DIVORCE LAW

When that moment comes where reconciliation is out of the question, the very last thing you want to do is to drag the process out or fight another day with your spouse. At the Law Office of Inna Vernikov, we understand that a painless and quick a divorce is the best option for spouses wishing to go separate ways. In order to file for divorce, you must have grounds, in other words, a legally acceptable reason for the court to grant you a divorce. There are seven grounds for divorce in New York:

Irretrievable Breakdown: A no-fault divorce is effectively permitted by a new ground added on October 12, 2010, if the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months.

Cruel and inhuman treatment: If your physical or mental health is in danger if you continue living together. However, if the abusive treatment happened more than 5 years ago, you cannot divorce for this reason.

Abandonment: If your spouse “abandons” you for at least one year.

Imprisonment: If your spouse goes to jail for three or more years. However, if your spouse was released more than 5 years ago, you cannot divorce for this reason.

Adultery: If your spouse commits adultery. However, if you encouraged your spouse to commit adultery, forgave your spouse by having sexual relations with them after you discover the adultery, committed adultery yourself, or if it has been more than 5 years since you discovered the adultery, you cannot divorce for this reason.

Judgment of Separation: If you and your spouse have not lived together because of a “Judgment of Separation”, granted by the Court, for at least one year.

Separation Agreement: If you and your spouse have not lived together because of a written and acknowledged separation agreement after living separate and apart for more than one year.

CONTESTED & UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SERVICES

Our attorneys are exceptionally capable of handling trials, mediation, and collaborative law proceedings, and we can effectively advise and assist in both contested and uncontested divorces. Even in uncontested divorces, where both parties agree to divorce, there may be disagreements over issues such as child support or custody, spousal maintenance, or division of assets.

ALIMONY

Considered to be one of the most dreaded parts of divorce proceedings, the determination of alimony has been long-debated by spouses and matrimonial attorneys alike. The first part of the alimony bill concerns temporary maintenance, which is the provisional support that is paid by one spouse to the other during separation while their divorce is being finalized. Correspondingly, alimony is the maintenance payments one spouse pays to the other during divorce proceedings, or after they are divorced.

On June 24, 2015, New York State Senate passed exhaustive revisions to alimony laws, which alter how payments are determined and eradicate an unpopular requirement that judges calculate the lifetime value of a license or professional degree earned during the marriage. As a result of these measures, the court will not take into consideration the value of a spouse’s enhanced earning capacity arising from a license, degree, or career enhancement. Instead, judges decide alimony awards based on a broad set of criteria that may differ from one case to the next, such as age and physical condition of the non-wage-earning or low-wage-earning ex-spouse.

CHILD SUPPORT

Under New York State law, both parents must support their child until the child turns 21 years old. Child support is the court-ordered financial maintenance of a child. Child support laws legally obligate a parent to support their child whether or not they have custody of them and apply equally to children born in or out of wedlock. Generally speaking, the custodial parent, who has physical custody of the child and whom the child lives with most of the time, gets child support from the non-custodial parent. Child support is determined according to state statutes and varies depending on the number of children involved, using a specific formula to calculate child support payments. The factors used to determine child support payments include certain expenses, such as extracurricular activities, child care and educational expenses, babysitting and medical expenses or health insurance. There may be situations where one party disagrees with the amount that it takes to raise the child and provide for his or her needs, and in these cases the court uses legal statutes as a basis for deciding the maintenance amount required for that child or children in the home. You can also seek to modify child support due to loss of job, illness or injury, or a significant change in income.

Child support can be modified in New York State based upon the following:

-A significant change in the child’s needs

-Increased cost of living

-Either parent has been incarcerated

-Either parent becomes unemployed or experiences a change in income

-Family income increases significantly after either parent remarries

-A parent becomes disabled, decreasing his or her employment prospects, or otherwise constraining resources

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Although prenuptial agreements aren’t nearly as pleasant to think about as wedding cakes or dresses, thinking financially and not emotionally, results in the preferred possible outcome and sets up a protected bedrock for your future as an independent single man/woman, in the event of divorce. A prenuptial agreement can secure each spouse’s premarital assets and financial interests.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract a couple signs before getting married, which may cover: property acquired before the marriage, assets, a business, a home, bill paying, income, estate planning in the event of death, divorce or disability, etc. The problem when couples get married without a prenup is that assets become so co-mingled that you can no longer ascertain what is yours, your spouse’s, and what is joint property.

Some common misunderstandings about prenups are the notions that prenups are “just for wealthy people,” that they promote feelings of distrust and lack of love, alter the whole connection and contract of a marriage, or that a prenup means you are preparing for a divorce.

Contrary to the popular beliefs, prenups can be advantageous for any individuals who bring personal or business assets to the marriage. Additionally, prenups promote trust, as they ensure that your future spouse is not marrying you for your financial assets. Signing a prenup does not mean you are preparing for a divorce – it is simply a smart way to insure your financial future in the event things don’t go as planned.

Prenups help couples secure a financial safety net, allow them to decide on what property and how much of it belongs to whom, protect the assets of a party with a higher financial worth than their spouse, helps couples avoid surprises, arguments, and enormous costs of possible litigation proceedings.

The value of considering a prenup is to clarify things so that you avoid headache, confusion, and ultimately expense down the road. You must protect yourself during what can be one of the most heart-breaking and stressful occurrences in your life.

A post-nuptial agreement is essentially a pre-nuptial agreement signed after a marriage has already taken place. In essence, a couple may decide at some point during their marriage that they want to amicably divide their assets in case of divorce. A post nup can also be used to assist the couple in improving and preserving their marriage, in cases of career change, inheritance, or childbirth and adoption.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Are you a victim of domestic violence?

The valuable recommendation can be made that if you are in danger or have been beaten by your spouse, do not wait for it to escalate—and it always does. Don’t delay, get help today. It is very often that the violence has escalated to the point where fear is a daily part of the individual’s life, and separation will eventually occur. Many of our divorce clients have left an abusive relationship or are in the preparation of leaving an abusive relationship. We want our clients to be happy, safe, and secure. We work expeditiously and quietly to assemble all of the necessary paperwork with the courts and coordinate with the police and locksmiths so that our clients are protected from harm and the situation is taken care of without any extra stress. If there are children in the home, regardless of whether or not the children have been harmed, their world view is shaped by watching the interactions of adults, and it is important that you let us help you both before it gets too far out of control.

Have you been accused of domestic violence?

If you were wrongly accused, you need someone who will asertively fight for your rights. At the Law Offices of Inna Vernikov, we do exactly that. If you have been accused of domestic violence, this may have limitations placed on your freedoms. A conviction could lead to jail time and could put your parenting rights at risk. You cannot afford anything less than an experienced defense strategy. If you have been issued an order of protection by a criminal court and are prohibited to have contact with your children or family, you may have options. As your attorneys, we can help you explore these options.