I am a New York City Uncontested Divorce Lawyer who, for over 10 years, has been helping over a hundred New Yorkers get uncontested divorces. I offer personalized attention to your divorce and promise that I myself, not a paralegal, secretary, or junior lawyer, will prepare all of the required papers.
I do use special software to help me. This software, which is part of a library of programs for attorneys called Drafting Libraries, is updated online to reflect the frequent changes in the New York Law and in the forms required, and helps to automatically prevent common minor errors which can cause unnecessary delays.
As an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer, I try to make my rates as reasonable as possible. My rates for an uncontested case start at $500.00 plus court costs for divorces not involving minor children or complicated property issues. While I am sure you could find another family law attorney advertising uncontested divorces at a lower price, I am skeptical about whether or not the papers are actually being prepared (as opposed to “looked over”) by an attorney for that kind of a “cut rate”. Secretaries and paralegals have little or no training in the law or in legal issues.
There are also paralegals who advertise uncontested divorces for rates as low as $199.00 but if you decide to use one of those you take a substantial risk that they might not what they are doing, might be unaware of of the basic law much less recent changes in the law, or may just take your money and do nothing on your case. You should be aware that there is no educational requirement, no licensing, no test, and no special regulating body governing paralegals. Anyone can call themself a “paralegal”and open up shop.
AVOID MISTAKES AND DELAYS IN YOUR NEW YORK CASE
If you decide to hire me, I will prepare and file the papers right away, because I know that once you have decided to get divorced, you probably want to move on with your life.
Once I have prepared all of the necessary papers and have gotten the signed affidavits back from you and your spouse, I look everything over one final time before I file the divorce papers with the court. As a lawyer who has successfully filed over 100 uncontested cases, I know which New York City county to file in that is the fastest and most efficient.
I then calendar the case up and follow up automatically to make sure that I am notifed as soon as possible that the divorce has gone through. In the unlikely event that there is some issue, I fix it at no extra charge to the client.
Once the divorce has gone through, I will then serve the papers on your spouse and prepare an affidavit of service to prove that he or she has been served.
NEW YORK DIVORCE WITH CHILDREN
If you have children, it is still possible to get an uncontested divorce at a fraction of the cost of a contested one.
However, many people do not understand that a true uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse have already discussed and resolved all of the issues involved in a divorce. When there is a family with a child or children, these issues typically include, but are not limited to, who will get custody, what kind of visitation the other spouse will have with the child or children, and how much child support will be paid. Also any issues of division of property, such as homes, co-ops, condos, automobiles, bank accounts, pension and retirement accounts, and valuables will have to be addressed and resolved.
Some people are also unaware that even if a child is over 18 (but not yet 21) the issue of child support still has to be dealt with unless the child is legally emancipated. Under New York Law a child under 21 is only emancipated if he or she is in the military, married, or has moved out and is self- supporting.
Dividing up houses, co-ops, and condos, can be tricky, even with a lawyer to help you, especially if there is a mortgage. If the house is going to be sold and the equity left is to be divided up, issues can come up if there is no agreement between the spouses as to which real estate broker to use, when the house must be sold, or what is an acceptable sale price.
When there are pensions or other retirement accounts which were either opened during the marriage or which accumulated money during the marriage, someone has to figure out what to do about these.
An experienced attorney will know how to file the papers with all of the necessary language that is required to protect your pension or other retirement accounts.
Surprisingly many family law attorneys do not know that a stipulation of settlement where there are pensions or retirement accounts must contain special language to satisfy the federal ERISA statutes.
REASONABLE FEES FOR NEW YORK UNCONTESTED CASES
However, assuming you can figure out all of the issues with your spouse and reach an agreement, it is possible to have a relatively low cost uncontested divorce with a child or children and/or property involved. My fees for uncontested divorces with a child or children start at $1500.00 plus court costs, assuming that no court appearance is required. If there is a recent child support order which is still in effect, and you provide me with a certified copy, I can often times do the case for only $1200.00 plus fees.
In New York, the vast majority of uncontested divorces do not require any court appearance. But, if there are minor children under 18, there may have to be one or more court appearances, which might require you and your lawyer to appear in court if there is a “hit” on any of the online registries for family court child neglect cases, active orders of protection, or open criminal cases involving either of the spouses.
The chances of there being a “hit” depends on what has been going on in the spouses’ lives, and also whether or not they have common names. Oftentimes, there is a “hit” on one or more registries, but it is for a different person with the same exact name. Usually this can be resolved by a letter or affidavit, as opposed to having to come to court to explain that the “hit” is for someone else. I have had, I believe, one or two “hits” but so far have never had to go to court.