Why The Date You File For A Divorce Is Important

The date that you or your attorney file for a divorce in New York is important as it establishes certain legal dates.  The date you file is typically referred to as the “Date of Commencement.”  To file for a divorce, either a: (i) Summons with Notice is filed; or (ii) a Summons with a Complaint is filed.

Except for the names of the parties and their addresses, a Summons with Notice does not contain any facts of your divorce and can usually be filed very quickly.  A Complaint will contain more specific facts about your divorce and usually takes more time to complete.  The Summons with Notice, the Summons with a Complaint can all be filed electronically via e-filing.

Of course, the Summons with Notice or the Summons with a Complaint must be served.  Yet, it is the date that the documents are filed that establishes the “Date of Commencement”, not the date that these documents are actually served.

The Date of Commencement is important because:

  1. Provides the “official” end date for marital assets: In general terms, all assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital assets.  However, any assets that are bought or obtained after the Date of Commencement are no longer presumed to be marital assets.
  2. Provides the “cut-off” date for retirement assets: Once you file for a divorce, any additional funds placed in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement-like account is no longer considered marital property.  Similarly, if you have a pension, then the filing date also serves as the ending date for your spouse to be entitled to 50% of your pension.
  3. Provides the date for possible retroactive child support payments or spousal maintenance payments: If you or your spouse request child support payments or spousal maintenance payments, then you can also request that such payments are retroactive to the date that you filed for a divorce.
  4. Provides the “official” end date for marital debts: Similar to marital assets, the date you file also establishes the end date for the accumulation of marital debts.  Therefore, if your spouse incurs any new debts after the Date of Commencement, then that debt will most likely be her full responsibility.  Yet, if she incurred that new date even one day before the Date of Commencement, then most likely that new debt will be considered marital debt.

When you are thinking about getting divorced on Long Island, you might not realize how important the date you file is.  Long Island divorce attorney David Badanes, Esq. knows the laws and know how he can protect your rights. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. are well-respected and have the experience and knowledge to help you.  Read their Google Reviews.

Call 631-239-1702 or email david@dbnylaw.com to schedule a consultation.  We have offices in Northport and Uniondale, representing clients in Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County) and in New York City.

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