FAQs

Does my spouse need to consent to a divorce in New York City?

In short, no. When someone files for a divorce, the other spouse has a certain amount of time to respond. If the spouse does not respond in the given time frame, the court may grant a default divorce. If your spouse does respond, you can still file for divorce without consent. The no-fault divorce clause adopted by the State of New York in 2010 allows for this.

Do I have rights to a child’s custody if I was not married to the mother?

To receive paternal rights, which would allow you to take custody of the child, you would need to first establish paternity. When a child is conceived during a marriage, the husband is assumed to be the father. Otherwise, paternity must be established by either by signing an acknowledgment of paternity or obtaining an order of filiation from the court before custody and visitation rights can be addressed.

Can I obtain child support without filing for divorce?

Child support can be obtained without filing for divorce. You will need to speak with an experienced attorney.

Can divorcing spouses both use the same lawyer?

No. The law prohibits attorneys representing both parties in the divorce. However, the goal of each attorney is to work with the other advocate to reach a fair agreement between parties. If you have been served divorce papers, you will need to hire your own divorce attorney to represent you. Otherwise, you can choose to represent yourself, though this is not advised.

Can I force my spouse to help pay for our child’s college costs?

Yes, this can be a contingency in the child support clause, or can be modified afterwards. If your spouse does not agree to this stipulation, you will have to work with an attorney to enforce payment. Usually, the court pro-rates payments based on a calculation of the spouse’s income. The court may also place a cap on payments for college based on income limits or the college the child will be attending.

My ex-spouse has had an increase in income. Can I get them to pay more in child support?

A modification to the original divorce decree may be obtained based on a variety of factors. If it has been three years since the divorce, and a spouse’s income has changed by 15%, you can obtain a modification. If the child support payments are collected by the court system, you may have an automatic review after a set period of time. In either case, you will still have to prove a change in situation and income. An experienced attorney can help you with this.

If my spouse has property solely in his or her name, does that mean I won’t get a share in the property?

No. When couples get divorced, their property is divided into separate and marital property. Separate property is anything acquired before the marriage. Marital property is any property or assets acquired after the marriage, regardless of whose name is on it. Anything considered marital property will be subject to equitable division by the court system. This means that if your spouse’s property was acquired after you were married, you can receive a share.

If you have other questions on your divorce, contact the law office of Vivien I. Stark today. She is a family law and divorce lawyer with over 25 years of experience in marital law. She serves New York City and the surrounding communities and is deeply committed to her clients. Among her accolades, she has been recognized as a top Avvo contributor and divorce attorney with superb ratings. She provides effective representation in matters of divorce and family law.