Divorce – Separation – Custody - Support

Divorce Decree When entering the bonds of matrimony, we don’t anticipate it will ever end. However, sometimes in life things don’t go as expected. When those situations arise it is important to have someone that can assist you in navigating these unclear and unsteady waters. At Mycek law, our goal is to provide you with compassionate and proficient support. We take care of the difficult legal aspects of your case so that you can concentrate on moving forward with a focus on your family’s needs.

Whether it is Separation, Divorce, Child Support, or Maintenance, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the situation and ensure that you and your family are well represented throughout the process.

Divorce is one of the most emotionally, intellectually and financially difficult challenges anyone can face in their lifetime. It is important to keep your priorities straight while keeping your anger in check. If you focus on those two key aspects, you will set yourself on the right path.
There are a few items you need to familiarize yourself with. Those are:
  • Equitable Distribution - the means by which marital property is distributed in a divorce. The laws regarding equitable distribution can be complex.
  • Maintenance/Spousal Support (formerly Alimony) - the payment of money from one spouse (or a former spouse) to the other spouse. The purpose of which is to allow you to become financially self-sufficient. Maintenance is typically granted for a limited period of time.
  • Custody – It is defined as the care, control, and maintenance of a child, which a court may award to one of the parents following a divorce or separation.
  • Child Support - a sum of money paid regularly by a divorced party to maintain the normal standard of living of his or her children. What New York has held to be in the best interest of the child(ren).
  • Grounds for Divorce - Grounds for divorce are rules specifying the conditions under which a person will be granted a divorce. Each state in the United States has its own set of rules/grounds. In some states the ability to file for a “No Fault” divorce is an option. New York has now recently adopted its own version of the “no fault divorce. An irretrievable break down of the marriage for a period of six (6) months.
Something to consider in the beginning is a legal separation. This allows each party time and space to come to terms with their existing situation. It is always possible that alternatives to divorce can be explored and adopted during the period of separation.
Items to consider relating to a Legal Separation:
  • One of the grounds for a divorce is that you have been legally separated.
  • A legal separation does not require you to allege grounds. For that reason, many people choose to become legally separated first and then convert to a divorce proceeding.
  • All issues that can be addressed and settled in a divorce can be settled in a legal separation in New York.
  • The biggest difference between a divorce and a legal separation in New York is that at the end of a legal separation preceding, you are still legally married and cannot remarry. This also means that since you are still legally married you may allow your spouse to continue to benefit from insurance coverage or retirement benefits as well.
  • After the parties have been legally separated for a period of time (typically one year), either party may ask for the legal separation to be converted to a divorce action.

The laws regarding alimony have changed and it is now referred to as "maintenance" or "spousal support. It is important in the beginning to make a determination as to whether maintenance and child support will be needed. Acquire detailed explanations regarding maintenance and child support under New York law and determine what makes sense for your unique situation.

As for “maintenance”, there is a set formula to calculate spousal support pendente lite (pending the litigation), but there is no post judgment formula. A grant of spousal support depends on the facts of the case, such as the disparity between the incomes of the parties, length of the marriage, the health of the parties, and the presence of very young children. It is rare that “spousal support” is granted on a permanent basis. There are some exceptions such as for physical or mental disability and at times for elderly parties. But in general, it is granted for a set period of time to allow the party receiving the “spousal support” to get back on their feet after the termination of the marriage. The length of time is dependent upon the unique facts of the case as and is determined by the judge.

Child Support
Child Holding Teddy Bear One of the most important things to consider are your children. Take the time to talk to them about what is happening. Emphasize that it is not their fault and that they are loved by both parents. Consider therapy as an option if you feel it is necessary. Remember, children may not always express how they feel, especially during times of uncertainty. Be open and available. Make sure they know you are always there for them. The “middle” usually seems like a place of balance, but when going through a divorce, it’s not the place to put your children.

There are three essential things to consider when children are involved in a divorce or separation:

  • Child Custody – this pertains to the physical custody (where is the child's main residence) and legal custody (who makes decisions about the child). Custody may be joint (shared by consent between the parties) or it may be sole as determined by agreement or by a court order.
  • Child Visitation - In a Divorce or custody action, permission is generally granted by the court to a noncustodial parent to visit his or her child or children. Custody may also refer to visitation rights extended to grandparents. Visitation rights may be determined by the agreement of the parties or by a court order.
  • Sold
  • Child Support - In New York the amount of child support paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent is determined by the state under the Child Support Standards Act. The amount is typically determined based upon an adjusted gross income formula. In most cases the payments are 17% for one child and 25% for two children. There are limits that can be reached for individuals with very low income below the poverty level or very high income (statutorily above $80,000 but usually over $150,000) that will allow for deviations from these percentages. Additional awards may be given depending upon the unique situations for each case before the court.
Things To Consider...
  • Make living and visitation arrangements for your children on a temporary basis. File a motion for temporary relief in Supreme Court or family court if you and your spouse cannot agree.
  • Make sure your spouse doesn't remove assets. If you think he or she could, you may want to put them in a safe place.
  • Gather all your financial records about income, taxes, debts, pensions and assets.
  • It is very common for a spouse in a divorce to revert back to his or her birth name or a prior name if he/she has changed his or her name before the marriage. The court routinely grants the right to such a name change in the final divorce decree.
  • Equitable distribution is the law in New York. It determines the division of property at the end of a marriage. The court examines a number of factors in determining the fair division of property accumulated during the course of the marriage as well as the debts of the parties. The courts routinely hold that equal distribution is the norm, except in cases of egregious misconduct, or when dealing with businesses, professional licenses, and college & advanced degrees.

Final Thoughts...
  • It is essential that you fully understand all of your rights before you agree to anything. It is imperative that you consult an attorney to protect your rights.
  • When one party to a divorce is unable to afford an attorney that party is allowed to request the court to order the spouse with the greater income or assets to pay all or part of the other spouse's legal fees. These awards can be on a temporary basis at the beginning of the suit or at the end, as the judge sees fit in each case.

At Mycek Law we are dedicated to providing you with unsurpassed service. Our objective is to help alleviate the stress and resentment commonly associated with Divorce. We will work with you and your family to simplify the tasks necessary to untie this important bond. We’ll take care of the intricate legal aspects of your situation so that you can concentrate on your family’s needs. Whether it’s Separation, Divorce, Child Support, or Maintenance, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the situation ensuring that you and your family are well represented. Each and every aspect will be completed in accordance with all applicable laws and all aspects of your interaction with our firm will be well defined, considerate, and honorable. A listing of additional services can be found on the Practice Areas page.