The Cost Of Divorce Lawyers In New York
For the majority of people who seek legal help when theyre getting divorced, attorneys fees represent the most significant divorce-related expense. Nearly eight in ten New York readers had legal help with their divorces, and the vast majority of those readers hired whats known as a full-scope attorneymeaning the lawyer handled everything in the divorce case, from start to finish. So we focused our analysis of divorce costs on the two components of attorneys fees for full-scope representation: the lawyers hourly rate and how the hours add up in typical divorces.
New York Divorce: How Much Does It Cost How Long Does It Take
On average, New York divorce lawyers charge between $305 and $380 per hour.
TYPICAL TOTAL FEES
Average total costs for divorce lawyers range from $13,000 to $16,000 but tend to be lower in cases with no contested issues and no trial.
If youre a New York resident heading for a divorce, youre probably wondering how expensive it will be and how long it will take before you can get the final divorce decree. To learn more about the cost and duration of divorce in New York, we conducted a survey of readers who recently went through the process. We also studied data that New York family law attorneys reported about their fees and billing practices. Heres what we found out after comparing and analyzing the results.
What Are The Steps For An Uncontested Divorce In New York
The general process starts with the plaintiff filing a summons in the Supreme Court. Its the Supreme Court in New York. Theres a New York Supreme Court in all 62 counties in the state.
The Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction. It is the only court that has the authority to grant you a divorce. Some states call it Family Court. Some states have a combined Family Court and Supreme Courttype court for divorces and other Family Court matters for people that are not married.
In New York, there are separate courts. The Family Court does not have anything to do with divorce.
Your summons is filed with the county clerk and you pay a fee of $210. That purchases your index number. That gives the case a number. In some states, its called a docket number. Overall, an uncontested divorce costs at least $335 in total court and filing fees.
Then, if youre the spouse who filed, you have to serve the summons on your spouse who now becomes the defendant. You have 120 days to do so. However, most people serve it right away. And it has to be done in-hand, through personal service. You cannot mail it or put it on your spouses door. It has to be done by a person whos not a party to the divorce and is over 18. People generally use a process server or a friend.
The person who serves the papers on defendant must fill out the Affidavit of Service and return it to the plaintiff signed and notarized. This is proof that the papers were delivered to the defendant properly.
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Hourly Rates For New York Divorce Lawyers
Because divorce lawyers almost always charge by the hour, your lawyers hourly rate will be the first building block of your total costs. The New York lawyers in our study reported their minimum and maximum hourly rates what they charge any individual client would fall in that range. Across the state, the average minimum was $305 per hour, while the average maximum was $380 an hour.
These figures are higher than the national average rates for family lawyers and significantly higher than the rates in midwestern and southern states. New Yorks statewide averages are likely a reflection of the large number of attorneys in our study from the greater New York City metropolitan area, where hourly rates were among the highest in the nation. If you live in a small town , you may find that family lawyers charge lower-than-average rates.
Along with location, the level of attorneys’ experience also impacts how much they charge per hour. Our study showed that average hourly rates steadily climb in tandem with accumulated years of practice. However, that doesnt necessarily translate into a larger total bill depending on the particulars of your case, it might take less time for an experienced specialist to resolve problems than it would for a lawyer who is new to family law practice.
What Things Affect How Much A Divorce Will Cost
Things that can affect how much your divorce will cost in New York will be dependent on many factors:
- Is your divorce uncontested or contested?
- Is your divorce a no-fault divorce, or do you have grounds?
- Do you have substantial assets that need to be divided?
- Do you have children?
- Have you agreed on things like property division, child custody, alimony, and other matters?
- Can these things be negotiated or mediated, or will they need to be resolved in court?
- What attorney fees can you expect to pay your New York City divorce attorney?
Because your divorce attorney will be charging by the hour, the amount of time he or she will need to devote to your matter will have a significant effect on how much your divorce will cost. Consequently, the more issues you and your spouse can agree upon or whether your matter will need substantial negotiation or ultimately be decided by the court factors into how much you can expect to pay your attorney.
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A Guide To Uncontested Divorce In New York
Survive Divorce is reader-supported. Some links may be from our sponsors. Heres how we make money.
If you and your spouse can agree to move forward with an uncontested divorce in New York, youll save a lot of time, money, stress and aggravation.
