Wedding Rings and Divorce PaperworkDivorce is rarely easy. After years of failed attempts at reconciliation, separation can come as a relief. However, even amicable divorces can quickly become complicated.

Seven Factors That Can Complicate Divorce Proceedings

Every divorce is different. For many couples, simply filing the initial paperwork and initiating proceedings can be incredibly difficult. However, New York’s legal requirements for divorce can pose unexpected challenges, including:

Residency Requirements

Almost every state has residency requirements for couples seeking a divorce. In New York, couples must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • The marriage ceremony must have taken place in New York state, or you must have been living in New York for at least one year prior to initiating the divorce.
  • You and your spouse were living in New York as a married couple, and you lived in the state for at least two continuous years.
  • You and your spouse have lived in New York for at least one continuous year, and the reason for the divorce occurred in New York state.

Establishing and evidencing residency could be difficult. However, an experienced Brooklyn divorce attorney could help you gather the paperwork needed to prove your eligibility.


Some states make it difficult to initiate and finalize a divorce while pregnant. While New York does not forbid married couples from divorcing when one spouse is pregnant, separation can impact settlement negotiations.

Under most circumstances, both spouses will be accorded certain visitation and custody rights. However, if and when infidelity is suspected, a spouse may have to request paternity tests and resist demands for financial support.


If you have children with your former partner, your spouse could remain a critical part of your life. While remaining civil could be difficult, you may be forced to negotiate custody arrangements or visitation rights.

If you are the non-custodial parent, you may have additional obligations. Even if your spouse is financially stable, the court could order you to set aside a percentage of your income for the child’s anticipated expenses. These expenses could include the child’s school tuition, sports fees, and college courses.

Family Businesses

Marriage presents many opportunities. However, the opportunities afforded by marriage can quickly prove contentious. Family businesses are common points of concern in divorce proceedings.

If you, or your spouse, own a business, you should ensure that you value the company and its assets before initiating proceedings.

Property and Asset Disputes

The division of marital assets is typically among the most hotly contested aspects of any divorce. Even though New York is not a community property state, assets can still be categorized as either marital or separate. During a divorce, the court refers to the Empire State’s equitable distribution laws to determine how assets should be divided.

While property can be equitably divided when both spouses are open and honest, partners sometimes try to conceal assets from the court. When property disputes arise, reaching an amenable settlement can prove all the more difficult.

Spousal Noncooperation

New York, unlike some states, does not require that both spouses consent to a divorce. However, a spouse’s refusal to consent to proceedings can make it more difficult to reach an acceptable resolution. Your spouse might try to make the process more difficult, or resist summonses in the hopes that you will eventually change your mind.

Nevertheless, a divorce is a legal proceeding that requires both spouses’ attention and cooperation. Divorces often entail numerous filings, hearings, and negotiations. When one spouse refuses to cooperate, a divorce could take much longer than expected.

High Net Worth

Divorces that involve a combined net worth of one million or more dollars are termed high net worth divorces. High net worth divorces can be incredibly complicated, insofar as they often involve a combination of other complicating factors.

In a high-net-worth divorce, a spouse’s rights could be jeopardized by hidden assets or even strict prenuptial agreements.

Ted Alatsas
Connect with me
Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
Post A Comment