Nassau County Attorneys Answer Divorce FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About NY Divorce

Because the laws surrounding divorce in New York are complicated, it is important that you consult with an experienced Long Island family law attorney for guidance. Please don't hesitate to call the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC at (516) 227-5353 if you have any questions regarding your divorce. Our dedicated legal team is ready to give you the answers you seek and the high quality representation you deserve.

Q: What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

A: Since New York became the last state to finally enact a No-Fault divorce ground in October 2010, a couple can get a no-fault divorce as long as one of the spouses states, under oath, that the marriage has broken down irretrievably for at least six months. Or after one year of living separately, couples may file for conversion of a separation agreement/judgment to divorce. In addition, they must also resolve all of their divorce issues, including distribution of marital assets and child support, before their divorce is granted and finalized by the court.

That being said, fault-based divorces may still be pursued in New York, based on any of the following grounds:

  • Conversion of a separation agreement/judgment after one year
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment (physical or mental abuse)
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Incarceration for at least three consecutive years after the marriage
  • Adultery

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Q: Can I get an annulment?

A: In New York, you may get an annulment based on any of the following grounds:

  • One of the spouses still has a prior marriage in force;
  • One or both parties was not of adult age at the time of the marriage;
  • One of the spouses has a mental disability or illness;
  • One of the spouses was physically incapable of entering into the marriage; or
  • One of the spouses was forced to consent to the marriage under threat of violence, duress, or fraudulent circumstances.

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Q: Can my spouse block the divorce?

A: If your divorce is fault-based, then your spouse may contest your claims in an effort to prevent the divorce. This is why it is often best to file a no-fault divorce, especially if you know your spouse is not a willing party. You will still have to resolve your divorce issues, and that can take time; however, even if you and your spouse can't reach a resolution on these issues, the court will eventually intervene and schedule a trial to make its own determination.

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Q: My divorce has been finalized, yet my ex-spouse is not adhering to the terms. What can I do?

A: If your spouse is ignoring any terms of your divorce decree, you may file a motion to enforce the judgment; however, it is highly recommended that you do not attempt this on your own. NY protects spouses in their matrimonial agreements and statutory or even contractual counsel fees may be awarded so the cost to enforce is defrayed by a counsel fees award. However, there are specific notice provisions that trigger the entitlement to counsel fees, so legal assistance early on in the case is well advised.

Consult with a reliable legal professional, and you may not even need to take matters to court. A well written attorney letter has a lot of power and can help settle the matter before litigation becomes necessary. But if a trip to the court is unavoidable, it still helps to have an attorney by your side to represent your interests and increase the likelihood of success.

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Q: What happens if one of the spouses is in the military and out of state?

A: Members of the military who are stationed out of the state or country receive certain protections pertaining to divorce, including a stay on the proceedings while s/he is in service. There are also protections of the service man or woman's rights and defenses if a stay is not granted and orders or judgments are entered. To receive a comprehensive rundown of these rights and defenses, consult with an attorney who has experience handling such affairs.

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Q: Do I have to take the divorce to a New York court?

A: It depends on whether you and your spouse are willing to work with one another to resolve all of your issues. Litigation may be unavoidable if there is bitterness between the spouses. However, if compromise is possible, then you should look towards more cost-effective alternatives, such as mediation.

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Q: How much is a divorce going to cost me?

A: The cost of a divorce can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars. Since each divorce presents its own unique circumstances, it is hard to predict how much it will cost. The question to ask is not "Can I afford a divorce?" but rather "How can I avoid a bad, costly divorce?" An experienced Nassau County divorce attorney can protect your best interests and help resolve your divorce in an efficient and cost-effective fashion.

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If you would like to learn more about your rights and legal options in a free, no obligation consultation, call (516) 227-5353 or submit an online contact form and we'll get back to you shortly.

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U.S. District Court for
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the Southern District
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