In some divorce cases, the two spouses are able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on child support, division of assets, and all additional issues that must be resolved as part of a divorce settlement. There are a variety of benefits to an uncontested divorce, as this process is called. For one thing, it gives the spouses an opportunity to work out an agreement on their own terms, rather than involving a court to help settle their case or make a decision after a trial.
But what happens if the spouses cannot agree on what constitutes a fair divorce settlement? That’s when New York Supreme Court court gets involved. A contested divorce is often the best option when it comes to protecting your rights and obtaining the terms and conditions you deserve. If you’re undergoing a contested divorce in Suffolk County or Nassau County, you should contact one of the dedicated divorce law attorneys at the Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco, P.C.
What Is Contested in a Contested Divorce?
It’s not uncommon for divorcing spouses to make a sincere attempt to craft a fair settlement agreement, only to find themselves incapable of coming to terms on one or more important issues. These issues may involve one or a combination of the following:
Child Custody – Who will be responsible for the children? It’s not as simple as it sounds. Child custody involves two distinct aspects: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves the right to make decisions about the manner in which the children will be raised, such as whether they will attend a public or private school. Physical custody has to do with the household where the children will live. Often, these decisions are difficult for the parents and the children alike. Sometimes one spouse will assume full legal and physical custody, but in many cases these responsibilities will be divided in some fashion. Joint custody, where both parents share the decision-making process.
Child Support – In general, a non-custodial parent must provide payments to the custodial parent to ensure an adequate level of financial support for the children. Settling on a mutually acceptable amount of financial support can be difficult.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) – In New York, the purpose of spousal support is to aid a spouse in attaining financial independence following divorce. As such, spousal maintenance in New York is usually “durational”—that is, paid out for only a limited period of time to the spouse with the lesser resources. It is calculated according to a wide array of factors. The state also recognizes “pendente lite” maintenance, which is provided to a needy spouse for the duration of the divorce proceeding.
Division of Assets – Who gets the house? The car? The stocks? This is another point of contention for many divorcing couples. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement on dividing up marital assets, the courts have to do it for them.
Prenuptial Agreements – Many divorcing spouses decide to contest the terms of their prenup. Not infrequently they succeed, as these agreements can be ruled unenforceable on any one of a number of grounds, such as coercion.
Fault – New York has been a no-fault divorce state since 2010, but it is still permissible for a spouse to ask the courts to rule the other party at fault for the deterioration of the marriage.
Contact the Contested Divorce Lawyers in Nassau & Suffolk County
Just as some couples end up with a contested divorce despite their best intentions to resolve their differences amicably, others begin the process eager for a courtroom fight only to decide later on to settle matters between themselves. Every case is different. Contact the Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco today to speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Suffolk County. We fight aggressively for our clients to protect their rights and help them earn a reasonable settlement.