What happens at the time of the Initial Consultation?
During the initial consultation a potential client will sit one-on-one with one of our lawyers. We encourage our clients to discuss their specific situation in detail. Our focus is to learn as much as possible, with relation to the matter at bar, in order to determine the recommended plan we would use to reach the desired results. We believe our clients need to recognize and understand the rights, duties and responsibilities of each person involved in their situation. It is also essential that the client understands the judicial process as it relates to their specific matter. Clients are given expectations regarding their court proceedings and what can and cannot be accomplished. There is no charge for our initial consultation and after the client has discussed their particular circumstances in detail, the lawyer will discuss all anticipated fees and expenses that would be required of the potential client.
How much will this cost?
This is a question that most clients or prospective clients ask, and one that is extremely difficult to answer as each and every case that our firm handles is different. Some clients come into our firm looking for a divorce with everything outlined and agreed upon. Some come in wanting the exact opposite of their spouse. Some clients face criminal charges and that process is completely different from matrimonial cases. Therefore, the answer to the question “how much will this cost” is not as simple as one may think because it is impossible to know the total cost without knowing the specifics of the case. The total cost of the case will consist of legal services, filing fees required for the case, and in criminal cases, there may be fines and/or surcharges imposed by the Court. At the end of the initial consultation with one of our lawyers, the initial retainer required for your matter to get started will be quoted, and any fees, fines, or surcharges will be discussed in detail.
COMMON DIVORCE QUESTIONS
What is a Divorce?
Divorce is the legal process by which marriages are dissolved upon terms either agreed to by and between parties or as ordered and directed by the Court.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is the legal terminology for the majority of today’s divorces when spouses are unable to come to an agreement about the essential divorce terms. This type of divorce may require a trial and the Judge will base the decision on divorce case facts and the testimonies of witnesses, if necessary. Often, the Judge will make decisions that are just and suitable for divorcing couples.
This type of divorce is advisable if the disputing couple has substantial assets. The process will also help identify hidden assets. The distribution of assets is one of the most important pieces in a couple’s divorce.
The other and the most important aspect of a divorce is, of course, the children. If minor children are involved, custody may be contested. There may be legitimate concerns about why one spouse should have custody of the children. These details are crucial to the client’s family. It is recommended that a person seek legal advice from one of our experienced divorce attorneys to make sure that rights are protected.
What is a Separation and/or Settlement Agreement?
A Separation Agreement is a signed agreement between parties that can include, but is not limited to the following:
Custody and visitation of children
Spousal support, maintenance, or alimony
Division and distribution of marital assets and other properties acquired
Separation/Settlement Agreements may be drafted in due course during the divorce process. The signed Agreement is then incorporated into the subsequent Judgment of Divorce.
How is a divorce started?
To initiate divorce proceedings, a Summons and Complaint must be signed and filed. This document states the reasons, or grounds, for the divorce. This document must be “served” upon the spouse by another person (not you) over the age of 18. Filing fees are required to file this paperwork, and it is important that very specific language is incorporated into this document. Having a lawyer begin this paperwork is the best way to ensure that all rights are protected and that the client is set on the path toward the desired end results.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
This is not an easy question to answer. Some divorce cases can be completed in a few months, while others can take years to resolve. It really depends upon how complex the individual case is and how willing the spouses are to negotiate and agree upon the terms of the divorce. There are many complex issues of financial and property division, child rearing and support, custody and visitation that become stumbling blocks to a quick divorce. The only way to know for sure is to speak with an experienced attorney who knows the questions to ask to reveal the complexity of the case and provide advice for the best way to move forward with the divorce.
Is a lawyer needed to get a divorce?
In most cases, yes. Even in seemingly “uncontested” divorces the law surrounding divorce can be very complicated; not addressing one simple detail can delay a divorce or cause issues many years down the road with detrimental results. Divorce involves many complex issues which often require an experienced attorney. Even if the parties believe that they have resolved all of their issues, an experienced divorce lawyer will know if issues have been missed and will prepare the proper forms required to apply and finalize your divorce.
What is a High Net-Worth Divorce?
These types of cases often require expertise in valuation and accounting. Often many challenges arise in tracking and tracing claims to property claimed to be separate property and not subject to division at the time of the divorce. The Law Office of Kevin P. Flynn has years of experience handling these types of divorces and has both the knowledge and skill required to provide legal services to clients with high net-worth divorces.
What is a Post-Divorce Dispute?
Unfair, unwise, or unhappy divorces often leave parties vulnerable or vengeful. Issues then arise after the divorce is completed. There may be changes in careers, earning abilities, health, or other changes that make it necessary to reevaluate and adjust the terms of the Settlement Agreement or Divorce Decree. Problems may arise with regard to pensions and retirement accounts. It also may become necessary to address a need for an increase or decrease in support payments, or for enforcement of the obligation for payment of child and/or spousal support. The attorneys at the Law Office of Kevin P. Flynn have the experience and skill required to obtain the results in a post-divorce matter.
COMMON FAMILY COURT QUESTIONS
What is the difference between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?
Legal Custody is the right to make significant life decisions for your child, including schooling, religious training, medical care, etc.
Physical custody is where the child lives on a day to day basis. The parent with primary physical custody is often called the child’s Custodial Parent or Primary Caretaker.
How does a Judge decide child custody?
New York State Courts consider the best interests of the children when making any decisions regarding custody and visitation. The Court may consider any of the following:
The child/children’s primary caretaker up until now;
The home environment of each spouse/parent;
The physical health of each parent to be a stable caregiver;
Current and length of residence of the child/children;
Ability of the parent to provide the child with intellectual and emotional support;
Proven ability to provide the other parent with access to the child. In other words, does the parent try to keep the other parent out of the child’s life, or are they willing to co-parent;
The desires of the child;
Separation from any siblings, if any;
Any patterns of child abuse by either parent; and
Any history of domestic violence issues
What is Child Support?
Child support is money provided by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for children under the age of 21. In New York State, child support payments are based upon a formula called the Child Support Standards Act. Child support payments can be awarded in Supreme Court during divorce proceedings or in Family Court as a part of a Child Support proceeding.
What happens if I have a Court Order that the other parent is not following?
You may file a “Violation Petition” asking the Court to take action against the other person who is failing to follow the Court Order. This Petition will need to be “served” to the other parent by another person (not you) over the age of 18. A hearing is then held to determine if the Court Order is being violated. In Support cases a Support Magistrate may enforce the Order by directing Support Collections Unit to take the payments directly from the person’s pay check. If someone is found in willful violation of a Court Order there is potential that they may be sent to jail. If you have been served with a Violation Petition you should contact one of our lawyers immediately.
I have an Order already, can it be changed?
If there is a change in circumstances, either party has the right to file a petition to modify the Order. The change must be explained in the petition and it must be served on the other party. The Court will then hold a hearing to consider the changes.