Matrimonial and Family Law

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Michael J. Angelo Partner

Divorce, Separation, Annulment

Divorce –No one goes into marriage planning divorce, but when you determine that is your next step, the RPR&C Family Law team will be on your side.  We will insure that your legal, financial and parental rights are protected in all aspects of your divorce, including under the “no fault” statute recently enacted in New York State.

We understand that, while getting a divorce is truly an emotional time in your life, you must also focus on the logistical and legal aspects of your future, including maintenance, child support, life and health insurance, child custody and property division.  We will protect you and your family’s interests, whether it be through direct negotiations or mediation to settle your divorce as quickly and as painlessly as possible, or, if necessary, using our experience, skills and knowledge to represent you in the Courtroom.

Legal Separation –For some parties considering a divorce, it may be better to enter into a formal Separation Agreement. Such an agreement is a detailed contract addressing mostly the same key issues as divorce, such as child support, division of assets, custody and parental rights, life insurance and health insurance, spousal support or maintenance which can later be converted to a divorce Judgment and enforced by the Courts.  However, if the parties are unable to agree, one spouse may still obtain a judgment of separation through Court intervention  which directs that the parties are to live separate and apart, for a limited time or forever, and determines the financial and other issues during the period of separation.

Annulment – Under very specific circumstances you may obtain a judgment declaring a marriage void, which is commonly referred to as an annulment of the marriage.   As this is an extreme remedy, it is only available in cases in which:

  • One spouse is under the age of legal consent (which is 18 years in New York State)
  • One spouse is unable to consent to the marriage because of a mental incapacity
  • One spouse is unable to enter into a marriage because of a physical incapacity
  • One spouse has been incurably mentally ill for a period of five years or more
  • The consent to a marriage was obtained through force or duress, whether this was through actual violence or threatened violence, or an illegal restraint that prevented one spouse to freely consent to the marriage.
  • The consent to the marriage was obtained by fraud, provided the fraud is vital to the marital relation, such as in cases in which a one spouse:
    • Misrepresented a willingness to live someplace after the marriage
    • Concealed serious illnesses
    • Failed to disclose a felony conviction
    • Concealed or failed to disclose the existence of children from a prior marriage, or a pregnancy by a third person.

Misrepresentations relating to love and affection, general social status and general financial conditions are traditionally regarded as insufficient to warrant an annulment of a marriage.