Long Island Divorce Attorney

The Legal Expertise You Need with the Personal Attention You Deserve

Long Island Divorce Lawyer

I strive to provide you with efficient and effective representation during a stressful time. My obligation to you is to provide the best possible legal representation and take into consideration not just the issues of today but also the impact on your tomorrow. This includes child custody issues, visitation, parenting time, child support, maintenance, diversified asset portfolios, and/or debt accumulation. I prioritize working with you to strategically achieve the best possible resolution and outcome for you.

To learn more use the “quick links” listed below to navigate to the corresponding information lower on the page.

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Expertise and Empathy to Individuals and Families in need of legal assistance. Give me a call, or text message me at (631) 664-0000—or submit our Free Consultation form.

Overview of Divorce in New York State

New York State jurisdictional requirements does not require grounds for a divorce. If either party wants a divorce and meets the New York State requirements, a divorce is granted. In general, the requirements are:

  • you’ve been married for over 6 months
  • you provide a sworn statement that your marriage is irretrievably broken for a period of 6 months or more
  • you’ve been a state resident for more than 1 year

In many cases, a divorce can be settled by the parties having mutual agreements within the boundary of the law.
In some cases, agreements cannot be reached, and the case goes forward to the court system to be resolved. This can include when there are differences in property and asset distribution, maintenance (alimony) and child support, visitation, and child custody.

My job is to look out for your (parental and economic) interests and work towards the best resolution for you.

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Managing the Potential Conflicts in a Divorce

The conflicts in a divorce action may be considered small and minor, or vast and complicated, but whatever the conflicts are, having a skilled attorney aware of the potential conflicts and issues will greatly impact the success in your matter and your overall satisfaction during this trying time.

Divorce Options

  1. Uncontested Divorce
  2. Collaborative Divorce
  3. Contested Divorce (Negotiated outside of court OR Litigated in court)

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is resolving your case as you and your (ex) spouse agreed to. The most common “uncontested” divorce includes not going to Court and instead creating an agreement that is drafted and signed without the need for a Judge as a “tie-breaker.”

An uncontested divorce is often a scenario when parents or spouses have decided how they wish to share responsibilities relating to their children and financial portfolios. This agreement is then reduced to writing, signed by all parties, submitted to the Court with approximately 16-20 additional documents, and signed by a Judge to incorporate your agreement into what is known as a “Judgment of Divorce.”

What is collaborative divorce?

A collaborative divorce is simply the methodology used in getting to the finish line of an agreement. A collaborative divorce recognizes that parties are able to compromise, negotiate, and deviate from “traditional” resolutions on some “issues.” At the same time, other areas of their divorce may take a more “strict adherence” approach to the letter of the law.

In a collaborative divorce, not every litigant will take the same path. It’s their lawyer’s role to assess the “big picture” to understand how each issue relates and influences the end resolution.

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce can have an array of applications. For example, a contested divorce can be both IN court or OUTSIDE of court.

For example:

  • You have contested issues that you seek to resolve through negotiations with the assistance of legal counsel.
  • You have contested issues that require court intervention seeking to have a judge assigned to your matter to hear and determine the issues which are contested.

In the end, once a contested matter resolves by way of settlement agreement, it will be submitted to the court as having been resolved. OR if the contested matter is resolved by way of court decision and order, then the court’s decisions will lay the foundation for the resolution of the contested action.

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High Asset Divorce

A high asset divorce can involve assets that are sizable in value or diverse in portfolio assets. For example, owning a house, a business, stock accounts, retirement accounts, timeshares, vacant land, burial plots, boats, vehicles, bonds, vested or non-vested portfolios, pensions, and the like will often require an attorney highly skilled and familiar with these assets, and their implications, including tax consequences, during a divorce proceeding.

Divorce and Retirement

What happens to retirement funds in divorce? Retirement assets (including pensions and deferred compensation assets) that have accumulated during the marriage from the date of your marriage through the STARTING date of the divorce action are considered to be “marital” in nature subject to EQUITABLE division of the marital monies accumulated. However, equitable does not always mean equal, and there are many factors that could contribute to an off-set of the retirement accounts.

For most if not all retirement monies accumulated either prior to the marriage, or after the date of commencement of the divorce action, these monies shall remain as your separate property, and will not be subjected to equitable division during any divorce proceeding.

