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Filing for Divorce in Westchester

Professional Legal Guidance for Divorce Is Always a Good Idea

As we have all heard, statistics show that a high percentage of marriages end in divorce – around 50% of first marriages and even higher rates for subsequent marriages. However, no one who marries the love of their life expects their marriage to end in divorce one day.

You are not alone if your marriage is one of the many that has not worked out as planned. Get the counsel of a compassionate and experienced divorce lawyer in Westchester County to guide you through this process.

Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law is dedicated to helping people navigate the legal waters of divorce as painlessly as possible. Contact us online or call (914) 873-4410 for a divorce consultation.

Why You Need a Westchester County Divorce Lawyer

The divorce process in NYS can be one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences a person will face. Considering the amount of time, energy, and effort that goes into building a marriage and a family, it's understandable that breaking up can be an extremely emotional and devastating experience for all parties involved.

While divorce may be the best solution for your situation, it can still be a highly volatile process. For this reason, it's absolutely critical to enlist the services of a seasoned divorce attorney. Call our divorce attorneys in Westchester to find out what help we can offer as you navigate a marital dissolution.

Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law has been in private practice for more than 35 years. We have helped countless individuals in White Plains, Westchester County, Long Island, and the surrounding areas reach successful outcomes in their divorces. Let us help you, too!

Divorce Services We Offer Our Clients

Although no two divorce cases are identical, there are core issues that will need to be addressed. Some of the most pressing issues in any divorce include:

In some cases, a judge will award maintenance to one of the spouses. When there are children involved, the parents will have to decide upon child custody, visitation, and child support. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on such matters, then the court will have to step in and decide these matters for them.

How to File for Divorce in NY

Divorce is an emotionally taxing process, but the paperwork and trial process don’t have to be. Let’s take a step-by-step look at the process. When filing for a contested divorce in New York State, you will need to:

  • Establish grounds for your divorce
  • Obtain divorce papers from your local Family Court clerk or download them online
  • Serve the other party (or respond to the summons if you did not initiate the divorce)
  • Submit a Request for Judicial Intervention (RDI)
  • Attend a preliminary conference
  • Go through the discovery process
  • Litigate in court
  • Receive your court orders and a divorce decree from the Judge

Now, let's go into each of these steps in more depth.

Grounds for Divorce

According to the New York State Unified Court System, you must be a resident and have a legally acceptable reason for your divorce. There are seven grounds for divorce in NYS:

  • Irreconcilable differences, or a “no-fault divorce,” is when the marriage has been dysfunctional for six months and all parties have amicably settled financial matters and child custody.
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment happens when one spouse needs to leave the marriage because they are physically or mentally in danger.
  • Abandonment for one year or more is a valid ground for divorce. This includes “constructive” abandonment, in which one spouse refuses to have sex with the other.
  • You can file for a divorce after three years of your partner being imprisoned, or up to five years after their release.
  • Adultery. This ground is tricky because you must prove your spouse’s infidelity with evidence outside of the marriage.
  • Divorce after a period of legal separation. This ground may only be used after an agreement is signed and the couple lives apart for at least one year.
  • Similarly, couples may divorce after the Supreme Court draws up a judgement of separation.

Painless Divorce Paperwork

The first type of divorce we discussed is considered an uncontested divorce. In this case, you simply need to fill out a form, file it at the County Clerk’s Office, and serve the papers to your spouse. While it is possible to represent yourself in an uncontested divorce, the Court System still recommends meeting with a lawyer. Attorneys at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law are happy to meet with you.

Schedule your consultation: Send in a contact form or give us a call at (914) 873-4410.

A Legal Team That Fights for You

For a contested divorce, things are a little more difficult, and you’ll definitely need a lawyer. There are countless steps, including:

  • Initiating the divorce, or initial filing.
  • Serving papers. This has to be done by an official third party, like an attorney.
  • Responding – the spouse who is served must either accept the divorce or contest it.
  • Submitting a Request for Judicial Intervention, or RDI, involves the courts in the divorce.
  • Discussing pre-trial compromises during a preliminary conference happens before court.
  • Undergoing discovery. In this step, your lawyers will build your case and prepare for trial.
  • Settling the divorce in court through disposition. This is the trial phase and may take a long time. It’s where you’ll figure out issues like property division, spousal and child support, and custody and visitation.

Our lawyers at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law are the legal team you want on your side. We will help you navigate difficult decisions and fight for your interests with passion and dedication. Get the trusted guidance you need today.

Family Law Court & the “Best Interest” of the Child

In contested divorces involving children, the New York divorce court will make its decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children. Here are some of the factors that the Family Law Court will take into consideration when deciding child custody, visitation, and support:

  • Primary Caretaker – Which parent was the primary caretaker of the child(ren) before the divorce?
  • Stability – If the children have already been living with one parent before the divorce, then the Court will take the effects of change into consideration.
  • Abuse, Neglect, or Abandonment – The Court will look to place the children in the healthiest possible home environment with (a) parent(s) who will care for them.
  • Child Care – Priority is often given to the parent who can provide the best childcare arrangements, especially in cases where both parents work.
  • Education – The Court will take into consideration the quality of the educational opportunities that are available near each parent’s residence.
  • Finances – The custodial parent must be able to financially support the children.
  • Drug/Alcohol Use – A history of drug and/or alcohol abuse will have a negative effect on a parent’s ability to obtain custody.
  • Mental Health – A history of mental illness or instability can have a negative effect on a parent’s ability to obtain custody.
  • Physical Health – Custodial parents must be physically capable of caring for their children and for the family as a whole.
  • Location of Siblings – The Court often seeks to keep siblings together, so the location of any siblings or half-siblings can play a large part in the Court’s custody decision.
  • Child’s Preference – The age of the child is a factor in this, as well as the Court’s views on the child’s ability to make their own decisions. The closer the child is to 18 years old, the more weight their preference will have.

The Effects of Divorce on Children

We have all heard stories of children who have grown up in broken homes, traumatized by their parents' ugly divorce. We at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law seek to offer you proper guidance and care through the divorce process so that your children can remain relatively unchanged by this major transition.

Consider the following tips in preventing any negative effects of divorce on your children:

  • Anxiety, Stress, or Distrust – Don’t keep the divorce a secret, and make sure you are as honest as possible about the entire process. Keeping your child from his or her other parent is a surefire way to generate a lot of anxiety and distrust in your child.
  • Low Self-Esteem – If your child worries the divorce is because of his or her presence, they will likely grow up feeling very self-conscious and unloved. Make sure you both stress the fact that this is happening in the hopes of creating a positive future, not because either of you doesn’t love your child.
  • Trouble with Future Relationships/Behavioral & Social Problems – These issues can be prevented by making sure both you and your future ex-spouse remain constant in your child’s life. Nothing is worse than abandonment—make sure neither of you takes that route, no matter how much you two may dislike each other.

Call (914) 873-4410 Today for the Help You Need

At Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law, our Westchester divorce attorneys can handle all types of NYS divorce cases and walk with you through each step. No matter how amicable your divorce may appear at the beginning, divorce proceedings are rarely predictable and neither is the behavior of the other spouse. Therefore, it is critical that you seek out your own legal representation as soon as possible.

Attorney Andrea Friedman desires to use her experience and credentials to fight for clients throughout Westchester County. Our attorneys are caring and compassionate and will always look out for your best interest through the legal process; however, should matters take a turn for the worse, we will zealously stand up for your rights while pursuing your objectives at all times.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Westchester Today. Call Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law!

Let Us Provide the Compassionate Care You Deserve.

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