Divorce is the last thing couples would expect to be the definitive chapter in their love story. It can be long, challenging, and leave deep emotional scars. Divorce shatters dreams, ambitions, and life plans. Both parties struggle with making decisions that protect their best interests, while also considering the children (if any). It is best to take a well-structured approach when handling a divorce.
This is why Douglas Family Law Group is here for you. Our White Plains, NY divorce lawyers are experienced, dependable, and understand there is a lot at stake. We listen to you during the initial consultation and address any concerns about the process. Your lawyer will develop a custom-tailored legal strategy that improves the odds of success.
Call our law offices in White Plains, NY, at to speak to our seasoned divorce attorney and learn more about how we can help.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New York?
Under New York State laws, the legally acceptable grounds or reasons for divorce include inhuman treatment, domestic violence, the relationship being irretrievably broken for 6 months, adultery, imprisonment for three or more years, abandonment, and separation via a court judgment or signed agreement between the couple. These criteria provide a comprehensive framework for couples to seek dissolution of their marriage while ensuring that the process aligns with the state’s legal standards for family law. It’s important to consult with a qualified attorney to understand the nuances of family law issues each ground and how they apply to your specific situation, as divorce laws may evolve over time.
What Is Equitable Distribution, How Does It Work?
New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court strives to do what is fair for both parties when dividing property during a divorce. The court decides what is fair on a case-by-case basis and will consider a number of factors, including each spouse’s needs.
Marital property is divided during a divorce, while separate property is not. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, assets acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage are considered marital property. Assets owned by one party before getting marriage are separate property.
What Does Contested Divorce Mean?
A contested divorce is one of divorce cases where both parties can’t agree on some divorce-related issues like child custody and the financial support amount, property division, debts, and maintenance or spousal support. Therefore, the matter ends up in court. We often advise couples to consider the cost and time involved in a contested divorce.
Divorce can be tough and complicated if both parties cannot agree on different issues. But our divorce attorneys at Douglas Family Law Group are here to make the legal separation process less complicated. We can help with property division and other issues.
We advise clients that an uncontested divorce is cheaper and less complicated. However, if you can’t reach a fair agreement with your spouse, we have the experience to represent you and protect your best interests even in a contested divorce.
Call to know more about our firm and how we can help you with your divorce proceedings.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to all issues related to the divorce, including child support, property division, and spousal maintenance. The divorce process will not be subject to a court decision since the couple agrees on the divorce and terms of separation, which means they save time and money.
It’s still important to have an attorney help you with uncontested divorce proceedings. You also must take time to understand the different legal requirements involved, including financial disclosure forms that each party is expected to fill out.
What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?
Typically, attorneys for both parties will sign a written agreement, contractually stating they resolved all issues that might lead to disputes between them and other lawyers regarding the divorce. Both parties must prepare the required paperwork.
Our reputable White Plains, NY divorce lawyers can help you draft a contractual agreement with your ex. Your experienced divorce attorney will take you through the necessary steps involved and ensure you understand the impact of what you are agreeing to before signing the document and confirming you agree to the terms.
What Are the Differences Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
When one party files for divorce, they file a petition for legal dissolution with the family law court in New York, and their partner receives the complaint for divorce, listing what the petitioner believes opens grounds for seeking a legal separation.
The process is considered uncontested if both parties lay out their terms and neither objects to the stipulated issues. Conversely, the divorce will be considered contested with the spouses disagree on one or more divorce-related issues.
We guarantee to provide the best legal counsel and representation whether your divorce is a contested or uncontested divorce or becomes contested because your partner disagrees with one or more of the things you stipulated.
What Is Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance?
is paid by one party to financially support his/her ex when a couple is divorced. In an uncontested divorce, the terms for maintenance are up to the divorcing couple. Maintenance is decided in the New York Supreme Court during a contested divorce case.
Spousal support is legal assistance awarded by the court to one spouse while the marriage is still in place. The couple may be separating and planning to divorce.
