What Are My Financial Options in a Divorce?

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While some couples calmly agree on the myriad of new questions a divorce will pose, spouses who are considering divorce may also find themselves unable to communicate healthily. In New York and many other states, financial options during a divorce will be very different depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. And though cooperation is crucial for the future of both spouses in a divorce, even when spouses agree, there are many legal requirements regarding separation that warrant seeking a lawyer’s opinion. Read on to learn more about your financial options amid a divorce and see how a Suffolk County divorce attorney can help during this stressful time.

What Are My Financial Options in a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when the spouses disagree on any decision required by the divorce process. The disagreement may be based on the grounds for the divorce, on how to divide up property, and/or on childcare responsibilities, among many other possibilities.

If the spouses absolutely cannot come to a separation agreement, the court will intervene. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that courts need to divide up marital assets fairly, but not necessarily 50/50. Courts will consider factors like:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Custody of children
  • How necessary the marital home is (particularly for the care of children)
  • Income of each spouse
  • Market value of marital property
  • Loss of assets potentially stemming from a divorce, such as physical property or health insurance benefits
  • Tax consequences for how the property is divided

What Are My Financial Options in an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs when spouses have no disagreements regarding any part of the divorce. Fortunately, almost 80% of divorces in New York are uncontested. But even if you and your spouse agree, you will likely fare better with the help of a lawyer in structuring your divorce to mutual benefit.

One useful option for protecting your property and finances in a divorce should be decided long before divorce talks ever begin. Negotiating a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement with your spouse can save you both a lot of trouble, as these specify which financial options the spouses have coordinated in case of a divorce. Of the two, courts tend to view prenups more favorably. Prenups are signed before the marriage begins, and so seem freer of undue pressure than postnups, which are signed after a marriage starts.

You also have the option of a separation agreement. They allow spouses to live separately but remain married even after the separation agreement goes into effect. In this case, the spouses would need to agree on the same topics, including custody of children and how to split assets and liabilities.

Given the wide range of things a couple would need to settle among themselves, legal help is highly recommended. If the spouses have no major disagreements, they could employ a collaborative lawyer or a divorce mediator.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Divorce?

As you can see, even in the best and most amicable uncontested divorce, both parties will still have several legal obligations. Whether your marital seas are smooth or stormy, don’t hesitate to call the knowledgeable divorce navigators at our firm today.

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