Westbury Divorce Lawyers Experienced in the Art of Negotiation

Prior to 2010, a person who wished to get divorced in the State of New York was required to prove they were entitled to divorce their spouse pursuant to six “grounds,” which were set forth in Domestic Relations Law Section 170. No-fault divorce, however, is now the law in New York State. This 2010 change in the law permits a person to divorce their spouse where there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage for a period of six months or more. While this change in the law makes it easier to obtain a divorce, there are still financial and equitable issues to resolve, and often custody, child support, and maintenance must also be addressed.

Equitable Distribution is the area of law surrounding the court’s distribution of “marital property” between the parties when a divorce occurs. No divorce, no equitable distribution. Marital property is generally defined as those assets obtained by the parties during the course of the marriage of the parties from the date of the marriage through the date a divorce action is commenced with the filing of an index number. There are exceptions where property obtained during the marriage may still be the separate property of the party who obtained the property, just as there are exceptions where a spouse may be able to receive a portion of the appreciation of a party’s separate property that has occurred during the marriage.

You should speak with an attorney as soon as you have determined that you wish to be divorced. The spouse with more assets or income may wish to initiate a divorce proceeding with the purchase of an index number as soon as possible to protect any additional assets obtained thereafter from being marital property.

Upon the purchase of an index number in a divorce proceeding, certain automatic restraining orders go into effect, which prevents parties from transferring, selling, or taking out loans against marital property. This is sometimes beneficial where an unscrupulous wealthy spouse may try to hide or transfer ownership in property in order to prevent a party from obtaining their fair share of marital property. A less wealthy spouse may also wish to start a divorce more quickly where a wealthier spouse has moved out of the marital residence or otherwise stopped contributing financially in order to put financial pressure on the less wealthy spouse.

Once a divorce proceeding is initiated, the parties prepare and exchange statements of net worth, which are sworn statements disclosing their respective income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. From that point, parties will then exchange demands for financial information and documents from each other to get a better understanding of their respective financial circumstances and know which outside experts they may need to determine the value of real property, retirement benefits, and any business interests which may be subject to equitable distribution.

Once the parties have a better understanding of the financial circumstances, they can begin to better assess whether they will be able to reach a reasonable settlement of all issues between them, or whether they will need the court to conduct a trial in order to reach a resolution.

Mangi & Graham are Westbury divorce lawyers who are experienced in the art of negotiation to assist you in reaching the most advantageous agreement possible with your spouse on all issues. In those instances where a settlement does not occur, our firm will guide you through the litigation process and provide you with aggressive representation. Your first step is to call for a confidential free consultation where your questions will be answered and your concerns will be addressed.