Poughkeepsie Divorce Lawyer
Residency Requirements and Grounds for Divorce
To file for a divorce in New York:
- You must have been married in New York and either you or your spouse must have lived in New York for one year prior to filing for the divorce, or
- You and your spouse must have lived together in New York, and either you or your spouse must have lived in New York for one year prior to filing for the divorce, or
- Your grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and either you or your spouse lived in New York for one year prior to filing for the divorce, or
- Either you or your spouse have lived in New York for two years prior to the filing of the divorce
In order to get a divorce in New York, you must prove:
- Your spouse has treated you so cruelly and inhumanely that it has had a serious effect on your physical or mental health and it's not safe or proper for the marriage to continue, or
- Your spouse has abandoned you for at least one year, or
- Your spouse has been imprisoned for at least three years, or
- Your spouse committed adultery, without your encouragement, within the past five years, and you did not have sexual relations with your spouse after learning of the infidelity, or
- You and your spouse have lived apart at least one year under a written separation contract or under a court judgment of separation and the spouse seeking the divorce has substantially complied with the terms of the agreement or court judgment.
- The legal divorce process begins when one of the spouses files a "Action for Divorce" with the Supreme Court. The other spouse is then served with the paperwork and given time to respond. If the parties are in agreement about property and debt division, as well as child custody and child support matters, the divorce can be finalized without a trial. If the parties can't come to an agreement, the court will set a time for a hearing, usually some time in the future.
- After the Action for Divorce has been filed, either party can request temporary assistance from the court in the form of temporary custody and child support orders, and orders to determine who pays community debts on a temporary basis.
Dividing the Property
In New York, assets and debts acquired during your marriage - called "marital property" - will be divided "equitably" when you divorce.
But not all property is considered "marital property":
- For example, assets you had before you married may be considered "separate property" if you kept that property separated from property acquired during the marriage.
- The income produced by a separate property investment may also be separate property, as long as it hasn't been "commingled" - mixed together with marital property
In dividing the parties "equitably," judges will consider:
- The income of the parties both at the time of the marriage and the time of the filing of the divorce
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the family home and/or household items
- Any loss of inheritance or pension rights
- Alimony (called "maintenance") awards
- Services of either spouse as a parent, wage earner or homemaker
- The liquid or non-liquid nature of the property
- Likely future financial circumstances of the parties
- Tax consequences to either party
- Waste or destruction of property by either party
It's important to collect all the information you can about all your property, including when you purchased it, approximately how much it is worth, and details such as account numbers, serial numbers and so forth. Collecting this information before you see a New York divorce lawyer can save you a lot of time and money.
A court can order alimony- called "maintenance - in New York. A court will generally consider such factors as:
- The length of the marriage
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Age and health of the parties
- Occupations of the parties and their incomes and sources of income
- Vocational skills and employability of the parties
- Assets and liabilities of the parties
- Any special needs of the parties
- The opportunity of the parties to acquire future income and assets
A court can order temporary maintenance while the divorce is pending. Most maintenance is ordered for a specific length of time.
Heather L. Kitchen
- Family Law
- Real Estate
- Criminal Law
- Collaborative Divorce
Admitted: 1989, New York and U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
Law School: University of Houston, J.D.
Member: New York State Bar Association; Dutchess County and New York State Magistrates Association
Biography: Member, National Criminal Honor Society. Assistant, County Attorney, Dutchess County New York. Town Justice, Town of Wappinger, 2001
Born: Huntington, Indiana