Experience. Diligence. Professionalism.

Find Answers To Common Questions About Divorce

If you are facing a divorce, you most likely have a host of questions. From child custody to property division, I receive frequent questions from clients at The Law Office of John J. Leonard. I am New York attorney John J. Leonard and I understand how complex and frustrating family law issues can be. Below, find the answers to some common questions regarding child custody, divorce and related topics.

Does the Family Court handle divorce in New York?

While the Family Court can help you with custody, visitation and child support issues before you file for your divorce, the state Supreme Court is the only court that handles divorce cases.

What does equitable division mean?

New York is an equitable distribution state. That means that the court will divide your marital property in an equitable way. That does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The court applies a long list of factors to determine a fair and reasonable split of the property. You and your spouse can also create your own property division agreement.

Your marital property consists of anything you and your spouse earned or acquired during the marriage. The assets you brought into the marriage, along with a few other items, are your separate property.

Will I have to share my retirement account?

In most cases, the court will consider your retirement assets part of the marital estate. The catch is, only the portion you earned during the marriage is marital property, whereas anything you brought into the marriage is separate property.

If you must divide your 401(k) or certain pensions, you will need to obtain a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) after your divorce is final. This is a separate court order that allows your plan administrator to divide the asset and distribute payments to someone other than you.

What can I do if the other parent violates the custody order?

Whether your ex refuses to return the children to you on time or fails to show up for their time with the kids, such behavior is hurtful to your children and unfair to you. You can begin by working with your lawyer or a mediator to try to work out the problem, but if it keeps happening, you may need to take it a step further and involve the court. You can request a modification to the custody order.

Do we have to go to court?

Not every divorce case is a battle. In fact, many couples are able to work out their own agreement through negotiation or mediation. This is especially helpful for parents who will have to co-parent their children. If you cannot agree on certain matters, however, I will fight for your interests in court.

Bring Your Questions To Me

These are general questions. If you still have questions specific to your case, set up an appointment at my office on Long Island, located in Hampton Bays. You can reach me online or call 888-367-0445 today.