Matrimonial FAQs

How much does it cost to get a divorce?
How long will it take?
What is "Legal Separation"?
Who is responsible for paying child support?
How long does the duty to pay support last?
How much child support will I have to pay, if any? And how is this determined?
What happens if one of the parent's financial situation changes?
What about medical expenses and health insurance for the child?
What if my spouse stops paying child support?
What is "marital property"?
What happens to nonmarital property?
What factors are considered by the court in determining spousal support?
Am I entitled to a portion of my spouse's pension benefits or retirement?
What is a prenuptial agreement?

How much does it cost to get a divorce?
The cost of a divorce is determined by the complexity of each individual case. The more issues in dispute and the more complex the case, the higher the cost.  At the Law Offices of Timothy A. Green, we endeavor to resolve your divorce in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.

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How long will it take?
A divorce can be complicated and time consuming, and it is difficult to accurately predict the length of time the divorce process may take.  Some divorces can be finalized in as little as two months, while more complex divorces can take a year or more to be resolved.

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What is "Legal Separation"?
Legal separation is a circumstance where the parties have decided, for a variety of reasons, to live separate and apart from one another.  A legal separation offers many of the same benefits and protections as divorce, such as child custody agreements and support, spousal maintenance and asset distribution.  A legal separation may be advisable if the parties are not certain they want a divorce or there are extensive financial or property issues which need to be resolved.  One year after a separation agreement is signed by both spouses, either party can file for a divorce, if the spouses followed the terms of the agreement pertaining to living separate and apart.

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Who is responsible for paying child support?
A child's natural parents, an adoptive parent, or a parent who has acknowledged paternity has a duty to financially support the child.

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How long does the duty to pay support last?
Generally, a parent ordered to pay support must do so until the child reaches the age of eighteen or is otherwise emancipated prior to age eighteen.  However, the obligation will typically continue beyond the age of eighteen if the child attends college.

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How much child support will I have to pay, if any? And how is this determined?
Child support is determined based on a formula set out by statute.  In order to determine the amount of child support appropriate in your case, this formula will be applied using a number of factors including the number of minor children, income of both mother and father, amount of necessary out-of-pocket expenses to provide health insurance for the children, cost of daycare, and other factors.  If one parent has custody or residential custody, the law assumes the residential parent is contributing to the child's needs and directs the other parent to pay a percentage of his/her income to the custodial parent.  The statutory guideline percentages in New York are 17% of income after mandatory deductions if there is one child; 25% if there are two children; 29% if there are three children; and 31% if there are four children; and no less than 35% for five or more children (to be determined by the court).

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What happens if one of the parent's financial situation changes?
The court can modify the amount of child support at any time if one parent experiences a "substantial" change in circumstances.  The court will determine if a change of circumstances has occurred and, if it has, the appropriate new amount of support.

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What about medical expenses and health insurance for the child?
In addition to child support orders, the court will order that either or both of the parents provide for the health care of the child.  Either or both of the parents may be required to pay any health care costs that are not covered by insurance.

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What if my spouse stops paying child support?
There are several ways to enforce a child support order:  income execution (also known as a wage garnishment); an agreement or order for child support payments to be made through the Office of Child Support Enforcement or a further motion to the court to compel such payment and to punish the spouse for violating the support order.
Is each spouse entitled to half of their property?
Equal division is not required, although that is the outcome in most cases.

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What is "marital property"?
Generally, marital property is: (a) real property held as tenants by the entirety, unless excluded by valid agreement; (b) any property acquired by one or both parties during marriage, and typically does not include any property (1) acquired before the marriage, (2) acquired by inheritance or gift from a third party, (3) excluded by valid agreement, or (4) directly traceable to any of these sources.

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What happens to nonmarital property?
Usually, the owner of nonmarital property retains it following the divorce.  However, in considering a monetary award, and in deciding spousal support, a court will consider all of the financial circumstances and resources of each of the parties, including any nonmarital property.  If a judgment is entered against someone for a monetary award, nothing prohibits the party entitled to the monetary award from pursuing nonmarital property to collect it.

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What factors are considered by the court in determining spousal support?
Spousal support is determined by taking a number of factors into consideration, including the age and income of the parties, duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, relative earning abilities of the parties and any other factor that the court expressly finds relevant and equitable.

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Am I entitled to a portion of my spouse's pension benefits or retirement?
Retirement and pension benefits accumulated during the marriage, like real estate and bank accounts, are considered to be marital assets. You are entitled to an equitable division of any pension/retirement benefits earned during the marriage.

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What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a "prenup") is a contract between prospective spouses settling alimony and/or property rights of parties upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement may also include provisions concerning distribution of a deceased spouse's property.

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