New York Divorce Law: Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga Region, and the entire Capital District

The decision to end their marriage is among the most serious a couple could ever have to make. The legal and financial implications of divorce are quite complex, especially in New York. It’s highly advisable that both spouses retain the services of an experienced attorney knowledgeable about divorce law. The attorneys of Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, provide sound legal advice to residents of the Albany, Schenectady, and Saratoga region, as well as the surrounding communities in Upstate New York. If you are considering a divorce, contact our law firm to learn more about the process, including the grounds for divorce, the division of marital property (equitable distribution), and the collaborative divorce alternative.

Grounds for Divorce
Equitable Distribution / Property Distribution
Collaborative Divorce

Grounds for Divorce

To obtain a divorce in New York, a couple must meet certain residency requirements which need to be set forth in a divorce complaint. They must also set forth their “grounds for divorce,” which are the justifications that a husband or wife claim for filing a divorce action. Although residents of other states have for some time been able to assert no-fault grounds for divorce (e.g., incompatibility or irreconcilable differences), New York had not implemented the no-fault option. This has now changed. Effective with actions commenced on or after October 12, 2010, a divorce can be granted where the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. Aside from this new no-fault grounds for divorce, most of the other grounds require one spouse to prove marital misconduct on the part of the other to obtain a divorce. The spouse filing the divorce papers must prove that his or her spouse did one of the following:

  • Committed adultery
  • Subjected his or her spouse to cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandoned his or her spouse for one year or longer - either literally or sexually
  • Was imprisoned for three years or longer subsequent to the marriage

A no-fault divorce in New York can also be brought on the grounds that the parties have lived separate and apart for more than one year following execution of a written and filed Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement establishes arrangements for child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance, and also deals with equitable distribution of property and other financial issues.

Equitable Distribution / Property Distribution

Equitable distribution is the method that most states, including New York, use to divide the property of a divorcing couple. Instead of splitting the marital or "community" property of the couple equally after they divorce, equitable distribution considers many factors before divvying up the property. "Property" refers to real estate, bank accounts, retirement savings, pensions, businesses, enhanced earning capacity and other assets that the couple acquired during marriage. The court will evaluate multiple factors when determining the distribution of a couple’s property, including:

  1. The income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action;
  2. The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
  3. The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects;
  4. The loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution;
  5. The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage;
  6. Any award of maintenance under subdivision six of this part;
  7. Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party;
  8. The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
  9. The probable future financial circumstances of each party;
  10. The impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
  11. The tax consequences to each party;
  12. The wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse;
  13. Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
  14. Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.

If there has been egregious fault, a court may award a larger portion of the marital assets to the wronged spouse. Equitable distribution also applies to any debts that the couple has acquired during their marriage. To learn more about equitable distribution and marital property rights, please contact the Glenville office of Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP. Serving Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, the Capital District, and surrounding communities, our divorce law firm will help you reach a financial settlement with your spouse that is fair and reasonable.

Collaborative Divorce

GTD Law partner Jenifer M. Wharton has been specially trained to represent participants in a collaborative divorce, which is a form of alternative dispute resolution. A wife and husband who enter into a collaborative divorce agree that they will work cooperatively - with the assistance of their attorneys - to negotiate a settlement that suits both parties' interests. Collaborative divorce participants pledge to be courteous, forthcoming with their financial information, and respectful of one another, especially in front of their child(ren). The attorneys also sign an agreement that they will not initiate litigation on behalf of their collaborative divorce clients, which encourages negotiated resolutions by the parties and their attorneys.

New York Divorce Law - Contact Our Glenville Firm

Please fill out the form on this page if you'd like to meet with our divorce law attorneys to discuss the division of your marital property or your rights to equitable distribution. Our Glenville office serves Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga, and the Capital District of New York.