New York Divorce FAQs

Are you wondering how to get a divorce in New York? At Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C., keeping our clients well-informed is a top priority. For your benefit, we have assembled the following list of frequently asked questions and answers:

More than 40 years of combined experienced in matrimonial law

Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C. has the skill and knowledge to assist you with whatever divorce-related issue you face. To reserve a consultation to discuss your case, call us today at 718.717.1005 or contact us online.


What do I bring with me to my initial consultation?

When you arrive at Coffinas & Lusthaus, you are asked to fill out a client intake sheet. If you would like to get a head start on filling out this form, you can download a copy of it here and bring it with you on the date of your consultation. Some of the items may not be relevant to your situation. Please fill out the form to the best of your ability and we can review it with you in person.

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Does it matter which lawyer provides my consultation?

Sometimes clients request to work with a specific divorce attorney. Other times, clients come to us based on a referral to the firm in general. Whatever your situation, you should feel confident about the fact that the attorneys work together on every matter. It doesn't matter which lawyer you see for your initial consultation, because you get the knowledge and experience of both.

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What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

New York is now a no-fault divorce state. This means that you can get divorced on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably brokendown.

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How long does it take to get a court date or to have my case fully resolved?

Every case is unique. The answer depends on the county and court in which you file and the reasonableness (or lack thereof) of all parties involved. Usually, we can provide you with a fair estimate at the consultation.

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How do I make an appointment for a consultation?

Call the law firm at 718.717.1005 now to receive sound advice on filing for divorce in New York.

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How long does an uncontested divorce take in New York?

The length of time it takes to finalize an uncontested divorce is based primarily on two factors: how busy the court is and how fast your spouse can return the necessary documents to you. Some uncontested divorces are resolved as quickly as six weeks, while others can take six months or more.

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Can my spouse be forced to move out of the home once I start the divorce action?

In many divorce cases, after papers are served, one party or the other will find other accommodations outside the primary residence. But when both spouses insist they have the right to the primary residence, the situation gets very stressful and uncomfortable. In order to have the court compel your spouse to leave, there is a very high standard of proof which is often times difficult but not impossible to make out. At your initial consultation, we can analyze your particular situation and discuss with you the options to get your spouse removed from the home. In addition, we can discuss with you the likelihood of your receiving sufficient interim support so that you can move out of the house if your spouse continues to fail to do so. It is important to see a qualified divorce attorney before you take any steps.

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How does my spouse's bad behavior during the marriage impact the divorce action?

If your spouse's bad behavior fits the grounds for divorce (see above), you can file for divorce on those grounds. It's not necessary, since New York has adopted “irretrievable breakdown” as a standard, but it might give you some feeling of vindication. If your spouse's bad behavior was financial, leading to a dissipation of your common assets, the court could decide to award you a greater share of your marital property during the equitable distribution process. Bad behavior of a spouse that indicates poor parenting skills can also impact child custody disputes.

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What should I do if I was served with a summons for divorce?

If you’re like most spouses, you probably feel hurt, angry and confused. Having good information about New York divorce law and the process can help settle your nerves and start you on a positive path toward your future. You have a limited time after service of divorce papers to file an answer with the court. If you fail to answer, you face a default judgment, which would almost certainly favor your spouse. So, schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

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Is it true that the mother always gets custody of children unless she is unfit?

No. New York custody law is gender neutral. The court will look at a number of factors, including availability, history of caregiving, parenting skills and even the preferences of the child (depending on age and maturity), but gender is not an issue.

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Can I remain on my spouse’s health insurance policy after the divorce is finalized?

Most insurance policies do not allow ex-spouses to continue with coverage. This is one reason some couples opt for legal separation, which gives them many of the legal protections of divorce, but does not formally dissolve the marriage. At your consultation, we can discuss with you options for medical insurance post-divorce, including the possibility of COBRA coverage or a State supplement plan such as Healthy New Yorker.

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How can I hire an attorney to represent me if my spouse controls all of our money?

New York law recognizes that you are entitled to a fair share of your marital property during the divorce process; the court should not allow your controlling spouse to have an unfair advantage. C&L has leveled the playing field in numerous cases, most notablyobtaining an order for temporary spousal support in excess of $30k per month plus legal fees.

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What happens when my spouse fails to comply with a court order?

A court order has the force of law behind it, so if your spouse refuses to abide by the terms, you can ask the court to enforce the order. Upon hearing the facts, the court can find your spouse has violated the terms and is in contempt of court. Depending on the specifics of the order, remedies can include incarceration, fines, wage garnishment and the seizure of assets, such as bank funds, tax refunds and lottery winnings. We have been successful in seeking incarceration of spouses in willful violation of a court order.

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