Contested Divorce – Long Island, NY
If you are considering filing for divorce, or have been served with divorce papers by your spouse, it is important to understand your rights and have the guidance of a law firm that can protect you. The attorneys at The Pickney Law Firm are experienced in litigation contested matrimonial actions from commencement through trial.
In most circumstances, your attorney should attempt to work with your spouse or their attorney to reduce the number of contentious issue and minimize, or avoid, the time and expense of litigation. If your spouse is unwilling to be reasonable, you need an attorney with the experience, skill and knowledge to craft an effective litigation strategy that will allow you to achieve your goals and protect your rights.
At The Pickney Law Firm, we don’t just answer your questions, we work with our clients to create strategies and solutions to fit their individualized needs and achieve the results they deserve.
Common Issues in Contested Divorce Cases:
- Disagreements over custody of a child or children.
- Determination of income for calculating support obligations.
- Crafting a parental access or visitation schedule.
- Allegations that a party has hidden assets or cash.
- Exclusive use and occupancy of a marital residence.
- Valuation and equitable distribution of a business owned by a party.
- Amount and duration of maintenance (spousal support).
- Domestic violence towards a spouse or children.
- Parental unfitness, e.g. drug or alcohol abuse, neglect or abuse of a child.
The Pickney Law Firm’s retainer fee for representation in a Contested Divorce starts at $3,500.00.
Regardless of the approach which best fits your needs, or will achieve the results you desire, there are many common issues which must be resolved in any divorce. Please call The Pickney Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys for more information and to see how we can help guide you and your family through the following issues:
Custody: In the State of New York, custody is divided into two types: Legal Custody and Physical (“Residential”) Custody:
- Legal Custody: Pertains to the right to make major decisions on behalf of a child. Common examples of a major decision would be those involving medical treatment, religious education, and academic issues.
- Physical Custody (“Residential Custody”): Pertains to which parent the child will primarily reside with. This parent will be entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent, and the child will attend school in this parent’s school district.
Parenting Time (“Visitation”): A non-custodial parent is entitled to Parenting Time with his or her child.
- Parenting Time involves weekly visits, holiday visits, and extended time during school breaks and summer vacation. Parties are free to negotiate schedules which best fit their lives and the needs of their children, however a common approach is to alternate weekends, provide for one or more mid-week visit, alternate holidays and school breaks, and provide for one or two weeks of extended time during summer vacation.
Child Support: In the State of New York, a custodial parent is entitled to receive support on behalf of a child until that child turns 21 years old.
Child support is calculated under the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”), and is primarily based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income:
- 1 Child – 17% of the non-custodial parent’s income
- 2 Children – 25% of the non-custodial parent’s income
- 3 Children – 29% of the non-custodial parent’s income
- 4 Children – 31% of the non-custodial parent’s income
- 5+ Children – No Less Than 35% of the non-custodial parent’s income
Maintenance (“Spousal Support” or “Alimony”): When there is a disparity in the income of two parties, the higher earning party is often required to pay maintenance to the lower earing party.
The amount of maintenance is calculated pursuant to a formula which takes into account each party’s income and whether either party will be required to pay child support. The duration of maintenance is based on the length of the marriage. Unlike child support, maintenance is tax deductible to the payor, and taxable to the recipient.
Equitable Distribution: New York is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that marital property is divided equitably, and not automatically evenly (i.e. 50% to each spouse).
As a general rule, marital property is any asset acquired by either party during the marriage, regardless of which party actually purchased the asset, or whose name the asset is held in. Martial debts are also equitably distributed in a divorce, with similar rules applying in determining what constitutes a marital debt.
Assets held by either party from prior to the marriage, or which are inherited during the marriage, are frequently that party’s separate property and not subject to equitable distribution.