How Is Maintenance Determined?
In an uncontested divorce, the terms for maintenance are up to the divorcing couple. Maintenance is decided in the New York Supreme Court during a contested divorce case.
New York law requires courts to use a formula to calculate a suggested amount of maintenance. But judges can award a different amount than the guidelines if they feel that is more fair.
When deciding what amount of spousal maintenance is fair, the court will look at both spouses’ financial resources, their ability to meet needs independently, payments for child support, and more.
You can rely on our reputable White Plains divorce attorneys to protect your financial interests in any divorce case.
When Can I Stop Paying Maintenance?
In most cases, maintenance is durational (temporary) instead of permanent. Judges have the discretion to decide how long you should pay maintenance and don’t need to follow the formula in New York Domestic Relations Law § 236B(6)(f).
The judge will usually take into consideration how long you were married, your ex’s needs, your financial situation, and how capable your ex is of supporting herself/himself.
You can stop paying maintenance if your ex remarries or dies. You can also file a motion for termination if there are changes in circumstances, such as your ex cohabitating with a new partner.
Medical emergencies, job loss, or other life events that make it impossible to honor the payments can also be considered when trying to stop paying maintenance. It is best to note that default on maintenance or spousal support can see you face criminal charges or a prison sentence.
What Does a High Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer Do?
Dealing with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth divorces can be challenging because such separations are rarely straightforward. They often involve company valuations, asset acquisition, jurisdiction and even child custody attorneys, custody disputes, and other aspects with a significant financial impact associated with one spouse’s worth exceeding a million dollars.
You need a divorce lawyer with experience in handling high and ultra-high-net-worth clients in divorce cases to help reach a fair resolution.
How Do I Know I Need a High Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer?
It is best to consider hiring an attorney specializing in high-net-worth divorces if you and/or your spouse have significant assets. Our clients often come to us with questions like:
- What happens to my business and investments?
- Will I be financially okay after the divorce?
- Is my spouse hiding money?
- How does the division of property work for real estate, stocks, etc?
Your White Plains divorce lawyer will provide a roadmap to help you know what you could be entitled to in the divorce to eliminate any concerns regarding your children’ financial future.
How Can Douglas Family Law Group Help Me With My High Net-Worth Divorce?
If you are financially successful and facing a divorce, it’s natural to be concerned about protecting your money and assets.
We fight aggressively to ensure that your rights and interests are upheld in court hearings while also striving to advocate for fairness in the proceedings. Some of the key areas we focus on to ensure you get what you deserve include:
- Correctly identify assets to ensure that you know what you can have or keep.
- Properly value assets to help you understand the financial implication of what you are entitled to and their significance in shaping your life after the divorce.
- Help to avoid emotionally charged decisions by providing professional financial guidance as you evaluate what to keep or let go as you part ways with your partner.
You worked hard to achieve the assets shared in your marriage, and a divorce from your spouse should not take away all your efforts and gains. Do not let the mistake of working with the wrong attorney or family law firm who has no experience in high net-worth divorces lead to such outcomes.
Call us today at to find a seasoned lawyer who will fight aggressively for your rights and interests in a high or ultra-high-net-worth divorce.
What Is a Business Valuation Lawyer and What Do They Do?
If you and your partner owned a business or the divorce case includes one, then expect a valuation. Ownership will be a primary concern when evaluating the company, whether it is large or small.
You will need a valuation lawyer to help you estimate the business’s current worth. The attorney works closely with other professionals to determine a company’s projected future earnings, current and future market value, capital structure, market dynamics, competitive advantage, and more.
How to Value a Business During Divorce
At Douglas Family Law Group, we leave no stone unturned to ensure you get what you deserve. The team handling your case can use the following valuation strategies.
The Income Approach
This approach determines the company’s worth based on the present value of its projected future income potential. It is possible to do this by analyzing the business’s annual income over a forecasted period or capitalizing its income over a specific period using an expected return rate.
