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Frequently Asked Questions

What is legal separation?
A legal separation is when the parties are legally recognized to be living separate and apart from each other; however, the marital status remains technically intact. Neither party will be able to remarry until the legal separation is converted into an actual divorce.
What types of custody are recognized in New York?

There are two types of child custody recognized by New York:
Residential/Physical Custody: This is the parent with whom the child(ren) reside(s) the majority of the time. The Residential parent receives child support.
Legal Custody: This is the parent’s or parents’ right to make major decisions regarding the child(ren)’s welfare.

What are common custodial possibilities?

The most common custodial possibilities in New York are:

  • Sole legal and physical/residential custody: One parent retains exclusive decision-making authority on behalf of the child(ren), together with a designation that the parties’ child(ren) primarily reside with him/her.
  • Joint legal custody with primary physical/residential custody: Both parents share the decision-making authority and responsibility on behalf of the child(ren), while the child(ren) primarily reside with one party.
  • Joint legal and physical/residential custody: Both parents share the decision-making authority and responsibility on behalf of the child(ren), together with sharing equal time with their child(ren).
What are the statutory child support percentages in New York?

In New York, child support is computed by totaling the adjusted gross income of both parents and then taking a percentage of that sum depending on the number of children requiring support. Percentages are applied to the total adjusted gross income of both parents.

  • One child: 17%
  • Two children: 25%
  • Three children: 29%
  • Four children: 31%
  • Five or more children: no less than 35% of the total parental income.

A parent’s obligation is his/her pro rata share of the total child support based upon his/her portion of income which makes up the total combined adjusted gross income.

What property/debt is subject to equitable distribution in New York?

Marital property, which includes all assets/debts acquired during the marriage, is subject to equitable distribution in New York. Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution. Separate property includes property acquired prior to marriage; by inheritance or gift from someone other than the spouse at anytime; compensation for personal injuries; assets acquired with separate property or which result from a passive increase in the value of separate property; and property designated as separate property by a written agreement between the parties.

Does New York State provide for spousal support or maintenance?

Yes, New York State provides for spousal support. The amount of support and its duration are based upon multiple factors such as the length of marriage, age and health of parties, ability to become self supporting, etc. 

What is the difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement?

Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements resolve the allocation of marital and separate property in the event that the marriage fails. The difference is that a prenuptial agreement is entered into before marriage and a postnuptial agreement is made after marriage.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a cooperative process in which you and your spouse meet with a neutral mediator whose function is to assist in resolving the issues of the marriage (such as custody, child support, spousal support, and asset distribution). The role of the mediator is to facilitate your ability to achieve a legally binding, fair and equitable settlement, without acrimonious and costly litigation.