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What Are the Grounds for Divorce on Long Island?

What Are the Grounds for Divorce on Long Island?

If you’re considering the possibility of getting a divorce on Long Island, it’s important that you understand some of the basics of New York divorce law. Explore the grounds for divorce and decide which option best describes your unique situation. Then, contact an experienced family law firm to help guide you through the process of filing for divorce in Long Island and inform you of what your next steps should be.

Long Island Grounds for Divorce

In New York State, a few basic criteria must be met before you can file for divorce. You must meet the residency requirement, and you must also have a legally acceptable reason for divorce, also known as “grounds“. (more…)

Long Island Order of Protection Questions Answered

Long Island Order of Protection Questions Answered

Divorce Attorney Consultation

As an experienced Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, we see countless clients come to us seeking advice on obtaining an Order of Protection (OP).

The Basis for Granting an Order of Protection on Long Island

Orders of Protection are court-ordered documents that require the respondent (the abuser) to stay away from or refrain from contact with the petitioner (the victim of abuse). Family Courts in Suffolk County, Nassau County or any other county in New York are the most common forum in which to seek an Order of Protection. In order for the Family Court to grant an Order of Protection, the respondent must have committed a family offense.

Long Island Family Law Attorney Answers Child Protection Frequently Asked Questions

Long Island Family Law Attorney Answers Child Protection Frequently Asked Questions

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 What is a Child Protective Proceeding on Long Island?

A child protective proceeding is commenced by a Long Island child protective agency with a petition in the family court in Nassau County or Suffolk County. If your county or city agency has a concern for abuse or neglect, it can petition the family court and begin an action against the parent or guardian who is suspected of abuse or neglect. The county or city agency is known as the petitioner, and the parent or caretaker that is suspected of abuse or neglect will be the respondent. The goal of these proceedings is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. Sometimes this means the court will have the parent or guardian address and correct problematic behaviors. If the parent or guardian cannot or does not correct abusive behaviors, the child may be removed from the home and placed into kinship or foster care. (more…)

Long Island Family Law Attorney Offers Domestic Violence Help in Nassau County, Suffolk County

Long Island Family Law Attorney Offers Domestic Violence Help in Nassau County, Suffolk County

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection on Long Island, New York

As a family law attorney serving Suffolk County and Nassau County residents of Long Island, I am saddened to see a number of domestic violence cases each year.

For a person experiencing family violence, including threats or other abusive behavior, an Order of Protection is a helpful tool that can help to limit the behavior of the offender.

In Suffolk County or Nassau County Family Court, these orders are often between a current and former spouse, a person with whom the victim has a child in common, another family member related by either blood or marriage, or a person with whom the victim has had an intimate relationship. Many Orders of Protection in New York are “limited” in that they allow contact between the offender (also known as the respondent) and victim (also known as the petitioner) so long as there is no harassment, physically abusive behavior, or other intimidating or threatening conduct.

Orders of Protection Vary in Nassau County and Suffolk County Family Courts
Orders of Protection can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of each case and the reason the order is needed. Orders of Protection can instruct an offender to “stay-away” from the victim and the victim’s children and/or to “refrain from” certain abusive behaviors or activities. In certain circumstances, an Order of Protection may direct the offender to move out of the home in order to protect the victim. An order will likely direct the offender to refrain from threats, intimidation, or physical abuse. The Order of Protection can also instruct the offender to follow custody orders, pay child support, to not have a gun, or to stop calling or texting the victim.

In Suffolk County & Nassau County, Orders of Protection Issued by Family Court, Criminal Court & Supreme Court
Orders of Protection may be issued by the Family Court, Criminal Court, or Supreme Court. The existence of any other legal proceeding involving the parties may determine which court issues the Order. For example, for couples involved in a divorce, an Order of Protection may be issued in Supreme Court where the matrimonial proceeding is pending. For parties involved in a domestic violence or other criminal charge in Criminal Court, the Criminal Court may issue the order. And, finally, a family member may petition the Family Court for an Order of Protection.

