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Know the Laws: New York

UPDATED April 4, 2016

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To learn more about making divorce easier for your children, you can visit The New York State Parent Education and Awareness Program's Handbook.  You can also check out the NY Courts website for more divorce information, including an informational video, divorce forms and a glossary of legal terms.

After filing the divorce

back to topWill my children's last name change after I get a divorce?

Divorce proceedings alone will not change your children’s last name. If you want to change their last name, you will have to file for their name change separately in court. Generally, if you want to change your children’s name, the other parent must be notified and has the right to object. For information in New York State about name changes, you can check out the Legal Assistance of Western New York website. 

It is possible, however, for you to have your name changed back to your pre-marriage name through divorce proceedings.

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back to topAfter I serve my spouse with divorce papers, can s/he hide or transfer his/her assets so I won't get anything?

Legally, no.  When you serve your spouse with the divorce summons, you will also have to include a copy of certain "automatic orders," which are binding upon the defendant immediately upon serving him/her with them.  (The orders are also binding on you as well upon filing of the summons.)  The automatic orders remain in effect during the entire divorce proceeding unless terminated or changed by the judge.  The automatic orders include, for example, that neither spouse can hide, transfer or get rid of any property, money, or other assets that are either individual or joint property without the other spouse's consent. The only exception to this is if those types of actions are taken "in the usual course of business," for usual household expenses, or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with the divorce.*  Another automatic order says that neither spouse can remove the other spouse or children from any existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage.**  There are many other automatic orders -- to read all of them, please go to our NY Statutes page.

* NY Dom Rel § 236(Part B)(2)(b)(1)
** NY Dom Rel § 236(Part B)(2)(b)(4)

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