Divorce

AFTER THE DIVORCE JUDGMENT HAS BEEN SIGNED BY THE COURT

The Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11) needs to be filed and entered in the County Clerk’s Office. The manner in which this occurs depends upon the procedure of the county in which you brought the action. Consult the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office for information regarding your obligations for the retrieval and/or entry of the signed judgment and supporting papers. Should you receive notice that the papers have been filed on your behalf by the court, or if you file the papers, you may go to the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a certified copy of the judgment. You must bring identification with you, because matrimonial files are confidential and information will be released only to a party or his or her attorney. The certified copy will cost between $4.00 and $10.00, but the fee will be waived if you obtained a poor person waiver. A copy of the judgment of divorce must be served on the Defendant. To do this, you must have served on the Defendant a copy of the signed and entered Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11), together with the completed Notice of Entry (Form UD-14). Service by mail is sufficient. You should ask the Process Server who serves the Judgment of Divorce with Notice of Entry to sign the Affidavit of Service of Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-15) before a Notary Public. A copy of the Judgment of Divorce and Notice of Entry must be attached to the signed and notarized Affidavit of Service. Keep the Affidavit with your important papers. 

For information on Serving Divorce Papers visit www.undisputedlegal.com.  Open Monday – Friday 8am-8pm.  “When you want it done right the first time” contact undisputedlegal.com

STEPS FOR PLACING YOUR DIVORCE CASE ON THE COURT CALENDAR

After you have completed Steps 1-7, you are ready to place your case on the court’s calendar. If the Defendant consents to the action by signing the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7), you may place your case on the court’s calendar immediately. Otherwise, you will have to wait until 40 days after the date of the service of the summons. 

You must complete the following steps to place your case on the calendar: 

STEP 8: You must complete Forms UD-3 through UD-12 (include UD-7 only if signed by the Defendant). Form UD-3 (Affidavit of Service) and Form UD-4 (Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage) need not be completed, or filed, if the Defendant has signed Form UD-7 (Affidavit of Defendant) and checked Box 6b on the form, Form UD-8(3) Child Support Worksheet, Form UD-8a (Support Collection Unit Information Sheet) and Form UD-8b (Qualified Medical Child Support Order) need not be completed, or filed, if there are no un- emancipated children of the marriage. Form UD-8(2) (Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet) need not be completed or filed or if neither party seeks maintenance as payee under the Maintenance Guidelines Law. Form UD-8(1) (Annual Income Worksheet) is not required if neither party seeks maintenance or child support. 

STEPS TO START THE DIVORCE ACTION IN NEW YORK

By: Undisputed Legal/Family Court Process Service Department

STEP 1. Prepare an original and two copies of the Summons With Notice (Form UD-1) or the Summons and Verified Complaint (Form UD-1a and Form UD-2).

STEP 2.Purchase an index number at the County Clerk’s Office and file the original of the Summons With Notice or the original of the Summons and Verified Complaint with the County Clerk. Unless you are granted a poor person’s waiver, you will be required to pay $210 for the index number. Check with the County Clerk regarding acceptable forms of payment. Many County Clerks also will require that you fill out an Index Number Application Form at the time of filing, so be sure to bring with you the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all of the attorneys or, if unrepresented, of the parties themselves.

How much is a divorce, without a lawyer?

By: Undisputed Legal/Family Court Process Services Department

Usually, the total fees will be approximately $400, as follows:

  • Starting the case: It costs $210 to buy a case Index Number at your County Clerk’s Office to start a New York State divorce case. 
  • Later in the case: Other fees totaling approximately $160 will have to be paid. These additional fees will be described as you follow the steps in this booklet.
  • At the end of the case: If the court grants the divorce, several other fees will have to paid for certain legal papers showing that the divorce was approved. These costs vary from county to county, but will roughly total $5-$30.

HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER DIVORCE

Direct payment of a former spouse’s health insurance normally is not part of an alimony agreement or order, although the recipient certainly may wish to use some of the alimony payments to purchase health insurance if the recipient is not already covered. 

When a couple divorces, the health insurance policy covering the family (if there was such a policy) no longer covers both spouses. The policy covers only the spouse who had insurance through work or through an individual policy. Children who were covered under a family policy generally are still covered under the policy after a divorce. 

