Will You Have to Pay Alimony After Divorce?

Alimony, also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance,” may be one of the most controversial issues to be addressed in divorce proceedings. In fact, you may be concerned that you will be on the hook for paying alimony by the time your divorce has wrapped up. In some cases, alimony is even ordered while a divorce is still pending. While it will be up to the court to determine alimony, unless you and your spouse can reach an independent agreement on the issue, it can be difficult to say for sure whether you will have to pay alimony after divorce. Learning more about alimony in New York, how it is awarded, and how it is calculated, however, can give you some guidance on what may be to come.

Will You Have to Pay Alimony After Divorce?

In New York family court, the judge looks primarily at need and ability to pay. What are the needs of the spouse requesting alimony? Does the other spouse have the ability to provide this financial assistance? More specifically, the court will look at a number of relevant factors when rendering a determination on the question of alimony. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The educational or training needs of one spouse, if any
  • Whether the requesting spouse can eventually become self- supporting
  • Financial impacts of one spouse acting as primary caregiver to the children
  • How the marital property is distributed

In weighing all of these factors, the court may decide that awarding alimony in your case is appropriate. If your spouse has a demonstrated need for financial assistance and you have the ability to provide this financial assistance, then the court is likely to award alimony. The question then becomes, what type of alimony, how much alimony, and how long will you have to pay alimony.

The court may only order temporary alimony. This is support paid only while divorce proceedings are pending. Once the divorce has been finalized, this type of spousal maintenance ends. The court may order further alimony payments, but it will be separate from the temporary alimony order.

The court may also order duration or non-durational alimony depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Durational alimony is more commonly awarded. The court orders spousal maintenance be paid for a fixed period of time. This is most often ordered when the court finds that the spouse has the means and ability to eventually become self-supporting. The duration of the alimony will largely depend on the length of the marriage, although the other factors listed above will be relevant as well. For marriages that are 0-15 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 15% and 30% of the length of the marriage. For marriages 15-20 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 40% and 40% of the marriage. For marriages lasting over 20 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 35% and 50% of the length of the marriage.

In some cases, non-durational support may be awarded. Non-durational support will often be permanent. It may end, however, if the recipient spouse remarries or lives with a partner who they present as their spouse. Non-durational support will also end if either spouse dies.

Family Law Attorneys

Alimony can have a big impact on your financial future. Make sure your best interests are protected as the court makes this critical determination. The team at CDH Law will provide you with zealous legal advocacy. Contact us today.

Who Gets the Home in a New York Divorce

In a divorce, the home is usually one of the biggest, if not the biggest, assets involved. This will likely lead you to worry about who will get the home. Property division in a New York divorce is complicated and will involve a number of different considerations. Finding out more about how property is subject to division can help prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

Who Gets the Home in a New York Divorce?

As an equitable division state, New York courts aim to divide marital property in a divorce in a manner that is fair, or “equitable.” Equitable does not necessarily mean equal. The court will attempt to divide the marital property that is fair in light of a number of factors. These factors can include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The earning capacity of each party
  • The value of marital property
  • The value of separate property
  • Contributions of each spouse to the marriage (include homemaking)
  • Who will maintain custody of the children (who will be the primary caregiver)

Before these factors are even considered, however, the court will need to determine whether an asset, such as the home, is marital or separate property. Separate property is, generally speaking, property obtained prior to the marriage whereas marital property is generally property acquired during the marriage. It is important to note, however, that separate property can make the transition to marital property. For instance, if the home was purchased prior to marriage, but the other spouse moved into the home and made significant contributions to the home such as making mortgage payments and assisting with the upkeep of the home, the home may then be considered to have transitioned to a marital asset.

Separate assets are not subject to equitable division in a New York divorce. Instead, they remain under the ownership of the spouse that acquired them. Marital assets, on the other hand, will be subject to equitable division.

