Getting Divorced With Children In New York
As divorce attorneys here in New York who assist clients with child custody, support, distribution of assets, spousal support, and more, we frequently receive questions concerning how divorce is affected or different when children are involved. While it is always possible for a couple to come to an amicable, uncontested agreement concerning issues like child custody and support, it is always wise to work with an attorney just to ensure that your interests – and, if you have children, theirs – are represented, both in the now and in the future.
Legal Requirements to File in New York
In New York, you can see a divorce if there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” between you and your spouse for at least six months or you have both been separated for at least one year. Most couples file in the same county in which they reside, but remember that you must also meet the residency requirement before filing, which fall into one of three categories:
- One of you has been living in the state continuously for at least two years;
- One of you have been living there for at least one year and you were married in the state or lived there has a married couple; or
- Both of you are New York State residents and the grounds for the divorce occurred in state.
What Happens Next
Once you serve your spouse with the paperwork, they then have a specific amount of time to respond and either agree with the filing, dispute it, or file their own counter to it. Note that filing for divorce when you have children is different from filing when you do not: Typically, there are additional forms that need to be filed with respect to child support and parenting plans.
Once that you file, court proceedings are scheduled, and depend upon the specific circumstances involved; Whether that is a simple hearing, or an actual trial that involves evidence in an effort to provide the court with what information it needs to decide on property and custody issues. Where children are involved – even in uncontested divorce cases – typically, there will be a court appearance involved.
Because your divorce can take some time to finalize, there are circumstances which warrant holding a hearing before the divorce is finalized, for example, if:
- There is abusive behavior involved;
- There is a dispute over the children or financial support for the children; and/or
- There is a dispute over access to the primary home.
It is always possible for a couple to agree to issues involving child custody and support, living arrangements, spousal support, and more in a settlement agreement. These can be drafted on your own with your attorney or via mediation to work out the agreement.
Typically, this route – the uncontested divorce – is the simplest and cheapest way to pursue a divorce, and it is also possible to pursue even when a couple shares children, however, it requires that two spouses agree as to:
- How legal and physical custody will be shared;
- What the living schedule will be for children spending their time at each spouse’s home;
- What the arrangements are for child support;
- Whether alimony will be involved; and
- How any relevant marital property will be divided.
Rockland & Westchester Counties, New York Divorce Attorneys
If you or your loved ones have any questions about divorce or other areas of family law, contact our New York divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help.