If you're preparing for a divorce, it's likely that you're facing a number of stressful uncertainties. However, it's also common to enter this process with a number of assumptions about this legal process, and what your life will be like after your divorce is completed. Below, we take a look at some of the most common misconceptions we hear from our clients about divorce in New York.
"I'm the man, so I will pay alimony forever"
New York has radically changed the way it deals with alimony (or spousal maintenance) so many of the older assumptions about paying your spouse no longer apply. First of all, men aren't the only ones ordered to pay spousal maintenance anymore—maintenance is instead assessed on a case-by-case basis and awarded to the lesser-earning spouse to help them acclimate to life post-marriage. Secondly, spousal maintenance doesn't necessarily last forever anymore, but may be ordered for a limited amount of time that is determined by several different factors (primarily the length of the marriage).
"Mothers always get full custody of children"
Nowadays, the court wants parenting to be a collaborative process between both spouses after a divorce. That is why joint custody has become much more common, as is the opportunity for parents to develop their own parenting plans. While it's still common for one parent to have custodial custody (meaning the children will primarily live with them), the state of New York wants to see both parents play crucial roles in the lives of their children.
"Everything will be split 50/50"
Before entering the property division phase of your divorce, it's important to realize that "equitable" division does not mean an equal division of all a couple's assets. The court will take many factors into consideration when dividing property to ensure that the division is fair, which may not necessarily be equal. A judge will look at the length of the parties' marriage, the parties' financial and non-economic contributions to the marriage, the spouses' respective incomes, and many other factors when deciding how marital property will be distributed. In addition, when it comes to distributing a spouse's interest in a business, it is rare these days for the courts to award more than 40% to the non-contributing spouse.
"Most divorces are the same and my attorney doesn't matter"
Some clients assume that divorce has become so common, that the legal procedure of dissolving a marriage is routine, simple, and relatively quick. This couldn't be further from the truth. While great strides have been made in efficiency and fairness, divorce is still a complex process that can come with many pitfalls for all those involved. Knowledgeable and experienced counsel is highly advised, even for amicable divorces in which there is little to no conflict between the two spouses. Your choice of a divorce attorney is critical when it comes to developing the strategy of your case and drafting an iron-clad settlement agreement to prevent future litigation.
Are you facing a divorce? If so, your choice in counsel has a direct effect on the outcome of your case. At Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, LLP, our firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Tier 1 Family Law Firm. We know what it will take to navigate your case to the most favorable outcome possible and are ready to advocate on your behalf both in the courtroom as well as during negotiations of a settlement.
Get more than 100 years of combined legal experience on your side. Call our firm today.