New York City
Divorce Attorneys

New York City Divorce Lawyer

NYC Divorce Lawyer

NYC Divorce Attorneys Ready to Assist You

Ending a marriage can be a difficult situation emotionally and financially, especially without reliable legal representation. If you plan to end your marriage or if your spouse has served you with a divorce petition, a New York City divorce attorney can be an invaluable asset. A NYC divorce lawyer can help you determine the strongest options for handling the situation and reaching a favorable outcome in your divorce proceedings, while advocating on your behalf.

At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, we understand how difficult divorce can be. Our mission is to provide comprehensive divorce representation for all clients. When you work with us, you can approach the situation with confidence. As your NYC divorce lawyer, Attorney Tsigler and his team provide years of practical experience and individualized representation for every case we accept.

Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney in NYC?

You might believe you can handle your divorce proceedings without legal counsel, especially if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on relatively civil terms. While it is perfectly possible to negotiate the terms of your divorce privately with your spouse, hiring an attorney is an investment in peace of mind and an extra layer of security protecting your interests in divorce proceedings.

Your NYC divorce attorney can provide valuable legal guidance, handle your administrative obligations, and help you explore alternative dispute resolution if possible. Ultimately, hiring an attorney means you will have an experienced legal advocate who can verify that your proceedings are moving in a positive direction. 

Divorce is rarely an easy experience. Some divorce cases will move beyond the point where negotiation is possible and escalate to litigation. If you must litigate your divorce in NYC family court, it’s wise to assume that your spouse will hire their own legal counsel. You should do the same. Your attorney can help you prepare for the proceedings to follow and meet all of the court’s procedural requirements so your divorce can proceed smoothly. 

Understanding the Types of Divorce in New York City

In New York, there are several different types of divorce actions that a person can file. The most common types are:

  • Uncontested Divorce: This kind of divorce happens when there is total agreement from both parties on the terms of the divorce, including the division of property, custody of children, and alimony. Uncontested divorces are typically faster and less expensive than other types of divorce.
  • Contested Divorce: This occurs when the parties do not agree on one or more terms of the divorce. This type of divorce can be more complicated and may require court hearings and mediation.
  • No-Fault Divorce: This happens when a party files for divorce on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that there is no chance of reconciliation. No-fault divorce is the most common type of divorce in New York City, and it can be either uncontested or contested.
  • Fault-Based Divorce: This occurs when a party files for divorce on the grounds of one of the seven statutory grounds of fault, such as adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or imprisonment. This type of divorce is less common than no-fault divorce, and it can also be either contested or uncontested.
  • Summary Divorce: This type of divorce is available to couples who have been married for less than 10 years, have no children, and have minimal assets and debts. Summary divorce is less formal than other types of divorce. It can also be finalized relatively quickly.


Consulting with a premier and experienced divorce attorney about your divorce matters can help you better understand which type of divorce is best for your situation. This makes it possible to achieve exceptional outcomes from your divorce process.

What Are the 7 Statutory Grounds of Fault in a Fault-Based Divorce?

In New York City, the seven statutory grounds for a fault-based divorce are:

  • Adultery: One spouse has an extramarital sexual relationship.
  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment: One spouse has treated the other spouse in a way that makes it improper or unsafe for them to continue living together.
  • Abandonment: One spouse has deserted the other spouse for one or more years.
  • Imprisonment: A spouse has been sentenced to prison for three or more years.
  • Living Apart: The couple has lived apart for one or more years, and one of the parties wants the divorce while the other party does not contest it.
  • Incurable Insanity: One spouse has been incurably insane for at least five years.
  • Judicially Separated: The parties have obtained a judgment of separation from a court of competent jurisdiction.


It is important to note that these grounds of fault are not the only grounds for divorce in New York City. Most divorces are filed as no-fault divorces on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Divorce Timeline in New York City

The divorce process begins when a married person files a divorce petition with the NYC family court. The court then sends a process server to formally deliver the divorce petition to the other spouse, providing them the opportunity to respond. If the other spouse does not respond, refuses to respond, or cannot be found, it could change the process. A NYC family court judge may grant a summary judgment in favor of the petitioner, granting the divorce without the unresponsive spouse having any say in the proceedings to follow. 

One of the most common concerns among people preparing for divorce is the time required for the divorce to finalize. In New York, there is no state-mandated waiting period before a divorce decree may be finalized. The time required to complete divorce proceedings in New York entirely depends on whether the divorce is contested. In a completely uncontested divorce, in which the couple shares minimal assets, have no children together, and both fully agree to the end of the relationship, divorce could be completed in as little as six weeks. In a fiercely litigated divorce, proceedings could take several months or even years for very complicated divorces. 

Your New York City divorce lawyer can provide you with a rough estimate of how long it will take you to complete your divorce. If you and your spouse are willing to collaborate and negotiate civilly, it’s possible to significantly expedite your divorce proceedings. Exploring mediation with the help of your NYC divorce attorney can mean a much quicker divorce.

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What Is Divorce Mediation in New York?