If your home is considered to be a marital asset and will, therefore, be subject to equitable division, the court has a number of options on how to address this. In some cases, the home may be sold. The proceeds of the sale would then be split between the spouses. Other times, one spouse may want to retain possession of the house and a buyout is arranged. The spouse who wishes to retain the home will buy out the ownership interests of the other spouse. Sometimes, when there are young children involved, the parents will not want to move the children from their home. This helps avoid the need for kids to have to move and maybe have to go to different schools, etc. In this case, one spouse will live in the home with a plan to sell the house further in the future.

Syracuse Divorce Attorneys

If you are getting divorced in New York, you likely have a lot of questions about what the process will hold for you, your property, and your family. The team at CDH Law has answers for you. Contact us today.

Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and, let’s be honest, while they can be a time of great joy and celebration, they can also be stressful and emotional. This can be especially true if you have recently divorced and are approaching your first post-divorce holiday season. The truth of the matter is, however, that you can do more than just survive this holiday season. You can thrive. It will take some planning, flexibility, and an attitude knowing that you can do this! Let’s take a look at some tips for dealing with divorce during the holidays.

Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays

Sharing parenting time can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but throwing in the holidays season can put extra pressure on an otherwise logistical nightmare. It is likely that your co-parent will want time with the children this holiday season and the best thing you can do for each other and the whole family is to put specific, detailed plans in place for who will have the kids when and for how long, as well as who will pick them up, drop them off, and where these transfers will occur. It can also be helpful if you and your co-parent talk about what holiday activities you will be participating in and a gift-giving plan for the kids to avoid overlap, trying to outdo each other, and create other unhelpful situations for each other.

A detailed plan for parenting time over the holidays will help everyone, the kids especially, manage their expectations over the holidays. It will also help everyone prepare mentally for the road ahead. Setting expectations and having a clear picture of what the holiday season will look like can provide a sense of relief in what could otherwise be a time of uncertainty and anxiety.

Armed with a schedule for the holiday season, you can turn your attention to building memories and carrying on with traditions new and old. Post-divorce, you may not be able to carry on some of the traditions your family has established. Give yourself permission to let these go. Give yourself the opportunity to build new traditions with your kids and family members. While it may be natural to mourn the loss of a tradition, take the opportunity to build new ones together with loved ones.

Another tip for taking on the post-divorce holiday season is to remember to take care of yourself! It is far too easy to get lost in the bustle of the holidays. Take some time to pause and relax. Make getting enough sleep and exercise, as well as remembering to eat those healthy foods a priority! Feeling strong and healthy can be a key component of a successful holiday season.

Syracuse Divorce Attorneys

At CDH Law, our team of divorce attorneys is committed to helping you during some of the most difficult times of your life. We dedicate ourselves to protecting the best interests of our clients and working tirelessly to help ensure they have a successful post-divorce life. Divorce signals a new life chapter and we want it to be your best one yet! Contact us today.

Why Would Marital Assets Be Unequally Divided?

One of the biggest issues to address during divorce proceedings is the division of marital assets. Of course, first, the assets need to be categorized as either marital or separate. Only marital assets will be subject to division. Then, during division of the assets, a New York court will determine what division of the marital assets would be considered equitable. As an equitable distribution state, New York courts attempt to fairly divide marital assets as opposed to dividing them equally. So, why would marital assets be divided unequally in a New York divorce? We will discuss that here.

Why Would Marital Assets Be Unequally Divided?

New York is an equitable distribution state and that means that while marital assets may be divided equally in a divorce, the intent of the court will be to divide marital assets in an equitable, or fair, manner. This means that marital assets would be unequally divided in a New York divorce if a court found that it was necessary in order to achieve an equitable result.

