An Olive Branch Approach To Family Law

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

At a critical turning point in life, you should have as much information as you need to make good decisions.

New York attorney Michael N. Kalil wants to make sure you have professional insight. If you have questions about divorce and related issues, call The Law Offices of Michael N. Kalil at 315-235-1012 or email Michael to make arrangements for a customized consultation.

What will happen to our property?

During the equitable division process in divorce, you and your spouse will divide marital assets. These assets could include retirement accounts, real estate, vehicles and more. Any property that you own separately from the marriage would not be divisible in divorce. However, it can be tricky to determine whether an asset is separately or jointly owned.

In a divorce trial, the court will consider the facts and divide property as it deems fit. Many couples decide to negotiate a divorce settlement instead of going to court because they can choose the outcome of property division themselves.

Would I still be responsible for my spouse’s debt?

As with property, spouses could be liable for certain debts separately or jointly. If you jointly own debt, it is possible that one spouse could keep a larger share of the debt in exchange for also keeping a larger share of assets.

For example, you might both own the house with a mortgage. In this case, you could keep the house but take on the debt, or you and your spouse could sell the house to minimize leftover debt from the marriage.

Will I gain visitation rights or custody of my child?

New York courts determine child custody and visitation based on several factors, such as:

  • The parents’ ability to care for the child, including the parents’ physical and mental health
  • Any history or concerns about domestic violence or substance abuse
  • The child’s preferences, if he or she is old enough to express these wishes

The court’s priority is to protect the best interests of the child. Because each case is unique, it is important to consult a lawyer if you have concerns about child custody.

How does a court decide to award spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance, which is sometimes called alimony, is an important matter in a divorce. When determining spousal maintenance, courts consider the needs and incomes of each spouse. If one spouse was a stay-at-home parent, for example, and they relied on the other spouse’s income during marriage, the court could award spousal maintenance.

However, courts also consider how long the marriage lasted. If you were only married for a couple of years, your divorce might not lead to any spousal maintenance. If you were married for several decades, a spousal maintenance order may be more likely.