Hudson Valley Divorce Lawyers

Fighting for Clients’ Best Interests in Dutchess County

Divorce is a time of stress and uncertainty about the future. Legal matters related to divorce are complex, so it is important to seek an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of New York divorce law. The Hudson Valley divorce attorneys at Letterio & Haug, LLP take the time to understand the unique aspects of your case and provide tailored representation for every client.

We're ready to help you navigate the divorce process in New York. Call now to get started with a consultation with a divorce attorney in Dutchess County!

If you are contemplating divorce in Dutchess County, contact us online or call (845) 203-0997 for the legal advice you need.

Requirements to File for 
Divorce in New York

In order to file for divorce in New York, you must meet the state’s residency requirement and have grounds for the divorce. New York State requires at least two years of residency prior to filing for divorce, or at least one year if you were married in New York, or the grounds for the divorce occurred in this state. The state has no-fault and fault grounds for divorce.

The grounds for divorce in New York include:

  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months
  • Divorce after a legal separation agreement and living apart for one year
  • Divorce after a judgment of separation

Our Hudson Valley divorce attorneys handle all types of divorce, including uncontested, contested, and same-sex divorces. We have two decades of combined legal experience and have handled everything from amicable, simple divorces to complex situations involving businesses, high net worth individuals, and other complicated situations. Our divorce lawyers in Dutchess County can guide you through the process so you can move forward with your life.

What Is the Process for Getting a Divorce?

How your divorce proceeds is often heavily dependent on whether you file for a contested or uncontested divorce, as we previously discussed. However, most divorce cases look something like this:

  • One spouse, called the petitioner, files for divorce. This involves submitting a number of forms to the court detailing the petitioner's preferred terms for divorce-related processes such as property division, child and spousal support, child custody, etc., as well as the circumstances of the divorce. If the couples drafted a divorce agreement as part of an uncontested divorce, the petition often includes those terms in the divorce petition.
  • The petitioner then serves the respondent through a third party such as a process server or sheriff.
  • The respondent has the opportunity to file a response if they disagree with the petitioner's proposed terms for the divorce. If they do not disagree, they can waive their right to respond using an affidavit or choose not to respond, enabling the court to proceed with the terms of the divorce the petitioner laid out.
  • At this stage in an uncontested divorce, the court may analyze a divorce agreement and, if the judge determines that it's fair to both parties, finalize the divorce using the terms presented in the agreement.
  • If the respondent does file a response, the court may issue temporary orders. Temporary orders determine how the parties handle processes such as property division, spousal support, and child custody or support while the divorce is ongoing.
  • Finally, in a contested divorce, the court will hold a trial. At the trial, the parties have the opportunity to present their cases and evidence against one another. After the trial, the judge will determine what would constitute equitable terms for the divorce and sign a decree including those terms to finalize the dissolution of the marriage.

While uncontested divorces can be resolved in a matter of weeks or even days, contested divorces can last for over a year, depending on the circumstances of the divorce. Having an attorney you can trust by your side is vital if you want to obtain the best outcome in your divorce.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Divorcing spouses can have either a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce. For example, if you and your spouse cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, you would have a contested divorce, even if you agree on every other key issue. An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on the terms of their divorce. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement, however, you should still consult with a divorce attorney to ensure the terms of your agreement are in your best interests.

A contested divorce is typically a lengthier process compared to an uncontested divorce, especially if you go through litigation. However, for couples who are unable to negotiate using alternative methods of divorce, litigation is necessary to reach a resolution. In a contested divorce, a judge will make decisions regarding:

Many of these issues are sensitive topics, so contested divorces are not uncommon in the world of family law.

Uncontested divorces, on the other hand, are much more efficient and less costly. For spouses who do not have children or complicated finances, uncontested divorces are more common. With fewer things to dispute over, it is easier to agree to the terms of a divorce. That said, mistakes can be made in the process of filing for a divorce and you might unknowingly make an error that delays the finalization of your divorce, so it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney even in an uncontested divorce.

Why You Need a Divorce Attorney to Handle Your Case

Many prefer to do things on their own, but divorce should not be placed on a list of do-it-yourself projects. With the wealth of information that is now available on the internet, handling your own legal matters might seem like a piece of cake, but family law is more complex than skimming through a few online search results. Divorce attorneys spend years perfecting their skills and gaining essential experience, so spending a few weeks or months online perusing the internet is not comparable to the service you will receive with a seasoned divorce attorney.

