Divorce on Long Island- Do I need a lawyer?
If you are contemplating divorce or have been served with divorce papers, the first question that comes to mind is: “DO I NEED A LAWYER?” In my opinion , the answer is always a resounding YES. New York’s divorce laws are exceedingly complex and are ever evolving. In fact, my experience is that attorneys who practice in other fields of law, particularly here on Long Island, will not take the plunge and prosecute or defend a divorce action because of their lack of familiarity with matrimonial law. Accordingly, a lay person should never undertake to be self-represented in a pending divorce case. There are rights that you don’t know you have that must be asserted or protected in every single case. I will provide an example on the simpler end of the spectrum, involving a situation where there are no children and there is no property. Would the unrepresented lay person know that they have the right to resume the use of a maiden or former surname upon divorce and that this relief must be requested before the judgment is signed? Would the unrepresented lay person know that if there is a hardship upon loss of health insurance from the other spouse, that a request can be made to the Court for a brief delay in signing the divorce judgment to enable the spouse to secure his or her own coverage? I could go on and on. This was a simple example. So, just imagine what must be weighed and considered in cases with children and property rights. The point that I am making is that legal representation is a necessity in every divorce case. Focusing on the needs of the client, the complexity of the case and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 29 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at email@example.com or by phone at 516-747- 2290.