Buffalo Divorce Lawyers
Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Buffalo, NY
Marriage is one of the most hallowed and revered institutions in our society. Yet, many marriages fail to survive and sometimes result in a divorce. Most statistics show that 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the US end in divorce. Because a marriage is a legal contract, you cannot end a marriage “outside” of the law. Because the law views a married couple as one legal entity, things can get especially complicated when trying to separate two individuals’ legal and property interests, and even more complicated when children are involved.
When couples aren’t in a great frame of mind for communicating, divorce proceedings could spiral into long and costly battles. Even if a divorce is amicable, it will involve complicated legal considerations and important decisions that will affect both parties for many years to come. The experienced divorce lawyers at Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner, & Gambino, P.C., can help you no matter how friendly or hostile your situation might be.
Are you and your spouse considering a legal separation or divorce? Are you seeking Buffalo divorce lawyers you can trust to guide you through what can be a stressful and emotional process?
Let our Buffalo divorce lawyers help set your mind at ease.
We’ll make sure that you feel at home with our helpful lawyers and support staff. Our clients appreciate our promise of experience, integrity, and personal service as we resolve divorce and family law issues. You should be able to go about the usual aspects of your life, free from worrying about contested issues and the cost of legal services.
Contact our Buffalo divorce lawyers today. We have multiple offices in the Western New York area, including Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Hamburg, Batavia, and Niagara Falls. Choose the one most convenient for you and set up a consultation when it fits your schedule.
New York Legal Separation Lawyers — Experience, Integrity and Personal Service
One of our first duties to you is to clear up any misgivings or misconceptions you might be bringing to the separation and divorce process. Our goal is to explain the law to you and make a plan to achieve the best result possible, as quickly as possible.
Before you move forward into the process, it might help to educate yourself about some of the basics of asset distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support.
What Is a Divorce?
A divorce is the legal process by which a couple ends their marriage. Because of the legal status marriage enjoys, only a court order can end it. Generally speaking, the spouse who starts the divorce is the plaintiff, while the other spouse is the defendant.
Where to Get a Divorce
A large number of divorces occur in court. The New York Supreme Court is the specific court that will oversee and grant a divorce. Specifically, New York residents will need to file for divorce in the county in which they reside. For Buffalo residents, it will be the Erie County Supreme Court.
It may surprise you to know that New York’s Family Courts do not grant divorces. Rather, Family Courts usually deal with family law issues, such as child support, visitation rights, spousal support (also called maintenance), child custody, and paternity issues.
Depending on how cooperative the couple will be during the divorce, divorce mediation or collaborative law could be options. However, these out-of-court methods are not suitable for all divorces, especially those that involve abuse. These are also not suitable for spouses who are unwilling to compromise and work together to complete the divorce.
Requirements to Get a Divorce
Someone filing for divorce must meet two requirements before the proceedings can begin. First, the couple must meet the residency requirement. In order to get a divorce in New York, the couple must have lived in New York for at least one year, without interruption. If only one spouse lives in New York, the residency time period extends to two years.
Second, there should be grounds for divorce. New York recognizes the following as grounds for divorce:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Prison confinement that exceeds three or more consecutive years
- Legal separation
- Irretrievable breakdown lasting at least six months (also referred to as a “no fault” divorce)
The no fault divorce option is relatively recent, only allowed in New York since 2010. One reason it’s popular as a grounds for divorce is that neither spouse must prove the other spouse did anything wrong. This makes things more amicable and can help keep costs down.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
A divorce is “contested” when:
- One of the spouses does not want to get a divorce.
- The couple disagree as to why a divorce should be granted.
- The couple disagrees as to how their finances, property and child responsibilities should be divided among them.
A divorce is “uncontested” when:
- Both spouses want the divorce, and
- Both spouses agree on how their finances, property and child responsibilities should be handled.
Issues Decided During a Divorce
The primary purpose of the court is to grant the divorce. Only when a judge issues an order dissolving the marriage is the divorce official. However, couples don’t necessarily need the court to resolve the other issues that accompany a divorce, such as the division of marital property, child custody, and spousal support. The reason the court is often involved in these issues is because couples often disagree about resolving them.
Divorce vs. Annulment
A divorce ends a valid marriage, while an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid in the first place.
In order to get an annulment, a spouse has to prove at least one of the following:
- One spouse was currently married to another individual at the time of marriage.
- The marriage was entered into by force or duress.
- One spouse became incurably insane for a period of five years or more.
- The agreement to get married was made through fraud.
- One spouse was mentally incapable of understanding the consequences of marriage.
Contact Our Buffalo Divorce Lawyers for Guidance
If you’re going through a divorce, you need experienced legal counsel. Even if you’re in full agreement with your spouse as to the terms of the divorce and want to utilize mediation or collaborative law, you should still at least consult with an experienced attorney to discuss all your legal options and answer any questions you’re bound to have.
We offer flexible meeting schedules, return after-hours communications promptly, and can access Spanish language interpretation if necessary. You can trust our law firm’s reputation for attentive personal service.
Contact Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C., online or call us to arrange your initial consultation with one of our Buffalo divorce lawyers. We welcome the opportunity to serve you.
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“Extremely professional, knowledgeable, and ethical firm. All my questions were answered almost immediately and I never felt like “just a number.” They truly care about their clients.”
– Julie Momot
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