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If you’re considering getting divorced, working with a Long Island family law attorney or divorce lawyer is critical. Your attorney can be a great asset to you if you select the right one. Here’s what to understand about choosing a divorce attorney:

Long Island Divorce Options

Before selecting an attorney to represent you in your divorce, it’s important to understand what options are available to you and to have realistic expectations of the entire process. If you choose a family law lawyer who is skilled in divorce mediation because you want to resolve your divorce amicably, but your ex-spouse contests nearly every aspect of the divorce, you could be stuck litigating a settlement with an attorney who doesn’t have the expertise to represent you in the courtroom.

Here’s what you need to know about aligning your options for divorce with your goals and your current situation to choose a Long Island divorce lawyer that best fits your needs:

Divorce Attorney Consultation

Legal Separation

If you’re not quite ready to get a divorce, a legal separation may be a viable option for your family. There are a number of benefits to legal separation in New York, and if you’re considering separating before you get a divorce, ask a lawyer what your next steps should be. Make sure the attorney you work with adequately explains the differences between divorce and legal separation, and how a legal separation agreement can be modified or enforced. Avoid entertaining law firms who attempt to convince you that divorce is your better option; remember that your lawyer serves to advise you but the final decision is always yours.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when you and your ex-spouse are able to dissolve your marriage without major conflict. Other conditions must be met, such as filing legal documentation with the help of your attorney, but if you think you and your ex-spouse may be eligible for an uncontested divorce, doing so could save you significant time and money on your divorce. Seek out a divorce lawyer who has experience helping clients protect their rights in an uncontested divorce and can help you determine if an uncontested divorce is the right option for your family.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when you and your ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement about what each of you are entitled to in your divorce. With the help of an experienced divorce lawyer and/or family law attorney, however, even a contested divorce needn’t become contentious.

If you were served with divorce papers or if you filed for divorce, there are a few things you need to do to keep your divorce as amicable as possible. Read this article about tips to ensure your divorce remains uncontentious and ask potential law firms during your consultation how they recommend you keep the divorce from getting out of control. Consider hiring attorneys who express a willingness to do everything possible to keep a divorce case from becoming contested, but who aren’t afraid to get aggressive in the courtroom.

Divorce Mediation

If you and your ex-spouse are in agreement about most, if not all, issues relating to your divorce, and are able to discuss your differences amicably, you may meet the conditions needed to be eligible for divorce mediation.

Divorce mediation works like this: you and your ex-spouse meet with a neutral third party to come to an agreement about different aspects of your divorce, such as child custody or property division. Your divorce mediator can help you reach a compromise and once all decisions have been made, your Long Island family law attorney can submit the divorce agreement to the court. Mediation is also available to unmarried couples who are resolving similar legal issues.

Before choosing divorce mediation, it’s important that you discuss the benefits of mediation for your family, the role your attorney will play in the mediation process, and to make sure your lawyer answers all of your questions about what happens during mediation and what to expect during the process.

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is another alternative to divorce litigation, similar to mediation in that it’s designed to keep you out of the courtroom, however, they’re not quite the same. Where mediation involves the use of a neutral third party, in collaborative divorce you’ll still work with individual attorneys. The key difference in collaborative divorce is that an agreement is signed prior to the start of the divorce process that no litigation can take place while a settlement agreement is still in negotiation. A collaborative divorce can help ease stress much in the same way as mediation, but may be a better option than mediation for some couples who don’t agree on certain issues, but for whom mediation does not fit but still want to avoid litigation.

Divorce Litigation

If you and your ex-spouse cannot reach an agreement about one or more issues related to your divorce and cannot work them out amicably, you may have no choice but to pursue litigation. This becomes a contested divorce and while it gets a bad rap, not all contested divorces turn out to be nasty. Since litigation is the most involved of all options for dissolving a marriage, it’s important that you thoroughly vet any lawyer you’re considering hiring.