In order to determine what division of the marital assets would be fair, New York courts are tasked with weighing a variety of factors relevant to this analysis. Such factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The relative age and health status of each spouse
  • The earning potential of each spouse
  • The income of each spouse
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
  • The employability of each spouse

Every divorce is different and the factors pertinent to each case will determine how assets can be divided in a manner that is equitable. While it is fairly common for an equal division of assets to be determined equitable under the circumstances, some factors in other cases will mean that an unequal division is necessary to accomplish equity.

It should be noted too, however, that prior to dividing the marital assets, the court will need to determine what assets are, in fact, marital as opposed to separate. How assets are categorized can have a big impact on how the rest of the divorce proceeds. Generally speaking, marital property is considered to be that property which was acquired over the course of the marriage, with some limited exceptions. Alternately, separate property is generally considered to be that which was acquired prior to marriage, although the formerly separate property can be converted into marital property through certain courses of action. If a spouse tries to claim that a certain asset is actually separate property, not marital property, it is the burden of that spouse to prove that this is really the case.

Unless an asset was acquired through an inheritance or something such as compensation from a personal injury claim, it is likely that it will be considered marital if acquired during the marriage. Spouses must work to identify all property that is marital in nature and also provide a specific value to marital property. In certain cases, experts such as appraisers may need to be called in to evaluate the value of a certain piece of property. This needs to be done prior to the court being able to render a decision on dividing the marital property.

Syracuse Divorce Attorneys

Division of marital assets can be more than highly personal. It can also have a big impact on your future financial well-being. You can trust CDH Law to protect your best interests throughout the process. Contact us today.

Do I Have to File for Divorce in the Same State I Got Married?

Have you decided to get a divorce? You may have thought this was the beginning of the end of the tough decisions you will need to face, but there are many more decisions and processes that will need to be navigated as you start on your path to a new chapter in your life. The first question you will probably face after deciding on divorce is, where do I actually file for divorce? If you were married in another state, you may be wondering if you have to go back to that state to get a divorce. Most all states have residency requirements for divorce filers. We will discuss more on where you can file for divorce here.

Do I Have to File for Divorce in the Same State I Got Married?

In order to be able to grant a divorce, a state court must have jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. Jurisdiction means that the court has the power to rule over the procedures as well as decide the outcome of the case. This is why, in most cases, a person will petition for divorce in the state where he or she lives. Depending on how long he or she has lived in that state, it is most common that the court will have jurisdiction over a state resident to hear his or her divorce case.

Prior to filing for divorce, you should verify your state’s residency requirements. You should also check on the local county residency requirements. Do so promptly. If your spouse lives in another state, he or she may be looking to file for divorce there. Having a pending divorce case out of state can be logistically difficult and very inconvenient. You may also, however, want to investigate the state’s laws on divorce to see which is most favorable to your situation.

To file for divorce, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. There are a few different ways to meet the residency requirements. If you or your spouse has been living in New York continuously for a minimum of two years prior to the initiating of the divorce case, then you will meet the residency requirements. Alternately, if you or your spouse has been living in New York continuously for a minimum of one year prior to the initiating of the divorce case and you either got married in New York, lived in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for divorce occurred in New York, then you will meet the residency requirements. Lastly, you can meet the residency requirements if both you and your spouse are residents of New York the day the divorce is initiated and the grounds for your divorce occurred in New York.

Syracuse Divorce Attorneys

Considering divorce? Get a trusted legal team by your side. CDH Law is here to advocate for you as we help you navigate the divorce process. Contact us today.

How Do I Begin Uncontested Divorce Proceedings?

Whether contested or uncontested, preparing for divorce can be critical to ensuring your best interests are protected and that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Do what you can to get your finances in order. Divorce marks a major financial transition for many couples, going from a double to a single income household. Furthermore, you should gather all available financial records in preparation for divorce proceedings as the financial holdings of both you and your spouse will play a central role in the process. You should also consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. This is a good idea even if you are just considering divorce as you can get legal counsel on your options and what to consider going forward.

How Do I Begin Uncontested Divorce Proceedings?

