The area of family law encompasses many forms of legal proceedings. It is also involves the preparation of documents designed to avoid domestic conflicts such as prenuptial agreements (executed by the parties prior to marriage) and postnuptial agreements (executed during the course of a marriage). At The Law Offices of Daniel A. Singer PLLC, our New York family attorneys represent clients in matrimonial actions and proceedings in Family Courts as well as prepare prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Matrimonial actions, such as actions for divorce or annulment of the marriage, are typically litigated in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, though aspects of such cases may be relegated to Family Court. With some exceptions, family-related matters which do not stem from a marriage usually proceed in Family Court. Actions which are litigated in Family Court include, by example, custody and visitation proceedings, child support proceedings; and family offense proceedings.
Matrimonial actions are typically commenced in the county where one or both of the parties reside. Both a divorce and an annulment seek the dissolution of the marriage. There are various grounds for divorce under New York law. Unlike a divorce, an annulment treats a marriage as if it never happened. Some marriages are void as a matter of law such as incestuous marriages, bigamous marriages, and those which were not solemnized by a proper official. That is, the law treats them as if they never occurred in the first place. Other marriages are voidable. Voidable marriages include those where one or both of the parties are under the age of 18; one or both of the parties are incapable of consenting to the marriage because of want of understanding; one or both of the parties are physically incapable of performing sexual intercourse and such incapacity pre-dates the marriage; a party’s consent to the marriage was obtained by force, fraud, or duress; or where one of the parties has an incurable mental illness for a period of 5 years or more.
There are many facets to a divorce actions. By example, the parties mush address the distributions of property which accumulated during the course of the marriage. Moreover, the parties must decide and/or a court must determine whether one spouse will provide support payments to the other spouse, referred to as maintenance. If there are children in the marriage, issues of custody and visitation must be determined as does child support. A divorce is referred to as being “uncontested” where both parties agree to the divorce and there is no dispute regarding ancillary issues like child support and the distribution of marital property. Where there is such a dispute, the divorce is referred to as being “contested”.
In order for an action for divorce to be commenced in New York, the parties must meet certain residency requirements. No prior residency in New York is required if both parties are living in New York at the time an action is commenced and the cause of action for divorce arose in New York. A one-year continuous period of residency immediately preceding commencement of the action is required if only one of the parties is a resident of New York at that time as either 1) the parties were married in the state; 2) the parties resided in the state as husband and wife; or 3) the grounds for divorce occurred in the state. Residency by either party for a continuous two-year period immediately preceding the commencement of the action is necessary if there is no other connection between the marriage and New York.
Unlike in matrimonial actions, where all aspects of the familial relationship are handled as part of one action, actions in Family Court are divided into separate proceedings. Child support proceedings, for instance, are handled separately from actions involving the custody and visitation with the children. Other types of proceedings handled in Family Court include, by example, those involving the abuse or neglect of a child; those which seek the termination of a parent’s rights; and those which seek the adoption of a child. They also include paternity proceedings; juvenile delinquency proceedings; and supervision proceedings.
Please contact us today to address your family law matter with a New York family attorney, or click on one of the hyperlinks below to get more information regarding your family law issue.