Not all divorces are bitter battles. A married couple can simply reach a point where they no longer want to remain spouses. They have no ill will toward each other; they’ve just grown apart or realized they don’t share the same values.
An uncontested divorce in New York is less stressful, time-consuming, and expensive than anger-filled contested divorces. Amicable divorces still need to adequately and fairly decide issues that can have long-range impacts. Even the friendliest of spouses should hire attorneys.
Skilled legal counsel keeps the divorce on track procedurally. An attorney also recognizes future concerns that should be addressed and decisions that can have unintended consequences.
Here are five reasons you should hire a lawyer for your uncontested divorce.
No. 1: Explaining Your Rights in a Divorce
Every state has laws governing the dissolution of a marriage. Your attorney can explain all the laws overseeing divorce in general as well as specific codes that impact your situation. There are also federal guidelines, particularly when it comes to benefits like Social Security. Federal laws also provide safeguards, rights, and benefits that specifically apply to a military divorce.
Your attorney will expound on your rights to child custody, child support, spousal support/maintenance, and property. Only when you understand all your rights and responsibilities can you have a truly fair divorce agreement.
No. 2: Categorizing Marital and Separate Property
New York is an equitable distribution state. Marital property is distributed in a manner that is fair and equitable but not necessarily 50/50. Separate property is not subject to distribution.
The first hurdle that must be overcome is identifying what should be considered marital. Hiding or forgetting assets is easy to do. Separate property can also be transmuted. For example, your spouse might have owned a rental home before your marriage. If you helped pay for its maintenance or handled the landscaping, the house is now arguably marital and no longer separate.
There are limitless scenarios that create confusion. The longer the marriage, the more challenging it is to classify property. Debt division can be equally convoluted.
No. 3: Determining How Decisions About the Children Will Be Made
Your parenting plan must outline how you and your former spouse will handle child custody. Legal custody refers to who has the authority to make decisions for the child. Physical custody determines where the child lives. Custody arrangements include both parents having joint legal custody, but only one has physical custody (the other parent has visitation). One parent can have legal while physical custody is equally shared.
Your attorney will ensure you understand the nuances in custody. Decisions about health care, education, and religious upbringing can only be made by a parent with legal custody. Parents with joint legal custody need legal guidance to create a framework that will be used in the future when the parents disagree about what is best for the child.
No. 4: Drafting Creative Solutions to Unique Issues
Online DIY divorce forms typically treat divorce like a one-size-fits-all. Marriages are not the same. Every relationship is unique on financial, logistical, personal, and emotional levels. Likewise, divorce is individual to the two people who are parting ways.
By understanding what is truly important to you, a lawyer can develop outside-the-box solutions that work for your family. Uncontested divorces are not argued in court, but a judge must still sign off on the agreement. Your attorney can frame the agreement so that the judge give approval and grant the divorce.
No. 5: Dotting All the I’s and Crossing All the T’s
Before filing for divorce, you must first meet New York residency requirements. Even in no-fault uncontested divorces, one spouse must start the legal action. That spouse is called the plaintiff while the other spouse is called the defendant. When the defendant agrees to the divorce, they will need to sign the Affidavit of Defendant within 40 days of being served.
Important documents and dates must be adhered to or risk the case being dismissed, triggering the entire process to be restarted. When you have an attorney spearheading the divorce filing you can be assured that you won’t miss a deadline or inadvertently not complete a form.
Legal Guidance for Amicable, No-Fault Divorce
Put your New York divorce in the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney at Samuelson Hause PLLC. We will safeguard your best interests. Even in best-case scenarios, there can be minor disagreements that can be bridged by our help. Collaborative divorce or divorce mediation might also be appropriate for your case. We have the resources no matter which direction your divorce takes.
Learn more about no-fault divorce options by consulting with one of our lawyers. Call (516) 584-4685 or send us a message through our online form.