Family Offense Petition
In Family Court, the victim may wish to file what is called a “Family Offense Petition.” The petition should contain all of the relevant information, including the conduct and behavior that caused them to believe the protective order is necessary. Once the petition is filed, a temporary order of protection may be issued until the other party has a chance to appear in court. Once the court determines that, based on the petition, an Order of Protection may be necessary, both parties will be asked to appear in court. The judge will decide which terms and conditions are to be included in the order based upon the nature of the offense and conduct in the petition.

Orders of Protection Can Be Useful Deterrents for Abusive Behavior on Long Island
An Order of Protection is often a useful deterrent for abusive behavior. It is a crime to violate an Order of Protection. The Order acts as probable cause for an arrest if police are called to a scene of a domestic dispute. This means that the police will not have to use judgment in determining whether to arrest the offender at the scene; the order of protection will allow the police to arrest if it appears that the Order of Protection is being violated. Any violation of an Order of Protection can result in new criminal charges. It is important for offenders to know that even if the victim/petitioner initiates the contact, it does not excuse the violation of the Order of Protection.

Contact Long Island Family Law Lawyer for Information on Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection in Nassau County and Suffolk County

If you believe that you may need an Order of Protection, or if an Order of Protection has been issued against you, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney to know your rights and options. The Law Office of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. can assist you with your Family Law and Divorce Law matters in Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact our office at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page to schedule your free consultation.
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Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.

Long Island Divorce Lawyer Tells You What You Need to Know in Free Divorce Guide eBook

Divorce Lawyer Long Island Free Guide eBookLong Island, NY divorce lawyer Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. is pleased to offer you a free copy of his brand new eBook written to help you navigate the often murky waters of divorce in New York State.

The eBook, “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” takes the mystery and fear out of the often the difficult process of divorce so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

Rather than charge for what is truly a valuable resource for couples considering divorce, we’re making the guide available as a free download from this website. Just click this link, Free Guide to New York Divorce by Long Island Divorce Lawyer Robert E. Hornberger, Esq.

Why the ‘Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York’?

Speaking to your spouse about a divorce is not likely a conversation you imagined yourself having when you got married. But as we all find out sooner or later, we never know what life has in store for us. As a Long Island divorce attorney with 15 years of experience, I have seen husbands and wives enter my office with numerous emotions; complete disbelief, extreme anger, and at times, even joy.

However one thing that stays the same with the majority of the clients we encounter is that each one is anxious. Most people will go their entire lives without dealing with the court system, but a divorce puts you in the position to stand in front of the judge and discuss personal matters.

eBook Pull QuoteWe know how complicated and scary this unknown process of divorce can be. Therefore, my job as a Long Island divorce attorney is not only to fight for the rights of my clients in court, but to also fight for them outside of court, and attempt to make a stressful process just a little less stressful.

Our intent behind publishing this book is exactly that. We hope to provide you with some general information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the State of New York, so you are better able to meet with divorce attorneys confidently, and begin your divorce prepared for the road that lies ahead.

We understand that if you’re considering a divorce on Long Island, you are likely distraught at the prospect of going through a divorce. Even if you are initiating the divorce, it’s still an emotional experience and there’s so much confusion and misinformation out there. We wrote this book to help people who may be considering divorce in New York understand what they’re getting into. We hope that by being able to read this book on your own time from the comfort and convenience of your own home, you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come when you take the step to meet with a Long Island divorce lawyer.

The eBook covers the most important issues anyone on Long Island considering divorce in New York will have to tackle. We’ve provided a glimpse of the Table of Contents of the eBook below to demonstrate the comprehensive nature of this guide. Far from a “sales pitch” for our firm, we want you to consider carefully what you’re getting into and be sure that you’ve tried everything to save your marriage before you initiate divorce proceedings. We also want to be sure that, should you decide to divorce, that you are prepared to move on with your life after your divorce in a healthy and happy way.

We know that it’s difficult for anybody to absorb all the information they need to know sitting in a divorce lawyer’s office, particularly when you’re in emotional turmoil. Our hope is that, after reading the book, when you visit a Long Island divorce lawyer, you’ll know what to expect and be more relaxed and able to make the best decisions for you and your family.

