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Filing for Divorce in Long Island
To file for divorce in Long Island, either spouse must meet one of the following residency requirements:
- either spouse must have lived in the state for at least 2 years prior to filing;
- either spouse has been living in the state continuously for at least 1 year before the divorce is started and the couple got married in New York, lived in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for the divorce happened in New York; or
- both spouses are residents of the state on the day the divorce begins and the grounds for the divorce happened in New York.
Next, the filing spouse must establish a ground for the divorce. This could be something concrete like adultery or abandonment, or it could be general like an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Note that couples without minor children may file for uncontested divorce, but most couples with children must proceed in a traditional divorce process.
To start a divorce case, the petitioning spouse must fill out the appropriate forms and file a Summons with Notice or a Summons and Verified Complaint (which has the grounds for divorce). Afterwards, the spouse needs to serve their spouse with the papers. From there, the spouse will respond, and they can proceed to negotiation.
Litigation in Family Court
If spouses cannot negotiate an agreement in mediation or some other collaborative method, they will proceed to trial for the judge to decide. While litigation is costly, certain matters can only be resolved in trial, especially in situations of high conflict.
For instance, to decide a child custody arrangement, the judge will consider what will be in the child’s best interests, including:
- the child’s wishes (if of appropriate age);
- the mental and physical health of the parents;
- any special needs a child may have and how each parent takes care of those needs;
- religious and/or cultural considerations;
- the need for continuation of stable home environment;
- support and opportunity for interaction with members of the extended family of either parent (such as grandparents);
- interactions and interrelationships with other members of household;
- adjustments to school and community;
- the age and sex of the child;
- whether there is a pattern of domestic violence in the home;
- parental use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse; and
- evidence of parental drug, alcohol, or child/sex abuse.
Similarly, when the property division decision defers to the court’s deliberation, the judge might examine:
- each spouse's income and property when they married and when they filed for divorce;
- the duration of the marriage;
- each spouse's age and health;
- the need of the parent with custody to live in the family home;
- the pension, health insurance, and inheritance rights either spouse will lose as a result of the divorce;
- whether the court has awarded spousal maintenance;
- whether either spouse has an equitable claim to marital property to which that spouse does not have title, based on their contribution of labor, money, or efforts as a homemaker;
- the liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
- the probable future financial circumstances of each spouse;
- the tax consequences to each spouse;
- whether either spouse has wastefully dissipated marital assets;
- whether either spouse has transferred or encumbered marital property in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration; and
- any other factor the court expressly finds to be a just and proper consideration.
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All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.
PROMPT RESPONSES TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS AND INQUIRES
Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.
CHOICES AND OPTIONS TAILORED TO EACH CASE
We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.
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Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.
Our Firm Is Here for You
An experienced family litigator can better represent your interests in court and voice your concerns as a parent and former spouse. Litigation may seem daunting, but you can trust that Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein is well-prepared to take your divorce matters to court. We will discuss a plan of action with you and champion your needs and goals in the courtroom.
Call (212) 466-6015 or contact Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein online to get started.
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