There are two kinds of divorces – contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot agree about the terms of the divorce, such as dividing the assets, distribution of debts, custody of children, or child support.
On the other hand, in an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about child support or child custody. Thus, generally speaking, an uncontested divorce is usually a quicker process and is less of a financial burden.
A contested divorce case in New York begins when a spouse files a divorce action with the court. That spouse who is bringing the action has 120 days to serve the other spouse, who then has 20 to 30 days to respond. At this point, the process of “divorce discovery” begins where each party may send each other lengthy lists of questions called “interrogatories.” Interrogatories are essentially questions about finances, assets, pensions, and similar financial issues. Through their divorce attorneys, the spouses can also serve notices to show:
– Bank statements
– Credit-card bills
– Tax returns
– Paycheck stubs
The attorneys will then sift through the interrogatory documents and question the spouses under oath, at what is called a “deposition.” A deposition takes place in the presence of a court reporter who later transcribes what was said into a transcript.
Third parties who have relevant information, such as business partners, bookkeepers, and accountants may be questioned at a deposition as well as asked to present discovery documentation. If a third party is non-compliant, they can be served a discovery subpoena.
It is crucial that those contemplating or experiencing divorce understand the full spectrum of the process as a contested divorce could be quite complex. Too often, what starts out as uncontested becomes contested and vice versa, leading the path of divorce to take many turns. Therefore, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney by your side.
In an effort to save time, money, and aggravation, you may realize that working hard to come to an agreement with your spouse may be the best decision for everyone. It is this common goal that is often forgotten by one or both spouses that reaching a fair agreement allows both parties to have the resources necessary to live a post-divorce life.
However, no matter what the circumstances are, having an experienced divorce attorney by your side is crucial to protecting your future. As a divorce attorney who has handled numerous divorce cases, Latonia Early-Hubelbank, Esq. understands that every divorce situation is unique and different. Latonia has been practicing divorce law for over 20 years and she has invaluable insight and experience that helps clients move on with their lives in an efficient and cost-friendly manner, setting themselves up for a happy post-divorce life.
Latonia works with clients to define their objectives, outline the divorce process, and provide experienced opinions as to how the court might rule on specific issues in their case. She always ensures that her clients have a clear understanding of the discovery process and depositions. Before each proceeding, Latonia explains to her clients what issues will be addressed on that day and what to likely expect.
Latonia also reviews and/or drafts Stipulations of Settlement and Submission Packets, which all need to be filed with the court in order to finalize the divorce. Without this legal experience, these documents can take up a lot of time. By allowing Early Family Law to prepare and submit these documents for you, it will save you an incredible amount of time and stress, as you will know they are done quickly and correctly.