Best Long Island Divorce Lawyers
BEST LONG ISLAND DIVORCE LAWYERS
Over 50 Years of Divorce and Matrimonial Experience
Spodek Law Group is a top pick for all long island divorce, matrimony, and family court related legal matters. We are one of the oldest, and most successful, Long Island divorce law firms. We recognize divorce is a stressful process – and in times like this, you need a divorce attorney who treats you like family. This is what we do – and it’s why we’re different – it’s why we get better case results than other divorce attorneys.
Our divorce law firm has offices throughout Long Island, in addition to the 5 boroughs. In addition, we have experience handling all types of complex divorce cases, including hostile and confrontational spouses. Whether it be through mediation, or by going to court – we’ll help negotiate, and attain – what you rightfully deserve. Our goal is to get you the best possible settlement package that you and your kids deserve in your divorce.
Why Clients Choose Our Long Island Divorce Attorneys
99% Success Rate
The Spodek Law Group of Long Island is one of the few law firms to have 5 star ratings with top lawyer rating organizations like Avvo, Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers, Yelp, Google Places, and other high profile websites. Lawyer ranking services have rated Spodek Law group as one of the top Long Island divorce law firms.
24/7 Divorce Assistance
Our Long Island divorce attorneys are available 24/7 to help you. We can come to you, if needed – or you can come to one of our numerous office locations. We can help you fully with your divorce/matrimonial issues. You are encouraged to speak to one of our attorneys by calling our 24/7 hotline.
Flexible Payment Plans
Our Long Island divorce law firm is one of the few firms that offers flexible payment plans. We are very easy to work with, because we allow clients to break up payments over an extended period of time. We firmly believe that money should never get in the way of working with the law firm you want. Even if you have no money –
because your spouse is keeping it, we can help you.
Over 50 Years of Experience
Spodek Law Group is one of Long Island’s oldest divorce law firms. Our divorce attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience practicing law. Contact us to learn more about your options.
How are assets divided during a divorce?
If you have significant assets and are going through a divorce, how the assets are divided is an important question. If you have a large number of assets, your financial future is a huge question mark. Typically, assets will be divided based on what is considered a fair allocation of the joint marital property. Asset division is also something which can impact future alimony payments. If your goal is to maintain your existing lifestyle, you need a Long Island divorce lawyer who will fight for you, and be on your team. Our team of attorneys can help ensure you get your fair share of the assets during negotiations.
In addition, we can help ensure that you aren’t stuck with the debt your spouse may have incurred during the marriage. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will divide all of the assets and obligations in a fair manner, but not necessarily an equal manner. The courts job is to be fair. It means the assets may not be necessarily split 50/50. The courts will look at all of your assets, meaning inheritance, businesses, cars, debts, houses, etc, and divide them fairly.
First the court will identify all the assets in the possession of both spouses. The spouses are required to disclose all of the assets and debts. This is the phase where spouses typically try to hide assets. During this phase, we will work to uncover all of your assets and try to find assets your spouse isn’t disclosing. We are experienced with this, and know how to identify where, how, and what, spouses will do.
Once we identify the assets, we’ll present them to the court as assets which should be divided. The court then decides if the property is separate or marital. Anything owned prior to the marriage is considered separate. Any money or debt accumulated during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate, and is thus divided equally. Certain things are exceptions – such as gifts and inheritances, which if received during the marriage are considered separate property. In addition, if you have a prenuptial, or postnuptial, then the terms of that agreement can change how the court views the property. This is a critical stage, because this is where the court will award / strip rights to property. The next step is valuation. Once all assets are discovered, the court will assign a monetary value to each asset. Certain assets, like stock options, are harder to assign a fixed dollar value to. Based on the asset values, alimony payments are determined. Allocation is the next stage, where a court decides who gets what, and how much. Equal distribution doesn’t mean even split. During this stage, the court will try to fairly distribute what each party deserves/wants in the most equitable fashion.
Do I have to go to court during the divorce?
In general, there’s a 2-4 month waiting period after the initial petition for a divorce is filed, and then served on your spouse. The divorce order takes effect immediately after a judge makes a ruling. If a divorce is uncontested, and there is a marital settlement agreement – then you don’t really need to go to court. If this is the case, then the documents are simply filed with the courts, and a judgement is sent to you. In this case, you don’t need to go to court at all. However, there may be exceptions. In some cases there may be informal hearings, and a judge may ask you questions about the papers which were filed.
If you are in a contested divorce, there will be formal hearings, from the very beginning of the divorce. There will be disputes discussed in the court, ranging from division of assets, to child custody and more – which require you to be present to give answers. In some cases, these questions can be handled out of court, with private negotiations between attorneys. That’s something that is handled on a case by case basis. Technically, it’s very plausible to never set foot in a Long Island family court.
What happens if we reconcile and want to cancel the divorce?
Getting a divorce is truly a life-changing event and most definitely not something that you should take lightly. In this sense, it is always best to wait until you and your spouse are fully sure of your decision to divorce before you sign and file your divorce papers. Unfortunately, some spouses tend to rush into the decision out of anger or jealousy only to later realize that they made a mistake.
This situation is actually quite common as evidenced by the number of married couples that cancel their divorce proceedings or end up getting re-married later on. For this reason, it is important that you are aware of your legal rights as there are some situations where you may still be able to cancel your divorce prior to it being finalized.
Cancelling Your Divorce Proceedings
In terms of the legal right to cancel a divorce proceeding, the law is clear and consistent in ensuring that this power rests solely in the hands of the partner that initiated the proceeding. This means that there is nothing you can to put a stop to divorce proceedings that were started by your spouse unless you’re able to successfully convince your spouse to file to have the divorce proceedings dismissed.
