Contested Divorce

Divorce is a legal action that ends or dissolves a marriage. In order to be granted a divorce in New York State, you must have “grounds,” or a legally acceptable reason, for marital dissolution.

With an uncontested divorce, you can often avoid court and only one spouse may need the services of an attorney. However, an uncontested divorce is not possible if there are disagreements between the spouses.

Disagreements between spouses can include whether to move forward with the divorce itself, child custody and child support, the division of assets, and other financial or legal matters. In any of those situations, the case is considered a contested divorce.

The acceptable grounds for a contested divorce in New York State include:

  • Abandonment
    Abandonment is acceptable grounds when one spouse leaves the other without justification, consent, or the intent to return, for a period of one year prior to the filing of the divorce papers.
  • Cruel & Inhuman Treatment
    If your spouse has subjected you to verbal, emotional, or physical abuse within a period of five years prior to filing for divorce, cruel & inhuman treatment can be claimed as acceptable grounds for divorce.
  • Adultery
    Grounds of adultery are acceptable for divorce if your spouse has been engaging in voluntary sexual relations with anyone other than you.
  • Confinement to Prison
    Filing for divorce with the grounds of confinement to prison is acceptable if your spouse has served a prison term for at least three years, with the spouse either currently incarcerated or up to five years after he/she is released.
  • Living Pursuant to a Separation Agreement for One Year
    Though a
    legal separation is now relatively uncommon, living apart for one year pursuant to the terms of a legal, notarized agreement is acceptable grounds for divorce.
  • Living Pursuant to a Judgment of Separation for One Year
    A judgment of separation is something that can be entered by a judge when one spouse wants a legal separation and the other spouse does not agree.
  • Irretrievable Breakdown of the Relationship
    If at least one spouse attests under oath that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least six months, and both spouses come to an agreement about the terms of a divorce, this grounds (also known as “no-fault” divorce) is acceptable.

It is important to know that most of the grounds listed above require significant proof in court. For example, witnesses and photographs may be necessary when filing with adultery as the grounds. Due to the more complicated nature of a contested divorce, it is imperative to enlist a highly capable and practiced divorce lawyer.

There will naturally be more obstacles and conflict involved in most cases of contested divorce. This does not, however, have to mean a prolonged process and emotional distress. The team at Bates Family Law has extensive experience with contested divorce, and works with the intention of reaching the best resolution of your case with minimal hardship.

Call Bates Family Law today at (585) 433-4661 to schedule your consultation.

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Working with an attorney is a highly personal experience and it is of utmost importance that you feel comfortable with us. We are confident that once you get to know us, you will want to work together. You can set up your consultation by email or phone. We look forward to meeting you.

Conveniently located between Rochester and Canandaigua, servicing all of Monroe and Ontario counties including Pittsford, Brighton, Penfield, Fairport, Farmington, and Victor.


(585) 433-4661

Victor, NY 14564

When it comes to your divorce or family law case, experience matters. We have represented thousands of clients in matters of divorce, child custody, and child support.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested Divorce

Many people do not realize that New York is a no-fault divorce state. It is no longer necessary or even common to get a legal separation before getting divorced in New York. An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most budget-friendly path to marital dissolution. Often, an uncontested divorce can be settled with only one party retaining a lawyer.

Contested Divorce

Contested Divorce

When an uncontested divorce is not possible, you will want a family court lawyer with extensive trial experience. When you are considering hiring a family court lawyer, it is important to ask about the number of divorce trials they have handled.

Divorce for Business Owners & Spouses

Divorce for Business Owners or Their Spouses

If you or your spouse own a business, it’s crucial to hire a divorce attorney who has comprehensive experience handling business assets. Not all divorce attorneys understand business valuations or the tax consequences of businesses. The special considerations of business owners require special knowledge from your lawyer.

Uncontested Divorce


Have you tried to work through the issues with your spouse and keep "getting stuck" in the same pattern? Our mediators help couples shift into a new and productive way of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce. This family-centered process, in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions, seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness by working together through the current issues and develop the necessary tools for resolving future differences.

Child Custody

Child Custody

Nothing is more important than your children. If you are facing parental alienation or your children are being coached, a child custody battle can be especially difficult. We have expertly conducted countless child custody trials, including initial determinations of the best interests of the children, modifications to prior orders, enforcement proceedings, and cases of parental alienation.

Child Support

Child Support

Child support is much more complicated than a basic formula or a certain percentage of income. There are multiple considerations that go into calculating child support, especially if you or the other parent works in a cash business, is underemployed, or if you share equal time with the child. We are experienced in every aspect of determining child support. If child support is already established, we can even determine, often in a phone call, whether the amount you are currently paying or receiving is fair.

Order of Protection

Orders of Protection

If you have been served with a Family Court Order of Protection or if you feel that you need an Order of Protection to keep you or your children safe, you must act fast. An Order of Protection against you can impact your job, your ability to see your children, your right to live in your home, and your right to possess firearms. If a temporary Order of Protection was issued against you without you being present, you have a right to have the Order of Protection reevaluated right away. If you are seeking an Order of Protection, we will help you apply for the order, most often within 24 hours.

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If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us here.

Bates Family Law, P.C. • (585) 433-4661