If you suspect that your divorce may end in a courtroom, interview several attorneys before making a decision to hire one. Ask questions about divorce litigation and what you can anticipate, as well as how you can best prepare your family for the process of litigating your divorce. Work with a confident family law attorney who can assure you they’re up to the task of zealously representing you in front of a judge.

Divorcing with Children

If you and your ex-spouse share children, your divorce is likely to be much more complex than if you did not. New issues arise that specifically relate to the children, such as custody and visitation. Be sure to discuss the following with your lawyer during your initial consultation:

Child Custody

Arguably the most important issue in a divorce where children are involved is child custody. Like most states in the U.S., New York has recognized that it’s best for the child to maintain a relationship with both parents whenever possible. Ideally, a percentage of custody is awarded to both parents. While primary custody can be awarded to non-parents in some situations, it’s typically awarded to the parent who can provide the most stable living conditions for the child, among other things. Child custody agreements can be modified like spousal support or divorce agreements, and if one parent isn’t abiding by the court order, it can be legally enforced.

Child Support

New York state considers it the responsibility of both parents to provide financially for a child, even if only one parent has physical custody. Child support is designed to be paid by the non-custodial parent to the primary custodian to help offset the costs of caring for the child most of the time. While you can be ordered to pay child support or receive child support payments without the involvement of a divorce lawyer or family law attorney, it’s generally in your best interest to discuss your case with an experienced attorney to ensure your best interests are being protected.

Your lawyer can help you understand how courts calculate child support, how your child support payments can be reduced in the event of a job loss or other changes in circumstances, and how to collect overdue child support if the payer hasn’t met their financial obligations.

When you meet with your Long Island family law attorney for the first time, ask a few questions about the topic of child support to get an idea of how the lawyer usually handles those types of cases. If you owe or are owed a lot of child support, make sure you’re working with someone who is highly experienced in this area of family law.

Visitation

If you’re not the primary custodian of your child, you’ll likely have visitation rights. Usually, visitation rights are only denied in clear cases of abuse or other serious situations where the child would be in harm’s way if visitation was granted. Negotiating a visitation schedule can be challenging, especially if you’re navigating around work, school, and extracurricular schedules for multiple people, so it’s a good idea to run any questions about child visitation you have by your lawyer prior to signing any sort of agreement. Discuss with your lawyer weekly visitation schedules, summer visitation, and holidays, as well as how to enforce visitation orders in the event that your ex-spouse doesn’t abide by the agreement.

Father’s Rights & Paternity

Child Custody doesn’t only apply to married couples. Unmarried parents that split up have to deal with the same child custody, visitation and child support issues as married parents. While the unmarried mother’s rights are clear to most Long Islanders, unmarried fathers have rights as well as responsibilities with regard to their offspring. New York state law recognizes that children benefit from spending time with both their parents and this includes unmarried fathers. 

Unfortunately, while fathers have legal rights with regard to their children, it’s not always easy to access those rights. Mothers are naturally protective of their children and a bad break up can leave lasting resentment that results in obstacles for fathers. All too many fathers give up fighting what appears to be an uphill battle. Fathers who recognize the benefits to their children of having them in their lives have the choice to assert their rights and fight for their fathers rights.

The key to gaining rights as a father when you are unmarried lies in establishing paternity early on. If the father is present at the birth, paternity can be established at the hospital when the child is born with the parents signing a simple Acknowledgement of Paternity form that acknowledges the signatory as the father of the child. If this does not occur, the father may have to file a petition for paternity in Family Court. Filing for paternity in court can be complicated and will likely require a medical paternity test. While home paternity tests are becoming more affordable, they are not likely to be accepted in a court of law in New York.

Dividing Property & Assets

Another important aspect of divorce is the division of property, debt, and other assets. In New York, this is known as Equitable Distribution. It’s important to understand that equitable distribution is not equal distribution. This can often be a complex process, especially in high-net-worth divorces. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to keep or hide assets away from the other, either out of a desire to keep the assets for themselves or simply out of spite. Ask your Long Island divorce lawyer about how you should approach asset division to ensure you get what you’re entitled to after your marriage is dissolved.

