Divorce And Family FAQ

We Answer Your Questions About New York Family Law

If you are considering divorce (or if your spouse has filed papers), you probably have lots of questions and concerns. You may not know where to even start.

The Law Office of Melanie M. Marmer, in Brooklyn, handles divorces, child custody disputes and related family law matters in New York City and Nassau County. We invite you to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation and how our experience can help.

How can a lawyer help me in family court?

Your family law attorney can support you in multiple ways, including:

  • Giving you clear information so that you can make the best decisions possible for yourself and your family
  • Preventing delays and errors in the legal process
  • Advocating for fair property, custody and parenting time outcomes
  • Maximizing the value of your money during the process to avoid problems in the future
  • Identifying opportunities and pitfalls that might not be apparent
  • Facilitating the division of highly complex assets in divorce, such as a business or investments

The role of your lawyer is to reduce your stress while helping you reach a positive outcome. Although a lawyer cannot guarantee specific results for your case, they can use their knowledge and experience to make the most of the options available to you.

What should I expect during my divorce?

Divorce is highly personal, and your divorce will be as unique as your relationship. As Ms. Marmer takes you through the divorce process, she can help you determine your priorities for your property and for your children. She will help you get the best possible outcome. Get a personalized assessment at our office.

How long does it take to get divorced in New York?

The timeline depends on many factors, some of which you can’t control such as how crowded the court docket is in your jurisdiction. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in two or three months if you agree on all the details. A contested divorce commonly takes nine months to a year. Divorces involving child custody or complex assets tend to take longer because of discovery, investigations and additional hearings. Mediation can shorten the divorce process considerably. Communication and prompt response to requests for information can also expedite your divorce.

What is ‘no-fault divorce’?

Not so long ago, you had to prove that a spouse had wronged you to sue for divorce. New York adopted no-fault divorce in 2010. Either spouse can file for divorce on the basis of “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” You don’t have to prove cruelty or infidelity or other wrongdoing, and neither spouse can prevent a divorce if the other wants out. Although you don’t have to assert fault grounds, misconduct can come into play. If one spouse spent marital assets on an affair, the other spouse could seek compensation in the division of assets. A history of domestic abuse in the home can be a factor in deciding custody and visitation.

Should we try mediation? Does it work?

The New York family courts encourage (but do not require) mediation. There are many benefits to mediation, such as a reduction in the cost, length and acrimony compared to divorce and custody litigation. People are generally more satisfied with a mediated divorce because they have direct input in the solutions. Mediation will not work if one or both of the parties are dishonest, abusive or uncooperative. Melanie Marmer is a certified family law mediator who draws on 30 years of experience to guide couples to sensible resolutions.

How are child custody and visitation determined?

The court’s overriding concern in the determination of custody is the best interests of the child. The judge may order a custody evaluation or may simply hear arguments from both sides. Multiple factors are considered, such as who has been the primary caregiver, which parent can provide the most stable environment, the parents’ work schedules and whether there has been any domestic violence or child neglect. The court may consider an older child’s preference, but their wishes are not binding.

Will I get/pay alimony in my divorce?

Spousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, is not awarded in every divorce. It is intended to balance out the standard of living when one spouse is economically disadvantaged. The court considers multiple factors, including age and health of each spouse, income and earning capacity, length of the marriage, and whether one spouse made sacrifices to support the other’s career or business. The amount and duration of spousal support can vary. It may be awarded for a short term to allow an ex-spouse to go back to school or reestablish a career. In long-term marriages, “permanent” alimony may apply if the spouse is not able to become self-supporting. Although the court has the ultimate say, Ms. Marmer can gauge whether alimony is likely in your case and strategize accordingly.

Arrange A Time To Address All Your Questions

We believe in giving our clients the information they need to make good decisions and know where they stand. Melanie Marmer can sit down with you to discuss all aspects of your divorce or family law matter. Call today at 347-943-8521 or email us to arrange a consultation.