce is finalized.

Child Custody and Visitation

A child always makes divorce proceedings more complicated. New York divorce laws require courts to make custody decisions that are in the best interest of the child. To determine what is in the child’s best interest, the court will consider:

  • Parenting ability and relative fitness of both parties;

  • The love, affection, and nurturing given by each party;

  • The emotional bond between the child and each party;

  • Desirability of maintaining the current residence;

  • Ability of each party to provide for the child’s emotional, intellectual, and moral development;

  • Financial resources of each party;

  • The needs and desires of the child;

  • Willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between the child and the other party; and

  • Any other factor the court deems relevant to the custody determination.

Courts typically aim to maintain stability in a child’s life, so the spouse who receives physical custody of the child often also remains in the family home. 

Equitable Distribution of Property

New York separates a couple’s property into two categories, separate property and marital property. According to New York divorce laws, property or debt acquired during a marriage constitutes marital property. Property or debt acquired before the marriage, through a gift, or through an inheritance constitutes separate property.
New York’s divorce laws call for an equitable distribution of a couple’s marital property. Equitable does not mean an even/50-50 split. It means the court will distribute the assets and debts in a fair or equitable manner. Many times, spouses disagree over what a fair distribution looks like. 

Spousal Support

New York uses the terms "spousal support" or "spousal maintenance," and it is commonly known as "alimony". Spousal support arises when one spouse has to make payments to the other spouse during and after a divorce. Awarding spousal support aims to restrict the unfair economic effects of a divorce by giving the spouse with less income steady monetary support. Spousal support payments end in the following circumstances:

  1.  Death of either party;

  2. Date specified in an agreement between the parties; or

  3. Date set by the court.

Child support and spousal support do not serve the same purpose. Child support serves to pay for a child’s needs and ends when the child turns 21. Spousal support serves to get one party back on their feet following a divorce.

Serving Areas

If you are facing a divorce, the Stepanian Law Firm in New York has the knowledge and experience necessary to help guide you through the process. We always take the time to talk to our clients and give an honest evaluation of how to proceed with their case. With extensive experience dealing with divorce cases, our founding attorney Ruben Stepanian has practiced in almost all New York City and Long Island judicial venues.

What We Offer in Brooklyn

If you or your spouse resides in Brooklyn, New York, you will file your divorce paperwork with the Kings County Supreme Court. If you contact us prior to filing your divorce paperwork, we can help you file.

What We Offer in New York

Residents of New York City can file divorce paperwork in the county supreme court where they reside. Five boroughs make up New York City, so make sure you know which one you live in so your court has jurisdiction over your case.


What We Offer in Queens

If you reside in Queens County, New York, and want a divorce, the process starts by filing divorce paperwork with the Queens County Supreme Court. If you expect disagreements during the divorce process, you can hire an attorney from the outset to ensure you follow every step correctly.


What We Offer in Manhattan

Manhattan sits in New York County. Thus, residents of Manhattan must file their court paperwork with the New York County Supreme Court. If you need help filing your divorce paperwork in New York County, contact a divorce attorney at the Stepanian Law Firm.


Contact an Experienced, Dedicated New York Divorce Lawyer Today

At Stepanian Law Firm, we focus our entire practice on divorce proceedings and family law matters, so we can provide our clients with top-notch legal services. We will use our familiarity with family and divorce court to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. Every divorce presents unique challenges. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach will not serve the needs of all our clients. Instead, we take the time to meet and listen to every single client individually. Based on the facts and circumstances of your case, we will craft a strategy that gives you the best chance of a desirable result. 

We know that divorce and family law cases often bring out the strong emotions of our clients and can inflict stress on you and your family. At Stepanian Law Firm, we will try to make the process as painless as possible and avoid any unnecessary heartache. Contact us today to start your free consultation.