But what exactly is an uncontested divorce? And what does the process entail?
I sat down with New York family law attorney Robert Pollack to discuss exactly what you need to know if you decide to go this route.
Lets get started.
How Much Can A Divorce Cost In New York
One of the most common questions asked by clients who are considering a divorce is how much it will cost. And while it is a very valid question, New York City divorce lawyers understand that the answer isnt a simple one.
Divorces, like the couples who file for them, are highly diverse, with many unique issues. So how much it will cost one couple to divorce will be very different from what it will cost another couple to divorce, depending on these unique aspects.
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Extra Divorce Submitting Prices
When youre DIY-ing your divorce, the submitting charges are the one submitting prices youll encounter. In different conditions, you may discover them itemized in your total invoice.
This will really be a very good factor. Some legislation corporations invoice at a decrease fee for work that their paralegals can deal with, together with the preparation and submitting of your divorce paperwork.
Youll additionally need to look out for related data in case youre working with a web based service. Typically their marketed fee solely covers filling out the varieties, however youll be accountable for submitting and serving them your self.
Inability To Work Together
If the spouses are unable to cohesively collaborate on solving key issues, then the resolution process simply is taken out of their control and into the hands of a judge, which not only increases the amount of time the divorce process will take, but also increases the amount of money you will have to pay your attorneys for court appearances, document preparation, and more.
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Child Custody Issues In A New York Divorce Case
Custody issues will arise if you and your spouse have minor children. The two main issues here will be:
- How the children will divide their time between the parents, and
- Who will make legal decisions concerning the children.
The procedure for determining custody will be relatively straight forward if you and your spouse have an agreement on how to handle custody issues. In such cases, the judge will likely approve your agreement and include it in the divorce order, unless it’s not within the best interests of the child.
If, however, you and your spouse don’t agree on custody, the judge will hear arguments from both sides and decide the issue based on the best interests of the child.
Bifurcation Of Marital Status
Bifurcation means that both parties in a divorce can legally declared as a single person while the other issues in their divorce are still being worked out. It does not affect things such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or other contentious issues that may have stalled or become major sticking points that are keeping the divorce from being finalized.
Bifurcation of marital status is generally not granted in New York except for compelling reasons. Part of the reason bifurcation is frowned upon is that it can result in two trials instead of one and it also removes any sense of urgency in resolving economic issues because incentives for settlements are removed. Couples must consider that they will have to pay court costs and attorneys fees for two trials instead of one when considering a bifurcation action.
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How Long Does An Uncontested Divorce Take In Ny
If theres an attorney involved, it could be quite a few months before your file is complete and ready to go into court. But once its submitted to the court, in my county, which is Nassau County on Long Island, it generally takes two to three months for a divorce to become final.
But some other counties such as Queens County, which is part of New York City, take nine months to a year. It all depends upon the county that you submit in, the number of cases that they have pending, and the number of judges available to deal with uncontested divorces.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Ny
As of August 15, 2010, New York Divorce Law has changed. A person is now entitled to allege that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months and that person can then obtain a divorce. For more information about how the change in the law might affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact our firm today.
The other six grounds for divorce in New York include:
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The Uncontested Divorce Process
Even though an uncontested divorce in New York is quicker than a contested divorce, it is still a long and sometimes complicated process with a lot of paperwork. Luckily, all of the necessary forms with step-by-step instructions are available online from the New York State courts. Or, you can use a DIY service like DivorceNet’s Online Divorce, which fills out the forms for you. The basic steps are as follows.
Prepare your paperwork. The first step in obtaining your uncontested divorce in New York is to prepare your forms, including the Summons, Verified Complaint, and Settlement Agreement. If you have minor children, you must complete additional paperwork concerning child support and custody. For more information and the full list of forms, see the New York Courts website.
Purchase an index number. Next, purchase an “index number” at County Clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse lives. You must add the index number to your Summons and Verified Complaint.
Send the forms to your spouse. You must provide copies of the paperwork to your spouse, along with an Affidavit of the Defendant. If your spouse signs the Affidavit, the case can move forward. If your spouse doesn’t return the signed Affidavit of Defendant to you, you will have to serve your spouse, meaning someone other than you must hand your spouse the papers. Whoever serves your spouse has to fill out an Affidavit of Service.
