Family Law FAQ
Feb. 8, 2023
As a New York family law attorney, I am here to help answer some of the most common family law questions that I receive from my clients. My firm — the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C. — serves individuals and families throughout New York City, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.
If you need immediate assistance, reach out to my office to set up a free consultation and discuss your concerns. I will gladly listen to your story and tailor my advice to your unique circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law
What should I do if I’ve received divorce papers?
If you’ve been served with divorce papers, the first step is to consult with a qualified attorney who can guide you through the process and explain your legal rights and options. It is important to respond to any legal documents within the timeframe stated in order to protect your rights during this process. Under New York law, the respondent (the spouse served with divorce papers) has only 20 days to file a response.
What are the grounds for divorce in New York?
The only no-fault ground for divorce in New York is an “irretrievable breakdown” of your marriage, which means that there must be no reasonable prospect that reconciliation between you and your spouse can be made.
New York law also recognizes six fault-based grounds for ending a marriage:
Divorce after a legal separation agreement or a judgment of separation
Will I be awarded alimony?
In New York State, alimony awards are decided on a case-by-case basis depending on factors such as length of the marriage, contributions to the household, economic disparities between spouses, and other relevant circumstances. An experienced family law attorney can help present evidence in support of alimony during these proceedings.
How long will my divorce take?
This depends on a number of factors, such as whether either party contests anything in the divorce and whether both parties are willing to come together and negotiate settlements outside of court. The average uncontested divorce typically takes anywhere from three months up to one year. However, contested divorces can take longer than one year, depending on the complexity.
What’s the difference between being divorced and legally separated?
Legally separated couples remain married but live separately from each other, whereas divorced couples are no longer legally married or bound by any marital obligations or duties towards each other. In New York State, people may obtain a legal separation instead of a full dissolution of their marriage if they prefer not to terminate their marital status outright.
How is marital property divided in New York?
In New York, all marital property is divided equitably according to state law during a divorce, unless otherwise stipulated via an agreement between both parties or determined by a judge following trial proceedings if necessary. Equitable division means that property division will be fair, but not necessarily equal.
How to make or modify a child visitation schedule?
Making or modifying a child visitation schedule can be complicated, so having the right information is key. The first step is to make sure that both parents agree on the specifics of the schedule. It is essential to consider any special medical needs, extracurricular activities, holidays, and other important dates when creating a schedule.
A good rule of thumb is to also ensure there is flexibility in case something changes unexpectedly. If one parent does not agree with the proposed schedule, it may be necessary to file a motion with the court and let them decide what works best for all involved parties.
I’m not sure if I’m the child’s father. How do I check?
If you believe that you are the father of a child but are not certain, there are steps you can take to confirm paternity before taking legal action.
One option is genetic testing—a simple saliva swab test that can determine paternity with 99% accuracy—which can be done voluntarily or by court order if necessary. Another option is an acknowledgment of paternity form which can establish legal rights and responsibilities as a father without undergoing any tests or involving court proceedings at all.
Why should I get a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) outlines what happens to spouses’ finances and possessions if they divorce.
While many people think only wealthy individuals need prenups, anyone who owns property or has significant assets should consider entering into one, as it provides protection for both spouses in case of separation or divorce down the line. Additionally, having a prenuptial agreement establishes transparency between partners regarding their financial matters, which can help reduce friction throughout their relationship as well as during any potential legal proceedings in the future.
Should I hire a family law attorney?
Yes. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can provide peace of mind when dealing with complex legal matters such as child custody, alimony, or property division cases as well as divorce proceedings. Attorneys know how to navigate these issues efficiently while achieving desired results effectively and ethically while also protecting the client’s rights throughout the process.
Get Trusted Guidance for Your Family
These FAQs can help you gain better understanding of what lies ahead when getting a divorce or resolving family law matters. However, each case is unique, which is why you may need personalized and trusted counsel from an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C., I assist individuals and families in New York with a variety of family law issues. Call my firm today for a free consultation.