Attorneys & Counselors at Law
(212) 608-1660
(212) 227-0640

GINSBERG & WOLF, P.C., provides rigourous and zealous legal
representation in the areas of divorce, child custody, visitation,
alimony (maintenance) and child support. We also represent and
provide comprehensive advice to clients seeking to enter into
separation agreements, pre-nuptual agreements and post-nuptual

Below are a few examples of disciplines our firm may handle within the Matrimonial
and/or Family Law Areas of Legal Practice:


•        Pre-nuptial Agreements  
•        Post-Nuptial/Marital Agreements
•        Child Custody Disputes
•        Visitation Disputes
•        Child Support Proceedings
•        Divorce Litigation
•        Equitable Distribution & Maintenance
•        Appellate Practice
•        Separation Agreements
•        Adoptions


Do I Need a "Reason" To Obtain A Divorce in New York? Technically, Yes. The New
York's domestic relations law (DRL), Section 170, sets forth the state's grounds for
divorce. Until 2010, New York was the only remaining state that did not recognize no-
fault divorce.There was a requirement to prove at least one of six grounds for divorce:

(1) abuse or "cruel and inhuman treatment,
(2) abandonment or constructive abandonment (for at least one year),
(3) imprisonment for three consecutive years,
(4) adultery,
(5) the husband and wife have lived apart pursuant to a decree or judgment of
separation for a period of one or more years or (
(6) the husband and wife have lived separate and apart pursuant to a written
agreement of separation for a period of one or more years.

The DRL was amended and New York now has seven grounds for divorce, both fault
and no-fault. However, the fact that you do not need to show "fault" does not
neccessarily mean that you need do not need to show a "reason" or have "grounds for
divorce". The "no fault" ground for divorce states as follows:

    170. Action for divorce. An action for divorce may be maintained by
    a husband or wife to procure a judgment divorcing the parties and
    dissolving the marriage on any of the following grounds:

    (…)* (7) The relationship between husband and wife has broken down
    irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one
    party has so stated under oath. 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 te court and incorporated into the judgment of

On its face, Domestic Relations Law § 170(7) appears to allow the court to grant a
judgment of divorce where one spouse states under oath that the relationship is
irretrievably broken. This construction would eliminate any defenses to this ground.
However, other  jurisdictions which have adopted this ground for a divorce have held
that the defendant can raise the defense that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. In
other states where irretrievable breakdown is a ground for divorce, it has been held that
the court presiding over an action for divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown
has a duty to determine whether the marriage is, in fact, "irretrievably broken". The
recent ruling of an upstate New York Supreme Court judge, in
 Strack v. Strack, has
held that a trial can be required to prove an "irrtrievable breakdown". In addition, the
new ground does not eliminate the five year statute of limitations applicable to divorce
actions. The Domestic Relations Law provides that no action for divorce may be
maintained on a ground which arose more than five years before the date of the
commencement of the action except where abandonment or separation pursuant to
agreement or decree is the ground.

How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Divorce in New York? This depends on the
complexity of your particular case. A simple and uncomplicated uncontested divorce
can be processed by the Supreme Court within approximatelty 60 days. This will vary
depending on the particular venue and the court or judge's backlog. A complex
contested divorce action, which may involve property, custody and support issues, can
take years. Often times, contested matters may be resolved during the course of
litigation with the assistance of mediators, arbitration, judges or an agreement
between the parties. Several factors play a role in the speedy resolution of a divorce
action that was initiated as a "contested matter", including the reasonableness of the
parties involved, the ability and competence of the attorneys on both sides of an action
to determine the merit of their clients positions, the stakes or amount of money
involved, the seriousness of the custody issues involved and the financial resources of
the parties and ability to proceed with trial. As contested divorce matters are expensive
to pursue, you should make sure to retain an attorney that is not overly-zealous and
looking to take your case to trial without considering the possibility of a settlement. This
only benefits the attorney's bank account and is not always in the best interests of a
matrimonial client. Most cases should not proceed to trial because they may involve
simple issues that have initially become complicated by the emotions of the parties
involved in the divorce. Many areas of matrimonial law are "black and white" and the
merit of your position can be determined in advance and the result of your contentions
predicted prior to spending thousands in litigation costs. Even if an attorney on a
particular side of an action does not undertake the responsibility to their client of being
financially efficient, parties will often eventually realize the substantial cost of litigation
and be willing to come to the negotiating table. Thus, in a contested divorce action, the
time frame will depend on you
and your spouse. However, at times, a divorce action,
requiring a trial, and thus years of litigation, may be unavoidable.

How Much Will I Have to Pay in Child Support in New York? Child support in New York
is calculated pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act ("CSSA")
Relations Law §240(1-b) and Family Court Act § 413(1)(b)). Generally, the Court must
order the non-custodial parent to pay his or her pro-rata share of the "basic child
support obligation". The "basic child support obligation" is calculated by multiplying the
"combined parental income" by the applicable "child support percentage." Income" is
defined as "gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent
federal income tax return" less deductions for, inter alia, social security and New York
City and Yonkers income taxes. The "child support percentage" is:

a)17% of the combined parental income for one child;
b)25% of the combined parental income for two children;
c)29% of the combined parental income for three children;
d)31% of the combined parental income for four children; and
e)no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.

The court has discretion to depart from the child support percentages as to those
portions of combined parental income in excess of $130,000.00. In addition to  child
support, the Court can order each parent  to pay his or her pro rata share of support  for
the children's medical insurance, out of pocket medical & dental related expenses, for
educational expenses, child care and the cost of extra-curricular activities. This is
known as "Ad-On Support."


No-Fault Divorce Signed Into Law in NY.  On
July 1, 2010, the NY State Assembly Signed
into Law a No-Fault Divorce Statute
eliminating the requirement to prove fault.
The bill was passed by Governor David
Paterson on August 15, 2010. New York’s
newly implemented no-fault divorce statute
takes effect on October 12, 2010, and it
requires that all financial issues be resolved
prior to the issuance of a divorce judgment.
Click Here for Bloomberg News Article.
Click Here for CBN News Video & Article

New York's No Fault Divorce: Case Requires
Trial Required To Prove Marriage is
"Irretrievably Broken".  
Instead of ending the
need for time-consuming and expensive
trials to prove fault, the case of S
track v.
says that because the new statute
does not explicitly abolish the need for a trial
to determine whether the breakdown of a
marriage is "irretrievable", a party to a
divorce action is entitled to a trial to
determine whether there is a possibility of
Click here to view the
Supreme Court Case of Strack v. Strack.
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FindLaw's Family Law Center. Information &
Resources to Assist With a Family-Related
Legal Issues.

Support  Resource for the
Interpretation and Application of Child Support
Guidelines in the United States

Timeline of a New York Divorce. A Brief Article
Posted on explaining the Divorce
Process or Procedural Steps to Obtaining a
Divorce in New York State.

Ten Things You Need To Do If Divorce Is
Imminent. A List Posted on of
Things to Do if You Are Planning for A Divorce
"Children without fathers, or whose
parents float in and out of their lives
after divorce, are the most precarious
little boats in the most turbulent seas."

- Hillary R. Clinton, It Takes a Village, p.40  
Read Full Disclaimer Notice. Past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in future cases.

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