You do not need to end your marriage with a bitter court battle if you and your spouse are willing to negotiate. Mediation is one of the most popular alternative dispute resolution methods for NYC divorces. This process requires the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator, typically an experienced family law attorney who does not have any conflicts of interest favoring either of the divorcing spouses. This mediator will basically act as an overseer to the divorcing couple’s private negotiations. Their job is to keep the conversation focused and answer the couple’s legal questions as they arise. 

The divorcing spouses may bring their respective legal representatives to some or all of their mediation sessions. Having an experienced NYC divorce lawyer to assist in the mediation process can make things smoother for everyone. The goal of mediation is for the two spouses to negotiate their divorce privately. Once they have reached a mutually agreeable set of terms, the mediator will verify that the proposed divorce agreement is legally sound. The spouses’ attorneys may also review the drafted proposal as one final check to ensure fairness and protect their clients’ best interests.

The mediated divorce agreement then passes to an NYC family court judge for final approval. Mediation only requires as many sessions as the divorcing couple needs to negotiate all the factors of their divorce, including property division, debt division, and a parenting and support plan if the couple has children. It’s possible to finalize your divorce much faster than you might expect when you opt for mediation and collaborative divorce instead of costly and time-consuming litigation.                        

Determining Child Support After a Divorce

In New York, during a divorce, the court will consider the best interests of the child when determining child support. The court will use the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) guidelines to calculate the basic child support amount. These guidelines are based on the income of both parents and the number of children.

The court will also consider other factors when determining child support, such as:

  • The needs of the child: The court will consider the child’s needs, including their educational, medical, and other expenses.
  • The standard of living of the child: The court will consider the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the divorce did not occur.
  • The income and earning capacity of both parents: The court will consider the income and earning capacity of both parents, including wages, salaries, tips, bonuses, and other forms of income.
  • The custodial arrangement: The court will consider the child custody arrangement when determining child support. This includes the amount of time the child spends with each parent.


When negotiating child support, it is beneficial to hire a New York City divorce attorney. They can help you navigate the complex family law landscape related to determining child support payments. They can also help you learn more about your and your child’s rights.

Requesting Child Support Modifications After an NYC Divorce

In New York City, a parent can request a modification of child support from a divorce by filing a petition with the Family Court. The parent requesting the modification must show that circumstances have significantly changed since the original child support order was issued.

These are the steps to request a child support modification:

  • File a petition for modification: The parent seeking the modification must file a petition with the Family Court in the county where the child lives. The petition should include details about the change in circumstances. It should also contain a proposal for the new child support amount.
  • Provide financial information: The parent seeking the modification must provide financial information to the court. This includes income and expenses.
  • Attend a hearing: The court will schedule a hearing to review the petition and hear testimony from both parents.
  • Await a decision: After the hearing, the court will decide on the modification request. If the court grants the modification, a new child support order will be issued.

It is important to note that the court will only grant a modification if the change in circumstances is significant enough to justify a change in the child support order. Not all requests for modifications will be granted.

What Is the Difference Between Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance in New York?

In New York, there are two different kinds of financial arrangements that can be set up among spouses. These are known as spousal maintenance and spousal support. Spousal support is administered while two spouses are still together. However, spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony, is granted after the divorce is finalized.

Before 1980, spousal maintenance was only paid out to women in a divorced pair. However, it was ruled that spousal maintenance cannot be administered based on gender or sex. Therefore, the state takes into account other factors when deciding who will receive alimony and what amount they will receive, such as the standard of living during the marriage, the income of each spouse, and their individual assets. Other factors that are considered include:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age of each spouse and what their health is like.
  • How much each spouse is projected to make in the future.
  • The debts and taxes of each spouse.
  • How the marital property was distributed.
  • Whether one spouse is losing health benefits covered before by the other’s plan.
  • The number of children the couple has and where and with whom they will be living.


While every marriage is unique, it can be difficult to predict what factors will be taken into account when courts are deciding on alimony amounts. You may also be able to settle an alimony arrangement outside of the courts by using mediation. If you have questions related to divorce and spousal maintenance or need assistance optimizing your payouts, then a divorce lawyer from the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can work with you to help you meet your goals.

How Long Will My Spousal Maintenance Last in New York?

The duration of your spousal maintenance payments may vary depending on the circumstances of your divorce. Typically, spousal maintenance will last until one of the spouses passes away, the end of the agreement period for the payments arrives, or if the spouse who was receiving the maintenance payments marries again.

It is possible to petition to change the conditions of an agreement at any given period of time, considering that there are valid reasons for doing so and that the petitioner has supporting evidence. The following reasons may be used to request modification on spousal maintenance agreements:

  • The spouse making the alimony payments lost their means of employment.
  • The spouse making the alimony payments has a job change in which they are either making more or less money.
  • The receiving spouse becomes financially independent.
  • The receiving party begins living with a new partner or marries them.
  • The supporting spouse becomes ill or disabled.

Negotiating a Spousal Maintenance Agreement

Some divorces are rushed, causing decisions to be made quickly and without attention to detail in order to expedite the process so that both spouses can move on with their lives. However, if a rushed divorce leads to agreements that one party considers to be unfair, then this can lead to long-term resentment and a potentially hostile situation for other involved family members, such as the children.

