A New York divorce proceeding can be a difficult and stressful process. While many resources are available to assist the parties with finding an amicable resolution, and to help deal with the emotional difficulties of divorce, the courtroom is not one of those places. Most divorce cases result in some sort of settlement, but if the parties cannot agree, the matter goes to trial for the court to decide. Bringing too much emotion into the courtroom usually only makes judges annoyed or angry. As one party in a proceeding before the Suffolk County Supreme Court, G.T. v. A.T., learned last year, it can also impact the outcome of the case. An experienced family law attorney with knowledge of New York’s laws and legal system can help identify the important issues in a divorce case.
Under New York law, a court may not grant a divorce until the parties have resolved multiple issues, including the “equitable distribution of marital property,” or the court orders a resolution. In G.T. v. A.T., the wife filed for divorce in 2011 with the assistance of counsel, and the husband represented himself as defendant. The court criticized the husband for using his “self-represented status as both a sword and shield” throughout the proceeding.
The case ultimately went to trial over twelve days spread out over a period of several months, from June until September 2013. The court described the evidence presented at trial by the husband as “minimal,” “fueled by his own emotional agenda,” and “oftentimes…devoid of probative value.” His 39-page posttrial memorandum, according to the court, contained only three or four pages’ worth of issues addressed at trial. This caused significant delay in the court’s ability to make a ruling. The only issues addressed by the court in its order were the division of debt and personal property and the apportionment of legal fees.