If you have family law concerns, consult with a Syracuse family lawyer who understands the law and can help explain how it affects you and your family. With over 300 years of combined experience, we know how to handle domestic and family legal troubles with compassion and care—and have done so successfully for thousands of families.

Terminating a Marriage

When a Syracuse couple decides not to remain together, they have three legal options for formally terminating their relationship: annulment, legal separation, or divorce.

An annulment is a legal filing that dissolves the marriage as if it never happened. Guaranteed by Article 9 of New York Domestic Relations Law, this is generally an appropriate option if one or both spouses is under the age of eighteen, one or both spouses are mentally incapacitated in some way, or if one spouse originally entered the marriage by way of coercion, duress, or fraud.

A couple may alternatively request a court ruling under NYDRL §200 that affirms their decision to live apart in what is known as a legal separation. Sometimes this arrangement is used as a preliminary step to divorce, but regardless a separation agreement should set guidelines for the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart. Issues such as spousal and child support, child custody, and division of property are usually addressed in the agreement.

Finally, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. Under NYDRL §170, a couple in Syracuse may file for a “no-fault divorce” based on “irreconcilable differences,” which means there is no hope of reconciliation between the spouses and the legal marriage needs to end. Otherwise, a fault divorce must name some specific grounds for divorce, which may include adultery, treatment that is cruel and inhumane, imprisonment for three or more consecutive years, and abandonment or legal separation for at least one year.

Support During and After Dissolution of Marriage

Alimony—or spousal maintenance, as it is called in Syracuse—is a court-sanctioned payment from one spouse to the other to cover basic needs and provide support until the receiving spouse can become self-supporting. Typically, the higher wage-earning spouse will make payments to the lower wage-earning spouse.

Spousal maintenance after a divorce concludes may be periodic or permanent, according to NYDRL §236(B)(6). Periodic maintenance is for a set time frame to allow a spouse to obtain training or education to become self-supporting. Permanent maintenance may be ordered after a long-term marriage in which one spouse did not earn wages for most of the marriage, or if age or illness precludes them reentering the workforce.

Other Potential Issues a Lawyer Could Help With

In addition to problems related to marriage and divorce, a family lawyer in Syracuse could help you with any legal issue or concern that you and your family may have. If necessary, an attorney could also help affirm the paternity—or a lack thereof—of your child. An Albany family law attorney could also assist you with adding a new member to your family. Whether your adoption is public or private, directly from another family or through an agency, qualified legal help could make all the difference in streamlining the process, especially in cases involving adoptions from other states or countries.

Compassionate Help from an Experienced Syracuse Family Attorney

If you are facing a family law issue, call a knowledgeable Syracuse family lawyer to assist in your needs. Our team of legal professionals at Tully Rinckey PLLC are experienced in handling all areas of family law and are available to help you address any legal issues you and your family encounter. Call our Syracuse office at (315) 492-4700, or get in touch via email at info@tullylegal.com.

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