During a divorce in New York, there are a number of subjective steps that may be taken to pursue the best interests of a specific party. However, at the same time, the presence of the New York Domestic Relations Law in any divorce taking place throughout New York and Long Island means that certain restrictions will automatically be implemented in any case. These automatic orders, which are served in a notice to be included with the summons delivered at the outset of the case, are designed, among other things, to maintain certain status quos and preserve whatever marital property may be subject to equitable distribution within a typical divorce.
While understanding all of the complex facets of divorce can be difficult, it’s important to note that the automatic orders that are included within any divorce procedure are mandatory, and a failure to comply with these orders may be regarded as contempt of court according to domestic relations law, and the uniform rules of trial courts. As I have worked alongside many individuals and couples in numerous divorces during my time as a family lawyer, I have become familiar with the automatic orders that bind both spouses during a New York Divorce proceeding. However, I find that it’s often helpful to advise individuals undergoing the divorce procedure that the orders will remain in full effect and force during the pendency of the action, unless modified, terminated, or amended by a further order issued by the court, or through a written agreement that has been approved by both parties.
The Automatic Orders Present in Divorce Cases
The first automatic order present within a New York divorce, that your divorce attorney must include with the originating papers, prohibits the enumerated property from being transferred, impaired, or used except for in customary or usual expenses, or as part of the payment for lawyer fees in relation to the divorce. The order determines that neither party involved in the case will be allowed to assign, remove, transfer, or withdraw any property jointly, or individually held by the parties. The exceptions to this order is that property may be altered with the written consent of the other party, or if the process represents the usual course of business, such as paying for typical household expenses.
The second order dictates that retirement accounts cannot be impaired or used during a divorce procedure. Similarly to the order regarding property, parties will not be permitted to dispose of, remove, or transfer funds or assets held in individual retirement plans or pensions. At the same time, both parties will be required to refrain from requesting the payment of retirement benefits without first receiving written permission from the other party, or a further order from the court. Importantly, if one of the parties involved in a New York divorce is already in payment status for their retirement account, they should be allowed to continue receiving payments that have already begun.
The third order prohibits the ability of either party to run up or create debts that may otherwise damage the value of the marital estate. For instance, both parties within the divorce procedure won’t be able to borrow credit based on security taken from the family residence, or use their cash advances or credit cards in a way that is any different from their usual course of action. For instance, credit cards can still be used to pay for typical household expenses and attorney fees if this is the norm.
The fourth order ensures that any dental or medical insurance in place for both parties, as well as the children that may be involved within the divorce procedure remains in place. In other words, if a dental or medical insurance plan was already in place before the divorce began, neither party will have the right to remove the other party, or the children from that insurance.
Finally, the fifth automatic order used in New York divorce cases ensures that auto (car), life, rental, and homeowners insurance are all kept in place according to the standards that already exist for the parties in question. In simple terms, this means that neither party will be given permission to change the beneficiaries associated with any life insurance policies that were already in place. What’s more, both parties involved in the divorce procedure will keep hold of their existing automobile, life, renters, and home owners insurance for the course of the divorce.
Modifying Automatic Orders
Some parties involved in a New York divorce procedure are unhappy with the limitations that are placed upon them through automatic orders. Once the Summons and Complaint or Summons with Notice has been officially served, the parties taking part in the divorce, the spouses will have an opportunity to seek modification of the automatic orders. However, in order for this procedure to be completed successfully, the party wishing to change the order must ask for permission from the court, or enter into a modification agreement that has been properly executed between both spouses. A modification agreement must be acknowledged and signed before a notary public to be deemed applicable and lawful.
Divorce, regardless of the circumstances that lead to it is a stressful and highly complicated situation for any person to deal with. That’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important to have the help of a professional divorce lawyer.
As always, if you feel that you would benefit from more information about the various complicated aspects of family law, divorce, and automatic orders, please feel free to browse through our other blog entries for information. Our blogs and webpages are designed to give you as much information about family law as possible. If you would like assistance in pursuing your own case, then please call about your free initial consultation. It would be our pleasure to speak with you.