CONTESTED DIVORCES IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK
Special Rules that Apply to Westchester County Contested Divorces
If you are contemplating getting divorced in Westchester County, NY and
you anticipate that it will be a
contested divorce, it is important to be aware that there are unique rules that apply to
the divorce court in Westchester County that set it apart from surrounding counties.
The divorce court in Westchester County is the Westchester County Supreme
Court. The Supreme Court is located in White Plains, NY. In Westchester,
as is the case with all other New York counties, the process of starting
a contested divorce action is the same. A summons and complaint are filed
with the county clerk and the other spouse is then personally served with
those documents. Thereafter, in order to have a judge assigned to the
case, either party may file a "request for judicial intervention"
to have a judge assigned to the divorce case and to have a court date
scheduled to appear before the divorce court judge. However, at this juncture,
the Westchester County divorce court has its own special rules referred
to as the "Westchester Supreme Court Matrimonial Part Operational
Rules" that set it apart from other divorce courts in New York.
The Westchester Supreme Court Matrimonial Part Operational Rules
In February 2010, by order of the Administrative Judge of the Ninth Judicial
District, operational rules were put into effect for the purpose of promoting
active and effective management in contested divorce cases in Westchester
County. The rules themselves intend to establish procedures for the expeditious
resolution of pre-trial divorce disputes. The rules create many differences
in how a divorce proceeds in Westchester County as opposed to other counties
in New York. These differences can have a tremendous impact on how the
divorce case proceeds. As a result, divorce lawyers and their clients
must be mindful of these differences and understand them even before the
divorce case is filed with the court.
An Important Difference in Westchester County Divorces that Sets it Apart
From Other Counties
Rules that Effect Orders to Show Cause.
An Order to Show Cause is a legal document that if filed with the court
without notice to the other spouse or spouse's divorce lawyer and
seeks immediate, "emergency" relief from the court. Such "emergency"
requests may include a request that the court grant such relief which
includes, but is not limited to:
- an order directing that one spouse immediately vacate the marital residence;
- an order of protection;
- an order restraining bank accounts;
an order granting temporary
an order granting temporary
spousal support (referred to in divorce cases as "temporary maintenance";
- payment of carrying costs of the marital residence by the other spouse
including, but not limited to, the mortgage and utilities;
In other New York counties, a divorce lawyer can file an Order to Show
Cause at anytime. It can even be done simultaneously with the filing of
the initial divorce papers with the court. However, in the Westchester
County divorce court, a divorce lawyer cannot simply file an Order to
Show Cause at anytime. Instead, the rules permit the filing of Orders
to Show Cause only "in the event of an emergency that requires immediate
relief from a Matrimonial Part Justice" ( Rule E (1) ). This is a
very strict rule in Westchester County and unlike other counties the Westchester
County divorce court does not frequently permit a divorce lawyer to file
an Order to Show Cause. This is a big difference because while in other
counties a divorce lawyer can "get right into court" to request
and obtain immediate relief from the divorce court without notice to the
other spouse or their divorce lawyer, the Westchester County divorce lawyer
will typically have to request a "pre-motion conference" with
a court attorney referee which is on notice to the other spouse and their
divorce lawyer. The court attorney referee is not a judge and cannot "order"
either party to do, or not to do, anything. As a consequence, while divorce
lawyers and their clients would have a valid basis to file an Order to
Show Cause in other counties and obtain immediate relief, the Westchester
County divorce lawyer and client may not have such a basis in Westchester
County even if the application is for identical relief.
Importance of Retaining a White Plains, New York Divorce Lawyer
In light of the unique rules that affect Westchester County divorces it
is vital for person who is filing a contested divorce to retain the assistance
of a seasoned Westchester County divorce lawyer who understands the rules
inside and out and knows how to successfully navigate through them in
order to achieve the most optimal results for their client.
FREE CONSULATIONS FOR ALL CONTESTED DIVORCE MATTERS
With over 65 years of combined experience the divorce lawyers at our firm,
Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP, located in the heart of the Westchester
County seat of White Plains, New York, have aggressively and compassionately
handled countless contested divorce matters since the Westchester County
Supreme Court Matrimonial Part Operational Rules went into effect. As
a continuing commitment to our clients we always offer free consultations
in all contested divorce matters. Please
contact us online or by calling us at (914) 946-4808 to speak with one of our Westchester
County divorce lawyers.