How to Get a New York Divorce

Divorce is a lawsuit that dissolves marriage, along with its related legal duties. Assets, debts and issues regarding children are all addressed in the lawsuit.

Divorce Without A Trial

Many people think that all legal processes take place in court, but most of the time, cases are settled out of court. Mediation is a good option for resolving issues quickly and with a minimum of expense. A third, unbiased party helps both sides to come to an agreement and resolve disagreements prior to trial.

Legal Grounds For New York Divorce

New York requires grounds, or a legal reason, for divorce. There are seven official grounds in the state, including a no-fault option:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which is the no-fault option
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery
  • Living separate prior to judgment
  • Living separate before to separation agreement

You can cite no-fault grounds if your divorce is uncontested.

Divorce Summary

New York has a few residency requirements for divorce:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in state for two years or
  • You or your spouse lived in New York for one year before the date you filed for divorce, and you were married in the state or
  • You have lived in state as a married couple and you were a resident for one year prior to filing or
  • You and your spouse have lived in state for a continuous year and your grounds and filing occurred in the state or
  • Your spouse and you lived in the state, regardless of how long, on the date your divorce started, and your grounds occurred in the state

New York Divorce Process

Divorce begins when papers are filed with the court by the plaintiff. The defendant is served with the papers and responds to the legal complaint. Both parties share information regarding debts, assets, income and expenses in written documents called financial affidavits. There is a 40 day waiting period from the day the papers are served to the day the matter can be placed on the court calendar, but the defendant can chose to waive the 40 day waiting period.

Temporary Orders

Issues often arise before your court date that need legal resolution. Your attorney may file special requests with the court to seek orders resolving these issues. Problems such as who pays bills, child visitation, and other pre-divorce issues can be handled with temporary court orders.

Legal Representation

Divorce is a difficult process, both emotionally and logistically. A divorce attorney can be helpful in managing the process and securing a fair resolution. If you don't want to hire a lawyer, you can find legal forms and help online.

Parenting Plan

If you have children, you must agree to a plan for parenting before your divorce can be finalized. The plan must outline who will have custody, visitation schedules, and other details for the child's care. Custody can be joint or granted to one parent. Legal custody refers to who makes decisions in the child's best interests. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Custody is commonly shared. Child support must be addressed as well.

Divorce Contract

If you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding the terms of your divorce, you can submit it to the court. A judge will review it, and if it meets with his approval, he will sign it. Otherwise, trial is necessary. Alimony may be awarded based on need and property, and debts incurred during the marriage are divided in accordance with equitable distribution laws. The court will divide your property fairly, but not necessarily equally.

Help From a Divorce Lawyer in New York

Divorces are full of emotion and highly complex procedures and laws. If your divorce involves court orders, support and custody, it may be wise to seek the advice of a New York divorce attorney.

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