The Assets Approach
It focuses on the business assets and liabilities as reflected in the company’s ledgers then deducts potential depreciation, appreciation, and adjustments that impact the company’s value.
The Market Approach
The valuation process focuses on a business’s worth if an investor or buyer would purchase it while also including factors like its future earning capacity.
What Types of Information Will Be Looked at to Determine Value?
At Douglas Family Law Group, our White Plains family law attorneys never downplay asset ownership and fight aggressively to ensure our client’s interests are honored. We work with expert valuators to review the family business or any company you and your partner own or run.
Knowing its value help you decide if it is worth fighting for or letting go as focusing on other assets. Some of the issues we examine when analyzing a business involved in a divorce to determine its value include:
- What The Business Owns – Factoring tangible assets like equipment, machinery, inventory, and intangible assets like market share, patents, goodwill, and trademarks.
- What The Business Owes – Considers the liabilities and responsibilities the company owes and ensures they are fairly distributed between the spouses during the valuation.
- Profitability of the Business – It is done by comparing the company’s profitability and expenses by compiling its expenditure and weighing it against its returns or income.
Every business has value and it is best to know what that value is if you and your partner run or own a company and are getting a divorce. Our White Plains, NY divorce lawyer will team with top valuators in New York to ensure the business valuation is done correctly.
How Is Property Divided in a Westchester, New York Divorce?
Under New York’s equitable distribution law, courts aim to divide property between divorcing spouses in a way that is equitable or fair. This doesn’t mean that all assets will be split equally (50/50). The court will consider many factors, such as the following:
- Future financial circumstances
- Your partner’s health
- Years you stayed married
- Money and assets wasted by you or your partner
- Lost insurance benefits
- Property tax consequences
- Market value at the separation period
- Income and assets of each partner
- Business ownership and interests
- Financial contributions of you and your spouse
- Child support, maintenance, and other court-ordered maintenance
The team handling your divorce work to negotiate a fair division of assets with your spouse and his/her attorney. If your divorce is contested, we’re prepared to aggressively represent your interests in court.
What Is the Process of Dividing the Property?
Property division in a divorce process entails four steps. Moreover, both parties can negotiate the division process before finalizing the divorce. If a divorcing couple can’t agree on how assets would be divided, the family court will make a decision on what is fair.
Identification of Assets and Debts
Assets and debts can be jointly or individually held, but both spouses are legally expected to disclose or declare what they own at the time of the divorce. The assets and debts can include real estate, investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, vehicles, loans, mortgages, artwork, furnishings, annuities, tax debts, pensions, and patents.
Classification of Debts and Assets
Debts and assets are classified as “separate” or “marital.” Marital property and debt are subject to division. All assets are assumed to be marital and hence subject to division unless owners prove they are separate, meaning they owned them before getting married. As for debts like credit card loans, they must have a marital purpose to qualify for equitable distribution.
The next step is the valuation of the marital assets and debts as of the divorce date. We can arrange for an appraisal of things like the family house or business if you and your partner cannot agree on their value.
Distribution is done after the identification, classification, and valuation of marital and divisible debts and assets. The process is done while observing equity; however, the court might consider certain economic factors that can result in one party getting more of the distributed estate.
Get in Touch to Find the Best Divorce Attorney
Going through a divorce can be difficult even if both spouses agree on major issues and are ready to move on with their lives. Things get even more complicated when disagreements lead to a contested divorce that must be taken to court.
Hiring an experienced attorney with the right legal representation makes parting ways with your spouse a less stressful process. At , we are committed to helping our clients overcome the challenges of pursuing a divorce. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, our White Plains, NY divorce lawyer will fight for your rights and interests.
Get in touch with us today at to get unrivaled representation and be treated with care, compassion, and respect in legal matters. The attorney representing you will develop a legal strategy tailored to your needs. Call to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help.