When a couple decides to legally separate in New York, there are two typical paths that they follow: (1) they can reach an agreement which is reduced to a written settlement agreement (known as an uncontested divorce); or (2) if they do not agree, their case will require Court intervention (known as a contested divorce). In an uncontested divorce, the spouses have reached an agreement on all issues and they do not need the assistance of the Court, other than to sign the final divorce papers.
Many people contact Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC to explain that they have worked out an agreement and have an “uncontested divorce” and they simply want to “file the papers.” While it is commendable that you are able to work together with your spouse to resolve your marital dispute, please be mindful that the Court cannot grant your divorce (even if you claim it is uncontested) unless all matters of child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, equitable distribution of assets and debts, and counsel fees and expert fees have been resolved either by comprehensive written agreement (in a form accepted by the Court) or Trial.
In the event that you and your spouse have reached an agreement and you would like the terms drawn up in an enforceable contract, the Attorneys at Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC would be happy to assist you. In New York, Domestic Relations Law permits married couples who are divorcing or separating to enter into binding written agreements that outline their rights and their agreement. Because the parties are agreeing, the parties may never see a Judge and may have very limited involvement with the Court. A Marital Separation Agreement (also referred to as a Stipulation of Settlement or Opting-Out Agreement) delineates the parties’ rights with respect to child custody, child support, maintenance, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, counsel fees, and expert fees.
Marital Separation Agreements are binding contracts that provide both parties with control over how the issues in their divorce matter should, and will, be handled. For the preparation of all Marital Separation Agreements, both spouses should have independent and competent legal counsel and both spouses are entitled to request full financial disclosure.
At Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC, we focus on our clients’ goals from start to finish. We understand that our clients are the ultimate decision-makers in every situation because it is our clients who have to live with the outcome of the decisions made. Your team at Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC will equip you with the knowledge and competent legal advice to assist you in making these life changing decisions and so that the resulting Marital Separation Agreement withstands the test of time.
After a Marital Separation Agreement is signed, your divorce will proceed as an uncontested divorce. This means that your attorney will submit a copy of your Marital Separation Agreement and the required divorce paperwork to the Court with a request that the Court issue a Judgment of Divorce.
Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC practices primarily in the following counties:
• Albany County
• Columbia County
• Fulton County
• Greene County
• Montgomery County
• Rensselaer County
• Saratoga County
• Schenectady County
• Schoharie County
If you have questions about Marital Separation Agreements or uncontested divorces, or would like to set up a consultation appointment, please contact office@theCDSLawFirm.com or (518) 436-4170.