A Guide to the Divorce Process

 a wedding ring

Several reasons lead people to divorce, such as lack of commitment and cheating—all these warrants as the grounds for divorce.

Most people looking to get a divorce may understand the divorce process and what it entails. Here’s a guide to understanding the divorce process in New York:

The Requirements for Divorce

There are mainly two requirements to file for a divorce. Firstly, one needs to establish that residency is based in the city where divorce is being filed. The second requirement pertains to grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce include adultery, separation, imprisonment, and abandonment. If you are filing for a contested divorce, which means that your spouse is objecting to it, the formal grounds will need to apply.

Whereas, if you’re seeking an uncontested divorce, meaning both parties are in agreement of it, simply stating that the marriage has irrevocably broken down is enough to justify a divorce.

Issue the Forms to Your Spouse

Once you have filed for divorce and the petition is accepted, you must now ensure that your spouse is informed about this. The next step after telling them is to serve them with the divorce papers.

It is a common misconception that if a spouse does not sign the papers, the divorce process will not go ahead. Their signature is not needed for you to go along with the process, and their agreement or disagreements will lay the grounds for an uncontested or contested divorce.

People signing documents

Child Custody in the Divorce Process

The case for child custody also begins with the divorce process. The court always prefers both the parents to be granted custody of the child.

However, if one parent wins the custody battle, the other can still meet the child during visitation hours.

The divorce process is not always a contentious legal battle but can be an apical agreement between two people. If you’re looking to hire a professional divorce lawyer Brooklyn or divorce lawyer Queens to assist you, you’ve come to the right place.

 

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a reputable legal firm with over fifteen years of experience. Our expert team has assisted hundreds of clients in Queens, Brooklyn, and New York. We provide services in family law, probate law, real property law, and many more. Reach out to us to book an appointment and seek professional guidance in complex legal procedures.

Spousal Support Claims – Laws and Principles

Close-up of a gavel

A marriage is a legal union of two people who want to spend their lives together. There are certain rights and obligations of each spouse that have to be met. One of those rights is spousal support. The blog will discuss what spousal support is, its laws and principles, and how you can claim it.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is used interchangeably as spousal maintenance and alimony but there’s a difference. Spousal support is an amount paid by one spouse to another spouse during marriage and divorce proceedings, while spousal maintenance and alimony are paid after a divorce. According to Family Law, spousal support is a right and one should fight for it when marriage obligations aren’t being met. Our family lawyer can help you claim spousal support.

Laws And Principles Pertaining Spousal Support

The family court awards the spousal support since spouses have a legal duty to support each other financially. Furthermore, both spouses have to be alive to claim and receive spousal support. It has no term limit, and the spouse can receive the amount until the divorce or death of one of the spouses. Both the petitioner (the spouse claiming for spousal support) and the respondent (the spouse that supposedly ought to pay) can hire family lawyers.

Family lawyer’s desk with law books on it

How To Claim Spousal Support Or Maintenance

A spousal support case starts once the petitioner files a petition in the Family Court. The court then summons the respondent to be served. The judge or support magistrate decides the verdict after assessing the financial situation of each spouse. However, after a divorce, one can’t claim spousal support but can claim spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings.

 

Under the 2015 law regarding spousal maintenance, the amount is determined based upon each spouse’s income. You can use this calculator to determine your spousal maintenance amount. If you want to seek legal aid when claiming spousal support and maintenance, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney.

 

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., is a trusted law firm in New York City that focuses on estate planning and Family Law Services Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens. Our divorce attorney can serve spouses seeking a divorce in Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island, Manhattan and Queens and guide them through the divorce process. Contact us now and our divorce attorney will gladly be of assistance.

4 Misconceptions Regarding Divorce

two engagement rings

You’re having major arguments with your spouse and have tried every possible solution to work it out. You’ve even gone for therapy, but nothing seems to help. You and your partner decide that it’s time to part ways.