Whether your divorce is amicable, or not so amicable, working with your former spouse to reach an agreement on all issues central to divorce can make the process much easier for both of you. Should this be the case, you may be able to proceed in filing for an uncontested divorce. There are, however, several requirements you must meet in order to file for an uncontested divorce.

First, you must meet the residency requirements for filing for a divorce in New York. This will require showing that you or your spouse have lived in the state for a minimum of one year prior to filing for divorce. You must also assert grounds for the divorce. New York does offer no fault divorce grounds by asserting that the relationship has been irretrievably broken for at least 6 months. There are also fault-based grounds that may be asserted such as abandonment, adultery, or separation for at least a year.

An uncontested divorce is an option if you and your spouse agree to all key terms incident to divorce. This includes financial issues such as alimony and division of marital debts and assets. If you have children, issues to be resolved will also include child custody and child support. An uncontested divorce is also available should your spouse fail to respond to the divorce complaint. In any case, to file for an uncontested divorce, you will need to fill out the appropriate forms.

To fill out the necessary forms, you will need to provide your name and address, as well as a copy of the marriage certificate and any agreement you have reached with your spouse, such as a settlement agreement. You will also need a list of the joint and separate property owned by you and your spouse as well as any debts held by you or your spouse. There will be different forms if there are children involved. You will need to file both the complaint and the summons with the County Clerk’s Office. You may be able to e-file your papers depending on the rules of your local court.

The next step is to have your forms served on your spouse. This is to ensure that your spouse is notified of the divorce. Services must be accomplished within 120 days of the divorce filing date. You are not permitted to personally serve your spouse and must assign the task to another person. This person must be a New York resident of at least 18 years of age. Once served, your spouse will need to file a response. If a response is not filed, this is referred to as your spouse “defaulting.”

Syracuse Divorce Attorneys

Even uncontested divorces involve complicated legal issues that can have serious repercussions far into the future. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for an uncontested divorce to quickly turn to a contested divorce. Make sure you are protecting yourself. The trusted team at CDH Law is here for you. Contact us today.

 

How Long Will I Have to Pay Alimony?

In New York, alimony is referred to as “spousal maintenance,” although you may sometimes hear it referred to as “spousal support.” Spousal maintenance is a payment made from one spouse to another during or after a divorce. The intent behind an alimony award is to try and permit both spouses to continue to live a lifestyle similar to that which they had while married. Whether you think you might be entitled to alimony or whether you think your spouse will pursue alimony in divorce proceedings, you will probably want to know how long you can expect to pay or receive alimony.

How Long Will I Have to Pay Alimony?

Alimony is sometimes awarded to a spouse to give them a stepping stone to complete any necessary job training or education prior to entering or reentering the workplace. Other times, it can extend for a longer period of time. There a few different types of alimony that a court may award in a divorce. These include:

  • Temporary alimony: Also referred to as “alimony pendente lite,” temporary alimony is paid to a spouse while divorce proceedings are happening and terminate once the judge issues the final divorce decree or once a more permanent alimony award is established.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is especially common in cases where there is a significant discrepancy in the respective earning or potential earning and job skills of the spouses. A court will order rehabilitative alimony when one spouse is in need of further education or job training in order to enter the workforce or reenter the workforce after divorce in order to become financially independent. It is a temporary form of alimony. You will often see rehabilitative alimony where one spouse has left the workforce in order to maintain the home and raise a family.
  • Permanent alimony: This is another type of alimony that is paid from one spouse to another after the divorce has been finalized. The length of time that a spouse will have to pay permanent alimony will vary depending on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage. Permanent alimony is usually reserved for cases where the spouses have been married for a long time when there is a significant difference between the respective income levels of the spouses, and/or when one spouse suffers from health problems or may otherwise be unable to maintain gainful employment and cannot become self-sufficient. 

