What to Expect in the Divorce Process

Be prepared and learn what to expect in the divorce process before you start. Contact our Buffalo attorneys for more info and to get started.

First Step in the Divorce Process

  • What to Expect in the Divorce ProcessIf you’re contemplating a divorce, your first goal is to select your attorney.
  • Advice from co-workers, friends, or relatives who might have been through a divorce is of little value, because every situation is unique.
  • Meeting with an attorney ensures that you receive guidance tailored to your situation.
  • For a fee of $150, I offer a consultation which includes a personal meeting during which you will receive an overview of relevant New York State law, guidance in selecting options for how to proceed, and an estimate of the amount of my retainer.
  • That initial fee will probably be the best money you spend because it will give you an opportunity to learn about divorce law and unload some of the stress in your situation.

Divorce Timeline

  • If the spouses are cooperative, their divorce can be completed in a few months.
  • When spouses are completely uncooperative, their divorce may drag on for years.
  • The longer your divorce goes on, the more money it will cost.
  • Based on what might be called a typical case, my practice is able to wrap up most divorces in six to nine months, when both parties are reasonable.
  • The process carries a certain amount of anxiety, but it can be shortened when both sides are willing to move forward toward a resolution.

Grounds for Divorce

  • In New York State, no-fault grounds mean you can get divorced because your marriage has been irretrievably broken for six months.
  • Prior to 2010, when New York State adopted no-fault grounds, people had to base their divorce on specific grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery that could be contested by the other spouse.
  • Today’s no-fault grounds mean that the responding spouse cannot contest the divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce but the other doesn’t, the divorce will happen.
  • Rather than focusing on the grounds for divorce, make plans for moving forward by addressing such issues as children, houses, and money.

What To Bring To A Divorce Consultation

  • When you first meet with your divorce attorney, bring a list of questions. When they come for an initial meeting, many people are often nervous and, although they have a lot of questions, once they arrive, those thoughts may evaporate.
  • If you have access to the prior year’s tax return, bring it with you, along with a recent pay stub if you have one.
  • That first meeting will primarily include a review of your specific situation and any questions you want to ask.
  • You may leave with a list of information to gather, but this initial meeting is essentially an information gathering session that will enable us to set a course for your divorce.

Handling Retirement Plans

  • Retirement plans can be very difficult for lay persons to wrap their heads around.
  • During the course of a long-term marriage, one spouse may acquire substantial retirement benefits through his or her long-term employment and be surprised to learn that they must share that asset with their spouse – even though they were the ones who earned that asset.
  • Retirement assets are divided between the parties in a divorce, and are sometimes the couple’s most valuable asset.
  • There will be some distribution, either in the form of a direct division or as a set-off against another asset.
  • One spouse may have worked and earned that asset but, even if the other spouse didn’t work at all, it will have to be shared.

Are you or your loved one going through the divorce process and want to know what to expect in the divorce process? Contact our Buffalo Divorce Lawyers to schedule a legal consultation and case evaluation and get started on your case today.

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