Divorce is a sad but unfortunate solution to garner peace of mind and mental stability. Indeed, divorce rates have been increasing in the United States. But not many people are aware of the legal technicalities involved in the process to securing their rights.

Your Ex Will Be Out of Your Life for Good

This myth is a prevalent one among couples going for divorce. Most go into this process thinking they will never have to see their ex again. We’re here to break it to you; you’ll be seeing more of them than both of you will like, and that’s alright.

Divorce is more like the closure you both need to get through everything that happened between you. There will be countless discussions and documents to review and sign. Not to forget, both of you will have to be present at multiple hearings.

illustration of a torn family picture

You Can’t Seek a Divorce if Your Spouse Doesn’t Sign

This myth stems from T.V. shows and movies where it is shown that if your ex does not sign the papers, you can’t legally part ways. This is not true at all. Especially in New York, your spouse does not need to sign any documents for you to seek a divorce from them.

The legal requirements for divorce in New York include proof of residency based in New York and divorce grounds.

Divorce Is a Legal War

Divorce does not always have to be a legal battle. Sometimes, it can simply be an amicable solution between two parties. Going into a divorce with a civil outlook can increase the chances of reaching a mutually beneficial solution.

You Don’t Need a Lawyer to Get Through Divorce

This isn’t a misconception, but it can be recommended for those looking to reach a divorce settlement quickly and efficiently. Divorces can become long-drawn-out, with proceedings going on until the end of time. When you hire a divorce lawyer to assist you, it can have multiple benefits, such as a likely chance of mediation or reaching a negotiation.

If you’re looking to hire a Divorce Attorney Brooklyn, Divorce Attorney Queens, or even New York, we can help.

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we are a law firm with the skills and knowledge base to guide you through this difficult time. Our expert lawyers can help alleviate the stress by efficiently handling the process. Our services include  estate planning, family law, litigation law, real property law, and many more. Get in touch with us to book a consultation today.

Why Divorces Can Get Messy

Going through a divorce can be rough, and most couples would like nothing better than ending things amicably and for the process to be smooth and stress-free. However, with so many factors, such as determining the custody of children, child support, alimony, and distribution of alimony, to consider, divorce cases often involve little agreement and a lot of fighting.

child holding wooden figures of a mom, dad, and child

In this blog post, we’ll discuss three of the most common reasons divorces get messy and provide tips on how you can navigate through them.

The Case Involves Infidelity

If a person has been unfaithful in the marriage, it’s natural for their spouse to feel betrayed and hurt. This could cause the wronged spouse to do anything in their means to make divorce proceedings as difficult as possible for the person who hurt them. For instance, they may deliberately make divorce proceedings more expensive or difficult by arguing and contesting every item that’s brought on to the discussion table.

In some cases, the wronged spouse even turns the children against the unfaithful parent or argues that they’re not fit to receive custody of the children.

One Spouse Wants To Keep The Marriage Intact

In some divorce cases, both parties are looking to end the relationship. However, in some cases, only one spouse is seeking a divorce. The one who wants to save the marriage may feel devastated, humiliated, betrayed, and/or hurt. They might attempt to persuade their spouse to get counseling, be uncooperative, or try to make the process as drawn-out as possible.

One Parent Is Seeking Full Custody

Divorce cases involving children are usually complicated, and it’s easy for tempers to flare on both sides. The spouse who was the children’s primary caregiver may have reservations that their soon-to-be-ex won’t care for the kids on their own if they’re awarded joint physical custody. The spouse who wasn’t the primary caregiver may be afraid that they won’t be able to have a meaningful, healthy relationship with children. Matters are complicated even further if one of the parents is moving away from the immediate area.

A leading family law attorney Brooklyn and Family Law Attorney Queens, NY, Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. has nearly 15 years of experience handling child custody, domestic violence, and divorce matters in the courtroom. If you’re seeking a lawyer for a New York family law matter, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

What You Should Know about Separating Estate Plans After a Divorce

A divorce lawyer helping a person separate and update their estate after divorce.

