Consult us today if you are considering divorce.

Determining if divorce is right for you can be stressful, which is why you should contact The Law Office of Smith & Messina to speak with a Buffalo divorce lawyer about your case. Our firm offers the guidance you need during this difficult time. With an intimate understanding of divorce laws backed by more than a decade of experience, we stand by your side every step of the way.

Protecting Your Best Interests


Durational Residency Requirements For Divorce In NYBuffalo Divorce Attorneys

There are numerous ways that you can go about filing for a divorce, and either party can file for divorce. Before you file, you should ensure that you or your spouse have met the durational residency requirements and that your divorce is otherwise legally eligible to be processed in New York. There are 5 ways to meet New York divorce residency requirements:

  • The parties were married in New York State and either party has been a resident of the state for at least one year prior to the divorce.
  • Parties have lived in New York and either party is a resident of the state when divorce is filed and has been a resident for a continuous period of a year preceding to the divorce.
  • The cause of action occurred in New York, and either party has been a resident for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to filing.
  • Grounds for divorce occurred in New York and both parties are residents of New York when filing for divorce.
  • Either party has resided in of New York for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the dissolution.

We understand that each situation is personal, and the circumstances surrounding your separation are as unique as the people involved. When you retain our services, we will work to ensure that you understand the divorce process and know how your case is progressing. As family lawyers who focuses on family law and matrimonial law, we are able to provide our clients with the answers that they deserve regarding all aspects of divorce, adoption, qualified domestic relations orders, and other concerns. We understand the importance of securing an arrangement that suits your needs. By establishing favorable court orders in a final decree, you can avoid modifications and legal enforcement in the future.
Smith & Messina will fight to protect your best interests concerning:


In New York State, "maintenance" is the amount of money that one spouse may be required to pay another spouse during a divorce and/or after a divorce has been finalized. In some states, maintenance is also known as spousal support or alimony, but regardless of the name, the purpose of maintenance is to ensure that the spouse who earns less is able to retain a lifestyle similar to what the couple enjoyed while being married

The division of assets, including how property, real estate, debts and pensions will be distributed, is a topic that often causes heated debate in a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement to fall back on, many couples are subjected to the oversight of a New York family court judge to determine what will come of their property and assets...read more

In almost every divorce that involves children, child custody and support needs to be addressed. Child support can be a frustrating topic for divorcing families, and many individuals feel confused about how much is owed, why it is owed, and how long the payments will be required...read more

When children are involved in a divorce, the situation can quickly escalate into a stressful matter. Reaching an amicable resolution of visitation and custody for families is key and can help avoid the need for modifications to a divorce decree in the future. When you work with The Law Office of Smith & Messina, we can fully address all legal needs you have and work to protect your child's best interests...read more

Divorce doesn't just impact the spouses involved – it often touches the lives of both children and grandparents in a significant way. Fortunately, just because a divorce occurred does not mean you have to end your relationship with your grandchildren. New York has certain provisions for grandparents who seek visitation or custody of their grandchildren...read more

At The Law Office of Smith & Messina, we understand that life changes can happen very quickly. Sometimes, it is absolutely necessary to move away from the area where your divorce was finalized. Job opportunities, family obligations, and other factors can cause a person to relocate away; however, picking up and leaving is not as easy as it sounds when children are involved in a divorce decree...read more



Child Custody Attorneys

Have Questions About Where To Begin?

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Filing For Divorce

If you meet the state residency requirements, you can initiate the dissolution by filling out the appropriate paperwork. A divorce action starts with a summons, in which you state the grounds for divorce and lay the groundwork for custody, alimony, other types of relief, and more. Once you have filled out the appropriate form with two extra copies, you can file them at the county clerk's office. At Smith & Messina, we understand that this process is complex and we are ready to help you navigate each step of your divorce.

Other steps in the divorce process include:
Serving the summons to your spouse /
Scheduling a court appearance /
Determining custody and support.
When one spouse serves papers, the spouse who receives the summons (the defendant) can choose whether or not to challenge the terms of the divorce. If they agree or do not respond, the divorce can proceed as an uncontested divorce. If they offer a defense, however, the divorce will have to be resolved as a contested divorce. Our firm is ready help you reach a desirable resolution in any type of divorce.

Even in uncontested divorces, emotions can run high. Dissolving a marriage is a stressful process, and when it comes to getting the most out of your divorce decree, you need to work with an experienced family law attorney who will seek your best interests.

Contact The Law Office of Smith & Messina right away if you are considering filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers. As Buffalo divorce attorneys, we are pleased to offer trusted and experienced legal counsel to residents of Erie County.