Uncontested Divorce in New York
Persevering to Obtain the Fastest, Fairest Divorce
When a marriage is over, spouses usually want the divorce process to be over just as quickly. In New York, an uncontested divorce is the most straightforward and fastest means to obtain a divorce. There’s one catch: both spouses must agree on all financial matters and the children. That means you must agree on property division, debt allocation, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. One small disagreement could end your hopes of a quick divorce. The problem thus becomes making sure you do not agree your way out of a fair divorce.
At The Levoritz Law Firm, our New York divorce lawyers have experience with the multitude of issues that can occur during a divorce, whether it’s a spouse trying to hide assets or a spouse attempting to manipulate their way out of child support. In some cases, in order to get a divorce over with, a spouse may agree with whatever the other spouse offers, even if it is not in his or her best interest. In these situations, our combined experience at The Levoritz Law Firm can be your best friend. We employ our skills, knowledge, and resources to obtain an uncontested divorce in accordance with the terms that you want but do it in a way that renders a fair outcome in compliance with the law. Contact our Manhattan law office to get honest legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney. We are zealous, yet even-tempered in our approach.
Why Choose Our NYC Uncontested Divorce Lawyers?
Getting an uncontested divorce in New York is the fastest way to dissolve your marriage. The thing to remember, though, is this: Once you enter a divorce agreement (referred to as a separation agreement or stipulation of settlement), and a final judgment of divorce is entered, the only way to modify or vacate the agreement, or a portion thereof, is to file a lawsuit with the court. Generally, a court will only vacate a divorce stipulation if the party challenging it proves that the stipulation was procured by fraud, duress, or overreaching, or that its terms are unconscionable or manifestly unfair and one-sided. You may also request the recission or reformation of the agreement, but you would have to show the Court that that the stipulation was a result of a mutual or unilateral mistake or that it was fraudulently induced.
Therefore, if you enter a settlement agreement in your divorce that you later realize is unfair, it can be very costly to undue the terms of the agreement, which may involve lengthy legal proceedings, and in many cases, undoing the agreement may not be legally feasible.
As you can see, agreeing to an uncontested divorce just to get your life started again can come back and hurt you unless you agree to a divorce agreement that accommodates your specific interests and upholds your rights.
We say these things only as a caveat. You want to make sure you get what is just and fair in your unique situation rather than agreeing to anything to obtain the divorce as quickly as you can.
And that is why you choose us. We are diligent in our efforts. We care about our clients. We have the resources to review and analyze your assets, debts, and overall circumstances, including the situation with your children adequately and thoroughly. You do not have to take our word for it, though. Our peers testify to our skills while our clients testify to the results.
WE AVOID MISTAKES THAT CAN DELAY AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
The most important part about choosing The Levoritz Law Firm is this: avoiding mistakes that can delay your uncontested divorce in New York.
Mistake #1: You assume an uncontested divorce is the same as an uncomplicated divorce. There’s still negotiating and settling to do. If one spouse has an advantage over the other spouse, the vulnerable spouse may end up with less than what the law allows.
Mistake #2: You think you can share a divorce attorney. Some spouses think they can benefit from legal advice and save money by sharing a divorce lawyer. Typically, what happens is one spouse hires a divorce lawyer and the other thinks that hired attorney will be impartial, but that is not ordinarily the truth. Under New York law, when a lawyer supposedly represents both parties to a settlement agreement, it raises an inference of overreaching on the part of the party who is the prime beneficiary of the assistance of the attorney. If the agreement is challenged by a spouse, the other spouse would have to show that the agreement is fair and equitable, or that both spouses freely agreed to its terms and thoroughly understood what he or she was agreeing to. It is always the best course of action to have your own independent lawyer representing you and your interests.
Mistake #3: You assume you have all the information you need. If you do not have all your records together, including assets, debts, and the like, then you may agree to too little or too much in terms of assets, debt, spousal maintenance, and/or child support.
Mistake #4: You think you know how to fill out the forms, properly file them, and attend a hearing. If you fail to comply with the rules, you will have to wait longer for your divorce.
