Divorce is a complex emotional process, and various financial and legal implications are at play. This article answers many of your questions about your upcoming divorce proceedings and how the experienced divorce attorneys in Nassau County can guide you every step of the way.
What’s the First Step in the Divorce Process in Nassau County?
If you are ready to file for a divorce, the first step to take is ensuring that you and your spouse fulfill the residency requirement. The purpose of this is to allow the court to establish jurisdiction.
To meet this requirement, you and your spouse must have lived in New York for at least two years without interruption, or you were both New York residents on the day of filing for divorce. Also applicable is if you and your spouse have lived in New York in the year before your divorce case and you either got married in the state, live in the state as a married couple, or the grounds for your divorce occurred in the state.
What Happens if My Spouse and I Don’t Agree on Divorce Terms?
When you and your spouse cannot agree on critical divorce terms, you will have to enter a contested divorce process. This means that the divorce proceedings will occur in the presence of a New York court that will focus on settling these contested issues, whether they be regarding child support, child custody, property distribution, alimony, etc.
Importantly, you and your spouse must attend a compliance conference, where the judge will attempt to settle your divorce agreement. If this is not possible, your divorce will then go to trial. Here, the judge will hear your and your spouse’s wants and needs regarding the agreement and settle the divorce after analyzing several significant documents.
Will I Get to Keep the House in My Divorce?
Whether or not you get to keep your house after your divorce is finalized will depend on if your house is considered marital property or separate property.
Your house is considered marital property if bought or acquired during marriage. With this, it can be subject to the equitable distribution process, wherein a judge will determine and fair and just distribution of your house.
Contrastingly, your house is considered separate property if you or your spouse acquired your house prior to or outside of the marriage. Since your house would only belong to the sole owner on the title, it is exempt from equitable distribution.
Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
A benefit to getting a prenuptial agreement is that you and your spouse can protect a wide array of premarital assets in the event that you should ever get a divorce. Such assets include, but are not limited to, vehicles, real estate properties, foreign assets, trusts, certain investment accounts, and business assets.
In this agreement, you can create certain clauses, such as alimony, fidelity, and marital real estate. These causes can essentially predetermine alimony terms and various other property distribution issues in the event that you should ever get a divorce.
Will I Qualify for Alimony in Nassau County?
Alimony is intended to give the financially dependent spouse a chance to become financially dependent after their divorce and, as such, is not meant to be a permanent agreement.
With that being said, the New York court will consider a variety of factors when determining which spouse will receive alimony, the amount of alimony, and the duration of alimony. For example, the duration of your marriage will be taken into the review because the longer you and your spouse were married, the longer the financially-dependent spouse will receive alimony payments. Additionally considered are you and your spouse’s yearly income and earning capacities, along with if you share children and what the settled child custody agreement is.
Who Gets to Keep the Kids in a Divorce?
Firstly, you must understand that New York recognizes two main types of custody. There is physical custody, which may be awarded to the one parent the child spends most of their time with or may be split equally for shared physical custody. And there is legal custody, which may be awarded to one or both parents to make important life decisions on the child’s behalf. And if one parent proves that they are an unfit parent, New York courts may grant the other parent sole custody.
Like alimony, New York courts consider various facets when determining child custody. This can include the physical and mental health of each parent, the stability of each home environment, the geographical proximity of each home, the employment responsibilities of each parent, etc.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for Child Support?
New York courts make child support decisions on a case-by-case basis because their goal is to ensure that your child maintains their standard of living.
Ultimately, however, they will turn to the New York Child Support Standards Act. With this, they will take a percentage of the combined income between you and your spouse of up to $148,000. Then, they will proportionally distribute the support between you and your spouse. The percentages will vary depending on the number of children you and your spouse have. Specifically, these percentages are 17, 25, 29, 31, and 35 percent for one, two, three, four, and five or more children, respectively.
Can I Change the Terms of My Divorce after It’s Finalized?
Your situation will rarely remain the same in the years, or even months, after your divorce settlement. You may be eligible for a post-judgment modification when you require the settlement agreement to adapt to your new, significant, and unforeseen circumstances. Various divorce and family law agreements may qualify you for a post-judgment modification, with the most common ones being alimony, child custody, and child support.
The bottom line is that if you are getting a divorce, you need an attorney who truly cares about how the outcome will impact your and your family’s life. If you need legal assistance during this pivotal point in your life, contact Barrows Levy PLLC today.