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People getting a divorce should be aware of how everything works. We'll explain the main things you should know about the process in the state of New York.

The Divorce Process in New York | Main Things to Know

Anyone who has been through a divorce will testify that it is a challenging process accompanied by stress and negative emotions. Some divorcing couples struggle to reach an agreement on important matters. However, most people try to sort out their differences before filing to make the divorce process easier.

Either way, people getting a divorce should be aware of how everything works. This article will explain the main things you should know about the divorce process in the state of New York.

General Information and Terms Worth Knowing

Before filing for divorce in New York, couples need to know some specifics about the process.

First of all, New York is a no-fault state. Therefore, the filing person is not required to state any specific misconduct on behalf of their partner. Instead, a spouse can initiate the process by declaring that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown for a minimum of 6 months and is impossible to repair. 

Still, the state of New York recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce:

  • Adultery;
  • Willful abandonment for a minimum period of 1 year;
  • Cruelty towards the spouse and/or minor children;
  • Conviction of felony for 3 consecutive years or more;

Spouses can also file for divorce if they have lived apart for at least 6 months based on a legal separation agreement. It also applies to a situation when partners have been living apart for at least 1 year based on the separation judgment by the court.

The Divorce Process – Step By Step

Let us take a close look at the divorce process in the state of New York.

Meet Residency Requirements

New York has specific residency requirements for couples who want to get divorced. At least one of the parties must be a resident of the state for a minimum of 1 year to be eligible for a divorce. Usually, states have lower residency requirements, so keep this in mind. 

Gather Information Before Acquiring Divorce Papers

Talk with your partner about the divorce. It is important to go through matters such as child custody, spousal support (alimony), property division, debt allocation, insurance, and so on. If you both reach an agreement, you can go for an uncontested divorce scenario.

If you can’t find solutions to satisfy both parties, the divorce becomes contested. It is a more complicated and more costly scenario. The inability to settle disagreements requires the judge’s involvement, and both parties often hire lawyers to protect their interests.

Get and Fill Out Papers

Let us stick to the uncontested divorce scenario. The majority of documents can be downloaded from the New York Court website. But before you proceed, you need to understand which option for dealing with the paperwork is right for you. You have several options:

The first option is the easiest one but quite pricey. Lawyers charge per hour, potentially increasing the cost of divorce to thousands of dollars. 

The second option is viable, especially if you have specialized education. However, if you are not confident with legal paperwork, the chance of making mistakes or choosing inappropriate forms is pretty high. 

The third option is a great balance between the two previous ones. Online divorce companies provide you with tools to select and fill out all the necessary documents for your uncontested divorce. The prices are reasonable, so you can make your divorce inexpensive. What’s more, you can have your papers completed in a matter of days, shortening the divorce preparation stage. 

File the Documents

The completed divorce papers must be filed in the local County Clerk’s Office. In some cases, you can file your documents online. Either way, the petitioner has to pay filing fees. However, it is possible to request a waiver if your financial situation does not allow you to pay the fees.

Index Number

As a part of the filing fees, you’ll receive an index number. It is an important point as the index number is your case number, and it has to be added to the paperwork.

Serve the Papers

After filing the papers, you must have them served upon your partner (the respondent). You need to provide the document package within 120 days from the date of filing.

The papers must be served in person, but you cannot do it as a petitioner. It is required that you find someone over 18 to deliver the papers.

The person who served the receiving party signs the Affidavit of Service. This document is a confirmation that the respondent received the papers. 

The person receiving the papers signs the Affidavit of Defendant. This document is an agreement to all the terms and conditions listed in the papers.

Finish the Remaining Papers

After your partner agrees on all the terms, you need to set your case on the court’s calendar. Finish the remaining papers and file them with the clerk. The judge will review and approve the documents and issue a divorce judgment.

Last Step

In most cases, it takes around 60-90 days to finalize the divorce. You will receive a notification from the Clerk that you can pick up your divorce judgment.

Now, you need to fill out a notice of entry document, divorce judgment, and Affidavit of Service and send it to the respondent. Finally, you notify the court that the papers have been sent, and your divorce becomes official.

Final Words

The divorce process in the state of New York is not that complicated. You can easily go through it without an attorney if your divorce is uncontested. Moreover, you can complete your paperwork online with the help of a web divorce company.

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