Mistake #5: You think you know your rights – but you may not know them all. Rights do not only refer to child support, custody, and maintenance, but address other things like who has the right to the marital home, if any.
Consider the case of Marin-Brown v. Brown, 79 A.D.3d 1302, 1302, 912 N.Y.S.2d 755, 756 (2010) where the parties entered into a separation agreement addressing, among other things, child support, child custody and distribution of the parties’ property, and the parties thereafter sought an uncontested divorce. Before the divorce was granted, however, the husband sought to have the separation agreement rescinded. The Supreme Court vacated the portion of the agreement that dealt with child support but otherwise upheld the agreement. On appeal, the husband argued that that the financial provisions of the separation agreement were unfair, overreaching and unconscionable because the terms transferred virtually all of the parties’ assets to the wife, including his interest in the marital home, and required the husband to contribute to the wife’s legal fees in connection with the divorce, to pay 60% of the cost of the child’s private school education and to assume responsibility for certain marital debt. The Appellate Division held that it did not find the financial terms of the agreement to be “so one-sided as to shock the conscience” “simply because marital assets are divided unequally, because [the husband] ‘gave away more than [he] might have been legally required to do,’ or because [his] decision to approve the agreement might be characterized as unwise” and therefore, the Court found that the lower court properly declined to set aside the agreement.
In this case, the husband gave away much than he was legally required to, but he was unable to vacate the agreement he willingly entered into. With competent representation, it is possible the outcome could have been much different.
Do not make a mistake and risk delaying your divorce. Call us today at (718) 942-4004 to arrange a consultation with an experienced Manhattan divorce attorney.
With all this said, if you feel comfortable filling out the forms on your own and have no assets, no children, no shared debts, then a divorce lawyer may not be necessary.
WE MAKE SURE THE DIVORCE IS FAIR & UPHOLDS YOUR RIGHTS
New York is an equitable distribution state, which means when you divorce, marital property must be divided equitably (but not necessarily equally). In an uncontested divorce, however, you and your spouse determine what is equitable––and that’s regarding every aspect of the divorce, not just property division. Courts will most often take your word for it. Their approach is this: You agreed on the terms, so that is what will be enforced if the agreement is fair on its face. Agreements will only generally be set aside if it is shown that the terms are illegal, against public policy, or the product of fraud, duress, overreaching, or unconscionability.
Rest assured that at The Levoritz Law Firm, our New York uncontested divorce lawyer will:
- Thoroughly take inventory of your marital property and have it valued so that you know exactly the worth of what you get versus what your spouse takes
- Advise you on spousal maintenance and confirm what’s appropriate and what’s not
- Review your parenting plan and/or help you create one that considers your schedule and rights to your child
- Make sure child support is adequate and in accordance with the law
- Strategically negotiate to obtain what matters most to you and what’s in the best interest of your child, if any
- Zealously advocate for your rights and interests while being sensitive to your spouse’s position and your desire to obtain an uncontested divorce.
The Uncontested Divorce Process in New York City
OUR NEW YORK UNCONTESTED DIVORCE ATTORNEY IS THE ADVOCATE YOU NEED
The process to file an uncontested divorce in New York varies, depending on the circumstances. There are, however, some basics. To start, you must meet two requirements:
- The residency requirements per NY Dom. Rel. Law § 230; and
- The grounds for divorce requirement per NY Dom. Rel. Law § 170.
If these requirements are met and the parties want to move forward with an uncontested divorce, the spouse filing the divorce papers must, in part:
- Prepare the forms, which include the Summons, Verified Complaint, and any applicable Settlement Agreement, among other documents
- Purchase an index number at the county clerk’s office in the county where they live––this number is added to the Summons and Verified Complaint
- Provide copies to the spouse, along with certain required Notices, and an Affidavit of Defendant, which is used when the other spouse agrees to the divorce (alternatively, the spouse must be served the papers)
- File the completed papers at the county clerk’s office (or file an Affidavit of Service if the defendant spouse does not agree to complete and return the Affidavit of Defendant).