Some alimony awards will be durational. This means that they are awarded for a fixed period. This, in turn, usually means that the spouse receiving the alimony should be able to become self-sufficient, financially speaking, by the time the duration of the alimony comes to an end. In general, marriages that lasted between 0 and 15 years will have alimony awards spanning somewhere between 15-30% of the length of the marriage. On the other hand, marriages that lasted between 15 and 20 years will have alimony awards spanning somewhere between 40% of the length of the marriage. Marriages lasting over 20 years will have alimony awards spanning between 35-50% of the length of the marriage.

In certain cases, a court may decide to order non-durational support. This support is permanent. So permanent, in fact, that it will usually not end until a spouse dies or remarries.

Divorce Attorneys

Alimony, whether paying or receiving, can have a significant impact on your post-divorce financial wellbeing. At CDH Law, we provide trusted legal advocacy and counsel throughout divorce proceedings. Contact us today.

How a Prenup Can Impact the Divorce Process

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “prenup,” is a contract established prior to marriage by two prospective spouses who plan on getting married. A prenuptial agreement becomes effective upon marriage. While some people mistakenly see a prenup as planning for the failure of the marriage, a prenup can actually serve to set valuable expectations and boundaries to help see the marriage succeed. The best of marriages, however, will see trying times. Should your marriage end with a prenup in place, the divorce process will likely look different than it does for those without such a premarital contract in place.

How a Prenup Can Impact the Divorce Process

The exact impact that a prenup will have on the divorce process will largely turn on the precise terms set forth in the agreement. Overall, prenups are most likely going to help streamline the divorce process by having answers already in place to issues most couples face during divorce. For instance, a prenup can establish each spouse’s property rights, to property either owned individually or jointly. It can also set the terms for how assets and debts are distributed in the event of divorce. Property distribution can be a highly contested asset of the divorce process. A prenup already addressing this can make things move along much quicker and smoother.

Other terms of a prenup which could resolve issues faced during the divorce process may include:

  • Each party’s rights to own and manage a family business
  • Each party’s rights to alimony in amount and duration or whether no spousal maintenance will be provided at all post-divorce
  • Assignment of debt to a spouse or shielding a spouse from debt of the other spouse
  • Establish arrangements for child custody as well as child support pending a court’s finding that the arrangements are, in fact, in the best interest of the child (should the arrangement set forth in the prenup run afoul of the best interest of the child standard, the court will not enforce the child custody or child support agreement.

These are major issues involved in a divorce. A prenup can save the parties a great deal of time, money, and stress by already resolving these kinds of potential problems.

In many cases, a prenup makes the divorce process easier. In some cases, however, a prenup can complicate things. This happens when the prenup is contested. In general, a prenup is presumed valid unless a spouse can prove a reason why it should be declared invalid. Reasons for declaring a prenup invalid may include:

  • A spouse signed the prenup under duress
  • A spouse was mentally incompetent or less than 18 years of age when the prenup was signed
  • One spouse defrauded the other spouse in the agreement
  • The terms of the prenup were unconscionable, or extremely unfair, when the spouses signed it
  • The prenup was not in writing
  • The prenup was not signed by the spouses until after they were actually married

Should the prenup be contested, separate proceedings will be held to determine its validity. Should it be found invalid, all of the terms of the prenup will not be enforceable and will have to be resolved during divorce proceedings.

Divorce Attorneys

Whether you have a prenup, do not have a prenup, or have a prenup and think it is invalid, the dedicated team of divorce attorneys at CDH Law will provide you with trusted legal counsel and support throughout the divorce process. Contact us today.

How Does New York Handle Division of Marital Property During Divorce?

One of the major steps in the divorce process is the division of marital assets. Sometimes, a divorcing couple can reach an agreement on their own regarding how the marital property should be split. Oftentimes, however, such an agreement will prove impossible. When that happens, the court will be charged with dividing the marital assets. Each state has different laws relating to the division of marital property. In New York, the property will be subject to equitable division.

