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How Is a Contested Divorce Handled in New York?

How Is a Contested Divorce Handled in New York?

There is no disputing the emotional and contentious nature of divorce. Sometimes, the feelings and disagreements involved make it impossible for spouses to effectively work together during the divorce process. In these cases – known as contested divorces– the court must often make the decisions couples simply cannot make on their own.

Regardless of whether you are about to begin an uncontested or contested divorce, you need skilled representation to help you navigate the many challenges and legal hurdles. An experienced divorce lawyer can often find common ground between spouses when the intense emotional and physical strain might be clouding their judgment. This includes matters such as the division of marital property, child custody, and spousal support.

Contested Divorce Process

When a couple fails to reach agreements on key issues, their attorneys may file a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) within 45 days of the initial divorce summons service, or within 120 days if both parties file a Notice of No Necessity.

Next comes a statement of net worth, which provides a full assessment of the couple’s assets and debts. This statement must be submitted within 10 days of the scheduled preliminary conference. This conference must occur within 45 days of the initial RJI filing date. Both parties and their attorneys will attend this conference, during which the judge addresses both sides.

A compliance conference is then scheduled, unless the judge deems it unnecessary based on a compliance agreement filed by the respective sides. If this conference takes place, all parties are expected to attend, and the judge will again address issues with both sides.

The subsequent discovery phase and its findings must be completed within six months of the preliminary conference, unless the judge finds it necessary to shorten or extend the timeframe. Once finished, the divorce trial can commence, also within six months of the preliminary conference date.

How Your Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Contested divorces often become less contested as they progress. Couples sometimes decide arguing over every item is futile, and they may be able to actually work together on some issues. An adept attorney can help identify these areas and work to negotiate a resolution to these disputes, ensuring that not everything will be decided by a judge. In the end, the majority of contested divorces conclude with negotiated settlements.

Contact a New York City Contested Divorce Attorney

The accomplished Brooklyn, NY family lawyers at Goldberg Sager & Associates understand the difficulties that accompany divorce. We will guide you through the process and aggressively pursue the divorce settlement you need. Call us at 718-514-9516 for a free consultation.


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  • Brooklyn Office
    1628 Kings Highway at East 17th Street
    Brooklyn, New York 11229
    Phone: 718-645-6677