However, all states require the spouse that filed for divorce to cancel the proceedings as long as the final divorce decree has not yet been issued. The laws tend to vary from state to state, but generally all you’ll need to do is visit the court where the divorce was filed and then fill out a form to file for a “Motion for Order of Dismissal.”
After filing this motion, you and your spouse may be required to appear in court for a hearing related to this order. During the hearing, the judge will question both of you to ensure that you both agree with the decision to cancel the divorce proceedings. Should the judge be satisfied that the decision is mutual, the court will then issue an “Order of Dismissal” that becomes legally binding once signed by you, your spouse and the judge.
In some jurisdictions, the hearing is not necessary and all you will need to do to cancel the proceedings is file the appropriate form with the court clerk. As you were the person who filed for divorce, you don’t actually need your spouse’s approval or involvement when canceling the proceedings. However, some states still require that you provide your spouse with a copy of the dismissal order.
Canceling a Divorce Once the Final Decree Has Been Issued
Although it is always important to fully think about your decision and take time to ensure that divorce is the best road forward, the fact is that many people eventually end up missing their spouse once the dust has finally settled and the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, if this is the case and you and your ex-spouse want to get back together, the only way forward is to get married again.
A divorce decree is considered final and there is no way you can take it back. Therefore, it is vital that you and your spouse take the time to decide whether divorce is the right option long before the papers are filed and the divorce finalized.
Who receives custody of the children in a divorce
The decision to divorce does not come lightly for anyone, but it’s one that affects everyone in the household regardless. Most people don’t go into a marriage with the belief it won’t work out, and no one has kids knowing their marriage won’t work out. However, that’s precisely what happens in many marriages. It’s unfortunate, but understanding who gets custody of the kids is helpful. When you’re ready to call it quits, you should know who gets the kids, how it works, and what might happen.
What Determines Custody?
There’s not a right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on many factors.
– Are both parents fit?
– Is there abuse?
– Is there a parent moving out-of-state?
– Can the parents make an agreement together?
There is no way to answer this question without knowing the specifics of any particular case. Many couples choose their own custody agreement outside of court and come up with a plan on their own. A judge is happy to approve a shared-custody plan when both parents are good parents who want to spend time with their own kids.
If you and your children’s other parent can come up with a mutual custody agreement, you’re in charge of what happens in a court of law regarding custody following a divorce.
What if No Mutual Agreement Works?
If you cannot come up with a mutual custody agreement, you’ll go to court. It’s a better situation for all when you both agree on what you want, but sometimes couples want more than the other. If no agreement can be made, the court will make the decision and it might not be satisfactory. It might depend on which parent is able to provide the kids with the kind of life they’re most accustomed to right now.
For example, the court might believe the kids are better off staying in their current home full-time with the parent keeping the home. If one parent is a stay-at-home parent, the court might look favorably upon that. If there is any drug use, addiction, or abuse alleged during the divorce, the court will work to figure out who is a better fit as parent.
The way custody works is in the best interests of the child. The court decides what works best for the child in every situation. Sometimes the child is old enough to provide a little feedback in this situation, and other times there isn’t anything the child can do or say to be with one parent over another.
It’s best if you can agree on a custody agreement without the court interfering. It’s not always a solution you want to see occur, and it might mean hurting your kids more than they’re already hurting. It’s better for kids to spend more time with a parent who is able to provide them with a more normal life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with something that allows them to spend time with both parents when they want.
What happens to retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a divorce?
Divorces are often complicated and have the potential to get quite messy. When children are involved, you and your spouse will be forced to try to come to an agreement over custody, child support and visitation rights. However, even if you have no children or they are grown up, you will still need to figure out how to divide your property and assets including any retirement funds or 401(k) plans that you or your spouse have. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly how retirements benefits are divided can be tricky, which is why it’s important to look at the subject in greater detail.
State Laws for Division of Property and Assets
Each state has its own specific divorce laws, which means that the way your assets are divided can vary dramatically depending on where you live. The majority of states work under the equitable distribution method, which means that your marital property and assets will be divided in whatever way that the responsible judge deems to be fair or equitable. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the assets will be divided equally and, in fact, they almost never are.
There are also some states that operate under community property principles. In this case, all assets, property and debts that you accrued as a married couple are considered joint property and divided equally (50:50) between you and your former spouse.
All states also have laws that allow couples to reach their own divorce agreement and this agreement then takes precedent over the other divorce laws. In this way, you and your spouse can come to an agreement over how to divide all of your property or assets, including retirement funds, in a way that makes the most sense.
Dividing Retirement Funds and 401(k) Plans
The majority of couples use mediation to reach an agreement instead of letting the court decide for them how their assets should be divided. This often makes much more sense, especially when retirement funds are involved. The reason is that dividing a 401(k) or other retirement plan tends to be quite costly.
Therefore, instead of simply trying to divide these retirement funds down the middle, it is usually a much better idea to negotiate in an attempt to offset or balance the retirement funds with some other asset. In this way, you can still achieve the same desired outcome in terms of the total division of assets while also avoiding having to go through the process of splitting your 401(k). For instance, if you have other retirement accounts, bank accounts, stocks or other monetary assets, you can attempt to exchange some of these assets to ensure that you remain in sole possession of your personal retirement savings.
Just like marriage, divorce is all about compromise. The problem is that attempting to divide your assets and retirement funds in an equitable manner can be incredibly complex. For this reason, it is essential that you seek the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate through this most complicated time of your life.