Download Long Island Divorce Lawyer, Robert E. Hornberger, Esq.’s New eBook Now

The new eBook, “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” is available now as a free download from the company’s website,

Divorce Lawyer Long Island Guide Table of Contents


Can I Change the Locks During My Long Island Divorce to Keep My Spouse Out?

Change Locks During Long Island Divorce?During your Long Island divorce, a main area of concern for you and your spouse is likely the question of who gets to remain in the marital residence. The two of you may have purchased this home at the beginning of your marriage and resided there for years, or it may be a relatively new home you moved into after you had your children.

Whatever the case may be, you both feel a connection to the residence and neither is willing to voluntarily say it is no longer their home. Many clients who find themselves in situations such as this ask me if they may change the locks on the residence when their spouse is at work or otherwise out. In short, the answer is no, absent a few rare situations which are discussed below.

Why Can’t I Change the Locks?

The fact that I am telling you to refrain from changing your locks may seem odd to you as a homeowner. However, you are free to change the locks on the residence just as you always were. The catching point is that during a divorce most people’s intent behind doing so is to keep his or her spouse out, and that is what is not permitted. If you do decide to change the locks, you must give your spouse the new keys, therefore giving him or her access to the residence just as before.

When Am I Permitted to Change the Locks to Keep My Spouse Out?

While your divorce is pending, there are a limited number of circumstances in which one spouse is granted use of the marital residence to the exclusion of the other spouse.

  1. Your Spouse Abandoned the Marital Residence: The first such instance is if your spouse has voluntarily abandoned the marital residence and established a new residence. If your spouse took his or her belongings, furniture, and other personal effects and moved into an apartment 20 miles away seven months ago, you may have grounds for changing the locks and establishing the residence as your own, separate and apart from your spouse.
  1. A “Stay Away” Order of Protection: While situations which require Orders of Protection tend to be volatile and at times even dangerous, an Order of Protection can serve to keep your spouse out of the marital residence and away from you. In order to be granted Order of Protection your spouse must commit one of the qualifying family offenses, and you then must file the petition with the court. There are two types of orders of protection: a “refrain from” and a “stay away”. If you are granted a “refrain from” order of protection, your spouse must “refrain from” engaging in the behaviors listed in the order, however unless otherwise noted, he or she is still permitted to be in your immediate presence. On the other hand, a “stay away” order of protection provides that your spouse not come within a certain distance of you, and at times your children. If you are granted this type of order, it naturally follows that your spouse must vacate the marital residence and has no right to re-enter during the duration of the order. In such an instance, you may change the locks to prevent your spouse from entering. However, if the order of protection is only valid until a certain date, once that date comes, your spouse must be permitted to access the residence again.
  1. Temporary Exclusive Use and Occupancy of the Marital Residence: During the pendency of your litigated divorce, your Long Island Divorce Attorney may file what is called a pendente lite order to show cause. In other words, your attorney may file a motion asking for relief that will begin on the date the order is signed and continue until the final judgment of the case. When preparing these motions most Long Island Divorce Attorneys request that their client be granted exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence. Although the divorce laws in New York provide for this type of relief, it is rarely granted by the courts. In order to grant one spouse exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence, the court must find that continuing to allow both parties to reside in the marital residence would threaten the safety of persons or property. This is a hard standard to meet. Your divorce attorney will likely ask you about the specific facts and living conditions at home, and look to see what if anything may be useful to support your request.

The bottom line: do not resort to self-help. While locking your spouse out may seem like an attractive option, it will only work against you in court, as it may be seen as abandonment by lock-out, which then may provide your spouse with a counter-claim or additional grounds for divorce. Until a court rules otherwise or your spouse abandons you, both parties are entitled the same access to the marital residence as before. As always, be sure to speak to your divorce attorney about the specifics of your case.

Compassionate & Experienced Long Island Divorce Lawyers Can Help

The compassionate and experienced divorce attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. have years of experience helping couples resolve their marital residence issues. If you have questions, give us a call Contact us today at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney.