Most are familiar with Contested Divorce, where the parties go to the Supreme Court, the trial court in New York State, and litigate. Ultimately the court decides all of the issues in the divorce. This is often the most expensive and the most contentious path, though in some instances where the parties simply cannot agree at all, it is the only path available. We will try to reach a fair settlement in your case during the litigation process to avoid the time, emotional toll, and costs of litigation.
We thoroughly educate our clients at each step of the process so that together we can make the best decisions. We will help you obtain copies of all important documents, such as tax returns, W2s, 1099s, recent pay stubs, loan documents, wills, trusts, bank and brokerage statements, credit card statements, property tax statements, social security reports, credit reports, business ownership documents, real estate deeds and appraisals, mortgage statements, recent utility and household bills, car registrations, and more. We suggest clients make an inventory and perhaps take photos of valuable household items such as jewelry, artwork, antiques, furniture, as well as any sentimental items.
We frequently discuss issues such as strategies regarding the sale of a home. While many clients may wish to stay in the family home and buy out their spouse’s interest, before making this decision we will consider the present assessed value of the home, the carrying costs of the home including mortgage, taxes, and maintenance.
Another important example of the services we provide relates to the equitable distribution of assets. It is important to recognize that all assets are not created equal. Certain assets that may appear on the surface to have equal value ultimately receive tax treatment that is vastly different – making their valuation in a divorce proceeding more complex. For example, two IRA accounts, each with $200,000 balances, may have very different values. If one is a traditional IRA, distributions must start no later than age 72 and all withdrawals will be subject to taxation at ordinary income rates. If the other IRA is a ROTH IRA, there is no time frame when withdrawals must begin, but when they do, they are tax-free. We will help you coordinate with your accountant on matters such as these.
Another important consideration is health insurance. If you and/or your children have been covered by a policy where your spouse is the primary insured, your children may have the ability to continue their coverage under the present policy, however you likely will need to make other arrangements for your coverage at some point. We will advise you to look into all available options, including coverage from your own employer (if you are employed), COBRA coverage, which allows you to continue your current coverage for a period of time, and the health insurance exchange available in your state under the Affordable Care Act.
We have over three decades of trial experience with divorce cases and stand ready to represent your interests in a matrimonial trial or related proceeding.