Bukh Law Firm – best divorce lawyers in Brooklyn NY
Each and every year, roughly 2.5 million Americans, including residents of Brooklyn, get divorced, according to the Census Bureau. If you and your spouse are seeking a divorce or annulment, it is critically important to retain the services of a top-notch Brooklyn divorce lawyer.
A seasoned and aggressive divorce attorney can keep you informed of your rights and obligations and make sure you protect as much of your hard-earned assets and property as possible.
How an Annulment is Different from a Divorce
An annulment is quite different from a divorce under New York law. A divorce is the legal recognition of a failed marriage. In contrast, an annulment is a legal declaration that no true marriage ever existed.
To secure an annulment, one or more of the conditions set forth below must be met:
- One spouse was already married at the time of your marriage.
- One spouse was underage at the time of your marriage.
- One spouse was forced into the marriage against their will.
- One spouse was mentally incapable of consenting to marriage.
- One spouse was physically unable to consummate the union.
Overview of the Different Types of Divorce in Brooklyn
When a couple gets divorced, they may be surprised to learn of the various types of divorce options available to them.
In New York, a fault-based divorce can be granted if there is evidence of the following actions by one of the spouses:
- Abandonment for over a year.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment, making it unsafe for the couple to cohabit.
- A spouse’s imprisonment for at least three years after the marriage.
- The couple obtains a Judgment of Separation and live apart for at least one year.
- The couple arranges a separation agreement and live apart for at least one year.
In 2010, New York became the last US state to introduce no-fault divorce. Under the new law, couples can divorce easily by stating the marriage has been irretrievably broken down for at least six months.
There is no requirement to prove anything for the divorce to be granted. However, a judge will only allow the divorce is the petition is uncontested, and there are no outstanding issues, including questions of division of custody or property.
Overview of the Residency Requirements for Filing a Divorce in Brooklyn
Before you can file a fault or no-fault divorce, an important procedural component to any divorce is the residency requirement. In order for a New York court to authorize your divorce, the court needs to have jurisdiction to hear your case. This means you or your spouse need to meet one of the following residency requirements:
- your or your spouse lived in New York for two years or longer; or
- you got married in New York and either you or your spouse maintained legal residence in NY for at least one continuous year prior to filing for divorce; or
- both of you resided in New York as a married couple and one of you has been a legal resident for one year before filing for divorce;
How Property May Be Divided in a Brooklyn Divorce
Dividing and distributing property is one of the most stressful and complex tasks a divorcing couple will need to address. According to New York law, there needs to be a resolution for all assets, property and debts acquired during your marriage. The court will presume that these assets, property and debts are “joint marital property” and subject to equitable distribution.
Equitable distribution is a fancy legal term for “fair distribution.” Many people assume this form of distribution automatically implies that property is divided 50/50 between the parties, but that is not always the case. Instead, the court will consider multiple factors in order to produce a fair division of property, including:
- length of your marriage;
- current age and health of each spouse;
- whether a custodial parent needs the use of the marital residence;
- your standard of living during the marriage;
- past and current income as well as future earning capacity of each spouse;
Contested Divorce Process in New York
If you or your spouse cannot reach an agree on how to resolve specific issues in your divorce, then your case will be treated as a contested divorce. Generally, a contested divorce in New York will involve the following steps:
Initial Filing of the Divorce Papers
Either you or your spouse will need to commence the divorce action by purchasing an index number from the county clerk and filing a summons with notice or summons and complaint with the county clerk’s office. You will then need to hire a process server to serve the summons with notice or summons and complaint on the spouse who did not file.
Responding to the Complaint
The spouse who was served has between 20 and 30 days to file a formal response to the divorce complaint. When responding to the complaint, there is the option to include a counterclaim noting demands pertaining to spousal support (i.e. alimony), equitable distribution, child custody, visitation, child support, and so forth.
Parties Must Formally Request Judicial Intervention
Both spouses must file a request for judicial intervention or RJI with the court. This is a formal acknowledgment of the divorce and asks the court to schedule a preliminary conference date.
Parties Must Exchange Financial Records
Each spouse is legally obligated to exchange financial records at least 10 days prior to the scheduled preliminary conference. These financial statements will serve as a roadmap for how property will be divided and how spousal or child support will be calculated by the court.
Attending a Preliminary Conference
At a preliminary conference, the judge assigned to your case will make a note of which issues in the divorce have already been resolved, if any, and which issues remain in dispute.
If an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, the parties will go to trial. The trial can be head by a judge and/or jury.
Take Action Now – Contact the Top Divorce Lawyers in Brooklyn
As you can see, a divorce can be an extremely lengthy and complex process. As a result, the attorney you hire will have a tremendous impact on your post-divorce future if these proceedings are not handled properly and professionally. That is why it makes sense to retain the services of a Brooklyn divorce attorney with the Bukh Law Firm, PLLC.
We have developed a strong reputation in Brooklyn, and across New York, as one of the top divorce law firms. We are here to help you during this difficult time. Put our knowledge and experience to work for you.