The above is a very brief summary of the formalities of an uncontested divorce. The bulk of the work happens prior to these formalities, when you and your spouse discuss the terms. Though a lawyer is helpful in making sure the formalities are undertaken properly, it’s the negotiation part of the divorce that requires the kind of legal advice that can prepare you for your future.
At The Levoritz Law Firm, no box goes unchecked. Nothing escapes our due diligence, and everything is negotiated to your benefit. Call us at (718) 942-4004 to schedule a consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.
Our NYC Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions
An uncontested divorce is a great option when you and your spouse can agree on the terms. However, many misconceptions abound around uncontested divorces. Here, our divorce lawyer responds to some of the most frequently asked questions we get.
Can I still file for a fault-based divorce in New York even if it’s uncontested?
One of the requirements of an uncontested divorce is agreement on the ground for divorce. Most uncontested divorces are filed as no-fault divorces, meaning the marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least six months preceding the action to commence the divorce.
There is nothing to prevent you from filing for an uncontested divorce based on one of the grounds for fault. Divorces based on fault include serious allegations such as adultery, abandonment, and cruel and inhuman treatment, so that means the spouse who allegedly engaged in the bad behavior agrees to admit it. It is likely the spouse would contest it, and if the ground for divorce is contested, you cannot proceed with an uncontested divorce.
Can I still file for a New York uncontested divorce if we have a lot of assets?
Yes, you can file for an uncontested divorce even if it is a high asset divorce. The key is being able to agree on the distribution of those assets.
Can I still file for an uncontested divorce in New York if we have children?
Yes, you can file for an uncontested divorce even if you have children. The key is being able to agree on child support, child custody, and a parenting plan.
How fast can I get a divorce in New York City if it is uncontested?
Two basic factors will determine how fast your uncontested divorce is finalized: (1) how soon you can get all the documents signed and filed; and (2) how busy the courts are.
Will a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement make an uncontested divorce easier?
Prenups and postnups could make it easier because they often spell out in advance the distribution of property and spousal maintenance. These agreements, however, can be contested and cannot be used to determine child custody or child support. So, it depends on the specific facts of a particular situation.
Why Not Get a DIY Divorce in New York if It Is Uncontested?
You can get a do-it-yourself divorce in New York through an uncontested divorce. DIY divorces are done, however, at your own risk. Many people use apps or websites that generate the forms for you. This can be handy when you have no assets, no shared debts, no children, and no need for spousal maintenance. If any of the latter are negotiated, it is in your best interest to seek smart legal advice.
Retain a Trusted Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in New York Today
Representation that Exceeds Expectations & Renders Results
WE ARE COMPASSIONATE YET UNAPOLOGETIC IN OUR REPRESENTATION
Uncontested divorces help you dissolve your marriage with less time (if any) inside the courtroom. We empathize with why our clients prefer uncontested divorces, but we also want to make sure you get what you deserve and is rightfully yours in the divorce. We always provide our clients with zealous representation.
WE PERSEVERE, SO WHEN AN UNCONTENTIOUS DIVORCE BECOMES CONTENTIOUS, WE ARE READY
We look out for our clients’ best interests and have proven time and time again that we will go to court and fight when necessary. In sensitive family law matters, we aim to keep negotiations amicable and productive, but when they fail, we rise to the occasion. As zealous litigators, we are not intimidated by the court.
WE WILL PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS WHEN YOU ARE TOO EMOTIONAL TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE
The thing about having a divorce lawyer even in uncontested divorces is that you may be too emotional or eager to finalize the divorce and thus lose sight of or not see what is rightfully yours. We are the eyes, ears, and voice you need during this time.
You want your life back after your marriage has ended. We understand this and want to help. We also understand that the stakes could be high if you move too fast and agree to terms that are unjust. Contact The Levoritz Law Firm today at (718) 942-4004 to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and knowledgeable New York City divorce attorney. Get the uncontested divorce you want, but do it with the help of a trusted, smart divorce attorney.