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Smith & Messina, LLP

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Consult Us Today If You Are Considering Divorce

Determining if divorce is right for you can be stressful, which is why you should contact Smith and Messina, LLP, 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.

Durational Residency Requirements For Divorce In New York

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 five 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 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 New York for a continuous period of at least two 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 focus on family law and matrimonial law, we are able to provide our clients with the answers that they deserve regarding all aspects of divorce, 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 and Messina, LLP, will fight to protect your best interests concerning the following:


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.


Like any other type of decision handed down by a judge, you have the right to appeal court rulings concerning your divorce. If you believe that the court made an error or misinterpreted facts in ruling on the custody agreement, the division of marital assets or support arrangements, you may have grounds for an appeal. We can analyze the divorce decree and and all of the pertinent information to help you pursue an appeal.

Asset Distribution

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

Child Support

In almost every divorce that involves children, child custody and support need 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

Complex Divorce

For more than 15 years, we have worked on divorces involving business ownership, prenuptial agreements, combative behavior, foreign held assets and other complex financial assets. We have the skills and experience to carry out a detailed, forensic review of marital property and debt to ensure that all assets are identified and fairly valued.

Custody Arrangements

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 Smith and Messina, LLP, we can fully address all legal needs you have and work to protect your child’s best interests … read more

Grandparents’ Rights

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

High Asset Divorce

A high asset divorce is generally considered any divorce where couples have more than $1 million in liquid assets (cash plus any property or financial assets that are easily converted into cash). The higher the dollar value of the assets, the more complicated the division of property becomes. Smith and Messina, LLP can guide you through the process of itemizing assets, negotiating support payments and explaining the tax implications of the division of property. If you are involved in a high asset divorce, having an experienced legal team on your side is critical to protecting your finances.


At Smith and Messina, LLP, 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.

Uncontested Divorce And No-Fault Divorce

As a no-fault divorce state, New York requires only that you and your spouse have been separated for one year or that you have experienced an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” for six months or more. State law does not require a waiting period for issuing a decree of divorce. If you and your spouse file for an uncontested divorce, the process can be completed in as little as three months.

Call 716-648-1400 or email us today to schedule a free consultation.