How long will my divorce take?

Uncontested divorces always take less time than contested ones. A divorce is considered uncontested if there are no meaningful areas of dispute on the issues of grounds, custody, or any of the financial issues. For such matters, it generally takes six to eight weeks for a divorce judgment to be entered following the submission of a settlement agreement and other documents to the court for processing. There are slight variations on this general rule, depending on county of filing as well as time of year.

If a matter is contested (meaning that grounds, custody and/or the financial issues are disputed), the length of the process will depend upon many factors, including:

  • The complexity of issues involved.
  • The caseload of the assigned judge, experts, and appraisers involved.
  • The quality of communications between the attorneys representing each spouse.

For contested and uncontested matters, we do our best to minimize the duration of the proceedings, because we realize the duration and costs of a matrimonial proceeding can only add to the underlying emotional stress of the situation.

Will my children be forced to choose between me or my spouse?

In general, courts and judges tend to be very protective of impressionable children, who often feel the impact of a broken parental relationship long before either party seeks legal intervention. Therefore, for matters in which the parties have not agreed on custody and parental access (visitation) issues, a lawyer for the child will be assigned to represent the child or children's interests in court. Where age-appropriate, that lawyer will discuss privately with the child how he or she feels about the situation. Normally, these representatives avoid direct questions about which parent the child prefers. This lawyer becomes the child's spokesperson in a court of law until a resolution of all child-related issues is reached.

Custody settlements, put together by the parents with the assistance of counsel, are often the best policy. That is because you know your child better than any legal professional or judge, and can custom tailor the settlement to suit the circumstances of your unique situation. Nevertheless, we recognize that there are instances in which custody litigation is unavoidable, and in those instances we fight to zealously protect the best interests of the child.

Are marital assets always divided 50/50 between the spouses?

Not always. New York is an Equitable Distribution state, and "equitable" does not always mean "equal." The judge must consider a number of factors in making a decision about dividing assets, and those factors are enumerated in the governing domestic relations statutes. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that marital assets will be divided equally or close to equally. But there are always exceptions. In addition, a court may award money, property, or a credit to a party for his or her pre-marital/separate assets in certain circumstances.

We can help give you an estimated range of probable outcomes in your matter, after a personal and thorough analysis of your unique circumstances.

The above FAQ and responses do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in taking, or refraining from, any action in any legal matter without consultation with a legal professional.