How Does New York Handle Division of Marital Property During Divorce?

New York is referred to as an “equitable division state.” This is because marital property will be divided equitably upon divorce. Equitably does not mean equal. It means that the marital property will be divided in a manner that is fair. While a fair division of the assets may mean an equal division, this is not necessarily always the case. The court will base its decision on what a fair division of the assets is on several factors, including:

  • Each spouse’s income during the marriage and at the time of the divorce
  • Relative age and health of each spouse
  • Alimony award
  • Estimated future financial needs of each spouse
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Liquid or non-liquid nature of the marital property
  • Tax consequences
  • Whether either spouse wastefully used up marital assets
  • Any other factor deemed relevant to the court in order to reach an equitable division of the assets

Before the marital assets can be divided, however, it must be determined which assets are actually marital. Only marital property is subject to equitable division by the court. Other property, referred to as “separate property” remains in the possession of the respective spouse owner. Marital property will include property that either spouse acquired during the marriage, with certain exceptions. Marital property will, thus, include things like income earned by either spouse during the marriage, property purchased during the marriage, appreciation of property during the marriage, and things like retirement benefits acquired during the marriage. Some of the exceptions to what is considered “marital property” include:

  • Property acquired prior to marriage
  • Property given as an inheritance
  • Compensation from personal injury action
  • Property specified as “separate” in a prenuptial, postnuptial, or other contract

Once the court has determined what is classified as “marital property,” the above listed factors will be employed in reaching a decision on what division of the marital assets would be fair. This can be a long and contentious process. Some assets may need to be appraised by experts. For instance, financial accounts and securities will often need to be evaluated by a CPA or other financial expert in order for the court to understand the actual value of the asset being included in the equitable division process.

New York Divorce Attorneys

Division of the marital property is a critical part of the divorce process. It also can have serious financial repercussions for the parties involved. It is important that your rights are always protected during divorce proceedings. The dedicated family law attorneys at CDH Law protect the rights of our clients and always look at for their best interests. Contact us today.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in New York?

Even under the most amicable of circumstances, divorce is difficult. It involves major changes to a person’s life, plus dealing with the legal system can be a headache in and of itself. This is why one of the most commonly asked questions about divorce in New York is, “How long is this going to take?” Most people are looking to get one finalized as quickly as possible. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in New York?

In truth, the answer to this question is: it depends. There are several factors that can seriously impact the amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce in New York. Some of these factors include:

  • Whether or not children are involved
  • Whether there are substantial assets involved
  • What the spouses agree upon
  • What the spouses disagree upon
  • The willingness of the spouses to work on coming to an agreement
  • The court’s schedule

Whether the spouses agree on these issues is one of the biggest factors. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all issues incident to the divorce. On average, this will take approximately 3 months to finalize.

The process begins by filing the necessary forms with the clerk of court’s office. The petition for divorce must be served to your spouse and he or she has 20 days to respond to the petition. The spouse being served has 30 days if he or she is served out of state. If your spouse fails to respond to the petition, you can file for a default divorce. You must wait for the court to review your request which usually takes at least a month. If your spouse responds to the petition and you have a written agreement that settles all issues, your divorce should be finalized, depending on the court schedule and processing time, within a few months.

If your spouse responds to the petition and the two of you are unable to reach an agreement, then it becomes a contested divorce. This takes, on average, much more time than an uncontested divorce. In fact, it may take at least 9 months to resolve. A contested divorce will move along much faster if the spouses have a willingness to cooperate and work together to reach mutually agreeable solutions to the issues they do not see eye to eye on. Without reaching an agreement on the issues, litigation will be necessary, which will also cause the process to be even longer.

Syracuse Family Law Attorneys

Whether you are facing a contested or an uncontested divorce, the dedicated family law attorneys at CDH Law are here to represent your best interests the entire way. We are here to support you, stand by your side, and walk you through the whole process. Contact us today.