01. Divorce & Separation
What is a divorce?
Divorce is the final, legal ending of a marriage by court order. If you have a divorce case in court, you may hear lawyers and court staff call it a matrimonial action. The person who starts the divorce action is called the plaintiff, and the other spouse is called the defendant. The Supreme Court is the only court that handles divorce cases. A Supreme Court judge is the only person who can legally grant you a divorce. Your case gets filed in the county where you or your spouse now live.
While there are many grounds for a divorce action we typically file for and agree to a divorce pursuant to Domestic Relations Law Section170(7) irretrievably broken. The reason for this is because it is New York State's version of irreconcilable differences alleging no wrongdoing by either party.
At the time of a divorce everything gets resolved including grounds for divorce, equitable distribution of the marital assets and debts; custody; child support; spousal maintenance and/or alimony. Presentation of these issues is extremely difficult. Therefore, you should consult an attorney to assist you with your divorce action and the negotiation of any separation agreement.
Types of Resolutions
If you believe that you and your spouse have an agreement resolving all of your marital issues, you should consult an attorney to review all of the things that you have agreed to so that you can have your attorney draw up an agreement between the two of you.
If you are presented with a written separation agreement from your spouse or your spouse’s attorney, you should hire an attorney to review this agreement and advise you of your legal rights before signing it. Remember one attorney cannot represent two parties having different legal interests. So your lawyer cannot represent you and your spouse if you are getting a divorce because it is impossible to represent two differing interests at one time.
If you decide to use mediation or alternative dispute resolution to resolve any of your divorce issues, please have an attorney, retained by you, review any agreement before you sign it so that you know what your legal rights are and what legal rights you are waiving before you sign this Agreement.
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