Divorce Attorneys in White Plains, New York
Most of us who’ve been through a tough breakup know how difficult and emotional it can be to untangle two people’s lives from one another. When the breakup is in the form of a divorce, the legal issues can be quite complex as well. No one is ever truly prepared for all that filing for divorce entails, which can include decisions surrounding child custody or asset and property division. You may be tempted to rush through this in an effort to minimize the pain and heartbreak—but just like you shouldn’t rush into marriage, you also shouldn’t rush into divorce without first educating yourself about the process.
To speak with a family law attorney in White Plains, New York or the surrounding areas including the Bronx, New Rochelle, and Lower Westchester County, reach out to our team at Rutkin & Wolf PLLC. We’re here to help you move forward.
Divorce in New York
Each state will have a slightly different process for divorce, but in general, you’ll have two main options: contested divorce or uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce will almost always be easier, cheaper, and take a shorter amount of time from beginning to end. With an uncontested divorce, both spouses more or less agree on the terms which cover how you’ll split marital property, divide parenting time and child custody, whether one spouse will pay child support to the other, whether alimony will be paid, and any other divorce-related concerns. It should be said that uncontested divorces can still be difficult and emotional, but if you’re on relatively good speaking terms with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, this may be a good option for you.
On the other hand, a contested divorce is where one spouse contests (disagrees with) the other on one or more of the issues at hand and the spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own. This typically means that both spouses end up hiring their own lawyer to represent their interests and the attorneys will then begin to negotiate back and forth on behalf of their clients. If they still can’t come to an agreement, the case will be brought before a judge who will listen to arguments from both sides before deciding the outcome. As you might expect, a contested divorce can take much longer and may result in higher out-of-pocket costs for both parties.
Eligibility to File for Divorce in New York
One of the first steps to take after you’ve decided to separate from your spouse is to check your eligibility to divorce in New York. In our state, there are two main criteria you’ll need to meet—a residency requirement and a lawful reason you’re pursuing divorce. The residency requirement can be fulfilled if you were married in the state and at least one spouse was a New York resident for at least a year before filing, that the cause of the divorce happened in the state and at least one spouse lived here for at least a year (or both partners lived in the state before filing), or one or both partners have lived in state continuously for at least two years. The second requirement for a divorce is that you have grounds for divorce in New York, meaning you have a clearly established (and legal) reason for getting a divorce.
Grounds for Divorce in New York
There are two different options for grounds for divorce—fault and no-fault. A “no-fault” divorce essentially means the couple has irreconcilable differences that have lasted for at least six months, and there’s no hope for resolution. A “fault” divorce requires one spouse to prove misconduct on the part of the other spouse. This could mean mistreatment, abuse, abandonment, adultery, and more.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
Clients always want to know, “How long does a divorce take in New York? There’s no set answer to this since each divorce is unique. If you’ve served your spouse divorce papers, you have to wait a minimum of 40 days for them to respond. After this time, if you still haven’t heard from them, you can then ask a judge to schedule a hearing to proceed with the divorce. If you’re pursuing an uncontested divorce and have worked out the majority of concerns along with your spouse, you may be able to have your divorce finalized within two to three months. A contested divorce can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to work through. In general, more complicated divorces (for instance, divorces with many joint assets) will take longer.
Divorce Attorneys in White Plains, New York
If you’re in the White Plains, New York area and are contemplating divorce or have just been served papers, you need to contact an experienced attorney right away. At Rutkin & Wolf PLLC, we can help you understand your options and partner with you during this transition.