Family and Marriage Law Lerner Law Syracuse, New York

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What Is It?

There are several legally recognized ways to end a marriage including: annulment, separation agreement followed by a conversion divorce, mediation leading to a separation agreement and a conversion divorce, Collaborative Divorce, and divorce litigation. Despite its economic and emotional cost, divorce litigation remains the best known and most often used method of ending a marriage.

One spouse commences a legal action (lawsuit) against the other alleging that legal grounds exist for ending the marriage. The parties then go through a Court supervised process of disclosing their financial condition (assets and liabilities) and either negotiating a mutually agreeable division of the marital property, or presenting evidence in a trial before a judge regarding what the distribution of property should be. If there are minor children, the parties may also agree or litigate issues of child custody, visitation schedules and child support.

If the parties don’t agree on all issues, there is a trial, and the judge decides unresolved matters, including, whether there are adequate legal grounds for ending the marriage, what is an equitable distribution of the marital property, and/or what the child custody, visitation and support arrangements will be and then issues a Decree of Divorce ending the marriage relationship.

Divorce Litigation is for...

Situations where one spouse resists ending the marriage;
Where the parties can’t or won’t communicate or negotiate with each other;
Where there is concern about incomplete disclosure of financial condition
Where there are conflicting, fixed views on child custody, visitation and/or support;
Where one or both of the parties want their day in Court and to make a public record concerning their marital situation;
Where negotiations between the parties on the terms of their separation, or their efforts at a Collaborative Divorce breakdown.
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