Divorce Law
Criminal Defense & Family Law | New York

Divorce Law in New York

Going through a divorce is not easy, but with an experienced family lawyer on your side; your case can be resolved as quickly and smoothly as possible. The Law Offices of Racquel A. Cousins, Esq. is an established New York family law firm that is here to help you learn about and protect your rights while going through a divorce or legal separation process. Before commencing divorce proceedings in New York you must satisfy residency requirements and satisfy one of the grounds for divorce (“Grounds means a legal reason for the divorce.

What are the Residency Requirements for obtaining a divorce in New York?

In order to be granted a divorce the residency requirements must be met. To file for a divorce in New York you must satisfy one of the following residency requirements:

  • You or your spouse must have been living in New York State for a continuous period of at least two (2) years immediately before the date you start your divorce action; OR
  • You or your spouse must have been living in New YorkState on the date you start your divorce action and for a continuous period  of at least one(1) year immediately before the date you start the divorce action, and at least one of the following must also be true:

a)      Your marriage ceremony was performed in New York State; OR

b)      You lived in New York State with your spouse as husband and wife; OR 

  • Your or your spouse must have been living in New YorkState for a continuous period of at least one (1) year immediately before the date you start your divorce action and your grounds for divorce must have happened in New YorkState.
  • You and your spouse must be residents of New YorkState (no matte how long) on the date you start your divorce action and your grounds for divorce must have happened in New YorkState.

What are the Grounds for obtaining a Divorce in New York?

A divorce in New York can be granted on either no-fault or fault-based grounds.

No-fault Divorce:

Couples can get a “no-fault” divorce if at least one party states under oath that the parties agree that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably” for a period of no less than six months prior to the commencement of the divorce proceedings); (however no judgment of divorce shall be granted under this subdivision unless and until the economic issues of equitable distribution of marital property, the payment or waiver of spousal support, the payment of child support, the payment of counsel and experts’ fees and expenses as well as the custody and visitation with the infant children of the marriage have been resolved by the parties, or determined by the court and incorporated into the judgment of divorce. This ground appeals to parties seeking a divorce because it avoids assigning the blame for the demise of the marriage on any one party. Attorney Cousins can help your no-fault New York case resolve quickly and with as little hassle to you and your loved ones.

Proving fault in a divorce is not always easy, but family law attorney Racquel A. Cousins, is here to help ensure that your rights are protected. Below are the fault-based reasons that couples in New York are permitted to use as grounds for the action:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
  • Abandonment – physical or sexual
  • Imprisonment
  • Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement
  • Living separate and apart  pursuant to a separation judgment or decree

What are the Laws Regarding Legal Separation in New York?

Deciding to do a legal separation is an alternative to a divorce if you are not entirely ready to dissolve your marriage.  A legal separation entails physically separating form your spouse and setting down a written agreement resolving the issues of custody, child support, who resides in the marital residence and other financial matters relevant to the marriage.  If you are contemplating get a legal separation done the Law Offices of Racquel A. Cousins can help you establish.

How is Marital Property in a Divorce Distributed in New York?

New York State uses equitable distribution when dividing marital property. As such a clear distinction must be made between what is considered “separate property” and “martial property”.

Separate property is defined as the following:

  • property acquired before the marriage
  • property acquired by bequest, devise, descent (i.e., an inheritance)
  • gifts to one spouse from anyone other than the other spouse. However, it is often disputed whether a gift was to one or both spouses, the latter making it marital property.
  • compensation for personal injury cases, but only that part which constitutes punitive damages and pain and suffering.
  • separate property acquired in exchange for separate property.
  • appreciation of separate property will be considered separate property if the non titled spouse did contribute towards the appreciation.
  • property designated as separate by a validly executed marital agreement as defined in prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Marital property is defined as any property which is not within the definition of separate property, and is any property which is acquired by either party during the marriage, regardless of who actually owns the asset. Thus, a business interest, real estate, bank accounts, pensions, and professional licenses are marital property and are subject to equitable distribution. Likewise, portions of personal injury awards covering lost wages are also marital property, as is appreciation of separate property when the non titled spouse can show contribution towards the appreciation.

Because there are so many details involved in determining how to divide property, it is important to work with an experienced New York family lawyer, like Racquel A. Cousins, to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive your fair share of property and assets in a divorce settlement.

What are the Rules Regarding Maintenance?

In New York, either spouse may be awarded maintenance, also known as spousal support. The court shall examine several factors when determining maintenance, including but not limited to each party’s income, duration of the marriage, lifestyle prior to marriage, tax consequences, whether the spouses have children together, and many other matters. However, when going through a divorce, if you qualify for maintenance, your spouse may not be keen on paying maintenance. So it is very important to hire an attorney who aggressive represent and defend your interests and rights. Working with the Law Offices of Racquel A. Cousins ensures that your right to maintenance is protected and that you receive the full extent of the benefits you deserve.        

If you are considering filing for divorce or legal separation, turn to New York family attorney Racquel A. Cousins today to schedule a consultation to ensure a positive resolution for your case.

Hours of Operation

Monday to Thursday 8:30 - 7:00pm
Fridays 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday Appointments Only

Successful Outcomes

Felony cases dismissed at Grand Jury
  • People v. D. Francis, 2009
  • People v. L. Parker, 2008
  • People v. J. Lenohan, 2006
Cases reduced from felonies to violations.
  • People v. John G., 2008
  • People v. Andrew W., 2009
Speedy Trial dismissals for Felonies
  • People v. Gary. G, 2007
  • People v. Saeed F., 2009
  • People v. William B., 2009
Won Custody Cases
  • White v. Whittaker, 2006
  • Batroni v. Mesidor, 2007
Got Visitation for Fathers
  • Boyce v. Boyce, 2009
  • Aboubacar v. Clerphon, 2008
Child Support Reductions
  • Delorme v. Delorme, 2009
  • Waite v. Boswell, 2009
Obtained Maintenance for Spouses
  • Layne v. Layne, 2007
Return of child to mother in child abuse proceeding
  • Gelin/Child v. Gelin, 2007