Frequently Asked Questions

At Mattingly Cavagnaro, LLP, we understand that every case is different. However, there are certain questions that we often hear, particularly during the initial consultation. Our answers will vary depending on your situation, but the answers below provide a general idea regarding family law here in New York state.

Why do family law disputes end up in the different courts?

In New York, the Supreme Court is the exclusive jurisdiction for divorce and other family law issues which can include custody, support or visitation. From there appeals are handled in the Appellate Division and then the Court of Appeals in Albany. Family court hears cases regarding child or spousal support, paternity, visitation and custody as well as domestic violence, child protective services, persons in need of supervision and juvenile delinquency.

How long does uncontested divorce take here in New York?

The length of time varies from court to court and case to case. If the parties quickly handle all their paperwork and already have signed agreements, the process can take as little as six weeks. If the courts are backed up, or the spouses drag their feet, it could take six months or longer. Divorce litigation can take much longer.

Does my spouse need to agree to divorce?

No. When someone files for divorce, the other party has certain amount of time to respond. Regardless of whether they respond, divorce can still be granted.

Can one lawyer represent both sides in a divorce?

Each side needs a lawyer to review the documentation, draft binding agreements and represent the interests of the client. Lawyers on each side may work collaboratively to make this process go smoothly as they attain an equitable agreement. If divorce papers were served, you must hire a lawyer. A knowledgeable family law lawyer is a tremendous asset even when this is not the case.

What if my spouse has many different investments and I do not think they are including a comprehensive list of all their assets?

Christopher S. Mattingly has more than 25 years of family law experience, and he often works on divorce cases involving high-value clients. Melissa A. Cavagnaro has more than 10 years of divorce and family law experience. They have a working knowledge of the value of various assets, but we also work with forensic accountants, finance people and those who can put an accurate value on a company, stocks and bonds. We can even call upon experts who can put value on art collections and other unique assets.

Can I force my spouse to pay for our children's college costs?

No. However, attorneys should work this into the original child support agreement. It can also be added through a modification later.

Did You Not See The Answer To Your Question?

Call our firm in downtown Buffalo at 716-262-8040 to schedule an appointment to discuss your family law matter. We also respond promptly to those who use the intake form on this website.