Staten Island Contested Divorce Lawyers
The difficulty of getting a divorce can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Some divorces may be relatively straightforward, and the parties may be able to come to an agreement on all issues related to the divorce, such as property division and child custody. In these cases, the divorce process may be relatively simple and quick.
Other divorces may be more complex, particularly if the parties are unable to agree on one or more issues related to the divorce, or if there are significant assets or debts to be divided. In these cases, the divorce process may be more time-consuming and costly, as the parties may need to go through the litigation process in order to resolve their differences.
If you and your partner do not see eye to eye, you might need to fight to receive what’s fair. At the Law Offices of Erin K. Colgan, our attorneys are here to protect your rights and your family. A contested divorce can be emotionally draining. It may leave you feeling fragile and vulnerable. With our team on your side, you will never have to face these challenges alone. You will always have the support and compassion our experienced attorneys on your side.
To discuss your situation with a knowledgeable Staten Island divorce attorney, call or reach out to us online to set up a confidential consultation.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
There are two forms of divorce, contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when partners can agree on all aspects of their separation, including the division of assets and property, child custody arrangements, and alimony. With the help of their respective attorneys, couples who can agree on the terms of their divorce may see their case resolved in weeks.
A contested divorce doesn’t necessarily mean a bitter divorce. However, it does mean that a couple cannot agree on the terms of their separation, and they need a Staten Island court to intervene. A contested divorce can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common disputes generally include:
- One spouse does not want to separate
- Partners disagree on the division of property and assets
- Partners disagree on child custody or child supports
- Partners disagree on alimony payments
To resolve a difference of opinion, a judge must review both sides of the situation and examine all evidence presented in court before making a final determination. A contested divorce tends to be much more complicated and time-consuming. Resolving a contested divorce may take months or even years, depending on the complexity of the case.
Dividing Assets in a Contested Divorce
A common disagreement between divorcing spouses is the division of assets. When couples cannot agree on how marital assets should be split, a Staten Island judge decides for them in court. New York is an equitable distribution state. Under an equitable distribution model, property and assets are divided equitably. Equitable means fair, it does not mean an equal 50/50 split down the middle. A judge examines several aspects of the marriage and uses these factors to help them determine what amounts to an equitable distribution of assets between partners. Factors a judge will typically consider include:
- The length of the marriage
- The current and future financial needs of each spouse
- The income and income potential of each spouse
- Financial contributions of each spouse to the marital property
- The household contributions of each spouse
- Age, health, and medical needs of each spouse
- Which spouse has primary custody of minor children
Marital conduct may also come into play during a trial. For example, if a partner committed adultery during the marriage and spent a large portion of the marital assets on the other person, a judge may opt to award a more substantial portion of the remaining marital assets to the other spouse.
Child Custody Arrangements in a Contested Divorce
Another common source of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody and child support arrangements. New York courts want to provide a child with a safe and stable home environment while fostering good relationships between the child and their parents.
To establish a child custody arrangement, a judge considers what is in the best interests of the child. Determining what is best for a child can be complicated, and most judges will evaluate the following when making custody decisions:
- The financial stability of each parent
- The child’s emotional bond with each parent
- The child’s age and mental and physical health
- Each parent’s ability to provide the child with basic needs
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The living situation of each parent
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a good relationship between the child and the other parent
- Each parent’s history of physical or emotional abuse or domestic violence
A judge can also consider other factors that impact the child’s overall quality of life and happiness.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a judge can award one or both parents sole or joint physical and legal custody of a child. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make crucial decisions on a child’s behalf.
Potential alimony payments may also be a source of contention between partners. Alimony is separate from child support. Child support is money for the health and well-being of growing children. New York has a child support calculator to help parents estimate what they may pay in financial aid post-divorce. Alimony is a separate payment from one spouse to another to help the less financially stable spouse maintain their needs and quality of life.
How do you know if you qualify for alimony? A judge typically considers the following factors:
- Length of the marriage
- Financial stability of each partner
- Whether a spouse gave up career or education opportunities to raise a family
- The current and future earning capacities of each spouse
- Cost and availability of medical insurance or health benefits
- Tax consequences to each spouse
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Marital conduct
In New York, alimony payments can be durational or nondurational. Some alimony payments can end after a certain period or continue indefinitely.
Let an Experienced Divorce Attorney Fight for You
A contested divorce can be complex and time-consuming. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. If you and your partner cannot agree on the crucial elements of your divorce, contact the experienced Staten Island divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Erin K. Colgan for the compassionate and aggressive representation you deserve.
Schedule confidential consultation with our Staten Island office today, and we’ll be ready to discuss the specifics of your situation and how we can help.