Alimony or Spousal Support

Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is awarded in some divorce cases where one spouse is at a significant financial disadvantage as a result of the divorce. A judge may choose to award spousal support or maintenance to temporarily bridge the gap until the lesser earning spouse is able to obtain additional training or other prerequisites to gainful employment. Alimony is often a delicate subject in a divorce; couples may have concerns or questions about spousal support such as how much will be paid, how long it will be paid, and how it will be taxed. Your lawyer can help you learn more about New York spousal maintenance laws.

Property Division

Dividing property in a divorce is often challenging and without the help of an experienced family lawyer, you may not get your fair share of the divorce settlement. If you share assets with your ex-spouse, ask your attorney about equitable distribution during your initial consultation. Discuss what assets you have, as well as any debt you and your ex share. The lawyer you choose should be eager to answer your questions about dividing marital debt, providing full financial disclosure, and equitable distribution laws in New York.

Not Married Yet? Discuss Prenuptial Agreements with a Long Island Family & Divorce Lawyer

If you’re not yet married but are planning to wed in the near future, a family law attorney or divorce lawyer can help you plan for marriage ahead of time by drafting a prenuptial agreement. A prenup, as it’s often called, is a document designed to clarify who gets what in the event of a divorce. While a prenuptial agreement can’t decide things like child custody or alimony, it can protect your interests in many other ways.

Primarily, a prenup will specify what assets were brought into the marriage and belong to each individual. It may also outline how much alimony will be paid and for how long, and any other details about how assets are to be divided should the couple decide to get a divorce in the future. Discuss with your lawyer what can and cannot be included in your prenup and what may render a prenuptial agreement unenforceable. If you were married without a prenup in place, ask your family attorney about drafting a postnuptial agreement; it’s essentially the same type of document created for the same purpose, only after a marriage instead of prior to it.

Contact Us Before Selecting Your Divorce Lawyer or Family Law Attorney

Contact our experienced Long Island divorce and family law firm today for assistance. We have the skills and experience needed to guide you to resolve your case as quickly and painlessly as possible. Call 631-923-1910 now for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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rrezarta lekaj
rrezarta lekaj
20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.
Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !
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rrezarta lekaj
rrezarta lekaj
20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made... such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.read more
Janine Martello D'onofrio
Janine Martello D'onofrio
21:00 02 Oct 21
Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
Tara Tocci
Tara Tocci
20:59 17 Sep 21
I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
cristina romero
cristina romero
20:17 17 Sep 21
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C were phenomenal in every way. Robert was very genuine, patient and professional. Walking in,... I had no idea what to expect but he went above and beyond to explain the entire process thoroughly. He guided and informed me of my rights. Patty was amazing, she answered every question I had no matter how many times I called, she was very understanding. I highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Even if its just for questions on how to navigate this process.read more
Kerri
Kerri
16:57 17 Sep 21
Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
00:21 07 Aug 21
Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular... basis.read more
LilMissPerfct Dessie
LilMissPerfct Dessie
06:46 11 Feb 21
I am a graduate of Norland English nanny college. I thank God every day that Mr. Robert Hornberger protected my clients... in the legal ways i could not. Children are a blessing not a blender to be fought over during some silly spat!read more
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with... Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.read more
A Google User
A Google User
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to... achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.read more
Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client... to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal issues.read more
Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when... you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.read more
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working... with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.read more
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my... consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!read more
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
Ashley Hubner
Ashley Hubner
20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with divorce.read more
Thomas Livingston
Thomas Livingston
21:31 26 Jan 20
Robert and Christine are the epitome of professionalism. They helped us with the purchase of our new home. They were... efficient, dedicated, and focused on making our closing as seamless as possible.read more
Sheila Vasata
Sheila Vasata
23:35 14 Jan 20
Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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