Is a Family Law Dispute on the Horizon?
If so, you need an experienced divorce or family law attorney by your side. Whatever the dispute, only we have your best interests at heart.
Family law disputes can arise at any time, often when you least expect them. We meet with many men and women who have said that a divorce happened so suddenly that they were completely blindsided by the experience.
Whether or not you have been anticipating a marital separation, you need an experienced matrimonial and family law attorney by your side. It is very easy to give up key rights during a divorce, and no one will advocate for you—not the judge, not your spouse, and certainly not your spouse’s lawyer. It is up to you to find the right divorce attorney to fight for what you want.
No one marries with the intent to divorce. Nevertheless, close to one out of every two marriages results in a divorce court resolution. Whether you are initiating the divorce or your spouse is, the end of a marriage can be a shocking event, one that might leave you unsure of what you want.
Nevertheless, each spouse has important rights that they must defend during a divorce. One of the key mistakes many marriage partners approach a divorce is to take a hands-off approach and just let it “play out.” Instead, partners should be asking vital questions during the process such as: “Do I want to go back to school? Move out of state with my children? Retain the family home?” It is important to think carefully about your goals.
You will also want to understand what your rights are when it comes to a divorce. For example, you might have a right to:
- Spousal support or maintenance. You might be entitled to periodic payments from your ex-spouse to help maintain your standard of living or help you obtain the necessary education or work experience so that you can support yourself in the future.
- Division of marital property. The property you acquired together as a couple needs to be divided by a judge. This can include the family home, vehicles, and retirement accounts. We can help you identify which property qualifies marital property and which assets you should request in the divorce.
- Assignment of marital debts. You still are responsible for debts you took out as a couple when married, such as your home mortgage. You need an action plan for repayment of these debts so that you and your ex-spouse’s credit scores are not shredded or, even worse, your family loses the home.
- Issues surrounding pets. Many people today consider their pets like children, and fights can break out over who gets the dog or cat. Although New York once treated pets no differently than other property like pots and pans, the law around pets is changing. We can help you make a compelling argument to the Family Court that you should get the family pet.
Divorce does not need to be contentious, either. Couples can work out issues amicably between themselves and ask the judge to sign off on the agreement. If necessary, you might also participate in mediation where you discuss disagreements with a neutral mediator who can help you find common ground.
When conflict unavoidable, however, our attorneys are not afraid to vigorously protect your rights by demanding a full trial on any contentious issues, and we will advise you when we believe settling a dispute is not in your best interests or the best interests of your children.
For more information about New York divorce, see here.
Judges decide child custody based on the child’s best interests—not what is in the best interest of the parents. Often, clients come to us confused about what type of child custody arrangement they want. There are different arrangements you can seek:
- Parents can split custody right down the middle, with each parent having the children for an equal amount of time.
- One parent can have primary physical custody while the other parent gets visitation, which can be every weekend, every other weekend, and/or for long stretches of time during the summer vacation.
- One parent might have sole custody. Although rare, it is possible to seek sole custody if the other parent is abusive to the children or is otherwise unfit to parent.
Before seeking child custody, you need to carefully consider what child custody arrangement is realistic enough to work and to get a judge’s approval.
Child custody disputes are often some of the most emotional ones that we deal with. Unfortunately, many parents use the children to seek a personal vendetta against the other parent. A sign of that a parent is trying to use children as pawns include unreasonable demands, resistance at turning over documents related to the dispute, and bad mouthing the other parent, sometimes even in front of the judge.
We have gone up against divorce attorneys who routinely encourage their clients to engage in this behavior. Judges rarely are impressed with these tactics, from either parents or legal counsel, so we avoid using them.
At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, we believe in taking a different approach to child custody disputes. Our detailed legal methods begin by understanding what factors a judge uses to make child custody decisions, and then we find relevant evidence to support our preferred outcome.
We are also skilled at anticipating attacks opposing counsel will make on our clients’ lifestyles and reputations. We can forcefully refute any frivolous charges of abuse or neglect and make sure that the judge sees you for the parent that you are.
For more information on child custody services we offer, see here.
Child support is set by a formula created by the legislature. The formula takes into account the income of the noncustodial parent and the number of children being supported. There is some room for a judge to depart from the formula, especially if your child has extraordinary expenses, perhaps because of a mental or physical disability.
At Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, clients come to us with a variety of child support issues, such as:
- How to seek temporary child support for the duration of the divorce.
- How to obtain more child support than the amount set by the formula.
- How to minimize the amount of child support paid.
- How to increase child support after the initial award.
- How to decrease child support because of a lost job, disability, or retirement
There is no one approach to child custody issues. We have represented both custodial and non-custodial parents, so we understand the issues each parent faces. For more, visit here.
A trial rarely ends a legal dispute. Instead, you might need to appeal, especially if you believe the judge made a critical error that compromised your rights or if there was no evidence to support the Family Court’s decision.
Bringing an appeal is not appropriate in every case, but our firm will help you decide whether you should pursue further litigation if a judge ignores your rights or if the appellate courts will provide a forum for redress.
Very few divorce attorneys are also skilled at bringing appeals. Appellate procedure is unique, and many of the lawyers at Petroske Riezenman & Meyers have argued multiple appeals in the appellate courts. Our Long Island divorce lawyers know how to preserve an issue for appeal and how to build the appropriate evidentiary record in the court down below so that an appellate court feels comfortable overturning the trial court’s decision.
For more information about appeals, please see here.
Family and matrimonial law is a large field of legal practice, and our clients come to us with different goals, problems, and backgrounds with varying situations. One of the key strengths of our lawyers is our ability to listen. We ask you questions to discover precisely what you want out of your divorce, and then we come up with a game plan that helps you achieve just that. We see ourselves as advocates for your goals. Some of the key disputes we handle include the following.
Divorce is a life-changing event, and one that should not be taken lightly or without the consultation of an experienced divorce attorney. There is much at stake during a divorce, and the outcome will likely shape your future for years to come.Learn More
A custody proceeding begins with a petition and can be served with a writ of habeas corpus, notice of petition or order to show cause, depending on the choice of court and the circumstances. We will advise you on the best method to proceed while working to fashion the best presentation of your case in the petition.Learn More
The New York law which governs the support of children is referred to as the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”). According to the CSSA, the basic child support obligation is determined as a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income less certain deductionsLearn More
Steady Legal Guidance in a Turbulent Time
Divorce is a life-altering event, but it can also be a new beginning. A successful divorce is one that allows you to move forward with your life in a productive manner without anger about the past.
The Long Island divorce lawyers at Petroske Riezenman & Meyers have helped countless men and women navigate New York’s confusing Family Courts. Each of our attorneys understands the stresses that husbands and wives feel during this difficult time, and we are committed to providing compassionate legal advice that fully affirms the emotions you are feeling.
If you want to learn more about New York’s matrimonial law, or if you want to discuss a current legal dispute, please reach out to us today. You can call or submit an online message by completing our online contact sheet.