FAQ’s – Divorce and Family Law

Our office is experienced in the difficulties you face during divorce and family law cases. We are here to help answer your questions.

Q. Do you represent people in contested divorce cases in court?

A. Yes. We can represent you in an uncontested or contested divorce matter.

Q: I am already in Family Court in a custody matter. Can I get divorced in Family Court too?

A. No. Family Court handles custody, support, and order of protection matters, but Family Court cannot divorce you or divide your property.  Supreme Court handles divorces and division of property, and can also handle everything Family Court can (custody, support, etc.)

Q. I have a separation agreement that has been signed by me and my spouse. Do I need to wait for one year before we can divorce?

A.  No.  Prior to 2010, there was a one year waiting period to obtain a divorce based on the ground that you had a duly executed separation agreement.  While that ground still exists, a new law passed in 2010 provides for “no fault” divorce. As long as you can say that your marriage has been irretrievably broken for six months or more, you can file for divorce.

Q: I already have a separation agreement (or divorce agreement) and I want to change some things about it.  Can that be done?

A. Yes.  If you and your ex-spouse agree on the changes to be made, the attorney can draft an amendment to the agreement for both you and the other party to sign.  This amendment can be presented to the court and will be enforceable.  If you do not agree on the changes that need to be made, it will depend on the individual circumstances if that agreement can be changed.

Q. What about those places that say they can get me divorced for $349?

A. Those companies do not employ lawyers. You can get yourself divorced by utilizing the paperwork found on the court’s website at www.nycourts.gov Your separation agreement, divorce agreement, or judgment of divorce will be binding upon you for the rest of your life. It is a binding legal document that has very serious and long-lasting legal consequences. You should obtain the advice of an experienced divorce and family law attorney to advise you at all stages of a separation or divorce.

Q. Aren’t you just saying that because you are a lawyer?

A. No.  I am saying that because in my over 15 years of practice, I have seen far too many people come to me after-the-fact seeking to change certain aspects of their agreement when they were not adequately represented by counsel.  Proper legal representation during the negotiation and drafting of the agreement could have avoided these situations. It is often too late after the agreement is already signed to make desired changes.

Q. Do you represent non-parents seeking to obtain custody? (like a grandparent or an aunt?)

A. Yes.  Elena has represented many grandparents, other relatives, and non-parents in custody, visitation, and order of protection cases.

Q. If I have an order of protection against me in family and criminal court, can you represent me in both?

A. Yes.  Elena has a lot of experience representing individuals in both Family Court and criminal courts, and is able to provide simultaneous representation.

Q. If I have an order of protection against my spouse or family member in a criminal court, do I need a lawyer?

A. No.  You are considered the victim in a criminal court and do not need a lawyer, however, I have represented several victims in these proceedings by accompanying them to court, explaining the procedures and what is happening in the courtroom, and serving as a go-between between the victim and the District Attorney’s office.  If you have a temporary order of protection in family court, you will need to prove the allegations of your petition in order to obtain a permanent order of protection, and should have representation by an attorney.