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Frequently Asked Questions about Your Case

Knowledgeable Advice from a Peekskill Divorce Lawyer

At Law Offices of Audrey J. Lutz Parma PC, our attorney has handled many family law matters, from simple divorces to complicated and contested issues. This breadth of information has given us a perspective into how to approach your unique situation. Our Westchester County family lawyer keeps abreast of the laws, works with your family, and always keeps your best interests in mind.

  • How do I start the divorce process in New York?

    When you decide to divorce, you must first meet certain requirements, including having been a resident of the State of New York for at least a year.

  • How is custody determined in New York?

    There are two types of child custody arrangements, legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions for your children, where physical custody is where the children will live. For both types, a family law judge will make his or her decisions based on the best interests of your child or children. The court will look at issues such as issues of negligence or abuse, the standard of living that the child is accustomed to, and the child or children’s financial and emotional needs.

  • I have custody of my children, can I also receive child support?

    Regardless if you have joint or sole legal and physical custody of your child or children, the court will always work in the best interests of your children when determining child support payments. Healthcare needs, education, and everyday necessities will all be taken into account, as well as the financial stability of both parents.

    In addition, New York has adopted statutory requirements based on the parent’s combined income. For couples who make up to $141,000 annually, these requirements are as follows:

    • 17% of the supporting parent’s income for one child
    • 25% of the income for two children
    • 29% for three children
    • 31% for four children
    • No less than 35% of the total income for five or more children
  • Can I receive spousal maintenance?

    Maintenance payments, also known as spousal support or alimony, is determined based on a number of factors. The court will look at the earning capacity of both spouses and award temporary payments to be made to the one who receives a lower income during the divorce process. More permanent arrangements will be determined based on the length of the marriage, the education and job training of both spouses, the parent who has physical custody of the children, and the ability for both spouses to earn a livable wage in the future.

  • How long does it take to get a divorce?

    It is common for the entire divorce process to take about a year to resolve. However, the total length depends on a variety of factors. The process will be shortest for uncontested divorces, as long as both parties file the necessary paperwork quickly. If the divorce is contested, however, and there are disagreements to resolve, the process can take much longer.

    For an uncontested divorce, there is just a 40-day waiting period for the hearing, and in some cases, you may not need to go to court at all. Uncontested divorces commonly take only a month or two to finalize. However, in a contested divorce, the filing spouse has up to 120 days to serve the divorce paperwork and the other spouse has 20 days to respond. Depending on the situation, the court may also initiate a "discovery process" to investigate the couple's circumstances. This could take as long as six months.

  • Is NY a Community Property or Equitable Distribution State?

    New York is an equitable distribution state. This means that during the divorce process, assets and property will be divided according to what is deemed "fair." In contrast, community property states divide all shared property equally between the two spouses.

    In New York, the court may not divide marital property evenly. Instead, it will take a variety of factors into consideration, such as the amount of labor each spouse contributed toward acquiring an asset or property, whether one spouse is paying alimony, financial concerns related to child custody, the duration of the marriage, whether each spouse was financially reckless during the marriage, and many other considerations.

Contact the Law Offices of Audrey J. Lutz Parma PC Today

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Read answers to some frequently asked questions above and call (914) 265-1233 to schedule a free initial consultation for personalized representation. Our Peekskill divorce attorney has more than 20 years of legal experience helping those with family legal matters.