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Frequently Asked Questions

Advice from a Knowledgeable Staten Island Divorce Lawyer

I have more than 16 years of experience handling family law and divorce cases throughout Staten Island. This gives my firm a unique perspective in even the most complicated cases, such as couples with high net worth or multiple assets. In addition, my Staten Island divorce law firm is dedicated to keeping abreast of the laws so I can find solutions that are not only binding, but always keep your best interests in mind.

I offer free initial divorce consultations for all divorce cases. Read answers to frequently asked family law questions below, or call Keith M. Casella, PC at (718) 557-9137.

Are there requirements to file for divorce in New York?

Before you can get divorced in New York, you and your spouse need to fulfill certain residency requirements. These include being a resident of the state of New York for at least a year and residing in the state as a married couple. Recent New York legislation has made it so the state is now considered a “no fault state,” meaning you do not have to prove this ground in order to get divorced.

Am I eligible for spousal maintenance?

While each case is unique, spousal maintenance may be awarded to a spouse if they were financially dependent on the other spouse during the marriage or “less monied”. The court will also look at how long you were married, if there are minor children, the earning capacity, education, and training of each spouse, the ability to earn a living wage in the future, and other financial obligations.

Who will get custody of our children?

In child custody matters, it is always best to come to an informed decision based on the best interests of your child or children. Legal custody, or the ability to make decisions regarding healthcare, schooling, or other issues, is separate from physical custody. However, it still is determined based on the best interests of your children and a judge will look at relevant parenting factors before making any lasting decisions.

What is child support?

Child support is meant to help custodial parents financially support their children after a divorce. The amount you may be entitled to depends on a number of factors, including the healthcare, schooling, and the everyday or special needs of your child or children. Your income and financial resources and the standard of living that your children are accustomed to will also be taken into account.

New York also has statutory requirements based on a combined parental income of up to $143,000. For one child, this is 17% of the supporting parent’s total income, 25% for two children 29% for three children, 31% for four children, and no less than 35% of the total income for five or more children.

What is uncontested vs contested divorce?

In cases when couples decide to that they want to divorce and can agree on all issues, such as division of property, spousal maintenance, child support, and visitation, then the matter can be placed on the court's uncontested calendar. This means that everything is handled outside of court and the parties simply reduce their agreement to writing and wait for the judgment of divorce. In other cases where the parties do not have assets to divide, there are no children, and both spouses are employed, these cases can also proceed on an uncontested basis.

When the parties cannot agree on one or more issues, then the divorce must go before a judge. These contested matters require the parties to appear at all court proceedings and typically take a long time to resolve. Although 99% of contested divorces settle before trial, occasionally one or more issues must be tried and the judge renders a decision culminating with the judgment of divorce.

What happens to our property and assets?

Property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. During divorce proceedings marital property is evaluated and equitably distributed to each spouse. Property includes personal property as well as real property. Assets are considered to be retirement plans, bank accounts, securities, and trading accounts, to name a few. If one party does not agree that certain property is marital or the amount to be awarded is equitable, then that party has the right to have a trial. There are many nuances to ascertaining and dividing marital property and you should speak with a knowledgeable Staten Island divorce attorney.

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  4. Personal: I don’t believe in blanket solutions; rather, I focus on your individual needs
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