Here are some other reasons why you should hire a divorce attorney to handle your case:

  •  Lower your stress levels: Divorce is a stressful situation, but with a skilled legal advocate on your side, you can minimize the stress and frustration you would otherwise endure if you tried to navigate the process on your own. Your attorney can take care of the legal side of things while you take care of your family and yourself.
  •  Prevent mistakes: Divorce attorneys handle cases like yours regularly and are extremely familiar with the process and its requirements. However, since this is not a regular occurrence for you, you can easily forget crucial steps and make mistakes. Some of the mistakes you make in a divorce can have serious financial consequences. Your attorney will be able to ensure you do not make these unnecessary errors.
  •  No delays: As mentioned above, a divorce mistake will not only cost money, it will result in delays. Your attorney will ensure all deadlines are met, so you can avoid languishing in limbo, waiting for your divorce to finalize.
  •  Review the agreement: Your divorce decree is a binding agreement and, although you can make post-divorce modifications, it is not guaranteed you will get the results you want. That is why you need an attorney to review all the legal documents before signing off on something you do not fully understand.

Instead of trying to handle your divorce yourself, put your trust in our team at Letterio & Haug, LLP. We are committed to helping clients navigate the complex process of divorce and are here to help protect your interests.

Why Choose Our Hudson Valley Divorce Lawyers?

If you need a divorce lawyer in Dutchess County, NY contact Letterio & Haug, LLP. Our attorneys have the experience and the skill you need to protect your rights and your children's best interests. 

To see why clients choose our New York family law firm when they need the best Dutchess County divorce attorney, read our divorce lawyer reviews.

Learn more about Contested vs. Uncontested divorce

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Get a Quick Divorce in NY

Every case will have its own unique set of circumstances that can impact the outcome of a divorce. If you have an uncontested divorce, a scenario where you and your spouse have few assets or don't share any children, the divorce could be settled in only a few months. On average, an uncontested divorce case could be resolved in just a few months. A contested divorce, on the other hand, could last between nine months and up to a year, possibly more for very complex cases. Again, it will depend on factors such as custody, property division, or alimony to be settled.

Is There a Waiting Period for Getting a Divorce in New York?

No. In other states, the parties must wait for a certain period of time before getting a divorce. Also known as “cooling-off” periods, mandatory waiting periods are meant to give the parties time to think about whether they really want a divorce and to preserve the possibility of reconciling before spouses permanently end their marriage. However, New York law does not impose a mandatory waiting period for divorces.

How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in New York?

In New York, marital property is equitably distributed between the couple. An “equitable” division of marital property doesn’t necessarily mean that property is “equally” divided. Instead, the court will consider certain factors to determine how exactly to divide marital assets upon divorce. All property that the couple acquired during their marriage qualifies as a marital property upon divorce. An asset that a party a party obtained before getting married or after separating from their spouse to get a divorce qualifies as the acquiring party’s separate property and is not subject to equitable distribution.

Can I Date While Separated Before Divorce?

A couple remains legally married until the court finalizes a divorce. Furthermore, adultery is considered a fault-based ground for divorce. Therefore, you risk committing adultery by dating someone before the court finalizes your divorce. As a result, the court can consider this against you during divorce proceedings, such as when determining the equitable distribution of marital assets, alimony, and other issues.

Our Dutchess County Divorce Attorneys Understand the Unique Needs of Same-Sex Divorce

While same-sex couples and heterosexual couples face similar challenges in the divorce process, same-sex divorce and custody cases can be more complicated. Our divorce lawyers are able to navigate complex family law issues in the Hudson Valley, and we understand the nuances that are unique to same-sex divorce cases. We provide outstanding legal representation to our clients regardless of sexual or gender orientation.


View Our Family Law Practice Areas

Fighting for Our Clients' Best Interests

The Letterio & Haug, LLP Team

Putting Two Decades of Combined Experience on Your Side


Client Testimonials

At Letterio & Haug, LLP, our attorneys have more than two decades of combined legal experience, as well as a lengthy track record of success. Over the years, we have successfully helped countless individuals resolve a wide variety of legal problems. To see how we assisted our past clients, browse through our clients’ testimonials here. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us today at (845) 203-0997 and schedule a consultation.

  • “Passionate, committed, diligent, and very client orientated and driven.”

    - Eileen C.
  • “They have made a lifelong client out of me.”

    - Mike
  • “I cannot think of any attorney I would rather have represent me.”

    - Michael G.
  • “An amazing lawyer who genuinely cared about me!”

    - Kris F.
  • “We could not be happier with the results. Highly recommend!”

    - Jenna C.

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