Child Custody

Child custody laws in NY are enacted to protect children. Considering that parents are generally equally fit, it is my role as an attorney to navigate the court system to a resolution that provides you with the custody and visitation outcome you are seeking in the end.

Child Support

New York child support laws are defined by the Child Support Standards Act. There are preset calculation standards based on income,” with a portion of which is mandatory and some additional support as “discretionary.” The discretionary income will depends on the county where you reside, the history of your lifestyle during the marriage, and the Judge determining your application to be awarded support otherwise defined as “discretionary.”

The matrimonial and family court benches have individualized approaches in how to calculate any portion of income considered. However, if your case provides an example where one parent is clearly less fit or unfit as a parent, this will be promptly addressed with the Court in order to protect the safety and well-being of your client while with the unfit parent.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support in New York State is now identified as spousal “maintenance,” which used to be known as “alimony.” The New York Domestic Relations Law APPLIES various calculations BASED ON parties’ incomes TO ESTABLISH spousal support.

The most general approach to determining whether you are a candidate to receive spousal support or if you may have to pay spousal support is based upon your previous year’s income and who is determined as the substantial “monied spouse.”

The duration of spousal support is also generally based upon the duration of your marriage. However, many factors are taken into consideration when determining any award or duration of spousal maintenance. The first question is, “how long will it take for the non-monied spouse to become self-supporting?”

Dividing Assets in Divorce

Assets can be divided in a variety of ways. The most simple approach is to divide each marital asset 50/50 one by one. However, in dividing assets, parties will often off-set one asset against another SO that the relative value of an item wanted by one party is offset by a different item wanted by the other party—Let’s make a deal. A skilled advocate in asset division is important as it relates to the valuations of the assets and some assets include the sale and dividing of monies upon the sale.

Divorce Process

The divorce process in New York State begins by filing a Summons with Notice and obtaining an Index Number. That Index Number will be assigned to your matter for the entirety of the case.

After filing the action with the county clerk in the county that you reside (though there are some exceptions to this rule), the Summons with Notice will be personally served upon your spouse. At this time, the parties will advise if they are able to keep the divorce process outside of court and in an amicable fashion, or if the matter remains as contested, then court intervention will be immediately filed.

How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?

The divorce process takes as fast or as slow as the two parties engaged in the process. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the Courts do not intervene or object to two parties entering into agreements regarding all elements of divorce. In that case, an agreement can be drafted, signed, and submitted to Court as fast as 30 days. However, many divorces average approximately one year, with some exceptions lasting years in litigation.

Divorce Stipulations

Stipulations of Settlement, Settlement Agreements, Post-Nuptial Agreements, are all contracts that can identify and acknowledge the intent of the parties to enter into a binding contract as it relates to their divorce.

There are many formalities of divorce stipulations that require the assistance of legal counsel. A divorce stipulation simply identifies the intentions of the parties as it relates to their custody and parenting time agreement, their intentions of dividing their assets/debts, in addition to many other ancillary issues that are resolved pursuant to divorce agreements.

Order of Protection

In New York State, if you have a family relationship or close relationship with an another party whom commits a family offense against you, then you’re entitled to seek a New York Order of Protection from the Family Court or Supreme Court.

The enumerated list of family offenses are as follows:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • harassment in the first or second degree
  • aggravated harassment in the second degree
  • assault in the second or third degree
  • criminal mischief
  • sexual abuse in the second or third degree
  • strangulation
  • menacing in the second or third degree
  • reckless endangerment
  • stalking; attempted assault
  • sexual misconduct; forcible touching
  • criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation
  • identity theft in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree
  • grand larceny in first, second, third, or fourth degree
  • coercion in 2nd degree
  • Unlawful dissemination or publication of intimate image(s)

Father’s rights

Fathers have EQUAL rights as parents to children. The modern trend of Father’s rights in New York Courts give Fathers equal opportunities for custody relative to Mothers or the other parent. The main factors for custody is no longer influenced by gender, and as such, many Fathers who provide emotional stability, financial support, and an overall better quality of life for their child(ren) have been awarded custody by the New York Courts.

My Priority is to Get You The Best Possible Outcome

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any marital or family issues you may have going on. During my free consultation, I will gladly discuss your concerns, explain how I can help you, and provide a best strategy to approach your unique situation.

Very truly yours,
Samantha R. Gellman-Carollo, Esq.