How To File A Divorce In New York
Want to get divorced in New York? Find out the residency requirements, procedures, and what to expect regarding property division, alimony, child custody and support.
Whether you live in New York or elsewhere, divorce for any married couple will accomplish two things: severing the marital relationship, and dividing assets and debts. If one of them will be unable to be self-supporting after the divorce, the issue of alimony may arise. If there are minor children, they will also need to resolve issues of child custody and support.
Residency and Where to File
To file for divorce in New York, one of the following situations must exist:
- both parties are New York residents, and the cause of the divorce arose in the state,
- one party is a resident for at least 1 year, and the cause of the divorce arose in the state,
- one party is a resident for at least 1 year, and the parties were married in the state,
- one party is a resident for at least 1 one year, and the parties have resided in the state as husband and wife, or
- either party is a resident of New York for at least 2 years.
You may file in the Supreme Court in the county where either party resides.
Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for divorce are legally recognized reasons to get a divorce. New York has what are commonly called no-fault grounds, and several traditional fault-based grounds. To get a no-fault divorce in New York, you need to state in the Complaint for Divorce one of the following:
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How A Lot Does The Common Divorce Value In New York
So, youve heard the elements that may impression the price of your divorce, however what are people paying to separate up in your house state? Total, the common value of a New York divorce is about $17,100.
Nonetheless, you already know its much more sophisticated than that. An uncontested divorce will run you about $5500 on common, whereas litigation prices common a whopping $50,000!
Serve The Forms To Your Spouse
You must ensure that your spouse knows of the divorce case. Thus, you need to make sure they get all the divorce papers in person. This process is known as service. Service must be done within 120 days of the filing date.
Note that you, personally, can’t serve your spouse. Rather, you must assign another person who is a resident of New York and who is at least 18 years old to serve your spouse.
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Whats The Difference Between A Contested Divorce And An Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will decide on all issues such as child custody, child parenting time or visitation, child support, alimony, division of assets such as a house, and pensions or other retirement accounts.
Your agreement will also cover the allocation of debt between the two of you, healthcare insurance, what happens with large assets like cars, and well as car insurance. Pretty much anything that arises out of your marriage has to be resolved.
But several of these issues dont apply in some marriages.
For example, if you were in a short-term marriage, where youre young, or just made a mistake, theres very little in the way of marital issues to be decided, except for the fact that youre married and want to dissolve that union.
If you have no children, and you havent been married very long, even if both spouses have significantly different salaries, there probably wont be an issue of alimony.
But if youre involved in a contested divorce, thats a whole different story. That is a divorce where you cant resolve one or more issues. When theres not complete agreement, theres no settlement agreement, which is the basis for an uncontested divorce.
If theres no settlement agreement, you have a contested divorce. When all issues are resolved, then an agreement can be signed. At that point, it converts back to an uncontested divorce.
Grounds For A Ny Divorce
The fault grounds for divorce in New York include:
- Abandonment a year or more
- Imprisonment for 3 years or more
- Cruelty or inhuman treatment like physical or mental abuse
In the case of a no-fault divorce, there is no need to assign any blame on your spouse and there is no need to give a specific reason for the breakup.
No fault New York divorce can be based on any of the grounds as follows:
- Your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown for at least 6 months i.e. your spouse and you cannot get along any more.
- Living separately and apart for a year or more after a judgment of legal separation.
- Living separately and apart for a year or more after a separation agreement.
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Child Support In New York
Child support ensures the children’s financial well-being is protected after the divorce. If the parents agree on child support payments, they just have to submit the agreement for the court’s approval. The court will generally accept their agreement as long as certain requirements are met.
If the parties don’t agree, the court will use the state’s child support guidelines to determine child support.
Total Typical Cost Of A Divorce Lawyer In New York
Of course, your lawyers hourly rate is only part of the divorce cost picture. To get an idea of typical total bills, we analyzed the combined data in our reader survey and attorney survey. This analysis showed that, on average, the total cost of a full-scope divorce attorney in New York ranges from $13,000 to $16,000 .
Of course, those are just averages. The contested issues in your divorce will be a big factor in determining your costs .
In addition, your costs will probably be lower if you hire a consulting attorney . However, its clear that not many people feel comfortable going through a divorce with this limited legal assistance only 10% of New York readers used consulting attorneys.
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