How Much Does an Divorce in New York Cost?
Getting divorced can be an arduous, painstaking, emotionally trying process. In some situations it involves a worked out, simple, uncontested proceeding. However, there are costs associated with divorce whether your divorce is complex, litigated or uncontested. Lawyers cost money! The expenses involved in a divorce should be one of the factors taken into consideration before you begin the process. Issues such as who gets custody of the children, what type of visitation the non-custodial parent will have, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), division of assets, who gets to live in the house, medical expenses for the children, potential college expenses for the children, are some of the issues which need to be dealt with in a divorce case. The ability of the parents to amicably resolve the numerous issues in the divorce case are a significant factor in how much the divorce will cost.
In uncontested divorces, the parties amicably work out issues involving custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance and division of the marital assets. The legal fees and the court costs involved in these types of divorces can be relatively minimal. They also go through the courts faster and are much less aggravating than contested divorce cases.
Contested Divorce Cases
In contested divorce cases there are many complex issues which need to be dealt with. To start with, the issue is where do the children live and who do they live with? Is sole custody appropriate or is joint custody a better way to go? Who gets to live in the marital residence? How are the assets going to be divided? Will there be enough money available for both parties to live at the standard of living they had previously enjoyed?
In contested divorce cases, the best way to deal with the issues is to try to negotiate out of court settlements and resolutions of these issues. If negotiations fail, there will usually be motion practice which can be described as small battles before the major battle.
Motion practice involves submission of paperwork justifying each party’s position with regard to the relief they are requesting and the judge writing a decision based on the submission. There are numerous types of motions that can be filed. Some motions are done on an emergency basis. There are motions related to temporary child support, temporary spousal maintenance (alimony), temporary custody, payments of expenses to maintain the marital residence, payment of interim attorney’s fees, and other types of motions. The more motions and/or the greater the complexity of the motions adds to the legal costs involved in a divorce proceeding.
In contested divorce cases, there are a potential variety of experts to be utilized. If there is a house, it may need to be appraised by an appraiser. If there is a custody battle, there may be a forensic evaluator appointed to interview the parties and their children and try to report to the court with regard to the issues involving custody and parenting time. If there is a professional practice, and/or a business maintained by one of the parties to the divorce, a forensic accountant may be appointed by the court or hired by the parties to evaluate how much the professional practice or business is worth.
Attorney for the Children
In cases where custody cannot be amicably worked out, the court will usually appoint an attorney to represent the children. In most Supreme Court divorce cases, the parties will bear the cost of this additional, third attorney on the case.
Minimizing Attorney’s Costs and Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck
The best way to minimize the costs of the divorce litigation is to meet with your attorney at the very beginning and lay out a plan as to how the case should be handled. In the event the other side does not cooperate with regard to resolving the matter amicably, litigation will ensue, motion practice may become necessary, and the cost of the divorce will increase.
If you have questions with regard to, or issues related to the costs of the divorce, call us for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 7 days a week. We can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 and 1-800-344-6431.