Contested Divorce Without Children
No one enters a marriage believing that it will end in divorce. When unexpected circumstances result in a breakdown of the relationship, however, it may be difficult for the spouses to settle their subsequent separation and divorce amicably. It may be in the best interest of each spouse to retain separate legal representation, particularly in a contested divorce. New York City divorce lawyer Ingrid Gherman has experience handling a range of family, matrimonial, and divorce cases, extending from complex divorce litigation to non-adversarial mediation. Ms. Gherman recognizes that the circumstances of each divorce are unique and provides a personalized approach to each of her clients, including those pursuing a contested divorce without children.Navigating a Contested Divorce in New York
When a marriage must end for a couple without children, the most fortunate situation is one in which neither spouse opposes the divorce, and they can agree to a fair settlement of their finances and property. The parties can come to court with a written settlement agreement resolving important financial matters, including the division and distribution of their property, assets, and debt. However, an uncontested divorce may not be possible for some couples.
A contested divorce may occur when there are substantial disagreements regarding fundamental aspects of the divorce that cannot be resolved through mediation, collaborative law, or settlement negotiations. A divorce is contested, for example, if one spouse does not wish to end the marriage, or the spouses disagree as to the legal grounds for the divorce. Even spouses who agree to a no-fault divorce will undergo contested divorce proceedings if they are unable to settle financial issues such as the distribution of marital assets and property. For divorcing couples without children, child support and custody need not be considered in a separation or divorce settlement agreement.
When an amicable resolution cannot be reached outside court, a judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York will ultimately decide the issues necessary to complete a contested divorce without children. These practical concerns may include distributing the parties’ marital assets, determining the amount of debt for which each spouse is responsible, identifying the separate property of each spouse if it is in dispute, determining whether and how much spousal maintenance should be awarded, deciding whether attorney fees and expenses should be granted to one of the spouses, issuing any protection orders, and handling other financial matters.
Generally, contested divorce cases proceed similarly to other civil actions. Financial discovery is exchanged between the parties, and depositions may be taken before trial. The judge will encourage the parties to negotiate a settlement before the trial, but the outcome of the agreement, if any, is up to the spouses. If the parties proceed with a trial, they will present evidence and may call witnesses to testify and be subjected to cross-examination by opposing counsel. If one or both spouses allege that the other is at fault and file legal grounds for the divorce, the judge will hear evidence and make a determination. Since contested divorce proceedings tend to be emotionally and financially draining, extending over months or even years, a matrimonial attorney may recommend exhausting other attempts to settle the case before continuing in court.Contact an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in New York City
Hiring legal counsel to represent you in a contested divorce without children may help achieve your objectives. Litigation attorney Ingrid Gherman practices family, matrimonial, and divorce law in New York State. She provides compassionate legal guidance as well as aggressive advocacy in support of her clients. Ms. Gherman can represent residents of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as people in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Schedule a free consultation with a New York City attorney by completing our online form or calling us at (212) 941-0767.