FAMILY AND MATRIMONIAL LAW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What types of cases do you handle?
Davis and Davis is experienced in every aspect of family and matrimonial law including: Divorce (Contested and Uncontested); Mediation; Separation Agreements; Custody; Visitation; Child Support; Maintenance; Equitable Distribution; Orders of Protection; Modifications and Violations; Adoption; Paternity; Emancipation and more.
What geographic area do you cover?
Our attorneys only appear in the courts of Rockland County, New York, however it may not be necessary for you to be a resident of Rockland. If your spouse or children are located in the county, if you were divorced here or if you used to reside in Rockland, you may also meet the jurisdictional requirements for our courts. If you’re not sure if Rockland is the right county for your case, contact us and we’ll tell you more.
I’m not sure if I want a divorce. Can Davis and Davis help me with a legal separation?
The decision to divorce is difficult and personal. There are several intermediate steps from a written Separation Agreement to a simple stipulation regarding support. We’ll advise you on how to protect yourself and your children financially while allowing the broadest range of choices for the future.
Is there a way to obtain a divorce without stirring up bitterness and arguments over who wronged whom?
In New York, couples have to have a reason for divorce but that reason plays no part in deciding how assets are divided. The vast majority of couples agree to divorce on “innocuous” grounds like Constructive Abandonment or to live under the terms of a Separation Agreement for a period of time. Very rarely is marital fault even discussed. If this is a concern of yours, we can address it from the beginning to make your divorce as collaborative and non-adversarial as possible.
Can Davis and Davis help me obtain an Uncontested Divorce?
An Uncontested Divorce means that you and your spouse agree not only to divorce each other but also agree on most issues of distribution of marital assets and support. If this is so, an Uncontested Divorce may be appropriate for you. We will never suggest that you pursue any resolution that is not to your benefit or elect any remedy that doesn’t suit your needs.
What are your fees?
The cost of a divorce will vary widely between different people, even those in similar financial situations. Processing of the papers for an uncontested divorce can cost as little as $750.00, preparation of a Separation Agreement as little as $1,200.00, and a full contested divorce as little as $3,000.00. In general, the contested divorce of a middle-income family with children will range between $7,000.00 and $10,000.00 per spouse. For contested divorces, we charge an hourly fee of $300.00 per hour for Marilyn Davis, Esq. or $200.00 for Jordon Davis, Esq. plus costs and expenses.
Do you accept contingency fees?
It is illegal for attorneys in New York to accept contingency fees, or a percentage of a distributive award, in matrimonial actions.
I don’t have the sums you described. How can I obtain matrimonial representation?
There are several options if payment of legal fees is difficult for you. We may be able to help you obtain temporary legal fees from your spouse or former spouse to help you prosecute your action. We may be able to enter into a payment schedule with you. You may pay some of your legal fees by credit card. If none of these options is right for you, the New York courts have a program to provide free legal representation in family and matrimonial matters. Contact your local legal aid office for more information.
My spouse said that if I file for divorce all the money will disappear, I’ll lose the house and I will never see my children? Can you help with this?
Absolutely. All of these threats are untrue and you should not succumb to such abusive tactics. We can structure your divorce so that the court freezes bank accounts and other marital assets, awards temporary child support and maintenance and even orders your spouse to stay out of the marital home before your spouse even knows that a divorce action has been filed. We will not be intimidated by threats and we will give you the strength and information you need to stand up for yourself and your children.
I want a divorce but my spouse is the only wage-earner. Should I be concerned?
A marriage is an economic partnership and your contributions are just as valuable as your spouse’s. That means the law will award you a share of your spouse’s income. And a wage-earner must always continue to support his or her children. In addition, you may have rights to your spouse’s future income and to deferred compensation like a pension plan and 401k. We can also help to secure temporary legal fees to enable you to prosecute your action. We can’t promise that you’ll never have to work but we can promise that finances don’t have to imprison you in a marriage you don’t want.
I’m in a non-marital relationship. Will the law protect me as well?
Certainly. Non-married partners can create agreements between them that mimic many of the benefits of matrimony, that will allow each to make health-care decisions for the other and inherit from the other and that provide for an equitable settlement if the relationship should end.
What about child support and custody for non-married parents?
When it comes to children, New York is unconcerned with the marital relationship of the parents. All of the protections of the child support laws and rules regarding custody and visitation as well as the modification of any existing arrangements are available to you, even if the father refuses to admit to paternity or one parent has left the state with the children.
I am afraid of physical harm from a domestic partner. Can Davis and Davis help me?
If you are afraid of harassment, intimidation or assault by a current or former spouse or partner, you can and should get help immediately. Depending on the circumstance, Davis and Davis can obtain non-harassment orders, stay-away orders, orders to surrender weapons or even help you press criminal charges that result in immediate arrest and incarceration. Orders can incorporate mandatory drug and alcohol testing and treatment or anger management classes. Our offices and the courts of the State of New York are committed to your safety and that of your children. If you are in danger, contact your local police. For counseling and emotional support, contact the Rockland Family Shelter at (845) 634-3344 or a family shelter in your area. To file for an Order of Protection in Rockland County call the Department of Probation at (845) 638-5544.
What can I do if I have further questions?
Contact Us . We are always happy to inform you of your rights and answer your concerns.