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Matrimonial Law

Matrimonial Law

Matrimonial Law

Issues of divorce and family law are difficult and can be extremely complex.  As a matrimonial law practice, McDonnell Adels & Klestzick, PLLC vigorously represents our clients, fighting for their best interests and a favorable outcome.  Since emotions are high, we also approach all matrimonial cases with empathy and compassion.  When minor children are involved, we recognize that as co-parents, a couple getting a divorce will still be involved in each other’s lives, so we also work to make all future interactions less stressful for everyone.

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New York is an "Equitable Distribution" State

New York, like most of the nation, distributes property under the rule of “equitable distribution.”  Equitable distribution is the principle that assets are not divided equally, but in a manner based on several factors as outlined in New York State law.  Some factors that a court may consider include the duration of the marriage, the value of the marital property, each spouse’s contribution to the marital property, the spouses’ respective sources of income or earning capacities, and the economic circumstances of each spouse upon the division of property.

Requirements for a Divorce in New York, including a "No-Fault" Option

In New York State, the two requirements for filing for a divorce are that you must meet the residency requirements and you must state one of seven reasons why you want to be divorced.   The statute that outlined the acceptable reasons for divorce was updated to include “irretrievable breakdown in relationship for a period at least six months (commonly known as ‘no-fault divorce’).”  Moreover, once either party alleges an “irretrievable breakdown”, the adverse party cannot contest this claim.  Thus while other reasons for divorce are still valid, including cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, adultery, etc., most parties seeking divorce file under irretrievable breakdown.

Two Forms of Spousal Support

New York recognizes two forms of spousal support, pendente lite support, otherwise known as interim spousal support, and post-divorce support. New York no longer uses the term “alimony”. Pendente lite support is provided by the moneyed spouse during the pendency of the divorce litigation, which can span months or even years. Post-divorce support, as its name suggests, is an award paid by the moneyed spouse for a number of years, to be determined by the court, following a final court order of divorce.  While it is generally assumed that the husband pays spousal maintenance, the law is gender neutral.  In cases where a wife is the primary earner in the family, the wife will be ordered to pay.

Physical and Legal Custody

There are two types of custody to be decided.  The first is physical custody.  Physical custody is related to where the children will live.  While it is possible for joint physical custody to be granted, it is unrealistic to assume that children will be spending equal time with each parent.  The parent with whom the children live most of the time is called the custodial parent.  As the expenses related to raising children will be higher for the custodial parent, child support payments may be ordered to be paid by the non-custodial parent. 


The other form of custody is legal custody.  Legal custody is not related to the child’s residence, but rather who can make legal decisions for the child.  In New York, legal custody of a child is composed of three parts: the right to make decisions pertaining to the child's education; the right to make medical decisions for the child; and the right to make decisions regarding the child's religious upbringing.

Non-Custodial Parental Visitation is known as "Parenting Time"

In cases where one parent is granted physical custody, the non-custodial parent is entitled to a reasonable amount of parenting time.  Generally, visitation orders will include the days and times of the visits, as well as other details about pickup and drop-off times, who will be transporting the children and where the visitation may take place.


Besides regular visits, there also may be special considerations given to the non-custodial parent for special times, such as when school is out, holidays, special family events, birthdays, and vacations.


If there is a concern about the safety or well-being of the children with the non-custodial parent, then supervised visits may be ordered.  These visits are usually ordered to take place with a professional supervised visitation provider either at their facility or at other agreed upon locations.

Providing the Finest in Legal Representation and Customer Service

We believe in a proactive and cost-effective approach to serving even the most complex of our client's legal needs.

At McDonnell Adels & Klestzick, we provide our clients with the finest in legal representation and customer service. We believe in a proactive and cost-effective approach to serving even the most complex of our client's legal needs.  For more information about Matrimonial or any of our practice areas, call us at 516-328-3500.

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