A federal law passed in the 1980s requires most employer sponsored group health plans to offer divorced spouses of covered workers continued coverage at group rates for as long as three years after the divorce. The divorced spouse of a worker must pay for the coverage, but the coverage is available. 

WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR ORDERING ALIMONY?

The factors considered by a court when deciding whether to order alimony based on need of the recipient are similar to the factors considered by a court when dividing property. 

1. Income and Property of Each Party. The greater the income and property a divorced spouse has, the less likely it is that the spouse will need alimony. Conversely, the less income and property a spouse has, the more she or he will need alimony. Payment of alimony also depends on the ability of one spouse to pay. Alimony is most likely when there is a substantial difference in the property and income of one spouse versus the other. If the spouses’ levels of property and income are similar, alimony is less likely. In looking at the difference in property held by the spouses, courts consider the division of property in connection with the divorce. Some courts order a larger share of property to the less prosperous spouse in order to avoid or reduce the need for alimony to the less prosperous spouse. 

2. Earning Capacity of Each Spouse. A related factor is the present and future earning capacity of each spouse. If one spouse’s earning capacity is much larger than the other spouse’s earning capacity, that is a significant factor in favor of payment of alimony. To the extent that the earning capacities of the spouses may come closer together by giving the spouse with lower earnings additional time to pursue training, the court may use that as a factor for granting rehabilitative maintenance. 

DIVORCE – LUMP-SUM ALIMONY

Lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, refers to alimony that is a fixed payment which generally will be made regardless of circumstances that would be a basis for termination of other types of alimony. For example, lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, normally would be paid even if the recipient remarries. Depending on the wording of the agreement or order, payments also could be made to the estate of the recipient in the event the recipient dies. 

This type of alimony usually is in lieu of a property settlement. Depending on how the alimony is structured, it could provide a tax advantage to the payor by being deductible to the payor and income to the recipient. Lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, could be used as a type of reimbursement alimony to ensure that one spouse is paid back for certain expenditures, even if the recipient remarries, cohabits with someone, or does not otherwise need the alimony for day-to-day support. 

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DIVORCE – REIMBURSEMENT ALIMONY

Reimbursement alimony, as the name implies, is designed to reimburse one spouse for expenses incurred by the other. If, for example, one spouse helped put the other spouse through college or a training program and the couple divorces soon after the training program is complete, the spouse who supported the family during that period might be able to obtain reimbursement alimony as a payback for the resources spent. 

A classic example is the nurse who marries a medical student and supports the family while the medical student finishes medical school (and perhaps a residency program). If the couple divorces soon after the medical student completed training, the nurse probably would be entitled to reimbursement alimony to compensate for the resources used during the training program. In this case, reimbursement alimony is not necessarily being given because the nurse needs funds for day-to-day support (since the nurse would seem to be self- supporting). Instead, the alimony is given as an equitable payback for supporting the spouse through medical school. 

DIVORCE AND PERMANENT ALIMONY

Permanent alimony continues indefinitely. The main bases for teasing payments of permanent alimony are the death of the payor, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient. Cohabitation of the recipient with a member of the opposite sex also is a common basis for cessation of permanent alimony. Generally, the cohabitation needs to be of a permanent or near permanent nature, with the parties who are living together sharing living expenses. A few overnight visits usually do not constitute cohabitation for the purpose of stopping alimony payments. 

Unless an agreement between the parties says otherwise, payments of permanent alimony can be adjusted upward or downward based on a change of circumstances. If the recipient gains employment at a well-paying job or receives a significant amount of money from an other source, that might be a basis for reducing alimony payments. If the recipient incurs unexpected medical expenses (that are not covered by insurance), that might be a basis for increasing alimony payments, if the spouse paying alimony has the ability to pay more. 

WHAT IS REHABILITATIVE ALIMONY?

Rehabilitative alimony refers to alimony that is given to a spouse so that the spouse may “rehabilitate” herself or himself in the sense of acquiring greater earning power or training in order to become self- supporting. Rehabilitative alimony also might be given to a parent who is staying home with young children until such time as it is considered appropriate for the parent to work outside the home. 

There is no uniform time at which parents automatically are expected to work outside the home, but when the youngest child is in school full-time is a common time for the parent to resume work. (Of course, in many families, intact and divorced, the parents work outside the home when the children are preschoolers. And in some families, one parent stays home as long as the children live at home.)