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Many people are scared off by the possibility of getting a divorce because of the cost of retaining an attorney.  Even as lawyer, I certainly would feel uncomfortable paying thousands of dollars for a simple divorce, especially when no children or  property is involved. 

I perform simple uncontested, no fault divorces at fees that compete or are lower than some paralegal services.  I do not believe that simple divorces should cost big  money.   I am going to explain the divorce process below so you can understand the steps and make an informed decision prior to hiring an attorney or a paralegal service.  Also remember, that if you hire an attorney or even a  paralegal service, it is wise to hire someone that is familiar with the local procedures. For example a   Brooklyn, New York City attorney may be more familiar with the divorce practices in Brooklyn and the other four boroughs.

The first step is the decision in getting a divorce.  It is unfortunate but   50% of all marriages lead to divorce.  Why this happens is not the subject of this article.  This article will however help you determine whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested.

First of all, you should ask yourself, do you get along with your soon to be ex?  I know this may sound like a dumb question, “Why would I be getting a divorce if I got a long with my spouse,?” but under some cases, couple get along well enough to make the mutual decision that “enough is enough.” This is generally the case when no children or property is involved. Another scenario is when there has been a long term  separation, giving time for the wounds inflicted in the relationship to heal, couples are much more likely to sit down and work with each other.  Sometimes couples go through marriage   counseling and  mediation prior to making the decision.  These scenarios make it more likely that you will be able to get an uncontested divorce based upon the no fault grounds in New York City.

If there are domestic violence issues I strongly advise you to consult an attorney (and if you are in immediate danger, contact the police), prior to filing a divorce.  Your lawyer might advise you to file a   Family Offense Petition prior to or simultaneously with the filing of your divorce (via a procedure called    Pendente Lite).  If domestic violence exists I would advise you also to seek exclusive occupancy of the marital residence if your spouse still lives with you. I would recommend this because the filing of the divorce could escalate the abuse in the home. The procedure for obtaining an  Order of Protection in Family Court and Supreme Court will be discussed in another article.

You will get an uncontested divorce if there are no disagreements between you and your spouse over any financial or other divorce related issues like   marital property, custody, visitation or  maintenance.  Once you file your paper and serve your spouse with these papers your spouse will have certain amount of time to contest or fight the divorce.  If your spouse is fighting the divorce or you do not think you can get an agreement on any of the above issues you can contact me George M. Gilmer, Esq., a Brooklyn, New York City Divorce Attorney at 1-718-864-2011.

If there are issues involving child custody and support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution, insurance, marital debts, and Orders of Protection, you may need the skill and expertise of an attorney.  If your divorce does not involve these issues,  you can choose to hire an attorney to do the paperwork for you but  you will not need to pay mega bucks for a divorce of this type.  I often charge between $750 and $850 total all fees included for an Uncontested No Fault Divorce with no children or property.

If you decide to represent yourself or hire a paralegal service to do your divorce work for you, buyer beware, because you may risk losing certain rights that are derived from the marital relationship that are not readily apparent to a person who is not an attorney.  For example, if your spouse has a pension and you do not seek it in your divorce proceeding you may lose your claim for it.  The same may hold true for any other assets not in your name but that could potentially be classified as marital property (like a house bought during the marriage but not put into your name).  Finally if you cannot locate your spouse,  then you may need to figure out an alternative mode of service of the legal documents.  Please see my blog on “how do I get a divorce if I cannot find my spouse.”

If you are filing for divorce, below is a list of papers that must be filed with your Uncontested Divorce Packet.  This list is pretty thorough but not completely exhaustive.

  1. Summons with Notice
  2. Verified Complaint
  3. Affidavit of Service
  4. Sworn Statement of Removal to the Barriers of Remarriage
  5. Affirmation or Affidavit of Regularity
  6. Affidavit of Plaintiff and Affidavit of Defendant
  7. Child Support Worksheet
  8. Support Collection Unit Information Sheet
  9. Qualified Medical Child Support Order
  10. Note of Issue Finding of Fact /Conclusions of Law
  11. Judgment of Divorce
  12. Part 130 Certification
  13. Request for Judicial Intervention
  14. Notice of Entry
  15. Certificate of Dissolution

Filling out these forms can be stressful and time consuming.  If you don’t have the time or don’t want the stress, please call my office at 1-718-864-2011 if you want to set up a free phone consultation.  I can make the processing of your divorce go quickly and stress free.

George M. Gilmer, Esq. Brooklyn, New York City Uncontested No Fault Divorce Attorney.