Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2018

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in New York?

Several factors can impact how long it takes to get a divorce in New York. Some of the issues that can complicate a divorce and lengthen the time to obtain a final divorce decree include custody, property division, and spousal support. In addition, the court’s schedule can play a significant role in determining how long it takes to get a divorce in New York.

The key to obtaining a quick divorce in New York is an agreement between the parties. Spouses who can work together to resolve all divorce issues outside of court can obtain their divorce quicker compared to couples that fight over one or more divorce issues. In any case, having an experienced family law lawyer on your side can help.

The Typical Timeline for an Uncontested Divorce In New York

Each divorce action is unique. Therefore, it is impossible to provide an exact number of days or weeks that it will take to obtain an uncontested divorce in New York.  However, we can look at a typical divorce timeline for uncontested divorces based on how the majority of other uncontested divorces proceed through the system.

Filing for Divorce and Serving Your Spouse

New York is now a no-fault divorce state. For couples, the no-fault divorce laws mean they can file for a divorce without claiming that their partner committed adultery, was abusive, abandoned them, or committed other wrongdoing. The no-fault divorce process significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to obtain an uncontested divorce in New York.

You must first file your petition for divorce with the county clerk’s office. Once the clerk’s office processes the forms, they will return copies to you for service upon your spouse. Petitions for divorce must be served on your spouse who has 20 days to respond to the divorce petition (30 days if served out-of-state). If your spouse has an attorney, service is typically easy and fast.

However, if your spouse has not hired an attorney and avoids service of the petition for divorce, a private process server or a sheriff’s officer may need to locate your spouse to serve the papers. Your spouse still has 20 days (30 if out-of-state) from the date of service to respond to the complaint. Therefore, service of the divorce papers on your spouse could lengthen the process of obtaining an uncontested divorce substantially.

Obtaining a Default Divorce

If your spouse does not respond to the petition for divorce, you can file the required paperwork for a default divorce and file it with the court. Many courts review requests for default divorces within 30 to 60 days. If your paperwork is complete and all information is correct, the court may proceed to grant the default divorce. You receive a copy of the divorce decree for your records.

Responses to the Divorce Petition

If your spouse responds to the divorce petition, the process becomes more complex. There are two alternatives. If you and your spouse enter a written agreement settling all issues related to the divorce, you may still obtain a divorce within a few months.

Contested Divorces in New York

If you and your spouse disagree on any issue, your divorce will be contested. Contested divorces may also settle quickly if the parties can reach an agreement for all issues. Some couples use mediators to help them settle their differences so that they can submit a written agreement to the court for approval.

However, other couples litigate issues, which can lengthen the process by a year or longer. Again, compromise and cooperation are the keys to obtaining a quick divorce in New York. Even the smallest dispute can result in months or years of battles in family court.

Contact Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. to talk with a New York family law lawyer today about your divorce concerns.

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