Therefore, it is never too late to negotiate a spousal maintenance agreement. Whether conditions have changed, or you believe that there was certain critical evidence that was not taken into account, a divorce lawyer from the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can help analyze the details of your case and rework the agreements to get a more balanced and fair outcome.

Is New York a 50/50 Divorce State?

The state of New York follows equitable distribution laws when dividing marital property. This means that the assets and property accumulated during a marriage are not automatically split in half. In New York, judges will determine the distribution of marital property based on what they believe to be “fair and equitable.” This may result in a division of property that is not necessarily “equal.”

It’s important to note that all property that was defined as personal property during a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that might be accrued or grown during a marriage is not subject to distribution. Furthermore, all personal assets that were held prior to the beginning of a marriage are also not subject to division. These assets are classified as separate property.

When deciding on how to split assets, judges may take into account the amount of money that each spouse was making during the marriage and how they contributed in terms of unpaid labor as well, such as childcare. They may also consider the post-divorce childcare arrangements, including who the children will be living with and how much time they will be spending with each parent.

How Long Will It Take to Finalize My New York Divorce?

The New York divorce process is made up of an initial phase, which requires submitting all of the relevant paperwork and negotiating the terms of the divorce. If the terms cannot be negotiated, meaning that the divorcing spouses cannot come to a fair agreement together on issues such as child support, then the terms will have to be decided before a New York court.

The time that it takes the New York courts to decide on a case can take weeks or even months, in addition to the period that it takes a judge to formally file the paperwork to officiate the divorce. For this reason, an uncontested divorce is typically much quicker than a contested divorce. Uncontested divorces usually last for a couple of months, while contested divorces can go on for years.

If you are unsure about how long your divorce may last, then it is important to work with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can lay out the timeline for you and walk you through all of the major steps of the process. They can help you optimize your divorce process by choosing a pathway that can help you save money and time while advocating for an outcome that is fair for you based on the divorce circumstances.

Property Rights During a Divorce

During a divorce, each spouse has the right to an equitable distribution of the marital property. This includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. In New York City, the court will consider the following 13 factors when determining property distribution:

  • The income and property of each party at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each party
  • The current and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any interruption of the earning capacity of either party due to homemaking, childrearing, or education
  • The current and future needs of the parties and any children of the marriage
  • The tax consequences to each party of the distribution of property
  • Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of the marriage or in contemplation of the divorc
  • The wasting of marital property by either party
  • The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage because of its termination
  • The loss of inheritance or pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage because of its termination
  • Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper


There are several assets that are not considered marital property:

  • Assets acquired before the marriage
  • Gifts or inheritance received by one party during the marriage
  • Assets that were kept separate during the marriage

Family Law Attorney FAQs

Q: How much does a New York City divorce lawyer cost?

A: The cost of a divorce lawyer in New York can vary widely depending on factors such as the lawyer’s experience and location, the complexity of the case, and the length of the divorce proceedings. On average, a divorce lawyer in New York can charge anywhere from $250 to $500 per hour. The total cost of a divorce can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It is highly recommended to work with a divorce lawyer who is transparent about their fees up front. This allows you to budget for your attorney and maintain consistent representation for the duration of your case.

Q: What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in New York?

A: In New York, during a divorce, both parties are typically entitled to an equitable distribution of the marital property. This includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Additionally, both spouses may be entitled to maintenance (also known as alimony) if the court finds that one spouse cannot support themselves after the divorce.

Q: What is the #1 cause of divorce in New York?

A: The causes of divorce can be multifaceted and complex. However, some of the most common causes include:
  • Infidelity: This is when one spouse has an extramarital affair. This can cause a significant breach of trust and lead to the breakdown of the marriage.
  • Communication Breakdown: When couples are unable to communicate effectively, it can lead to a lack of intimacy and emotional connection.
  • Financial Issues: Money problems can cause a lot of stress and tension in a marriage.
  • Lack of Compatibility: When couples have different values, goals, and interests, it can be difficult for them to build a life together.

Q: What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in New York?

A: An average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in New York can vary widely. However, it typically ranges from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some lawyers may require a larger retainer fee upfront, while others may require smaller payments over the course of the divorce. It is important to note that a retainer fee is a deposit against future charges, and additional legal fees may be incurred.

Hire a Legal Advocate for Your NYC Divorce

Whether you think mediation is a possibility for your divorce or you’re certain you will need to litigate, the right New York City divorce lawyer on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your divorce proceedings. Your NYC divorce attorney will help you determine the best approach to the complex questions involved in your divorce, such as property division, child custody, alimony, and protective orders, if necessary.At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PPLC, we can provide the comprehensive divorce representation you need to confidently navigate your divorce proceedings. We understand how difficult divorce is and want to help you expedite your case in any way we can, ensuring a favorable outcome for you in all the terms of your divorce agreement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable New York City divorce attorney.
Married 25 years, husband files for divorce due to wife’s adultery. We conducted a forensic investigation into the wife’s assets & discovered she used marital funds to secretly purchase property in the Caribbean. The property was incorporated into the settlement agreement in favor of the husband.  

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