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to legally end their marriage. They typically agree on the terms of the divorce such as division of property, child custody and spousal support. However, this may not be the option for every married couple in the Bronx. Their only option may be a contested divorce.

What is a Contested Divorce in the Bronx?

A contested divorce occurs when one spouse wants a divorce and their spouse doesn’t. It can also occur when spouses want a divorce, but can’t agree on divorce terms. In both situations, there is a chance the couple must go to trial to resolve divorce terms. This means a divorce judge must decide the divorce terms.

The Reasons Cited for a Bronx Contested Divorce

New York divorce law requires a person wanting to get a divorce to have a specific reason, commonly called grounds. Grounds for a divorce is the only way to legally end a marriage when both parties don’t agree to terms of their divorce or to get a divorce.

The state only has four grounds for divorce outlined in DOM 170. A person can file for divorce if:

1. A spouse cheated. This is called adultery. Adultery could be a one-night stand or an affair.
2. A spouse was cruel. Cruelty is defined as mental or physical abuse. For example, a person who files a divorce claim cites being hit by their spouse as the reason for wanting a divorce.
3. Spouse leaves. Abandonment means a spouse physically left or refused to have sex with their spouse for at least one year. For example, a spouse can sue for divorce based on abandonment if their spouse is sentence to prison and it’s been at least three years.
4. Spouse no longer lives at home. New York allows a spouse who is separated for more than a year from their spouse and has a separation agreement to file for divorce.

Defenses to a Contested Divorce in the Bronx

After a spouse files their divorce petition in court, it must be sent to the spouse being sued. The spouse who files for divorce the plaintiff. The spouse who receives the divorce summons is listed as the defendant. It is the defendant’s responsibility to file an answer with the court.

An answer is a response. This means that they must deny allegations made in the divorce petition. They can also include divorce defenses. Divorce defenses refute the allegations by citing a reason why the divorce should be granted.

For example, a spouse alleges their spouse committed adultery. The defendant can claim the plaintiff was also guilty of adultery. Another defense is that the offense was forgiven by the plaintiff after they found about the cheating. The defendant can show misconduct on the plaintiff’s part as a defense to the alleged grounds for divorce.

Resolving Divorce Terms in the Bronx

Resolving divorce terms is the only way to obtain a divorce. This means the spouses have to agree on terms of the agreement or have a divorce judge do it for them. The terms will vary according to the couple. For example, a married couple without children won’t have to determine if there are joint or sole physical and legal custody arrangements. The types of terms in a divorce agreement include, but not limited to:

1. Division of Property: Division of property outlines which spouse receives what property and assets that were obtained during the marriage such as vehicles and homes.
2. Spousal Support: Spousal support is a series of payments made from one spouse to their ex-spouse for a period of time.
3. Child support: The amount of money paid from one spouse to another to help raise their children.

Obtaining a Contested Divorce in the Bronx

New York law requires spouses be residents of the Empire State for a period of time before any divorce petition can be filed. The exact time depends on certain factors. Thus, the residency requirements may vary from one to two years. Once residence requirements are met, a spouse doesn’t have to wait for divorce.
It’s important if you are thinking about getting a divorce or ready to file a divorce petition to speak with a Bronx divorce attorney. A Bronx divorce attorney will advise you of your rights and responsibilities while going through the divorce process. In addition, they will file the divorce petition on your behalf along with any emergency orders such as temporary spousal support or restraining orders.

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