Divorce Process

Long Island Divorce Lawyers

Guiding Nassau and Suffolk County clients through divorce

Unfortunately, some married couples have differences that cannot be resolved. Depending on how contested the separation may be, the process of divorce can be complicated and lengthy. Even though some divorces can be quick and painless, they are often an emotional process for all involved. On average, uncontested divorces are completed in 3 months. Contested divorces are usually completed in about a year. You should consider many factors when you are about to file for divorce, including property distribution, maintenance awards, child custody, and child support. Speak to a Long Island attorney at The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. to guide you through the document heavy and complicated procedure of divorce.

Residency requirements and grounds for divorce explained

You must consider the requirements to file for a divorce in New York. A residency requirement must be fulfilled to apply for a divorce in the state. You need to show that you and/or your spouse have lived in the state, without interruption, for at least 2 years. The court cannot take the case without the residency requirement because they need to establish jurisdiction.

Once you have established jurisdiction and fulfilled the residency requirement, you need to cite grounds for divorce. These can include:

  • Irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Confinement in prison or mental hospital for 3 or more consecutive years.

New York is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning you do not need to prove grounds; you just need to cite grounds. Once grounds are established and jurisdiction falls with New York, divorce proceedings can commence.

How a divorce commences

The start of the divorce process begins with the Complaint for Divorce. The plaintiff must file a Complaint for Divorce. In the Complaint, you will include the grounds for divorce and any ancillary relief requested. These may include child support and custody, spousal maintenance, and legal fees, to name a few things. Once the complaint has been filed, a third party over the age of 18 must serve the divorce papers to the defendant. The defendant can respond with a verified answer that admits or denies each allegation listed in the complaint. The answer may contain affirmative defenses and a counter suit if the defendant wishes. If the plaintiff wants to defend against a counter claim, they will file a verified reply.

Discovery, Compliance Conference, motions, and the trial

Discovery is the longest phase of the divorce process. This is where the court requires most of the documents related to financials. Everything from net worth statements to marital property will be documented and filed. If children are involved, the court will decide if they need representation. The Compliance Conference ensures that both sides have what they need to commence with a trial.

Any pre-trial motions that must be filed happen after the Compliance Conference. Most motions are “pre-trial” when something cannot wait for the trial to end such as:

  • Temporary custody
  • Temporary child support
  • Compliance with discovery demands
  • Court-related fees

There are also trial motions and post-judgment motions that ask the courts to act on an issue. When the trial commences, the plaintiff can:

  • Testify
  • Call witnesses
  • Submit relevant documents

The defendant will have the chance to cross-examine any witness and follow suit by testifying, calling witnesses, and submitting relevant documents.

Finalizing a divorce in Long Island

Divorce is finalized by a document called a Judgment of Divorce. This document will include all orders from the court including spousal maintenance, child custody, child support, and property distribution.

Divorce mediation can save money

A mediator is a neutral outside party who acts on behalf of the court to avoid litigation. It is free and often suggested by the court when applicable. New York prefers mediation but believes it is not a safe route for any cases involving domestic violence. After mediation, most couples come to a reasonable agreement and a cordial understanding when it comes to child custody, child support, property division, and alimony.

Contact a Long Island attorney to guide you through a divorce

Sometimes, a couple has irreconcilable differences and need a divorce. There are many questions that need to be answered and you should have counsel to protect yourself from the unforeseen variables of a divorce proceeding. Speak to an experienced Long Island divorce attorney that can guide you through this ordeal. The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. has the compassion and knowledge of New York divorce law to ease you through this bump in the road. Contact us today for a consultation.