Answering Your Divorce Questions

Divorce carries with it a lot of uncertainty. If you are considering divorce or have already begun the process, it is likely that you have questions about how the process works. Below are the answers to a few frequently asked questions our attorneys encounter. To speak to one of our divorce lawyers, contact Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., in Queens, by calling 718-380-1010 or sending us an email. דוברים עברית. Мы говорим на русском.

How long is the divorce process?

The length of your divorce depends entirely on your unique situation. If your divorce is uncontested — meaning you and your spouse agree on absolutely every aspect of your divorce — the process may last only a few months. If your case is more complicated than that, however, it could take longer. The most complex and contentious divorces can take years to resolve.

Who gets to stay in the house?

The marital house is a major point of contention in many divorces. Who stays, however, depends on several factors, including your custody arrangement. The parent who is the children's primary caregiver — or who spends the most time with the children — is usually allowed to continue living in the house.

For spouses who are not parents, however, the situation is less straightforward. If one spouse is the sole owner of the house, he or she can make the other spouse leave. If you own the home together, however, neither of you has a legal right to make the other move out. If you cannot decide on your own and cannot continue living together, you can seek a temporary order until your divorce is finalized.

What property am I entitled to?

You are entitled to keep most, if not all, of the property you owned before your marriage as long as it was not commingled with your marital assets. All property you acquired during your marriage, however, is subject to New York's equitable distribution law. Under this law, marital property must be divided equitably, but not necessarily equally. At our firm, we will help you consider all of your options before agreeing to a property division settlement.

Will I get custody of my child?

New York courts focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody. Often, it is in the child's best interests to continue spending time with both parents. If this is the case, the court may award joint custody to the parents or sole custody to one parent and visitation to the other.

If one parent is unfit to care for his or her child — because of physical or mental health problems, substance abuse issues or other matters — the court may award full custody to the other parent.

At our law firm, we know that your child is more important than anything. By showing that it is in your child's best interests to continue to build a relationship with you, we will help you maximize the amount of time you get to spend with your child.

How do I prepare for divorce?

While it may be difficult to prepare for the emotional aspect of divorce, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself to go through the legal process.

If you have decided to divorce, collect and make copies of all of your financial documents, including bank statements, retirement account information, mortgage and other loan documents, and tax returns. Giving this information to your attorney early in the process allows him or her to understand your and your spouse's financial situation and, therefore, how to approach property division.

Next, it is a good idea to learn about your monthly expenses as a couple. Figure out how much you spend and what you spend it on, so you can have a clear picture of your marital lifestyle.

Along those lines, it is also important to understand your marital income. Do you know how much your spouse makes or how much he or she has saved up in bank accounts and retirement accounts? If not, now is the time to figure it out.

Taking the time to collect this important financial information early on in the divorce process will be very helpful as you and your lawyer work toward a fair settlement.