Kingston Divorce Lawyer
The Kingston divorce lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP provide compassionate yet strong and effective representation in New York divorce matters in Kingston, Marlboro and throughout Ulster County and the Hudson Valley. Our lawyers provide advice and assistance in both uncontested and contested divorces, including all fault and no-fault grounds.
Basic New York Divorce Requirements
In order to file for divorce in New York, at least one spouse must meet the applicable residency requirements, which is generally having at least one year of residency in New York state. The applicable ground for the divorce must also be established. Fault-based grounds recognized in New York include abandonment, adultery, confinement in prison for three or more consecutive years, cruel and inhuman treatment, or living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement or separation judgment or decree. New York also recognizes no-fault divorce, based on an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship that has lasted for at least six months.
Divorce actions are filed in the Supreme Court, which is New York’s trial-level court. Family Court can help with related issues such as child custody, visitation, and payment of child support or spousal support, pre or post divorce action, but the divorce action itself should be filed in the Supreme Court of the county of residency of one of the parties.
To commence a divorce action, one should prepare a Summons and Complaint or Summons with Notice and file these papers in the County Clerk’s office at the same time as applying for an index number. Arrangements to have these papers served on your spouse then have to be made. Your attorney will handle all of these matters on your behalf, so you can be assured they will completed timely and accurately.
If you are filing for a divorce on a fault ground, there will be two separate hearings, one to prove the grounds for divorce, and another to determine the equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. In a no-fault divorce, the property division and all contested matters are decided together in one hearing.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce in New York
An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree to the divorce (or one spouse fails to respond or appear in court) and there are no disagreements over any financial or other divorce-related issues, such as the property division, child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support. It is possible to file an uncontested divorce without the help of an attorney, but you would likely miss out on your share of the marital property, wind up with liability for debts that are not yours, or make other mistakes regarding child custody or spousal maintenance. There are nearly 40 forms that may be required in completing an uncontested divorce. You may go to all the trouble of figuring out how to complete an uncontested divorce on your own, only to find out that your spouse decides to contest the matter. We can help you through an uncontested divorce expertly and efficiently at a reasonable cost, and if the matter becomes contested, we will be well-prepared to advise and represent you through the process of a contested divorce.
A divorce is considered contested whenever one of the spouses does not want a divorce, there is disagreement over the grounds for divorce, or the spouses do not agree on the property division or other divorce-related matters, such as the payment of spousal support or the arrangement for sharing custody and parenting of the children. Contested matters are decided by a judge following a hearing in court, and you definitely want to be represented by a qualified, experienced New York divorce lawyer throughout this process to protect your rights and help ensure a satisfactory outcome in the best interests of you and your children.
Changing Attorneys During Divorce in New York
Selecting a divorce attorney can be a difficult process due to the personal and intimate nature of divorce itself. While some attorneys take a cutthroat, winner-take-all approach, others are more likely to take a low-conflict, collaboration-focused approach. When interviewing attorneys, it isn’t always easy to tell whether you and your attorney will want to take a similar approach to your case before you begin to work with them. You might feel frustrated with the direction your case has taken, and regret your choice of attorney.
Divorce lawyers may fail to take action or keep you informed on your case
Alternately, you may feel that your lawyer has neglected their ethical and legal duties to you as their client. You may experience a great deal of difficulty getting your New York divorce lawyer to return your calls or emails. Perhaps your lawyer has missed important filing deadlines or made significant decisions in your case without first consulting you. You may even have trouble obtaining itemized billing statements that make clear the reasons for their charges.
Not all attorney/client relationships are built to last
Sometimes, these differences can be resolved with a frank conversation with your attorney, making clear how you want your case to be handled and insisting on regular updates on the status of your case. In other cases, the differences in approach or breaches in trust may be too great for you to continue working with that attorney, and it’s time to move on.
Changing attorneys mid-way through your divorce isn’t a decision to be made lightly. It might, however, be the best available choice and can result in an improved outcome for your case. At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, our experienced family law practitioners are able to provide an honest and straightforward assessment of your attorney’s handling of your case. Divorce cases are often slower-moving than couples would prefer. The lack of progress on a case may not be due to an attorney’s neglect or ineffectiveness, but rather to the slow-moving judicial system. We can help you assess whether your attorney has made the best of a bad situation, or if it’s time to investigate other options for representation in your divorce.
Experienced and Dedicated Kingston Divorce Lawyers
If you are considering filing for divorce in Ulster County, or if you have been served with divorce papers from your spouse, call Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP at our offices in Kingston (845-331-4100) or Marlboro (845-236-4411) for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced and dedicated Kingston divorce lawyers.