What is Divorce Law?

Divorce law refers to the legal process for dissolving marriage. It can be an emotional journey for all those involved and causes similar emotions as when we grieve the death of someone close.

Legal proceedings begin by filing and serving your spouse with legal papers (Summons and Verified Complaint). Some states have specific filing and service requirements that must be fulfilled for legal actions to proceed successfully.

Grounds for Divorce

New York offers several grounds for divorce. Some may be “fault”-based while others do not, including adultery, cruelty and inhuman treatment, domestic violence and separation. If you choose one of these fault-based grounds as your basis for filing a petition for divorce in New York, your spouse-the respondent-will have an opportunity to contest these allegations against him or her.

Similarly, to use adultery as grounds for divorce proceedings, your spouse must have engaged in sexual intercourse with another person of opposite sex while married to you. However, this ground does not apply if you encourage or forgive your partner’s act of adultery; and cannot also be applied in cases of cunnilingus or fellatio only sexual relations.

Divorce can be granted on grounds of cruelty and inhuman treatment if your partner has committed physical or emotional abuse against you, whether long-term or sudden and extreme. It must have become intolerable for both of you to continue living together.

Separation requires both parties living apart under an agreement reached between themselves for more than a year; desertion occurs if your spouse abandons you without intending to return;

Irreconcilable differences is a relatively recent legal development that has made divorce proceedings simpler than before. To use it, both spouses must swear under oath that their marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least six months, making use of this grounds much simpler than in years past.

Child Custody

Child custody can be one of the most contentious issues during a divorce proceeding. It determines who has primary decision-making authority over key decisions regarding medical care and religious upbringing for a child, including medical decisions and religious affiliation. A court may award joint legal custody where both parents share in decision making authority or sole legal custody may be awarded to one parent alone; similarly a judge will decide between awarding joint physical custody to both parents or granting one primary physical custody with visitation rights to both.

New York law has gradually evolved away from traditional maternal preference or the “tender years doctrine,” which gave mothers preference in child custody matters. Instead, courts now prefer preserving equal rights between both parents in order to promote stability for the children; changing custody will only occur under extraordinary circumstances.

As judges take into consideration all factors related to a child’s best interests when making custody decisions, including his or her relationship with both parents, their home environments and any special circumstances, parents must be willing to cooperate and compromise during this process.

After a judge awards one parent custody rights, the noncustodial parent will likely be ordered by court to provide child support payments to help cover expenses such as food, housing costs, school supplies and activities for their custodial parent. Failure to do so may incur fines or jail time and both parties should seek out experienced counsel to ensure their rights are upheld during this process – at Rudyuk Law Firm we specialize in developing custody plans tailored specifically towards your child’s best interest.

Child Support

After the dissolution of a marriage with children, state laws typically mandate that one parent pay monthly child support payments to cover some of the associated costs associated with raising them jointly. While specific rules and requirements vary by state, generally speaking child support payments are calculated using an income-share formula which takes both incomes into consideration.

Parent receiving child support payments are known as custodial parents; those paying are known as non-custodial. Usually, the parent who spends most of his/her time with the child will receive child support while visitation rights will be given regularly to both parties; in situations in which a child spends equal time between parents, though, both parties could reach an agreement regarding child support payment amounts.

If the parties cannot agree on an adequate child support amount, a court will set one using an established formula. This usually covers basic necessities like food and clothing as well as mandatory expenses like health care premiums and annual checkups, education costs (tuition for public, private or college schools as well as supplies such as notebooks pens pencils) plus childcare services like nannies babysitters daycare services as well as extracurricular activities that cost money to participate in.

Legal proceedings pertaining to divorce and child support orders can be complex. Both parents should seek representation during this process so as to navigate it successfully.


Alimony (or spousal support or maintenance in certain states) refers to financial assistance given from one spouse to the other after divorce in order to help the lower-earning partner maintain an acceptable standard of living after their marriage has come to an end. Although more often awarded to wives, husbands can also receive payments in some circumstances.

When making their determination on an award of alimony, judges take several factors into account when awarding it, such as both parties’ financial situations, length of marriage, earning power disparities between spouses, and number of children in the relationship. If applicable, courts also look at what time each parent spends with their offspring as well as who stayed home to care for the kids during that period.

Judges can grant temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony payments. Temporary alimony typically covers the duration of property division proceedings while rehabilitative payments provide assistance to help lower-earning spouses become self-supporting by furthering their education or training. Permanent payments typically last a set number of years until their payee spouse remarries; reimbursemnt payments provide similar support but serve to reimburse expenses such as tuition.

Alimony duration varies by state and agreement terms can have an impactful on its duration. Alimony typically ends if either partner cohabits with someone new or one spouse passes away; alternatively a judge may terminate or suspend permanent alimony payments should either spouse remarry, receive substantial sums through lawsuit or inheritance settlement or become financially independent through business ownership.

Property Division

Property division can be one of the more contentious aspects of divorce. While spouses can attempt to work out an amicable settlement agreement on their own if desired, ultimately it will be up to a court in each state to decide how assets will be divided up between partners in an marriage and determine how it should be allocated equitably.

First step in property division is identifying which assets are separate and which ones are marital. Marital assets generally refer to anything earned or acquired during a marriage while separate property refers to any acquired prior or post marriage such as gifts from one partner to another or items purchased before marriage – although things can become complicated if spouses combine (or “commingle”) their separate and marital assets, for instance using funds from joint mortgage accounts to make improvements on homes purchased separately, etc.

Once courts have determined which assets are marital, they will divide them evenly among both spouses. This can be an intricate task when there are assets of various values; couples should work with their attorney to assess how much each asset is worth and decide how it should be divided.

After dividing up assets of a marriage, courts may also award one spouse with alimony payments in either permanent, temporary, or rehabilitative forms. Depending on the circumstances of each case, a judge may decide that one or both spouses require financial support to reenter workforce or community life after divorce – this may provide an added incentive to reach an acceptable property division agreement between you and your partner.