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Separation and Divorce

Separation and Divorce

Divorce is a life altering event with great emotional and financial consequences. There are many important factors in virtually every divorce: child custody and visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), debt and property distribution. You need an experienced divorce attorney who will advise you as to both your rights, and your obligations.
Michael D. Weinstein has practiced all aspects of matrimonial and divorce law since 1985, from prenuptial agreements, through separation and divorce, both at the trial and appellate level.

Skilled, Experienced and Effective New York Divorce Attorney

Separation and Divorce​ Services

Grounds for Divorce

With the advent of ‘no fault’ divorce in New York, there is often little or no need to consider more traditional grounds for divorce based on the fault of a party.

Irretrievable Breakdown: New York is now a ‘no fault’ state, which means that you can seek a divorce simply because the marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least the last six months.

Living Separate and Apart For One Year After Signing a Separation Agreement: You and your spouse have lived apart for at least one year under the terms of a written separation agreement, and you have substantially complied with the terms of the agreement.

Abandonment: Your spouse has left the marital home, or has locked you out of the marital home, for at least one year.

Cruel and Inhuman Treatment: Your spouse has treated you so cruelly and inhumanely that it has had a serious effect on your physical or mental health rendering it unsafe or improper for the marriage to continue.

Imprisonment: Your spouse has been imprisoned for at least three years.

Child Support

New York’s Child Support Standards Act, sometimes referred to as the child support guidelines, requires that the non-custodial parent pay a Basic Child Support payment to the custodial parent. The Basic Child Support payment is calculated as a pro-rata share of the parents’ combined adjusted gross income (combined gross income less Social Security and Medicare), up to a total of $143,000, based upon the number of unemancipated children; 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children. The court can and often does consider the parents’ combined income which exceeds $143,000, in calculating a Basic Child Support obligation.
For example: Husband earns an adjusted gross income of $75,000, the Wife earns an adjusted gross income of $25,000, and they have one child. Their combined parental income is $100,000, the child support percentage for one child is 17%, and the Basic Child Support obligation is $17,000. Of that sum the Husband would be responsible for 75%, or $12,750 per year.
Additional child support, over and above the Basic Child Support, can include the costs of child care, health insurance and unreimbursed health related expenses, extracurricular activities, educational and college costs.
Notwithstanding the Child Support Standards Act, parents can agree to ‘opt out’ of the child support guidelines, and agree to a payment of child support which deviates from the formula if there is a sound and sufficient basis for such an agreement.

Child Custody

Sole custody, joint custody, shared custody, primary physical custody, legal custody.
Clients care deeply about what happens to their children in a divorce. Unfortunately, child custody issues can become contentious, painful and expensive. Michael D. Weinstein is sensitive to the needs of families under stress. He can explain the different and often confusing elements of custody, and he has broad experience in working with other professionals to help you resolve these most difficult issues.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Spousal maintenance/support provides the lesser earning spouse with support payments based upon a statutory formula using the parties’ income up to a cap of $178,000, (see, http://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/calculator.pdf). The statute also provides guidelines for how long maintenance should be paid:

Length of Marriage Duration of Maintenance
Up to and including 15 years: 15% to 30% of length of marriage
Between 15 and 20 years: 30% to 40% of length of marriage
More than 20 years: 35% to 50% of length of marriage

Equitable Distribution of Property

New York’s Equitable Distribution law provides that the courts equitably divide marital property between the parties, regardless of whose name is titled on an asset. “Equitable” distribution often, but does not always mean a 50/50 split of property or value, and it does not include separate, non-marital property.


In divorce litigation, (where parties handle their dispute in Court), you need expert divorce representation to insure that you receive everything you are entitled to. Michael D. Weinstein has litigated and provided expert matrimonial services in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Bronx, and New York since 1985.
Michael D. Weinstein’s overriding goal in representing clients faced with the turmoil of divorce and separation is to help guide them through this difficult process toward the next phase of their life, as fairly, and reasonably as possible, while protecting and preserving clients’ rights.


Divorce mediation is a process where the parties meet with a neutral mediator over a series of appointments to negotiate the terms of their separation and divorce. Michael D. Weinstein began training as a divorce mediator in 1994, and has helped many, many couples successfully mediate their divorce without the need to resort to hostile, expensive and time consuming litigation.
In mediation, the parties will have the same obligation to fully disclose their financial circumstances as they would when litigating in court. The parties are encouraged to have their own independent legal counsel to advise them and review all documents and agreements before they are signed.
Michael D. Weinstein’s overriding goal in representing clients faced with the turmoil of divorce and separation is to help guide them through this difficult process toward the next phase of their life, as fairly, and reasonably as possible, while protecting and preserving clients’ rights.

Post-Divorce Modifications

Even after your divorce is finalized, there may be a need to seek a modification of support, maintenance custody or visitation if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
The ability to modify portions of your divorce depends in large part on how the terms of your divorce were arrived at, and drafted. Michael D. Weinstein will take the time to understand your individual needs and aggressively pursue your interests, in negotiation and settlement, or in court handling cases on behalf of the party who seeks a modification, as well as on behalf of the party who is defending against a modification.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement you sign with your spouse before you get married, which details certain financial terms that will apply if you get divorced, or upon your death. Prenuptial agreements are very common in second marriages, and in any marriage where one or both of the parties come to the marriage with significant assets. A prenuptial agreement typically provides that whatever monies and assets you bring to the marriage, you will retain in the event of a divorce.
Both parties should have their own legal representation and there must be full disclosure of their financial circumstances. The prenuptial agreement should be presented and signed well in advance of a wedding to avoid the possibility of duress. Although a prenuptial agreement is useful in determining the division of assets and debts, as well as alimony issues, it cannot be used to resolve custody or make binding agreements involving children or child support.