Uncontested Divorce in New York

Prior to 2010, New York only had “fault-based” grounds for divorce, like adultery or cruelty. In 2010, the law was changed to allow for the “no-fault” ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months before filing for divorce. “Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” means that you and your spouse no longer want to be married and it’s not likely that you and your spouse will get back together. Irretrievable breakdown is the most common ground agreed upon to obtain an uncontested divorce in New York. In New York, a divorce is also considered uncontested when you file for divorce and your spouse fails to appear in the divorce proceeding.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

The benefits to uncontested divorce in New York are many. Because you and your spouse have already agreed on everything, there is no need for a trial. Since there’s no trial, there’s no need to “air your dirty laundry” in public, the process is much quicker and doesn’t cost nearly as much as a contested divorce.You also don’t necessarily need a lawyer to get an uncontested divorce in New York. However, lawyers can assist spouses in coming to agreement on the issues, making sure paperwork is completed correctly, and filing the paperwork in a timely manner.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in New York

In New York, you can file for an uncontested divorce when you and your spouse agree about the following:

  • to divorce
  • the grounds of divorce
  • how to divide marital property and debt
  • who gets custody of the children and parenting time for the other parent
  • how much child support will be paid, and
  • whether spousal support will be paid and by whom.

To able to file for divorce in New York, you also have to satisfy the “residency requirements” of the law. This means that either:

  • you or your spouse has been living in New York for at least two continuous years immediately before filing for divorce, or
  • you or your spouse has been living in New York for at least one continuous year immediately before filing for divorce and
    • you got married in New York, or
    • you lived in New York as a married couple, or
    • the grounds for your divorce happened in New York.

The Uncontested Divorce Process

Even though an uncontested divorce in New York is quicker than a contested divorce, it is still a long and sometimes complicated process with a lot of paperwork. 

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