Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Provided by Experienced New York Family Law Attorney
Below are answers to some of the questions most frequently encountered by New York family law attorney A.J. Temsamani as he advises and represents individuals on Long Island and surrounding areas in divorce and related family law matters. We hope this information is helpful to you. If you have other questions, or if you need advice and representation regarding a divorce, separation, child custody dispute or other family law matter, please contact The Law Firm of A.J. Temsamani, P.C. at our office in Garden City.
Q. How long before a contested divorce is final in New York State?
A. The exact time it takes is dictated by the complexity of the issues (property division, support, child custody) and how well the parties and attorneys are able to work together to resolve the outstanding issues. If your matter is heavily litigated or goes to trial, you can expect that the process will take much longer to conclude. If you are able to resolve all issues and settle your matter, you could receive your divorce judgment within 90 days from the time your divorce papers are submitted to the court.
Q. Is my ex entitled to one-half of everything?
A. In a divorce, if the parties are unable to agree upon the division of their marital assets, the court will make the decision for them. Marital property refers to any property which was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except for certain assets such as gifts, inheritances, or compensation for personal injuries given specifically to one spouse. The court is required to make an equitable distribution of the marital property. This does not necessarily mean a precise 50/50 split. There are many factors the judge looks at to determine what is equitable, or fair given the facts of the case. Make sure you are represented by an experienced family law attorney who can ensure your interests are properly represented and that any distribution is truly equitable.
If the parties can decide between themselves how to divide the property, the court will generally approve the parties’ decision. This can often be accomplished with the spouses and their attorneys collaborating and working the issues out without the need for court intervention or through a process such as mediation.
Q. Does a child have any say in deciding which parent he or she will live with?
A. The driving force in a custody decision is “the best interests of the child,” and the court has wide latitude about what to consider in making that determination. The judge may or may not interview the child as part of this process, but that would only be one factor amid all of the evidence presented to the court by the spouses through their lawyers.
Q. I’m so mad at my spouse/partner for wanting to end our relationship. Do I have to let him/her see our children?
A. Unless the other parent poses some risk to the safety of your children, you absolutely have to let them spend time with your children. In fact, you should encourage and facilitate the other parent’s time with the children. To keep a child away from a parent without there being very serious and valid reasons to do so is considered harmful to a child, and such conduct could wind up jeopardizing your own chances at obtaining custody of them. Hopefully, you will be able to reach an understanding with the other parent for reasonable parenting time with your children, and our office may be able to help with that.
Q. What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
A. Divorce terminates a legal marriage. An annulment, on the other hand, is a judicial declaration that a valid marriage never existed. A marriage is void if the proper legal requirements were not met, such as if one of the spouses was already married, or if the couple are too closely related to marry legally. Some marriages, although not void, are still voidable and subject to annulment, such as if one spouse was under the age of consent at the time of marriage, or if a person was forced or tricked into marriage.