Contested Divorce in Suffolk County, NY


June 8th, 2021

Getting divorced from your spouse is never an easy process. On top of filing numerous paperwork and attorney fees, divorcing parties experience emotional distress when going through the process of divorce. Filing for divorce is difficult for both spouses, whether they have children or not. If you’re going through a divorce in Suffolk County, it is best to seek legal advice from an experienced East Islip divorce attorney.

In most divorce cases, both parties can easily reach an agreement on the division of assets, child support, child custody, and other issues that need to be resolved in the divorce process. This is called an uncontested divorce. However, some divorcing parties fail to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement in their divorce settlement. This is called a contested divorce, where court intervention is usually involved to resolve the legal issues in a divorce. 

Filing a contested divorce is usually the best course of action to take to potentially work out a settlement that will resolve your disagreements. Seeking the legal assistance of a competent East Islip divorce attorney can help mitigate this arduous process and help you negotiate the terms and conditions you want. 

What is Usually Contested in a Divorce?

Couples seeking legal separation usually try to make a settlement agreement that is acceptable for both parties. However, disagreements on certain issues are unavoidable.

These issues may include one or more of the following:

  • Child support. It is the legal responsibility of every parent to support the growth and development of their child, whether the parents are together, legally separated, or divorced. Child support payments should cover the basic needs of the child, including food, shelter, clothing, and other living expenses. Child support may also be used to nurture the child’s natural talents and interests. In general, both parents have the financial obligation to provide for the child, but a non-custodial parent usually has to provide more. 
  • Child custody.

    Contested Divorce

    This details the parameters of child care and custody between you, your spouse, and your child/ren. This covers matters of legal custody – who gets a say in making major decisions in your child’s life, and physical custody – who gets to live with the child.

  • Alimony. Also known as spousal support, alimony is a court-ordered payment from the higher-earning spouse to provide financial stability to the other spouse while going through the process of divorce.
  • Division of properties and debts. Sooner or later you and your spouse will discuss how your marital properties (e.g. your house, car, or stocks), shared debts, and personal debts should be divided once the divorce negotiation is finalized. Reaching an agreement on this issue is usually hard for most couples, so a court hearing may be necessary.

If you’re going through a contested divorce in Suffolk County, you should connect with one of the dedicated divorce attorneys at Donato Law. While an uncontested divorce may be done without the help of a divorce law attorney, litigation in a contested divorce often makes it necessary, and seeking a divorce lawyer may be wise.

Divorce Process in East Islip

With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, and New York State laws provide a general guide on how the divorce process should go about. There are variations to this general pattern, as each divorce is different. However, these steps are the same to some extent. 

1. The Initial Steps

An annulment, separation, or divorce all fall under the category of a “Matrimonial Action,” that is, to bring legal action to establish or alter the marital status of the parties involved. The spouse who initiates the case is called the plaintiff, while the other spouse is called the defendant.

The divorce papers are first filed in court to commence the action. These documents will become a part of the Pleadings, which may consist of a Summons and Complaint indicating the grounds for divorce. This notice will be served to the Defendant, who will then respond to the petition.

2. Pre-trial Legal Motions and Hearings

After serving the Summons, both parties may have to appear in court. This motion will request the court to make a decision on certain issues before the divorce trial begins, with the goal of providing immediate or temporary relief. This may include support payments or custody of the child.

3. Settlement Proposals

After the initial divorce papers are filed, you may agree to a settlement if you accept the terms and conditions in the distribution of assets, support and custody arrangements, and other issues. If you successfully reach an agreement, both parties will sign a Separation Agreement. If settlement fails, you need to prepare for trial and give testimony about the marriage, including financial affairs and management within the marriage and the grounds for divorce. 

Through motions and depositions, the attorneys of both parties will determine how the court will award the marital properties and custody of children. In New York, marital property is distributed equitably through a legal process known as “Equitable Distribution.” This will divide the property based on different factors such as both spouses’ income, health, and employability.

4. Court Trial

If your action is not resolved through negotiations or a settlement, then your action will proceed into pre-trial negotiations before a judge in court. If your action is still not resolved, then the case will move to a court trial, where a judge will make the final decision regarding your case. During this stage, both parties are still given a chance to agree upon a settlement. However, if no agreement is reached, the judge has the right to make the final decision regarding your divorce case.

Call Our Experienced East Islip Divorce Attorney Today!

Divorce cases are rarely easy, and contested divorces are especially complex regardless of whether you have children or no children. Therefore, you should seek the legal help of an experienced divorce attorney in East Islip to help you understand your legal rights and to ensure that you’re fully protected.

Here at Donato Law, we have experienced East Islip divorce lawyers in New York who can handle your case as if it were their own. We can help you find peace amidst this difficult legal process. Contact us today to schedule your free divorce consultation. 

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