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What Am I Entitled To In My Long Island Divorce?

Long Island Courts Have Standards for Divorcing Couples
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One of the first and most common questions we hear as Long Island Divorce Attorneys is, “What Am I Entitled To?” While every case is unique, there are certain standards New York State law provides for divorcing couples. One important caveat however, is that that you and your spouse are free to make an agreement outside of these minimum standards. Below, we will outline the minimum standards courts on Long Island use to determine to what you’re entitled.


Contested Divorce Does Not Mean Financial Ruin

It is a common misconception that a Contested Divorce will lead you and your family to financial ruin. While Contested Divorces, by their nature, can be expensive if the parties involved are unwilling to compromise, this is certainly not true for everyone. Legal fees and expenses are, in reality, controlled by you and your spouse. For example, if the two of you can resolve your divorce without having to go to trial, that will save you both a significant expense.


New York State Law Protects You

Additionally, the law in New York State protects you and ensures that you and your children have the resources to move on to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life. While no two couples are the same, there are basic guidelines offered by New York State law that can provide a bottom line when it comes to your settlement. These guidelines will typically apply to Child Support, Spousal Maintenance (or alimony) and Equitable Distribution (the division of marital property). Keep in mind, however, that you and your spouse are free to make your own agreement outside of these guidelines if you wish.


Child Support

Child Support is the monthly financial obligation for which each parent is responsible. Pursuant to New York State Law, the non-custodial parent, or the parent the children do not live with, is responsible to provide financial support to the custodial parent (the parent the child or children do live with) each month. Child Support is determined by a statutory formula set forth in the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). In addition to the basic Child Support obligation set forth in the CSSA, some non-custodial parents will also be responsible for a percentage of medical, educational and child-care expenses. Again, if you and your spouse can reach an agreement on Child Support without Court intervention and outside the Child Support Standards formula, you are free to do so.

For specifics on Child Support Guidelines used in Long Island courts, click here.


Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, which may be paid during the pendency of your divorce and/or after the final resolution of your divorce, are payments made by the higher income earning spouse to the lower income earning spouse.  If you are directed to make temporary spousal maintenance payments while your case is progressing, your obligation to make these payments will terminate upon a final resolution of your matter whether by Stipulation of Settlement or Trial Order.  However, if you are also directed to make post-divorce spousal maintenance payments, that obligation will likely commence upon execution of the Stipulation of Settlement or the receipt of a Trial Order. There is, just like Child Support, a formula the Court will use to determine the amount of the obligation, as well as the duration of the obligation. Notwithstanding, the Court may deviate from the formula if it determines the award is too high or too low given the totality of circumstances of your case. However, you and your spouse are still free to reach an agreement without Court intervention if you so choose.

For specifics on Spousal Maintenance Guidelines used in Long Island courts, click here


Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution is a term used when discussing the division of marital property. Boiled down to its simplest form, Equitable Distribution ensures that each spouse receives his or her equitable share of the marital property. Martial property can range from bank accounts to retirement accounts to the marital residence to furniture and cars. There are certain exceptions to what is considered marital property, which is one reason it’s so important to have an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney by your side. It is also important to note that distribution is based on a principle of equity, not equality, meaning the split of marital property may not be 50/50. Rather, Long Island courts will consider many factors and examine the totality of circumstances surrounding your case to determine the most fair and evenhanded distribution of all marital property. In order to effectively argue your case, it is critical to be aware of the factors the Court will consider. This is yet another reason to have an experienced Divorce Attorney on your side.

While going through your divorce, it is important to understand what you are entitled to. In order to effectively plan for your post-divorce life, having realistic expectations about what you are entitled to is very important. Having an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney by your side will ease your mind and help you devise a strategy to help meet your goals. He or she will be able to effectively argue your case to the judge, or, to effectively negotiate your case with your spouse or spouse’s attorney.

For specifics on Equitable Distribution Guidelines used in Long Island courts, click here.


Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney to Learn What You Are Entitled To In Your Case

For a free initial consultation with an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney, contact us at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form below.

See this page for Your Guide to Preparing for a Contested Divorce.

“Beyond happy with the amazing job Robert did with my family court custody matter. He handled everything professionally and with great ease. Went in uneasy about what was going to happen and Robert made me feel so much better and got me everything I wanted and more. I recommend him to everyone and anyone who is looking for a family court and divorce attorney.”

Call 631-237-3409 or fill in the form below

Long Island Divorce Law Firm partners Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. & Christine M. Verbitsky, Esq.

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

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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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.
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.
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.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
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!


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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