Going through a divorce isn’t easy. There are several legal matters that you have to consider before you file for one. While planning for the future is the top priority for couples filing for a fault or no-fault divorce, it’s also imperative to sort out your estate plans before or immediately after a divorce petition is filed.

Once your divorce is filed and finalized by the court, don’t delay separating all your relevant estate planning materials. Also, it’s vital that you update your estate plan after you marry someone else or if you have children from a second or prior marriage.

Why is it important to update your estate plan?

If you don’t separate your estate plan after a divorce, your former spouse or their immediate family still has the right to take on a large portion of your estate after your death, leaving a smaller portion for your family members or children.

Even if you don’t want your former spouse to have a portion of your estate, it may happen if you don’t spell out your intentions and wishes in your estate plan. The majority of American states don’t allow former spouses to inherit real estate under a Last Will and Testament. However, they can still inherit other assets in the estate plan.

An Example to Help You Learn 

A woman in New York passed away in 2010 after she divorced her husband a few years earlier. Her estate plan (before her death) stated that her spouse should inherit her home, along with all other assets.

She had further specified that her father-in-law be the secondary beneficiary to her residential property. While New York’s law kept her former husband from taking over the home, her father-in-law could still inherit it as the second beneficiary.

Her children claimed to the probate court that their mother put forward another will, in which she removed her father-in-law’s rights on her property. However, her children were never able to find the second will, and as a result, the court ruled in favor of her former husband’s father.

What to do after your divorce is finalized?

After your divorce, here are some things you must do:

  • Update all the documents that are relevant to estate planning
  • Create a new will and redo the old one
  • Provide your family members and children with a copy of the new and the updated will
  • Find another probate attorney to help with estate planning and make sure your attorney works for your best interests.
  • Update all your bank accounts, individual retirement accounts, trusts, annuities, and life insurance policies to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary

 

For more advice on separating your estate and updating documents relevant to estate planning after a divorce, get in touch with the best probate attorney Queens or probate attorney Brooklyn.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer Brooklyn, divorce lawyer Queens, or any other area in NYC, feel free to reach out to the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. today!

Common Divorce Issues and Concerns for High Net Couples In New York

The divorce rate in the United States is quite high, with almost 40% to 50% of married couples in the country ending up divorced. According to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate for second or subsequent marriages is even higher.

A couple removing their rings during divorce proceedings

Couples going through a divorce often have to deal with complicated issues involving property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. Many divorces end up in prolonged legal disputes with either party refusing to compromise and agree to the terms.

While no two divorces are the same, the issues regarding finances become even more complicated in cases with couples that have a high net worth.

Here are some of the most common issues faced during a high net worth divorce:

Prior Agreements

One of the first things divorce lawyers ask high net worth couples before starting the divorce settlement is whether there is a pre-nuptial agreement. Prenups are quite common in marriages where two people with high net worth are marrying, or a person with a lot of money is marrying someone with very little.

However, prenups aren’t always valid. The first thing lawyers need to do is to review the prenup to ensure the agreement is legally binding. If the prenup is valid, it will be used as a guideline for all issues, including property division and alimony, that have been clearly delineated in the agreement.

Child Support

Children of high net worth couples often have different financial needs such as private school tuitions, nannies, and additional classes such as ballet or piano lessons. This might result in additional child support payments compared to a typical divorce settlement. Another concern for high net couples is college tuition. Couples going through divorce might have to contribute to a trust that has been created to fund their child’s college tuition regardless of their age.

A luxury home of an affluent couple filled with antiques

Property Division

There are several challenges when dividing property among high net worth couples. Generally, any property acquired during the marriage gets equally distributed between the couple. However, most couples with high net worth have assets and individual property that they brought with them to the marriage and cannot be subjected to community property laws. High net worth couples also own household items that are quite high in value, such as antiques, artwork, and jewelry, which complicated the division of property.

Get Legal Advice from Leading Divorce Attorneys In New York

Getting a divorce under New York State law can be complex and full of legal restrictions and regulations.  Our team of highly qualified and experienced divorce lawyers at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. has been helping all kinds of couples get a divorce in New York. We have extensive experience dealing with child support, property division, pre-nuptial agreements, and tax consideration for a divorce.

Schedule a free phone consultation by calling us at 718-276-6656 and speak to our top Divorce Attorney Brooklyn and Divorce Attorney Queens!

Tips On Finding The Right Divorce Lawyer

Choosing the right divorce attorney could very well be the most important decision you make in your life—if the unfortunate circumstance of having to go through a divorce has befallen you. And if you’re not sure what to look for in a divorce attorney, you’re in the right place.

matrimonial lawyer

To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together this brief guide that provides you with detailed instructions on locating, vetting, and ultimately hiring a divorce attorney who’s right for your case. If you’re a resident of New York, you have hundreds of divorce and family law attorneys to choose from, and this guide will push you in the right direction for this critical choice.

Do Your Research.

In the digital age, it’s really not difficult to find the best divorce attorney in your locality. There’s a multitude of trusted review sites, such as Google and Yelp, which offer an avenue for a lawyer’s former clients to provide reviews about their experience.

Moreover, there are various websites that offer information about peer-reviewed lawyers, and numerous groups, such as the AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) that offer a comprehensive accreditation process for divorce attorneys.

Interview More Than One Attorney

The majority of divorce attorneys and law firms offer free consultations, and the only price you have to pay for interviewing multiple lawyers and law firms is time. Would you buy a car without considering and test-driving a few other options? Since choosing a divorce lawyer for your New York case is a much more important decision, it’s essential to take the time to interview and evaluate as many options as you can.

Divorce attorneys vary in terms of the experience, success rate, pricing structures, and the approach they take to cases—so you can’t just go with anyone.

Watch out for false promises

With initial interviews, your primary goal should be getting to know the lawyer. Ask for examples of their experience. When they’re describing the process, ask them what you can expect from your case realistically.

Now, lawyers aren’t permitted by law to offer any guarantees. With that being said, an experienced New York Divorce Lawyer should be able to offer realistic projections based on the facts of your case.

 

Divorce cases can be extremely contentious, and having an experienced lawyer represent your interests and work out the details can help you get what’s rightfully yours. If you’re a resident of Brooklyn or Queens who’s in the process of getting a divorce, the highly experienced Divorce Attorney BrooklynDivorce Attorney Queens at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. can assist you with the process. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

Common Social Media Blunders to Avoid During Divorce Proceedings

Social media has been one of the most popular technological breakthroughs of the 21st century. Since 2004, it has grown steadily in popularity and number of users both. Social media platforms have now become a major source of information and news and provide a unique way to interact with people such as friends, family, customers, and more.

A smartphone screen with icons for popular social media platforms

According to statistics, there are over 3.5 billion social media users around the world. A huge percentage of the population in the United States is active on various social media platforms. However, not everyone uses social media as it has been intended, and many people end up making mistakes that cost them their jobs, reputation, and friends.

People going through divorces also make huge errors in judgment while using social media, and their blunders allow their ex to gather evidence that is used to manipulate the courts and get the better end of the deal.

Here are some of the most common social media errors made by people while getting a divorce:

Divulging Private Information

According to social media statistics, the average person spends up to 3 hours on various social media platforms every day. That is a long time, and it can be quite easy to slip up and start talking about the divorce and how the proceedings are going and what strategies you are using to make sure you get a good deal. However, this information can be used by the other party in court. Even if you are sharing information on private groups among trusted friends, there are plenty of ways your ex can get their hands on the conversations and comments. You should take a cue from celebrities and only make bland statements that offer no specific information.

Defamation law book and gavel on a table.

Talking About the Divorce or Disparaging Your Ex

During the divorce, emotions run quite high, and it can be tempting to blow off some steam by disparaging your ex on social media. That is a huge mistake and can be used in court to show your character and build a negative image of you as a toxic person. The information can also be used to file a defamation suit against you. Whatever you have gone through recently, no matter how badly your ex treated, it is best to refrain from commenting about it on social media.

Showing Off or Trying to Prove You’ve Moved On

Many people going through the divorce make bold statements on social media to prove that they have moved on, and they are in a better position than their ex. They make announcements of their good fortune, particularly if they have met someone new or just got a better job.

While its natural to want to share your happiness, statements like these can influence certain issues during the divorce, such as division of assets and child support.

They can also lead to claims of infidelity if you post that you are in a relationship, especially if the divorce hasn’t been finalized yet. It is usually best to err on the side of caution and avoid posting about your personal life on social media until the end of the divorce process.

Get Expert Legal advice from Leading Divorce Attorneys in New York

Don’t get lost in the complex legal labyrinth of divorce laws in New York! The law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., offers the services of leading Divorce Attorney Brooklyn,Divorce Attorney Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Long Island. They can help you protect your rights and provide both contested and uncontested divorce representation.

Schedule a free phone consultation today by calling us at 718-276-6656 and discuss your case with experienced divorce attorneys in New York!

How Long Does a No-Fault Divorce Take in NY?

Getting a divorce in NY and completing the divorce process will vary for each and every couple. One couple could have an amicable, uncontested divorce and have it finalized within a few months. On the other hand, another couple could have a contentious, contested divorce that takes a year to fully resolve.

Regardless of what type of divorce proceeding you are facing, there are a few key points you do need to be aware of before filing for divorce:

  • Couples in New York can obtain a no-fault divorce and do not need to establish grounds why they want the divorce. However, they must still demonstrate that the marriage is broken and there is no hope of reconciliation.
  • The couple must live apart and separate for at least six months to show the marriage is broken. You can file for separation and initiate the divorce process, but the divorce will not be finalized until this six-month requirement is satisfied.

At least one person has to be a resident of New York. You have to live at least two years in New York to be considered a resident. There are also other residency qualifications that could be used to meet the residency requirement.

Amicable, Uncontested New York No-Fault Divorce Process

The couple went to a lawyer to conclude an agreement on the divorce.

The New York no-fault divorce process for an amicable, uncontested divorce is much speedier than a contentious, contested divorce. In an amicable divorce, the couple is agreeable and willing to negotiate and agree on various aspects of the divorce, such as:

  • Division of Marital Property and Assets
  • Disposition of the Marital Home
  • Child Custody
  • Child Access
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support

The couple does not always have to rely on mediation, arbitration, or the court for assistance in making these important decisions. They can also avoid going to court if they can resolve all matters on their own with help from their respective divorce lawyers. As such, once the marriage has been broken for six months, the couple can file and could have the divorce decree in a few months.

Contentious, Contested New York No-Fault Divorce Process

How long a no-fault divorce in New York will take when it is contentious will vary. At the very least, as long as the divorcing couple is open to negotiation and using mediation or arbitration to resolve outstanding issues, they could have their divorce resolved in about six to nine months after satisfying the six-month broken marriage requirement.

Yet, when the divorce is heated and both parties are not willing to work together but want their matters litigated in court, then the process can take much longer—sometimes more than a year. The thing contentious divorcing couples need to remember is that when matters are litigated in court, the judge will make all decisions relating to the various aspects of the divorce proceeding.

unhappy married couple arguing in lawyers office get divorced

It is important to point this out because the judge will determine what they think is best, as well as what is in the best interests of any minor children. So, you may not get the result you want if you want every matter litigated. This is why attempting mediation and arbitration can be a better solution in resolving matters in a contested divorce in NY.

Many different factors can affect how long the New York no-fault divorce process takes. It is highly recommended to retain the services of a qualified New York divorce lawyer to represent your interests, provide sound legal advice, and help expedite the divorce process.

To find out more about getting a divorce in NY, including Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Jamaica, and NYC, contact Joseph A. Ledwidge PC at 718-276-6656 to schedule a consultation today!