Here are some Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Family Law:

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when the parties are not in agreement about the terms of their divorce and go to court proceedings to allow the judge to decide.

An uncontested divorce occurs where the parties agree to every single term in a settlement agreement which can then be filed with the Court which will sign a final divorce order.

Why do I Need a Lawyer?

Divorce and family law issues can be deeply emotional topics. It is important to have a lawyer so you know what your rights are and so that you have a partner to help you think clearly about a situation that may bring you great distress.

How do Courts decide who gets custody of the family pet?

Some courts are moving away from their view that pets are only property and may use special criteria to determine who gets custody or visitation rights.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Physical custody pertains to where the child will reside as their primary residence

Legal Custody pertains to the right to make major decisions in the child’s life like religion and schooling. Parents with only visitation rights would reasonably be allowed to decide such issues as where the child will eat breakfast that day. Legal Custody is not the right to micromanage a child’s life.

Does Every Couple Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

The decision to have a prenuptial agreement is a personal situation specific decision.

Can I get an Order of Protection without notifying the other party?

Yes it is possible to get what is called an ex parte order by filing a petition which does not need to served on the other party. However the order of protection must be served on the other party to become effective.

How long does a New York Divorce Take?

The time depends on which county the case is filed in. Downstate cases may take over a year for a court to sign from filing of the stipulation of settlement. A downstate New York case can take several years to be scheduled for trial.

How long do I have to Answer a Complaint for Divorce?

The defendant in a New York Divorce has 20 days to Answer a personally served Complaint in New York or 30 days if served outside New York.

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