Collaborative Divorce
Child Support &
Traditional Divorce
Family Law


How do I begin divorce proceedings in Albany, NY?
The New York divorce process begins when you file a Summons or Summons and Complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Once started, the Summons must be served personally on your spouse and an affidavit of personal service must be filed in court within 120 days after the Summons is served.If you start the divorce action by filing and then serving a summons without a complaint, your spouse has twenty days to serve “notice of appearance” upon you, which means he or she appears in the divorce action and you have twenty days to serve your verified complaint upon your spouse. If the divorce action is filed with complaint, your spouse has 20 days to serve his or her answer to your complaint. This might also include counterclaims against you to which you have 20 days to reply.

Do I Need to Work with an Attorney to Get a Divorce?
Nobody is required to work with an attorney, but most individuals seeking divorce do so from the beginning of the process to ensure the Summons is submitted properly and additional requirements are handled in a timely manner. How your soon-to-be-former spouse responds to the Summons determines the next step in the divorce process, but an experienced attorney will be an asset to you regardless of how the proceedings unfold.The divorce process can be complex, especially when couples have children or share any significant assets. The length of time divorce takes also varies based on how each spouse plans to handle the various issues in the divorce. For instance, divorcing couples engaged in a custody battle will have a longer period of time before their divorce is final.

What are the grounds for Divorce in Albany, NY?
The State of New York has six grounds for divorce. Four of these are based on one spouse doing something wrong or having fault. At-fault grounds for divorce include:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment for one or more years
  • Imprisonment for three or more years
  • Adultery

The two other grounds are considered no-fault, which means neither spouse needs to prove that the other did anything to cause the marriage to end. The no-fault grounds include:

  • One year of living apart under a separation judgment granted by the court
  • Parties have both signed a separation agreement

In addition to meeting the obligations of the grounds for divorce, one or both spouses must also be a resident of New York. In addition to residency, some couples might be required to show the grounds for divorce occurred within the state (adultery) or the marriage occurred in the state. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, couples might be required to live in New York for a year or more before being eligible to file for divorce.

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in New York?
When making decisions about spousal maintenance (alimony), New York courts consider the standard of living of both spouses during the marriage, as well as the circumstances of the case and of the parties. The court also considers the ability of the supported spouse to currently or in the future support him or herself without maintenance.Factors that help the court determine the duration of spousal maintenance include:

  • Income and property of each spouse, including distribution of marital property
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Ability of the supported spouse to become self supporting and how long that will take
  • Reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity as a result of the marriage
  • Parenting responsibilities
  • Tax consequences to each spouse
  • Role each spouse played during the marriage
  • Any other factors that could affect the need for spousal maintenance
What is Equitable Distribution of Marital Property and What Does It Concern?
Equitable distribution is a method used by the court to distribute in the divorce property acquired by either spouse. The court must distribute “equitably” all “marital property” regardless of the manner in which title is held. Equitable does not mean equal. Factors considered in equitable distribution include:

  • Income of each spouse at time of marriage
  • Current income
  • Current income
  • Property owned by each party currently
  • Duration of marriage
  • Age and health of both spouses
  • Custodial parent’s need for a home (should the kids continue living in the marital home with the custodial parent?)
  • Loss of inheritance rights and pension rights because of the divorce
  • Potential spousal maintenance award

All property, including a business or practice, acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage, but before the signing of the separation agreement, and before commencement of the divorce, regardless of the form title, is held is subject to equitable distribution in an Albany, NY divorce.


Data shows that approximately one-half of first marriages end in divorce. The statistics are even more daunting for second and third marriages, with up to three quarters of those marriages failing. Though many divorces are bitter and destructive, it is possible to end a marriage with dignity, and where there are children, to restructure the family in a way that is best for everyone.