Frequently Asked Divorce Questions

Get Answers from Our New York City Divorce Attorney

Q: What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?
Q: What is a mediated divorce?
Q: How much will getting a divorce cost me?
Q: What are the grounds for divorce in New York?
Q: How does the court determine child custody?

What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?

If you and your former spouse are able to work out the issues of the divorce settlement, such as child custody and spousal maintenance, without courtroom intervention, you will have an uncontested divorce. When the judge has to make rulings because the parties can't resolve issues between them, it is a contested divorce. The courts prefer uncontested divorces, and the cost of uncontested divorce is in most cases far less.

What is a mediated divorce?

A couple that has chosen to end their marriage but is still capable of constructive communication and cooperation can use mediation to carry out their divorce. A trained mediator can act as a neutral third party to facilitate discussion, representing neither the husband nor the wife. The mediator will also act to ensure that every relevant question is fully addressed before bringing the petition for divorce to the court for approval.

How much will getting a divorce cost me?

The cost of a divorce will be in proportion to the amount of work required. This is one of the reasons you should only choose a New York City divorce attorney who can effectively tackle every aspect of your case. Unskilled legal representation can lead to the process bogging down or dragging on far longer than needed, costing you much more than necessary. We encourage couples to get a collaborative divorce wherever possible for this reason.

What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

Until 2010, our state had strict requirements for getting a divorce. You had to prove that you were the victim of cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment for at least a year or adultery. You could complain that your spouse had been imprisoned for 3 years after your marriage, or you had to get a legal separation prior to divorce. Now, you can get a divorce on the grounds that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least 6 months, which is essentially a no-fault divorce. Learn more about the grounds for divorce in New York here.

How does the court determine child custody?

The senior guiding principle the court will use is, "What is in the best interests of the children?" Whether your child custody is decided by the judge or if you are seeking approval of a parenting plan you and your former spouse have agreed upon, it is necessary to prove that the arrangement will foster the emotional and physical well-being and happiness of the children. The same is true for child support, visitation and grandparents rights. Read more about child custody determinations here.