What Makes a Divorce Expensive in New York?
First, it is important to understand that there are two kinds of divorces – contested and uncontested. During an uncontested divorce in New York, both parties agree on all the terms and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about child custody, child support or maintenance (alimony). Thus, an uncontested divorce is usually a quicker process and is less of a financial burden. An uncontested lawyer will be able to assist with this divorce route.
On the other hand, a contested divorce in New York is one in which the spouses cannot agree on dividing the assets, distribution of debts, custody of children, child support or spousal support. Property division can take a lot of time to resolve, especially in high-net-worth cases. Essentially, the more contested your divorce becomes and the more issues the spouses can’t agree on, the more time your divorce will take both in and out of court. These issues can and will drive up the cost of your divorce tremendously.
Contested Divorce in New York
A contested divorce case in New York begins when a spouse files a divorce action with the court and then serves the other spouse with divorce papers. Before the Summons and Complaint can be served on the defendant, the plaintiff must purchase an index number, which is the official origin for all the divorce documents at the county clerk’s office. Serving the defendant usually involves either hiring a process server who will hand-deliver these documents to the defendant or any third party may serve the divorce papers. Through their contested divorce attorneys, the spouses can also serve discovery demands to obtain financial records, such as:
– Bank statements and receipts
– Credit card bills
– Tax returns
– Paycheck stubs
– Real estate deeds
It is crucial that those seeking or considering filing for a divorce to understand the full process as a contested divorce can be quite complex. Therefore, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer by your side.
The Cost of Contested Divorce and the Factors Affecting It
Fault vs No-Fault Divorce
One factor that can impact the cost of your contested New York divorce is whether you are filing for a fault divorce or a no-fault divorce. You and your spouse will have to make this decision by the time the Summons and Complaint to initiate the divorce is filed in court.
The difference between a fault divorce and no-fault divorce is that in a fault divorce one spouse alleges legal wrongdoing on the other spouse, which they must then prove in court. By alleging fault, the services of a top divorce lawyer from a reputable family law firm will be necessary.
On the other hand, if you wish to file for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse will simply cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce.
Which Divorce Method You Choose
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on division of marital property, spousal support, child support or child custody then selecting a professional method of dispute resolution may be best. Such dispute resolutions include negotiating in mediation or a collaborative divorce.
A collaborative divorce is a legal divorce process that allows couples to negotiate all the terms of a divorce, without a court battle. The parties will be informed of the laws concerning their issues and be able to reach an agreement on the property, debt division, child support, child custody, and spousal support. In this divorce process, you and your spouse each hire an attorney. Both parties will have to exchange financial records and then set up a meeting to negotiate a settlement. If each party hires an attorney that is willing to have a meeting to resolve all the economic issues, this process usually goes a lot smoother and less costly than having a battle in divorce court that may take a long time to resolve.
Whether You Have Kids
If you and your spouse have children, child support and child custody must be addressed in the divorce papers. If the divorce is contested, these two issues can cost additional experts fees and legal fees. If custody cannot be resolved, the court usually appoints an attorney for the child and the parents have to pay the cost for the child’s attorney. In addition, the court may choose to appoint a forensic psychologist to interview both parties and the children. These expert fees can cost thousand of dollars if parties are unable to resolve the custody issue.
How Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Brooklyn Can Help
Many people believe that filing for a divorce on their own will save them money. However, do-it-yourself (DIY) divorces often end up costing a lot more in the long run when mistakes and complicated legal issues start happening – which can lead to hiring a lawyer anyway to fix the messy DIY divorce. Instead, protect your interests by hiring an experienced divorce attorney from the start.
Before filing for a divorce, you must research for the best divorce lawyers in Brooklyn that can help protect your assets. Call The Louis Law Firm, PLLC at (347) 926-3388 for a free in-depth legal consultation and a price quote.