No – in New York State, all divorce cases are confidential in nature, so whether your case goes to trial or stays pre-trial, everything is protected from public disclosure (though parties names themselves may be reflected in the “E-Courts” system). In theory, if a member of the press somehow got wind of the divorce filing, they do have the ability to file a motion to be able to know about the circumstances of the divorce or even sit in on the trial. That being said, the parties would also have the ability to oppose that motion, and then the judge can rule on whether any members of the press or public would be allowed to view the trial.
My Spouse Cheated on Me. Is It True That Filing for a Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery Will Make a Contested Divorce Case Harder to Win?
Yes – if you file on the grounds of adultery, you have to prove the adultery in order to proceed with your divorce case. This usually requires a grounds trial. Even if you prove that your spouse cheated on you at a grounds trial, it does not actually entitle you to anything different than if you had proceeded on no-fault grounds. In other words, you will not necessarily receive more child support, spousal maintenance, or asset distribution merely because you prove adultery. As a general rule, filing on the grounds of adultery does not have any affect other than to terminate your marriage through a much longer and costlier divorce than one on no-fault grounds.
I Have the Financial Resources to Relocate My Children. Should I Do So Now or Wait Until There’s a Written Agreement Defining Our Temporary Custody Before the Divorce Is Final?
You should not generally relocate the children to another residence absent at least a temporary agreement to that effect. The other side may consent to relocation if you’re not moving far away in terms of distance and if they’re not contesting custody. Otherwise, relocation should await a final resolution in the case. If there is an urgent reason for you to relocate sooner rather than later (such as escaping a domestic violence situation), then you should generally make an application to the divorce judge and get court approval first.
My Separation Has Been Volatile. I Need to Move Out Now. Could My Spouse Use This As Leverage If I Move Out Without My Children?
The answer is yes. If you move out without your children, you’re giving de facto custody to your spouse. I would never advise a client who wants custody of their children to move out without bringing the children with them. If you do not have consent to bring your children with you, that’s an issue of contest, which should be brought before the divorce judge sooner rather than later.
Are There Apps or Email Resources My Spouse and I Can Use to Communicate During a Volatile Divorce?
Yes. The court does recommend certain apps. One of the most popularly recommended apps in New York is “Our Family Wizard.” This cost-effective program facilitates communication by allowing for a joint calendar and organizing discussions regarding the children by topic. When parents email each other regarding the divorce case, it’s common to have one parent ask several questions and the other not respond to each of those. By organizing the conversation based on topics, “Our Family Wizard” focuses each discussion.
Additionally, the shared calendar allows parents to log the days that the child is with each party, as well as keep track of school events, extracurricular activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. This prevents one party from arguing that the other scheduled a doctor’s appointment for the child without informing them. The app funnels all communication through a third party, so if a father claims he didn’t receive an email regarding a school event but the mother put it on the shared calendar, his problem is with the app, not with the mother. Tech support issues can’t be brought up in court.
“Our Family Wizard” is certainly not the only program out there, but it’s the one most recommended, at least in my experience, amongst judges here in New York State.
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