Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce and Family Law in the Bronx

If you are going through a divorce or are considering taking legal action against a family member, you likely have a number of questions about the process and your rights and options. To better serve the people of our community, The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C. is proud to present answers to some of the questions we are often asked by our clients. Please read on for helpful information or contact our team at your earliest convenience to learn more about your legal options.

Why do I need a divorce lawyer?

Divorces can be complicated, and you need an attorney who can navigate the complexity of the New York family court system. While very few cases of uncontested divorce can be simple matters of paperwork, many divorces involve determining child custody, dividing assets and property, and in some cases, establishing orders of protection. In these cases, you would need an attorney who could address your individual needs and protect your rights.

The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C. offers free case evaluations, so there is no initial cost or obligation to you. Contact us today for more information!

What is a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is one which can be obtained by mutual consent on both sides and without divorce grounds, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruel and inhuman treatment. In a no-fault divorce, the divorce is granted due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least 6 months. This recent change in the law means that spouses are now able to divorce without having to prove that one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. This allows for more amicable divorces and a much smoother and easier legal process on both parties and their children.

Even in a no-fault divorce, however, issues such as child custody, child support, and division of marital property must be resolved. A no-fault divorce law was passed in New York in August of 2010.

Will my ex-wife automatically win custody of our kids?

The family court is most concerned with the best interests of the children, so when deciding which parent should be the children's primary custodian, they will consider a number of factors rather than simply awarding custody to the mother. The judge will consider such factors as the physical and mental health of the children, their emotional and physical needs, each parent's financial situation, the child's wishes, and the parents' willingness to work together and encourage their children to have a relationship with both parents.

An attorney from our firm can provide you with powerful advocacy during your custody hearings and ensure your voice is heard.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties are in agreement about the divorce and any of its related issues, such as those involving children, marital property, and finances. In a case where the parties agree, the divorce papers are submitted to the court for approval.

What should we do if we aren't sure we want to divorce?

If you and your spouse are having troubles in your marriage but are not comfortable with ending your union, legal separation may be a helpful solution. By separating rather than divorcing, you and your spouse can have time apart to think through your issues and determine whether you truly want to divorce, while still maintaining your marital status and the benefits of being married.

An attorney can represent your interests when creating a separation agreement to address such matters as the custody of your children and the division of assets, and if you do decide to divorce, the agreement can easily be carried over. There are certain legal implications to separation, however, so it is important to first discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer.

What can I do if I'm being denied visitation with my child?

As the noncustodial parent, the court ordered that you receive a certain amount of time with your child, and if your former partner is keeping the child from you, you can enforce your legal right to visitation. Our firm can assist you in filing a petition for modification with the court that requests that the terms of your visitation order be modified or enforced so that you receive adequate time with your child. If your relationship with your child is at risk, do not hesitate to contact our firm to learn how you can enforce the court's orders.

What are "ancillary issues" in a divorce?

These are the issues must be resolved before a divorce can be finalized. Where children are involved, these issues include child support, child custody, and child visitation. Another ancillary issue is that of dividing and distributing marital property and assets. Other ancillary issues involve spousal support, legal fees, and the matter of a name change.

What is "equitable distribution"?

Equitable distribution is the law which governs how marital debts and property will be divided when a marriage is ended. Courts must make as fair and equitable a division as possible and will consider 13 factors in determining this issue. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Diving marital property can be quite complicated which is why the courts must examine all the pertinent facts. Marital property consists of all the assets and property that is accumulated by the couple during the marriage; separate property is not divided.

What property is considered separate and not subject to equitable distribution?

Any property that is acquired by one of the spouses as a gift or through an inheritance designated to them only, property acquired by either party prior to the marriage, property that is excluded by agreement between the two parties, and property acquired after a legal separation decree.

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